Cross Panels: How Unusual?
Dear folks -
In the thread Steve Price started about the hatchli layout in engsis, Chuck Wagner makes an interesting statement.
He says in part that one reason for believing that the hatchli design might mimic a paneled wooden door is that:
"It's very unusual in the carpet world to have such a bold cross-cutting orthogonal design element splattered all over the field of a rug. Around the sides (borders), yes. Corners (spandrels), yes. Parallel lines (Afshars & Baluchis), yes. But huge crossbars ? No."
This is a suggestion that seems to deserve its own thread. I immediately wanted to say, "Well, all compartmented rugs have cross panels of sorts (even if they're not as impressive as those on Turkmen engsis)." But a quick flipping through the "Comprehensive Guide" by the two Eilands suggests that Chuck may be right.
What to others think and find? What rugs do we know of other than the engsi that have significant cross panels?
R. John Howe
The great Kurdish garden carpets of the 18th c. had a cross panel
design. Check out the McMullan example.
You are not seeing the forest for the trees, as they say.
Starting a few years back with, for instance, the Pazyryk carpet with its center field composed of a grid of squares.
The trend continues with carpets such as the famous Marby carpet with two large squares and an implied vertical line suggested by the "trees" in the middle. Coffered Gul carpets utilized a "squares" layout and the enigmatic Chessboard carpets consisting of a grid of squares also predate the engsi design. Garden carpets, too, utilize a rectangular layout with crossing lines.
The basic layout, of two "halves", top and bottom, divided by a vertical line, could be nothing more than a small section of a grid of squares. The engsi design only has four of the squares, divided by the "water course" or cross-hatch.
The real source of the engsi, of course, is Armenia.
Gantzhorn, page 445, says "...they have as their principle of composition the "Gloria Crucis". They must have had a function similar to that of many of the arch-form carpets: to adorn the lectern or the recess of the altar. It has been pointed out repeatedly that there is no documentation whatsoever to prove that "Hatschlus" were used as "Engsi" (door carpets) before the second half of the 20th century"
There. That ought to stifle any dissent.
Interesting quote from Gantzhorn. Maybe not everything we read in books is right. What a blow!
I can't say much about Armenian carpets because I haven't seen many, but having noted that, I understand that there is often a strong religious theme to their design. Whether Gantzhorns ruminations are correct or not is beyond my interest, but I lean toward dropping the connection of Hatchli designs to Armenian Christianity into the "wishful thinking" bin.
One group of orthogonally partitioned rugs that I AM familiar with is the Persian Garden carpet, and not just the standard Chahar Mahal variety. There are SOME that have strong, wide dividing lineations. But these are LITERALLY plan view (overhead) diagrams of Persian Gardens.
See the following link for some nice images. I'd like to post the image but I don't whether it's copyrighted or not: