TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Something Else Entirely
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  02-26-2001 on 10:31 a.m.
Dear Readers:

In my opinion, Jerry's mystery bag underscores the danger of making attributions based on design. It is true that the interlocked diamonds in the lower knotted pile part of the weaving are commonly associated with Jaf Kurds. Patrick also points out that these diamonds have offset knotting - something that is generally associated with Kurds.

It is all true, but I do not believe that this mystery bag may be called Kurdish. First, others use offset knotting too and the reason is that it is convenient for the diagonals in these interlocking diamonds.

There is a more basic reason why I believe this mystery bag is something else entirely. Although Kurds did use cotton warps in weaving some carpets, generally larger workshop or cottage industry weavings, they would not typically use cotton in more utilitarian weavings. Moreover, if they did use cotton, they would almost certainly not use 3 ply cotton warps.

I believe it is fairly well established that the overwhelming majority of Kurdish weavings use 2 ply warps. This incidence of 2 ply warps in Kurdish weavings is so high that I would generally rule out a Kurdish attribution absent other strong evidence to the contrary. An extended discussion of this took place in connection with Daniel's last Salon. In addition, neither the unplied natural light brown wefts, the selvedge (described as 3 warps overlapped with black goat hair), or the rest of the bag provides the contrary evidence.

In sum, beyond the appearance of the interlocked diamonds and some offset knotting associated with it, I see no reason to conclude this mystery bag is Kurdish and many reasons to conclude it it not Kurdish.

As to the positive and negative juxtaposition of the "S" like shapes in the remainder of the field, this design appears in so many places as to also be of little help.

Sometimes it is easier to conclude what something is not rather than what something is. I do not know how to attribute this mystery bag (I also do not think it is Shahsavan). If I had to vote, I would simply say Azerbaijan.

Thank you, Michael Wendorf

Subject  :  Re:Something Else Entirely
Author  :  Marla Mallett mailto:%20marlam@mindspring.com
Date  :  02-26-2001 on 02:11 p.m.

Could you please tell us what groups other than Kurds have used offset knotting for design articulation in north or west Iran? Anatolian and Turkmen practices don't help us here.


Subject  :  Re:Something Else Entirely
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  02-26-2001 on 03:49 p.m.
Dear Marla:

I regret that I do not believe that I (or perhaps any one else) can recite for you what groups other than Kurds, if any, have used offset knotting for design articulation in north or west Iran.
I wish that I or someone could.

I think that I understand why you raise this question - it is because offset knotting is fundamentally a structural feature except that in knotted pile the diagonals it helps to create are merely a function of design or an arbitary color or design articulation. Who, if not Kurds, would use offset knotting to create design articulation? Am I understanding the nature of the question?

The answer may be lost. Certainly Turkmen weavers and other have used staggered knots to better articulate their designs, but I cannot point you to groups in west or north Iran.

I will make one other additional design related observation of the mystery bag at issue. The soumak part of the bag looks as non-Kurdish as the knotted pile part does. I am not familiar with Kurdish weavers using this design, though I am familiar with Shahsavan, Afshar, Qashqai and other groups using this design.

Perhaps you have an opinion as to origin that you would share witht he group? For anyone not following the offset knotting issue, I refer you to Marla's Woven Structures book and pages 35-37, 52 for a discussion.

Thanks, Michael

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