TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-21-2001 on 09:00 a.m.
Here is a rug whose back I think I would always readily recognize using the weave pattern perspective. Here is a glimpse of the pile side. (I donít have an overall photo.)

It is a Turkish yastik with two large rectilinear medallions on a red ground. Side borders are narrow reciprocal triangles in white and dark blue and the end border is an atypical seeming attempt at lappet-like devices but are in fact recitlinear eight-armed figures. The wool is very soft and has clear patina. The warps are entirely of very rigid goat hair of the type often used on Balouch selveges. (These warps are tough! I bent a steel hook trying to replace a single pile knot in this piece. The warps would not give at all.) Dennis Dodds suggested that it was made in the Konya area.

But I put this piece up here because of what seems to me to be its distinctive back.

Here is a view of an area of this back.

And here is a close-up of a smaller portion of it.

I can always tell where this rug is in a pile by just looking at the back. I have never tried to describe what is distinctive about it before.

Surely I can often see the warps and that's a give-away by itself. But the look of the back is distinctive too. First, it seems to me that the brown wefts take up a little more vertical space than do the intervening rows of knots. The weft lines are predominant. Their width also seems pretty constant: it does vary much as it moves across piece. There is a kind of darkness to the back that is for me out of sync with the lighter, brighter colors on the front of this piece and there's a kind of seeming harshness of the back and is unexpectedly contradicted by the noticeably soft wool of the pile.

I think this is a near knock-down conclusive piece at the level of weave pattern. I know I would recognize another piece with it instantly without much additional information.

Regards,

R. John Howe


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-21-2001 on 09:38 a.m.
Dear folks -

I miswrote once in the post above. I meant to say that the width of the wefts in this piece do NOT seem to me to vary much as they move across it.

R. John Howe


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@mediaone.net
Date  :  04-23-2001 on 08:39 a.m.
Dear John:

How did you determine that the warps are goathair?

Thank you, Michael


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-23-2001 on 09:51 a.m.
Michael -

Not rigorously, with a microscope, etc. But they are directly exposed on the end and the hardness, shiny texture and inflexibility are apparent.

If they are not goat hair (and I agree we should likely be more careful about such things) my next guess would not move toward some coarse species of wool fiber (although they are clearly organic matter) but rather in the direction of steel cable.

Say more here. Is your point that we should be more careful about our assertions that something is goat hair? Do you have any suspicions about what these warps might be if they are not goat hair?

Regards,

R. John Howe


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@mediaone.net
Date  :  04-23-2001 on 11:32 p.m.
Dear John:

I have no point. However, it has been my observation in some Anatolian weavings that fibers that initially appeared to be goathair turned out, after some more careful analysis, to be something else. The distinction between goathair and something else can be an important one.

Thanks, Michael


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  04-24-2001 on 06:51 a.m.
While we can never be certain as to what a particular fiber is without microscopic examination, remember that there are many different types of goat hair. Elena Tsareva has commented that my two relatively finely woven Ersari bag faces have goat hair warps. Some Yomud work appears to have similar warps (very fine and straight, light brown to light greyish brown) that almost invariably deomstrate no spin or ply when exposed.

Varieties of goat hair are probably more widely used than most collectors would expect.

Wendel


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@home.com
Date  :  04-24-2001 on 10:20 p.m.
John,

There is one sure test I am certain you will want to try in an attempt to determine whether the warps are goat hair or not. A couple of years ago in Hali there was an interview with a man who had lived in Afghanistan for many years. He stirred things up with some of his Baluch tribal rug attributions. I believe Anderson was his name. I am "on the road" and do not have access to my Hali magazines, but I think he asserted that SCORPIONS would not cross a goat hair fabric because it apparently irritated them.
I suggest you get a few dozen scorpions and let them loose on your rug. This will definitely resolve your warp question.

Helpfully yours,

Patrick Weiler


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-25-2001 on 03:30 a.m.
Hi Pat -

I remember the Anderson article. As I recall, he had definitely "been there" but that lots of folks disagreed with some things he had to say, mostly about rather precise attribution.

I haven't looked it up but as I recall, his "cure is likely worse than the disease" suggestion went in another direction. I think he claimed to have in part supplied snakes for some zoos and had discovered that they would not cross a goat hair rope.

I'm not sure he ever argued explicitly that this was one reason why the Balouch frequently use coarse, dark, shiny goat hair for their selveges, but I remember thinking that the smart snakes would approach a sleeping victim from the rug ends without difficulty. Maybe Balouch using rugs in this way, used two pointed differently. A Balouch version of a "three-dog night" aimed at snakes rather than at keeping warm.

The microscope begins to souind better and better.

Regards,

R. John Howe


Subject  :  Re:Yastik with Goathair Warps
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-27-2001 on 10:17 p.m.
Dear folks -

Marla Mallett has not yet joined this salon discussion, but I have had some conversation with her on the side and have her permission to quote her comments in two of the threads here.

Her thoughts about where this yastik was likely made make me think I may be mistaken about Dennis Dodds' attribution, since Dennis too knows his Turkish yastiks.

Here is what Marla says about this one:

"...One comment on the yastik you posted: I think it is much more likely from Eastern Turkey than from the Konya area. Both the brown warps and wefts and the specialized selvage are typical of Kurdish products from the East. I have never seen that kind of wrapped and bound selvage from Konya Province, and the brown foundation would be very unusual for that area."

Thanks, Marla

R. John Howe


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