Posted by Michael Wendorf on 05-24-2002 08:39 PM:

two or three more

Hi Steve:

I can think of at least two or three more that you missed. In Seltene Orientteppiche (Rare Oriental Carpets) X Eberhart Herrmann published an example as plate 84. He attributes that rug to Beluch groups in Qa'inat. Like yours, the rug Herrmann illustrated is also asymmetrically knotted open to the right. It has diagonal stripes seeming to ascend from right to left.

In his notes, Herrmann remarks that the use of ivory for every second diagonal stripe gives the effect of the rug being woven on an ivory ground. This seems to be a distinguishing characteristic of your rug and the group you are presenting in this Salon. Many of these rugs also seem to have a stepped polygon device forming a border treatment.

In Asiatische Teppich und Textilkunst (Asian Carpet and Textile Art) Band 4 Herrmann illustrated another example as plate 79. He attributes this piece to Arab/Baluch groups in Khorasan. This piece is also woven with asymtrical knots open to the right. At this time, Mr. Herrmann's theories had become somewhat controversial and he states that the white ground has cosmic significance. That rug has 84 diagonal stripes which he concludes has mathematical significance. Like the example above, it too has stepped polygons around the field.

Other examples to compare within this group are:

Black and Loveless, Rugs of the Wandering Baluch Nr. 8.
Hali I.4
Hali 3.I page 36

I do not think that Baluch rugs with diagonal orientation of the design or of repeating motifs is particularly rare. What does seem to be rare are rugs with stripes and, more precisely, rugs within the group to which your rug belongs - rugs where every second stripe is ivory producing the effect of being woven on a white ground. It would be interesting to compare this group to other Baluch group rugs woven on a white ground.

Thank you, Michael Wendorf

Posted by Steve Price on 05-29-2002 02:51 PM:

Hi Michael,

I agree - Belouch group rugs with diagonally oriented motifs are very well known; collectors usually like them a lot. Diagonal stripes are less common. What I think is especially unusual about the one I presented is the sweeping curve of the stripes near the bottom. It also has great appeal to my aesthetic sense.

I've been interested in the reaction to your statement,
...where every second stripe is ivory producing the effect of being woven on a white ground. It would be interesting to compare this group to other Baluch group rugs woven on a white ground., which isn't saying that this one is a white ground rug.

My own opinion is that we can only talk about a ground color when it is possible to move a finger throughout the entire "ground color" without having to lift it off the surface or cross some other color to do so. As an analogy, it is customary to distinguish the continuous from the discontinuous phase in describing a suspension. An ocean can be described (much too simply, of course) as a suspension of fish in salt water. The water is the continuous phase, the fish are the discontinuous phase. The ground of a rug is a two-dimensional continuous phase. If there is no ground, there is no ground color.


Steve Price

Posted by Jerry Silverman on 05-29-2002 05:31 PM:

Steve wrote:

"If there is no ground, there is no ground color."

You have learned well, Grasshopper. Now tell me, if you can, what is the sound of an unplugged stereo speaker?


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-29-2002 08:56 PM:


1. What source is your basis for the spelling of BELOUCH? I thought it was BALUCH? Do you get paid by the letter?

2 As Michael indicated, the number of stripes, 84, obviously has cosmic mathematical significance, because similar examples were found in Black and Loveless #8 and Hali #4 ! ! !

3 I happen to own a white ground BALUCH, with botehs, woven asymmetric-open-left. I will send photos to post in a few days. (It is being used in cosmologically symbolic mathematical rituals at this time so the hour is not propitious for photographing it, plus, I am away on business)

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Steve Price on 05-29-2002 10:15 PM:

Hi Guys,

First, to Jerry, who asks, "What is the sound of an unplugged stereo speaker?" The answer: It is identical to the sound of one hand clapping.

To Patrick, vis-a-vis the spelling of Belouch: The word isn't English and doesn't come from a language that uses our alphabet, so it is a transliteration. I've seen it spelled Belouch, Beluch, Baluch and Balouch, all in reasonably respectable sources. All probably approximate the sound made when it is pronounced by someone who knows how.

My command of cosmonumerology is weak; I leave that subject to others.


Steve Price

Posted by Yon Bard on 05-30-2002 08:51 AM:

Steve, as I pointed out on another thread, in your rug there is more continuity in the red than in the white, as the former surrounds the latter at many stripe ends. Hence, the former is the more pursuasive choice for ground color.

Regards, Yon

Posted by Steve Price on 05-30-2002 09:04 AM:

Hi Yon,

I agree that if forced to identify a ground color on that rug, red is the best choice. But I see no reason to be forced to do so. If there is no ground, its color is not an issue. There is no ground if the physical definition of a continuous phase is used as the analogy for it. And, in the absence of some other definition, it could be a long, slippery slope.


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 05-30-2002 03:57 PM:

Dear Steve:

I am afraid that I either do not understand or must disagree with your definition or analogy regarding ground color, at least as applied to rugs. I think it is beyond dispute that rugs may, and often do, have two or more planes of patterning or design. In fact, Persian rugs are well known for this with there often being three or more planes of design in more urban rugs. Two is fairly common in Baluchis and three is remarkable, but not what I would call rare.

In this regard, the ground color of your rug could be read as ivory or red, but the effect seems to be to emphasize the ivory by placing in, as in some of the Herrmann rugs, in every other stripe. I, of course, cannot say whether this effect was intended by the weaver - but it seems to be fairly characteristic of the group.

Thanks, michael

Posted by Steve Price on 05-30-2002 04:25 PM:

Hi Michael,

It's been said to me, "Why sit there quietly and let people suspect that you are an idiot? Just open your mouth and erase all doubt."

Here goes. In my happy state of ignorance, I am unaware of the terms "planes of patterning or design", and my poor linear mind keeps thinking, "The pattern and design on a rug is two-dimensional; two dimensional things lie on one plane, and only one plane." Obviously, the term has some meaning outside of the physical or mathematical notions of dimension and plane.

Would you expound on this a bit, for my benefit and on the off chance that there is at least one reader as ignorant as I am?


Steve Price

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 05-30-2002 08:19 PM:

OK, I admit it; I'm in the same boat as Steve, Michael. I don't know what you are talking about. The only thing I've read, and we have discussed here in the past, is the supposed three-dimensional drawing in old Turkoman pieces expounded upon by Jim Allen. I look forward to your explanation of planes, dimensions, whatever.

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 05-30-2002 10:27 PM:

Dear Steve and Marvin:

What a set up.

For starters, visualize virtually any Heriz district medallion carpet. One layer of design superimposed on another as if on separate planes. Then visualize virtually any Mina Khani, Herati or Gol Hennai carpet - again layers or individual motifs superimposed one over the other and/or lattice work on two or more planes.

In Carpets of Central Persia, May Beattie defined several groups - among these are: multiple medallion designs, three-plane lattice designs, three-plane large leaf lattice designs, two-plane leaflet-lattice designs as well as some sub-groups.

Obviously, the effect of multiple planes of design has its roots in color juxtaposition. Since we are on the topic of Baluchis - go look at your rugs with mina khani designs. The white flowers are on one lattice or vine system and the other flowers are on another, sometimes two. Sometimes the lattice or vine systems are in different colors sometimes not but one vine system is superimposed over the other giving the effect of two planes of design.

Maybe I am missing something, but to me this seems pretty basic to understanding carpets made in any context - urban, village or tribal. Surely, we are stumbling over definitions.

Best, michael

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 05-30-2002 11:40 PM:

salon 41 reference


Further to my post above: Recall our discussion in Salon 41 and the thread "Some Images" that I believe John Howe started.
Please review my comments about the now famous Baluch Mina Khani fragment from that ACOR and the two planes of lattice design.

Thanks, Michael

Posted by Steve Price on 05-31-2002 06:00 PM:

Hi Michael,

I understand the concept now, at least. Thanks for the explanation.


Steve Price