TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  07-20-2001 on 01:19 p.m.
Dear Daniel and all,

Following are two images (overall and detail) of a Kaitag embroidery that will likely be exhibited here in Washington during the ICOC in April of 2003. The piece is, I believe, previously unpublished.

Note that the palmettes are of the "open" variety, in which the field color extends into the body of the palmette, much as in the case of the Italian palmette. We also see, in yellow at the base of each palmette, a crescent shape that may be a version of the bar on the Lenkorans or the bands from the dragon carpets. It at least vaguely resembles the serrated pendant on the Italian palmette.


Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Jerry Silverman mailto:%20rug_books@silvrmn.com
Date  :  07-20-2001 on 04:58 p.m.
Dear Wendel,

I don't want to misdirect this thread, but am I the only one who can visualize the palmette as an inverted uterus? (...or a tulip, for that matter?) Crude drawings of the female internal genitailia depict the uterus in this open-ended, pear-shaped fashion.

Speculation: Is the reproductive issue discussed in the "A Few Good Men" thread apropos here as well?


Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-20-2001 on 08:25 p.m.
Dear Jerry,

The reproductive issue is relevant anyplace anybody sees a connection.

Yes, the open palmette looks like sketched section through a uterus. Also like a Jack-in-the Box, a zit in mid-pop, a shopping bag full of celery, or any of thousands of other things. I think the most prudent interpretation of those on the Kaitag is that they are derived from classical open palmettes. The embroidery in Wendel's post looks like on of those that are modified in the distinctive Kaitag style from formal court textiles.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Marvin Amstey mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  07-20-2001 on 09:40 p.m.
Naturally, I prefer the uterus interpretation (as Steve's dear wife probably does also)! A lot of years ago, I was active in a specialty society in Ob/Gyn at the time that we were selecting a new logo for the society. Part of the design is a tulip which is representative of a uterus - in the logo. Our designer, who was a rug collector (now deceased), consciously connected the two, which is logical - just as Jerry did. I don't believe there had been any discussion in the rug literature proprosing this relationship, but I feel certain that such must have occured in literature or art somewhere; however, I can find no such reference in Bartlett's. Does anyone know a historical reference?

Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-20-2001 on 10:14 p.m.
Dear Marvin,

I don't know of any historical reference to this, but there was a book a few years back by Douglas, called The Hidden Language (at least, that's my recollection of a first approximation to the title).

The basic thesis of the book was that rugs are primarily an expression of an ancient set of rules about reproductive behavior. I don't remember many details, but I do recall an illustration showing a prayer rug of the Beshir type. The mihrab was read as an erect penis, the "ram's horns" in which the mihrab typically terminates in those rugs, as ejaculation.

Now, I've got as dirty a mind as any other dirty old man, but I really think the floral elements on rugs are flowers, and, for the most part, the people who first adopted these motifs did so because they thought flowers were beautiful and flowers go through an annual reincarnation of sorts.

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  07-21-2001 on 09:54 a.m.
Steve -

You wrote in part:

"...I really think the floral elements on rugs are flowers..."

This is not an argument but rather a tautology and unworthy of a truly dirty old man. Or of a biologist.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-21-2001 on 10:28 a.m.
Dear Anyone,

John's right, that wasn't an argument. Nor was it intended to be. The wording was careless - I should have said that I believe the things we generally intepret as floral elements (rosettes and palmettes) really are floral elements. That isn't an argument either, just an expression of an opinion.

Vis-a-vis my recollection of a book by Douglas, alluded to in my earlier post, I've run down some information on it. Here's an image from HALI #58, p. 71.

The caption to it says, According to Dr. John Douglass, these drawings show a "Melas prayer rug (19th century) depicting an ejaculating penis compared to an anatomical sketch of an erect penis." Reproduced from Douglass & Peters, The Lost Language (1990), vol. 1, p. 35.

What more is there to say?

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Filiberto Boncompagni mailto:%20filibert@go.com.jo
Date  :  07-22-2001 on 05:16 a.m.
I wonder why they didn’t issue any fatwa on Douglass and Peters…


Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@home.com
Date  :  07-22-2001 on 10:11 a.m.
Fellow Conspiritors,

The truth, if I may be so bold as to elucidate it here in the privacy of this board, is that the mihrab is nothing more than a rocket ship on the launch pad , with an atomic engine in the middle of it and radio waves emanating from the top. This iconography predates the space age, meaning that we have been visited by creatures from outer space, including "The Pods" of the Kaitags. They brought Simurghs, dragons and some sort of magical cloudband fungus.
All that is left today is the fungus .


Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  Re:A Kaitag palmette
Author  :  Marvin Amstey mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  07-22-2001 on 10:25 a.m.
I agree with you, Steve, that the flower representations on rugs are just that. The idea, however, that a tulip is a metaphor for a uterus seems so logical and such an old idea, that it must appear somewhere in literature - and unrelated to rugs. Thanks for the reference to the book about rugs representing reproductive organs; I hadn't known about that one. I also don't think that I'll look for a copy for my library either.
Best regards,

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