TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Baluchi rooster
Author  :  Filiberto Boncompagni
Date  :  09-11-2000 on 06:16 a.m.
filibert@go.com.jo Dear Steve, I read the last addition in Marla Mallett’ s web site "Tracking the Archetype": she offers there some quite convincing arguments about origin and transmigration of design from more restrictive textile mediums to less restrictive ones. The design of the Baluchi cock is very stylized, composed mainly of horizontal and vertical lines. Perhaps it is a kind of design born on a warp-patterned weave, a restrictive technique for the design. According to Marla, some of the world's oldest surviving textiles are warp- faced bands. When the depiction migrated to a more free medium, it simply retained the same style - the rooster seems to be an important symbol for the Baluchi and the tribal culture is strongly conservative, no need to change it. Well, they did change it a little (see the cover of the book "Baluchi Woven Treasures") for example, but it still is highly stylized - another version perhaps. That is for the Baluchi bird. Regards, Filiberto Boncompagni

Subject  :  RE:Baluchi rooster
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  09-11-2000 on 08:19 a.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Filiberto, I agree that the Belouch bird consists entirely of horizontal, vertical and 45 degree angle lines. For that reason, it's a perfect fit for Marla's thoughts about many motifs in pile being derived from structure-driven motifs in flatweaves. While I believe that her view is fundamentally correct, I have some problems with applying it to this particular motif. Here are my reasons: 1. It is unique to the Belouch, and probably only to one Belouch subgroup. Structure-driven motifs ought to be ubiquitous, like "latchhooks", "hooked polygons", and various star-like devices. 2. I've never seen anything similar to a Belouch bird on a flatweave. So hypothesizing that it originated in pile work by being copied from flatweaves requires the additional hypothesis that it was preserved in the pile form but became extinct in the (rather substantial) corpus of Belouch flatweaves. My inclination is to think more along the lines of what is customarily applied to tribal art of Africa: the stylization involves placing greater emphasis on certain elements of the figure than on others, and the elements that are emphasized have, in some sense, greater importance than those that are de-emphasized. In the case of the Belouch bird, it appears to me that the body is greatly emphasized by its form, size and internal decoration; the legs are also given considerable prominence. What can we learn from that? Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:Baluchi rooster
Author  :  Patrick Weiler
Date  :  09-11-2000 on 09:33 p.m.
jpweil00@gte.net Steve, The attached photo shows a Baluch rug with completely different types of birds:
enter] This group of birds is not common on Baluch weavings, (in fact it looks more like a flock of ducks floating on a pond) but that fact may reinforce the suggestion that your bird is particular to a specific tribal group. Has a study been done comparing the weave structure of rugs and bags showing your type of bird? Are there any non-weaving examples of your type of bird, such as architectural features, that anyone knows of? Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  RE:Baluchi rooster
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  09-11-2000 on 10:48 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Patrick, I'm not persuaded that the "birds" on the piece you show are birds at all. They look an awful lot like the various kinds of latchhooked things on the piece that are quite clearly not birds. This item is a nice illustration of the difference of opinion that exists between Jim Opie and Marla Mallett about similar motifs. Jim sees them as bird heads, Marla sees them as non-representational decorations that originated in kilims because they made stable structures in that medium. I don't know anyone who's looked systematically at the Belouch bird khorjin and rugs to see if there is a common structure, or if similar motifs can be found on anything other than the woven items. Since the Belouch were tent-dwellers, there's not likely to be much in the way of Belouch architectural items, but perhaps there are grave stones with carvings or items of jewelry with decorations on which such a motif might occcur. Regards, Steve Price

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