TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  A Few Good Men
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-15-2001 on 07:42 a.m.
Dear Daniel,

Here's an image from your Salon:

Your lead-in to it says, "People (Men? Women?)", implying gender ambiguity.

I think it's pretty clear that these are men, probably just emerging from a nice, hot sauna.

Am I missing some clue?

Regards,

Steve Price


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  07-15-2001 on 02:08 p.m.
Dear Steve,

We are speculating to determine the weaver's intention, but I think the question marks are valid. I am not certain that these three figures are all men. The top (white) figure is clearly a male, with the penis and testicles clearly shown. The bottom (gold and red) figures, however, may be women.

While the difference in size is not great, the white figure is larger than the other two. Also, the "appendages" on the gold and red figures may simply represent labia. It is not unusual to see exaggerated labia in depictions of women in various forms of tribal, folk and "primitive" art.

It also may be significant that what may be the only male figure is placed above the females. There is plenty of symbolism there.

As these are not clothed people, representing sexual differences with just a few knots would necessarily be a subtle process. If the weaver was paying close attention to her work (and it seems to me that much of the execution is reasonably well done), the expression of sexual identities could have been accomplished with not much more than two additional knots on the male figure.

Why am I not surprised that this became one of the first topics of discussion?

Best,

Wendel


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-15-2001 on 04:58 p.m.

Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer mailto:%20daniel.d@skynet.be
Date  :  07-18-2001 on 09:14 a.m.
Dear Steve and Wendel,

There isnít any doubt that the top, bigger white figure, is a male and I will not speculate to determine if the two gold and red, bottom figures are "male" or not.

Whatís interesting to notice is that only the TWO bottom figures have an "OFFSET SEX"

Look closely to this picture. At the base of the "red" sex there is a THICK TWO COLORS (white and red) "STACKED knot". Is it a clitoris? Without seeing this feature I would have vote for "boys" representations.

Now look to the RED sex. It is drawn with "offset knots" and the dark brown knots at each side of the red sex are tied on three and/or offset warps.

So as the weaver used different technique to drawn their sex I am considering that the seemingly minor differences between the humans are certainly intentional and, perhaps, significant.

Amazing,

Daniel


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  07-18-2001 on 11:32 a.m.
Dear Daniel,

What a great eye to catch such small and unexpected details in the Italian rug! I absolutely agree with you that the offset knotting was used intentionally; that merely reinforces my opinion that the weaver was trying to distinguish the sexes. None of us will ever know for sure, however.

Techniques such as that you have shown are used by a variety of weavers in many regions to achieve a certain effect. For example, knot packing and warp sharing are used extensively in early Chinese carpets of low knot density to achieve curves and the Kurds use offset knotting for their crisp diagonal lines.

In the previous salon, many acknowledged that small details such as the use of individual silk knots could be seen as significant and important to the weaver. The same should be true here.

I suspect that we could find other rugs in which relatively minor features have been used to distinguish men from women.

Good job.

Wendel


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-18-2001 on 04:06 p.m.
Dear People,

In the post with which I opened this thread, I said I thought it was clear that these are three men. In looking at them further, I notice some oddities that seem particularly peculiar in view of the detailed anatomical elements Daniel pointed out. The pointy heads, the elongated legs; these seem unlikely if the anatomy is done with such attention.

I inverted the image, and got this (also sharpened it a little):

Now I am not so sure it's people at all. Floral perhaps?

Steve Price


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  07-19-2001 on 07:18 a.m.
Dear Steve,

You've really turned this discussion around and brought it to a head. Prickly cacti for sure. Glad you brought it up.

Wendel


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@mediaone.net
Date  :  07-19-2001 on 08:08 a.m.
Gentle Readers:

On the other hand, Causasian weaving is generally directional. I doubt the inverted forms are anything more than a coincidence.
Interesting nonetheless.

Steve, I wonder if you might now comment on the internal elem in the Italian carpet?

Best, Colonel Jessup


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-19-2001 on 09:03 a.m.
Dear Michael,

I agree that Caucasian rugs in general are directional. This rug is unmistakably directional, and the little "people" are upright in the direction of the other recognizable motifs.

I see some two headed animals, a bunch of filler motifs that probably represent things that I don't relate to at all, and an interesting thing looking very much like the three people but apparently without arms or the body parts that aroused attention (Wendel - did you catch that?). One is right next to the white figure, just outside the area that Daniel cropped to get the image of the three; the other is a little higher on the rug, near the left hand border.

I think the structural detail that Daniel noticed distinguishing the two smaller "people" is interesting, but I also have some hesitation about reading too much into the motifs. If we are going to do this kind of detailed inspection of those two motifs, perhaps detailed inspection of some of the others is in order, too. After all, it is possible that the weaver(s) simply played around with technical variations all over the rug. If that's the case, the technical oddity in the one figure isn't so much of an oddity anymore, and may have very little significance.

Just some thoughts.

Steve Price


Subject  :  Re:A Few Good Men
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  07-19-2001 on 10:20 a.m.
Dear Michael,

There's no doubt that this rug is directional, and the "people" are right side up in the direction of the rug. And it's hard to resist being impressed by the technical detail that distinguishes the figure on the right from the one on the left.

However, I also wonder if it's quite correct to conclude that this technical feature is an oddity that distinguishes the figure in which it's found. Has Daniel looked for it in other parts of the rug? Perhaps it's one of those things that occurs here and there.

I also note that there are motifs very similar to the "people", but lacking arms or the anatomical features that aroused our interest (Editor's Note to Wendel - Did you catch that? Aroused our interest?) The group of three figures in the image in this thread has such a motif right next to the largest of the three members (Wendel - are you paying attention? of the group. There are others slightly higher near the left border.

There's also a lot of odd motifs, like two headed animals and some that I can't label. I can't help wondering whether the two smaller figures in this group of three are being given more significance than they warrant. Just wondering.

Steve Price


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