TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Crowded rugs - Horizontal looms
Author  :  Michael Wendorf
Date  :  08-29-2000 on 10:32 a.m.
Dear Daniel: Your Salon asks the question, "must a rug be crowded to imagine that it was nomadic and woven on a horizontal loom?" John Howe starts to address this question, answering no, in his thread that also addresses other questions raised in your Salon. Perhaps it will be more helpful to have a separate thread on this single issue and perhaps to break your question into two parts. First, must a rug be crowded to be nomadic - I say no - and second is a crowded rug diagnostic or related in any way to use of a horizontal loom - again I believe not. A third question might be is a horizontal loom an indication of nomadic weaving? Maybe it is, but the answer to that question is really a separate Salon on what a nomadic weaving is - something it seems has been discussed several times before on these servers - and what was loom technology like at different times and places. Going back to the first question, perhaps we should ask why you think it might be that a rug must be crowded to be nomadic. Certainly we can find examples that are crowded, but what does this mean? There are other examples that are not. Moreover, the most crowded and densely designed rugs seem to me to the antithesis of nomadic weaving - city and workshop weavings woven from cartoons sometimes with multiple planes or layers of design. Perhaps your reference to crowded is less oriented to densely designed and more that nomadic weavings are less open and spacious. Again, I do not believe this to be so. We have all become aware increasingly of weavings that are truly minimalist in design, what has sometimes been called "the Kailash Look." Many of these weavings are among the most purely nomadic or tribal weavings we have. Crowded rugs can be beautiful and nomadic, but I do not believe that being crowded signifies much about whether a rug is or is not nomadic, whatever we mean by the word nomadic. Consistent with my previous point, I unaware of why crowded rug would be an indication that a given rug was woven on a horizontal loom and a horizontal loom of the type that might be encountered in a nomadic environment. I have never used a horizontal loom so I am open to being educated, but I cannot imagine why crowded design would be necessarily related to use of a horizontal loom unless a horizontal loom of the type used in a nomadic environment would tend to dictate end finishes and the like. Perhaps you can develop this point a little more in a reply. In sum, I do think there are some factors that help us identify a nomadic or tribal rug - such as warp and weft materials, dyed and undyed wools, and construction details such as wefting, selvedges and end finishes - but that design is generally of limited use, crowded or uncrowded. I hope this facilitates additional discussion on this topic. Thank you, Michael

Subject  :  RE:Crowded rugs - Horizontal looms
Author  :  Deschuyteneer+Daniel
Date  :  08-29-2000 on 03:43 p.m.
Deschuyteneer Daniel Dear Michael and you all, Before I realized that I misused the word “crowded”, I didn’t understand why you had split up my question into two different threads. It’s awful to recognize it publicly but my poor English didn’t helped me. Once I erroneously used on this board the word “terrible” instead of “terrific” the two words having in French the same meaning and this time I have used the word “crowded” having in minds that this word means “uneven shape”. Perhaps you don’t know it but before being public my Salon are revised by R.John Howe or/and Steve Price who help me with the editing. This time, even after a carefully reading, they couldn’t imagine that I misused this word. So I reformulate my question as follow: Must the shape of a rug be uneven to imagine that it was nomadic and woven on a horizontal loom? Nevertheless I share totally your thoughts concerning this new thread and I am very glad you make reference to the Belgium Kailash gallery. Patrick Ampie had one of the most exceptional eye I know. Will buy a big dictionary before writing my next Salon :+)) Really sorry, Daniel

Subject  :  RE:Crowded rugs - Horizontal looms
Author  :  Michael Wendorf
Date  :  08-29-2000 on 05:38 p.m.
Dear Daniel: I am glad we have that issue cleared up. In my experience, this kind of mistake is better to blame on your editors! So now we can proceed with your real question, whether the shape of a rug must be uneven to imagine that it is nomadic and woven on a horizontal loom. To discuss this question one must assume that nomadic or tribal weavers were only using horizontal looms. I do not think that this is necessarily so. I think nomadic or tribal weavers used both vertical and horizontal looms. Perhaps the real point is whether nomadic rugs should be uneven or misshapen. I do not think so. I have always understood uneven or misshapen rugs to be principally the consequence of uneven warp or loom tension. While this is perhaps more likely in an unsupervised or home environment, as opposed to a workshop or commercial environment, I really cannot believe that a rug must be misshapen to be nomadic regardless of whether the weaver was using a vertical or a horizontal loom. Surely, Marla Mallett and others may have additional insights to clarify this point further. Daniel, you are doing great with your English - keep it up. Michael

Subject  :  My (lame) excuse
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  08-29-2000 on 07:58 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Mea culpa! Mea MAXIMA culpa! I did, indeed edit the Salon before it went up, and thought the notion that a crowded field had something to do with whether the thing was made on a horizontal or vertical loom was, well, odd. On the other hand, I don't dictate the thoughts of others when I edit for English (the sentence in question is in decent English, after all), and I figured (correctly) that the discussion would deal with it. There, that ought to get me off the hook. In Washington parlance, "The buck starts here." Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:Crowded rugs - Horizontal looms
Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer
Date  :  08-30-2000 on 06:31 p.m.
Eureka "crooked" that was the good word !! Daniel

Subject  :  RE:Crowded rugs - Horizontal looms
Author  :  Michael Wendorf
Date  :  08-30-2000 on 09:51 p.m.
Dear Daniel: A crooked rug can be ok. You should avoid crooked people. So much for our English lesson! Michael

Subject  :  RE:Crowded rugs - Horizontal looms
Author  :  Bob+Emry
Date  :  08-30-2000 on 10:51 p.m.
emry@starpower.net Dear Daniel and all, Thanks, Daniel, for mentioning the word "crooked," which I think is more appropriate and defining than "uneven" or "irregular." I've sometimes wondered if "crooked" is not one of the diagnostic characteristics of Kurdish rugs. It's an exaggeration of course, but I have heard the expression "if it ain't crooked, it ain't Kurdish." Seriously though--the words "horizontal" or "vertical" as used in the context of Daniel's question are red herrings that distract us from the real question. It's not the attitude of the loom that makes the difference, it's how "primitive" or "sophisticated" the loom is. Surely one of the common reasons that rugs are crooked is because they were woven on looms that had no means of adjusting--fine-tuning--the warp tension to keep it even across the width of the rug. This implies a more primitive (simpler) loom, more likely than not horizontal, but not necessarily so. Upright looms have the heavy side beams that hold the warp beams, and usually some means of adjusting the upper warp beam to change tension. Horizontal looms lacked the heavy side beams (and thus were more portable), and the warp beams were normally held in place by stakes driven into the ground, with no effective means of fine-tuning he warp tension. It is a marvel to me that they were ever able to get the warp tension the same at both edges of the rug, though I don't doubt that it sometimes happened. So, to summarize my verbiage, it seems reasonable to assume that a crooked rug was woven on a simple loom, probably horizontal because the ground had to substitute for side beams of the loom. But it doesn't necessarily follow that " straight" or "regular" rugs were woven on more sophisticated looms. It is easier to make the case that crooked rugs are nomadic than that nomadic rugs are crooked. Bob Emry

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