TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Lak Kurdish?
Author  :  Kenneth Thompson mailto:%20wkthompson@aol.com
Date  :  03-09-2001 on 08:35 a.m.
Dear all,

For an amateur, it is always fascinating to see a piece that stumps the experts, especially in the case of a “platypus” bag such as this. To find a weaving group for Jerry Silverman’s piece, it looks as though we need a tribe that combined Lori Bakhtiari and Kurdish characteristics,and that may be linked to Qazvin or Varamin. (The pile strip that runs straight across the piece without the cut-outs at the corners seems to be a Varamin trait.)

Since there seems to be no dearth of obscure Kurdish tribes, a possible candidate may be the Lak Kurds, a name I came across for the first time in the description of Plate 136 of John Wertime’s Sumak Bags of Northwest Persia and Transcaucasia, He shows a pile bottomed, sumak bag with a field design popular “among Turkic weavers in Khamseh, Kurdish/Lak weavers in Qazvin, and Lor and Bakhtiayari weavers in the Varamin region and in the Lor and Bakhtiayari areas of western Persia."

Are any of you, especially Michael Wendorf, familiar with the Laks? (No puns, please. It would so easy as to be unsportsmanlike.) Wertime (p. 214) describes them as “Kurds strongly influenced by Lori customs and language.” For want of better label, how about Lak, as an esoteric interim attribution? The trade can always use a new category of Persian bags.

Best regards, Ken

Subject  :  Re:Lak Kurdish?
Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer mailto:%20daniel.d@infonie.be
Date  :  03-09-2001 on 12:32 p.m.
Dear readers,

I am thinking that Kenneth’s input is one of the most important during this Salon.His proposition has the great advantage to link all what has been already told during this Salon.

I would want to come back to what Wendel told in his posting:

“Jerry’s mystery bag is CONSIDERABLY COARSER than one would suspect from the TurkoTek images.” And he is perfectly right. I looked to larger scans, received aside, of the second photo illustrated in Jerry’s essay. Yes, the structure is very coarse and even in the low resolution photo available in Jerry' s essay it is possible to see how coarse it is with well visible red wefts separating the 2/1 soumak rows.

Struture analysis done on Jerry’s scan:
Flatweave section:
Technique is 2/1 countered soumak with only one red wool weft between soumak rows. Wrapping yarns are two ply wool – No cotton in the white area –Motifs are underlined with diagonal wrapping.
Pile section:
Warps: cotton, seems to be thick machine spun cotton yarns instead of 3 ply cotton
Weft: thick white cotton – ONE pick between rows of knotted (single wefted is a term you use more often) –
Pile: wool, offset knotting in the diagonals.
Selvage: thick rounded selvage wrapped with goat hair.

Now also interesting, are structure features noticed by Wertime (pages 214 & 215).
“Insigths into the Kurds’ use of weft wrapping (soumak) in Western Persia are provided principally by Jenny Housego (Tribal rugs – plate 64) and Parviz Tanavoli (Bead and Salt –plate 62). Their published bags show the CONVENTIONAL 2/1 FORM (as in Jerry’s bag) of extra weft wrapping …”

“Most likely, they (LAK Kurds) wove large sumak saddlebags with straight pile bottoms and spaced wrapping wefts (soumak)…..

“… Tanavoli published a salt bag that he attributes to the Mafis (Kurds) of Qazvin. Structurally IT DIFFERS FROM NEARLY ALL OF THE TURKISCH BAGS FROM NW PERSIA IN THAT THE ROWS OF WRAPPING WEFTS ARE NOTICEABLY SPACED IN THE LORI TRADITION INSTEAD OF COMPACTED … (Housego’s example) is of a type that ALSO HAS THIS STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTIC as well as a distinctive palette, particulary in its green and orange shades”

The use of cotton foundations in QAZVIN or VARAMIN weavings is not surprising, and considering the clear Lori features of Lak weavings, I am not surprised to see that the selvages in Jerry’s bag are of the “goat hair - overcast selvage type” seen in so much Lori weavings.



Subject  :  Re:Lak Kurdish?
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  03-09-2001 on 06:22 p.m.
Dear Ken,

Aside from the fact that both employ a mixture of sumak and pile, I think that Jerry?s bag and plate 136 in Wertime?s Sumak have little in common. I have seen plate 136 twice, once when we exhibited it here in DC about 11 years ago and again at the ACOR MEMMW exhibition in Chicago. It is quite wonderful. I?m sure that Jerry remembers it also.

Plate 136 is exceedingly fine and has wool, not cotton, warps. The colors are much more saturated than in Jerry?s bag.

The two are not comparable.



Subject  :  Re:Lak Kurdish?
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  03-09-2001 on 09:21 p.m.
Dear All:

Wertime's plate 136 is also plate 33 in Mideast Meets Midwest. There is it labelled
as "Lors/Bakhtiari Saddlebag." This particular design is found in quite a variety of Kurdish rugs and bags and does seem to be one of the designs that was executed by Kurdish weavers in soumak. The English dealers Christopher and Oliver Legge currently have a complete Khorjin with this same pattern that is unmistakeably Kurdish. However, I have seen the same design in numerous non-Kurdish weavings and would call it a pan-persian design. I think it a stretch to try and narrow it to a group or an area.

Beyond this, I regret that I have little to add. Like Wendel, I do not really see a connection with Jerry's piece. I also do not know anything about the Lak Kurds and I do not know what John Wertime is relying on for this attribution. I assume from Tanavoli or Housego. I would not want to rely on this information without knowing more about the source. Eagleton, who has been in this area, makes no mention of Lak Kurds. I will also note that the area they are reputed to inhabit is not part of what I would refer to as historic Kurdistan.

Sorry I lak anything more to add.

Subject  :  Re:Lak Kurdish?
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  03-09-2001 on 11:08 p.m.
Michael and all,

A perusal of Izady indicates that the Laki-speaking Kurds inhabit the southernmost regions of Kurdistan, around or to the south of Kermanshah. I have no idea whether this has any relationship to the pieces under discussion.


Subject  :  Re:Lak Kurdish?
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  03-10-2001 on 11:02 a.m.
Dear Wendel, Ken, Daniel, Patrick and all:

We probably have to separate Laki-speaking from Lak Kurds. According to Izady, Laks exist in some parts of eastern Kurdistan and several others scattered areas. As for Laki-speaking, you are correct that a number of groups speak this version of Gurani. According to Izady, "the speakers of Laki have been steadily pulling away from the main body of Kurds, increasingly associating with their neighboring ethnic group, the Lurs. The phenomenon is most visible among the educated Laks and the urbanites - in the countryside, the commoners still consider themselves Kurds in regions bordering other parts of Kurdistan, and Laks or Lurs where they border the Lurs. The process is a valuable example of the dynamics through which the entire southern Zagros has been permanently lost by the Kurds since the late medieval period ... Laki is spoken in the areas south of Hamadan and including the towns of Nahawand, Tuisirkan, Nurabad, Ilam, Gelan and Pahla, as well as districts of Horru, Selasela, Silakhur, and the northern Alishtar in western Iran. There are major Laki colonies spread from Khurasan to the Mediterranean Sea. Pockets of Laki speakers are found in Azerbaijan, the Alburz mountains, the Caspian coastal region, the Kashan and the region between Adiyaman and the Ceyhan river in far western Kurdistan inAnatolia. There are also many Kurdish tribes named Lak who now speak other Kurdish dialects..." These tribal groups are scattered about, according to Izady.

It seems a strong Lur influence is noted in all of these groups. Like Wendel, I have no other information about the connection, is any, between this and Jerry's piece or the piece in Wertime's book he calls Lak.

Thanks. Michael

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