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Subject  :  Internal Elems in Moroccan Rugs
Author  :  Giambattista D'Alessio mailto:%20gbdalessio@tin.it
Date  :  11-27-2000 on 02:41 p.m.
Dear Everybody,

Something comparable to an 'internal elem' seems to be a rather common
feature in Moroccan rugs from the Haouz of Marrakech and surroundings
(Rehamna and Boujad). It makes no sense talking of intentional irregularities in these rugs, where irregularity is the norm. The field is filled with a number of strange figures, some roughly in the
shape of a medallion. A good number of them, however, show a rectangular section clearly marked off at about a third from either top or bottom.

(ill. from TRVT, A. Nicolosi, Tappeti Rossi della Valle del Tennsift, pp.
49, 33)

In some cases the rectangular section is divided in two parts, with a sort of 'double elem'. In this case both parts may take more than one third of the field, but always less than half.

(ill. from ghereh 20, p.32; TRVT p.35; hali 99)
I am not sure which is the right way for "reading" these carpets. In the
last case, for example, I would have instinctively read it not as shown
here, but upside-down, with the double elem at the bottom. From the
weaver's point of view the double elem was, however, in the top section.

This tendency to mark off the field at about a third from top or bottom may
be relevant for cases like

(ill. from ghereh 20, p.26)
The field is plain, with only a small diamond at about a third from the top.

I am not sure whether the field division of the next rug

(ill. from TRVT p.41)
may reflect an articulation of the same kind (that is, marking off a sort of 'elem'). Perhaps not.

A similar feature may perhaps be detected also in rugs whose field is
almost completely filled by blocks of colour, with an abrupt change before
the 'double elem'

(ill. from TRVT p.51)
or by rows of geometrical decoration of diamonds fitting into squares:

(ill. from Pickering/Pickering/Yohe, Moroccan carpets, pl. 14)
The dimension of the squares and of the diamond here changes several times
along the field. The fact that the section with smaller squares and diamonds seems to coincide with the one sometime occupied by the 'elem' may be just a coincidence.

I am not suggesting that this feature is present in all the rugs from this area: there is a good deal of them where it cannot be easily discerned, and is probably lacking. Nevertheless in many of these rugs such a demarcation is clearly visible.

I have no idea whether it may have any symbolic value (we know very little
about the 'meaning' of the design in these rugs), or whether it was simply
one of the various ways of articulating the field at some point.

I attach also an image of a rug from a different area, that happens to be in the same number of Ghereh where some of the Moroccan rugs shown above have been published. It is from Hashtrud, and shows a nice instance of 'internal elem'.

(ill. from ghereh 20, p.49)
Best regards, and thanks for the interesting discussion,


Subject  :  Re:Internal Elems in Moroccan Rugs
Author  :  Yon Bard mailto:%20doryon@rcn.com
Date  :  11-28-2000 on 09:33 a.m.
Fascinating examples! Should inspire further study.

Thanks, Yon

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