TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Summary
Author  :  Jerry Silverman mailto:%20rug_books@silvrmn.com
Date  :  03-10-2001 on 09:25 p.m.
First off, I'd like to thank everyone who weighed in on this one. My fear that the very first post would identify the piece so precisely and unarguably that there would be no further need for speculation was not realized.

Opinions ranged from subtly phrased "who gives a rat's ass?" type
responses to detailed analysis (thank you especially, Daniel). The offset knotting led to dialog about a possible Kurdish attribution. As a potential future Salon, perhaps someone could consider discussing the "circular" reasoning implicit in some of these "hallmarks" we have come to trust.

From there various experts were quoted as to the weaving tendencies of
Kurds who live near other well known weaving groups. In a way it's as though Kurds are the most compliant weavers in the Middle East, easily influenced by their neighbors. Why isn't it the other way around? For a people who have managed decades of guerilla war to establish an autonomous homeland you'd think they would have more respect for their cultural traditions. But absent fieldwork, this is something we'll probably never know.

Wendel, who actually saw the piece on my last trip to Washington, liked a Chahar Mahal attribution for the coarseness of the weave. (He politely restrained himself from sneering when he handled it. If I had his collection of incredibly finely woven Shahsavan bags, I'm not sure I could have mustered a similar restraint.)

Kenneth Thompson and Daniel Deschuyteneer called our attention to an obscure (to me, at least) group called Lak Kurds. This group was apparently "strongly influenced by Lori customs and language." Structure and design similarities were evident but not conclusive.

And so we come to the question posed in the Salon about what to do with seemingly anomalous pieces for which few analogs exist. In a way we've answered it: examine the structure and design, and place it within some possible attributions. Then wait for others with better established provenance to pop up. (I'm reminded of the phenomenon of a "unique" piece bringing a huge price at auction only to have a half dozen more come on the market in the next week. Not that mine is a likely candidate to achieve a huge price. It sure didn't on eBay where I bought it.)

In summary, I'm both surprised that it wasn't immediately identified and pleased that as many of you gave it serious thought as did. In a world where all the information one can desire is a mere mouse click away it's reassuring that some mysteries remain.



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