Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-28-2002 09:31 AM:
You indicate that your rug is woven with asymmetric, open right pile knots.
This is one feature sometimes used to attribute Arab Baluch weavings. Your rug is described as having a white ground. I have seen white ground Baluch rugs attributed to Arab Qainate and Sistan, also, but describing the striped field as "white ground" is a judgement call.
Are there any offset knots in the field where the curves are? Sometimes it is in these transitional areas that offset knots are used.
Needless to say, if you find any offset knots your rug will be in an even smaller group.
I seem to recall having seen more than one of these Baluch rugs with the curious curving stripes, but have not had time to search out the pictures.
Is it a white ground? I don't know how to decide what the ground is and what it isn't. I'm not sure it really matters very much.
There are no offset knots that I can see. And, of course, there's no faster way to flush out hundreds of examples of something than to say, as I did, taht I've never seen another with this feature.
The number of different attributions given to Belouch group rugs always amazes me. I suppose some are correct, but which ones? What is the evidence? The rugs related to mine are distinct enough in a sufficient number of ways that I think it is reasonable to believe that they are a group. And, as a corollary, if we had a reliable attribution for one, we could apply it to all. Now all we need is a reliable attribution for one of them.
I would say that this is definitely not a white-ground rug,
since in places the red sneaks up around the ends of the white stripes, but never the other way around.
I have taken a couple of photos of my white ground Baluch and sent them off to be professionally modified for proper insertion into the Salon. (I e-mailed them to Filiberto).
While reviewing all of the examples of these white-rather-than-camel-colored-field Baluch weavings in the Salon, (otherwise known as white-ground Baluch's) I noticed what may be an interesting and possibly peculiar feature. They all appear to have small crosses as a part of the design. The pictures of some of these weavings are too small to discern if crosses are used, but they appear to use crosses in the stripes. My rug has crosses at the bottom of each boteh.
Plate 10 in Boucher, also a white ground rug, has crosses in the field. Plate 33 in Belouch Prayer Rugs, Adraskand, Inc, also has a column of small crosses near the base (this rug is also knotted as/right).
As they say, the is in the details.
White, No Stripes
The above rug has 8x8 asymmetric-open left knots and 8 colors. There are two shots of brown wool between rows of knots, but with no compression of the weft threads, so the white warps show up salt-and-pepper between the wefts.
Amazingly enough, there are NOT 84 crypto-matho-mysterious botehs, but 166.
The "Internal Elem"controversy could also apply to this rug, as there is a row of "dice" at the bottom of the field and above the first row of botehs, but this feature disappears for the rest of the rug, only to reappear as a row of "telephones" above the top row of botehs. The bottom row of botehs also has a cross only at the bottom of each boteh, but all the rest of the botehs have a cross both bottom and top.
There are also a few tridents with a cross at the base filling up extra space at the sides of the field, and one shown in the close-up with a cross at the top and bottom.
Are these vestiges of a preliterate religious iconography? Or are they merely idle fillers?
The boteh colors have no diagonal orientation, nor do their colors align them into stripes. They are just orderly rows of acolytes proceeding in one direction then another, row by row, up the field of the rug. An infinity of botehs, each slightly different, gathered to await their ultimate fate.
no diagonal orientation
Right, no diagonal orientation as we see in Steve's rug. Here the orientation is to alternate the direction of each horizontal row of botehs - to the right, then to the left.
I once owned a closely related rug on a red ground. I checked my notes and it contained the same structure, same orientation and identical number of botehs that your rug has - coincidence or cosmic? It also had a similar but not identical connection to the internal elem theory - the same row of botehs as your rug has its change had the botehs outlined in a different color.
The soft purple color in your rug looks like Fucsine to me, perhaps you can comment. My red ground rug had the same border, a good yellow, several blues and a corrosive brown that created an embossed effect relative to the other colors.
I believe the color you are referring to is in the second boteh in the second row, to the right of the enigmatic trident. It is a light pink color that is the same on the front as on the back. It appears to alternate in some of the areas it is used with a light brown color, which may have been a fuchsine completely faded to the original wool color. If this is the case, it probably dates to the late 19th century.
I have seen pink in a number of older Baluch weavings and generally assumed it to be a faded red, but this rug has no reds. It has a maroon-brick, an orange-brick, a light pink, brown, blue, green, black and white. I would not insist that there are no synthetic dyes in this piece, and it is not valuable enough to have it tested. It is quite worn, to the point that the brown wefts impart a waviness to the white field.
This is a rug that would not have stood up to many more years of use on the floor, so it is now retired to the wall. I bought it because white field Baluch rugs are not very common. It is a Pre-Turkotek rug. (I have had it for many years)
Since your related rug had the same number of botehs, perhaps it was not the number 84 (or 2 times 84 = 168) but 83 that was numerically significant. Herrmann just got it wrong!
You will note that the inner border surrounding the white field of this rug also has a design of reciprocal crosses. The only white ground Baluch weavings I have been able to locate without crosses are the Ferdows (Firdows) rugs with pictorial fields. The structure of these white ground rugs with crosses is not consistent, so it makes local attribution more tenuous.
Where is Volkmar Gantzhorn when you need him?