TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  A brocaded hat
Author  :  Richard Farber mailto:%20farberr@netvision.net.il
Date  :  11-03-2000 on 06:33 a.m.
Dear Salon participants,

I thought I might ask myself about my responses to the beauty of a new very minor acquisition that I find extremely pleasing and see if this might be similar to responses of yours when seeing a new object. Maybe we can find just a few paradigms which catagorize most of our responses.

This is a Central Asia hat made from a silk brocade (I don't know yet where the brocade is from) with a card weave finish around the edge.

My first response was from a distance to the color of the brocade ...Wow!!!!! Second was recognition. I know the card weave and its colors from the distance and have seen it and similar ones on very fine old Central Asian hats and coats. I find the colors and quality of work of the card weave good but not by itself evocative of a strong response.

Than with closer inspection saw and felt quality of the brocade and was even more impressed.

With a more analytical eye I saw that the use of the brocade could have been better planned to show the design. I then realized that the brocade was primary use and not recycled meaning that the hat was very expensive when first made. Brocade was much more expensive than embroidery at the time of the hat's creation and the centuries before. Although this is not intuitive for me I have learned to appreciate the position of complex textiles in the areas that I collect. From the view of computer controlled looms, embroidery
would seem more expensive than a machine made fabric, but in the 19th century and before this was not so. There are many sources to this conjecture. Ms Gursu in The Art of Turkish Weaving is one that comes to mind.

The prospects of a bit of research seemed pleasurable but did not call forth the degree of pleasure of the first impact from the color and second response from the tactile qualities of the material. Each time I look at it I enjoy the colors of the brocade and especially the dissonance of the colors and quality of colors between the card weave edging and the brocade itself.

I think that the pieces that stay with us often evoke a strong initial response which is reenforced by knowledge and research (and sometimes with a good 'hunting' story, although not in this case).

I really liked the piece . . . I know the piece is good . . . this reenforces the emotional response and asks for more research into the piece, which further reenforces the appreciation.

Richard Farber

Subject  :  Re:A brocaded hat
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  11-03-2000 on 10:28 a.m.
Dear Richard,

Your contrasting/comparing initial and later responses is interesting. My initial responses, in terms of aesthetic appreciation, are often lukewarm but become more affectionate (or passionate) with time. My wife's judgment, I've learned over the years, is a very good predictor of what my response will be after I've had a chance to get acquainted with a piece. She has a wonderful "quick eye" - that is, her initial responses are reliable. Mine aren't.

One subject that's come up on our discussion boards from time to time is whether some people are "gestalt" responders and others are "detail noticers", and I wonder if this is related.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:A brocaded hat
Author  :  Sam Gorden mailto:%20gordsa@earthlink.net
Date  :  11-03-2000 on 06:06 p.m.
Dear Richard,
I readily can understand your attraction to the hat. It is an exqusite creation both in design and execution. However, I did not react to the piece with your intense appreciation.
This called for introspection on my part. After careful consideration, I discovered that the only items in this category were those which would enhance my living quarters. My interest was restricted to interior decoration.
I recall that the Metropolitan Museum had a section devoted to antique costumes. Although I marveled at the exhibition, I did not have the slightest desire to own any of them. Now, many years later, I know why.
As I have said so often, the only thing which matters is your PERSONAL EMOTIONAL REACTION.
May you enjoy "A Brocaded Hat" and many others in your collecting career!

Subject  :  Re:A brocaded hat
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  11-04-2000 on 06:38 p.m.
Dear folks -

It might be useful to make explicit for some readers the difference between "brocade" and "embroidery," which, if I understand properly is the usual focus of Mr. Farber's collecting.

"Embroidery" is decorative stitching applied with a needle after the ground fabric has been woven.

"Brocade is decoration made with extra wefts (I don't know if there can be warp-faced varieties) added on the loom as the piece is being woven.

Central Asian urban weavers did lots of embroidery (e.g. suzanis) but there is also brocade work in Central Asian pieces. Marla Mallett has said that in Western Turkey, the ladies avoid doing anything with embroidery that can be done on the loom (i.e., with brocade).

I wonder whether the fact that this is a high quality item done in brocade might not ultimately indicate something about where in Central Asia it was likely made.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:A brocaded hat
Author  :  Richard Farber mailto:%20farberr@netvision.net.il
Date  :  11-04-2000 on 09:53 p.m.
Dear Mr. Howe,

According to "When Silk Was Gold, Central Asian and Chinese Textiles" Metropolitan Museum of Art 1998, brocaded silk was a luxury trade item for over 2000 years. It was expensive and easily transported and traveled great distances. Where the brocade was manufacured is not an indication of where it was made into an article of clothing or decoration.

I have an niche form textile made from two contrasting brocades from India [according to an expert in the subcontinent] which was made in the Uzbeck area becuase of the backing and ikat strips as finish and the way that it was stiched together. There are Central Asian coats with Russian brocade.

Thank you for including information on the difference between brocade and embroidery.

Richard Farber

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