Posted by Michael Wendorf on 02-11-2002 09:10 PM:

For Sophia

Dear Colleague:

I came across the following writing from a sensitive soul and thought of you:

In America, Europe, and Asia, our field grapples with a most intriguing and challenging study: the question of design origins. New explanations of the source and meaning of early motifs appear at uneven intervals, often expressed with tones of self-confidence, which mask the labyrinthine quality of this subject. In searching for the deepest significance of early motifs and of factual histories regarding their appearance, dispersion and manifold changes, we test our individual capacities to remain balanced on the razor's edge of an authentic wish for objectivity. Perhaps no branch of carpetology's tree-of-knowledge lends itself to such intoxicating yearnings-to-be-right as the search for origins and meanings. Driven by the hidden emotional factors which fuel so many of our personal convictions, but also by a purer spirit of inquiry, those of us who are most intensely drawn to these fundamental questions - where motifs originated and what they meant - write books and articles, read selective materials which confirm or refute our viewpoints, debate one another, cheer, doubt, and castigate. As we struggle to comprehend humankind's ageless talent for communicating through symbolic forms, some of us draw inspiration from literature on mythology and ancient religions. Such help in the meanings aspect of our study is applied unevenly, however, and we rarely call for guidance from specialists in linguistics, astronomy and botany, wherein questions and methods in the kindred study of origins have long been explored.

From Vavilov's Theory of Origins by James Opie. Oriental Rug Review Volume 14, No. 6 at page 12.

Kindest regards, Michael

Posted by Sophia Gates on 02-12-2002 12:26 AM:

Dear Michael:

Thank you for the reference. I too saw that article in ORR - and I agree, we need all kinds of knowledge to have a complete picture of what went on/is going on.

I think DNA testing can possibly be a help - I believe the article in cited in Filiberto's thread would make an excellent starting point for further research on this topic, especially in cultures where the woman is known to move to the husband's parent's household, such as the Turkmen.

Absolutely, studies in botany and biology too, are required. Botany is a much neglected area of study, particularly among people we now regard - or some of us now regard - as shams: the shamans. They are called vegetalistas in the Amazon region and their knowledge of plants and plant medicines is extensive.

Michael - there's so much to learn. It frustrates me that I know so little.

Best regards,