Posted by R. John Howe on 09-25-2002 02:56 PM:

Breeding Birds?

Dear folks –

This example is from Jim Opie’s volume “Tribal Rugs of Southern Persia,” (page 205).

Opie is not sure how to attribute it more precisely and it’s in his section entitled “Rugs of Uncertain Origin.”He doesn’t discuss the design.

In one sense this rug can be read as a kind of “herati” design, full of plant forms. But the “fish” seemed odd and looking more closely at them I wondered whether they were not two birds presented in a posture that suggests that they are breeding.

Here is the close-up:

What do you think?


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 09-25-2002 04:52 PM:

Hi John,

If there is some good reason a priori to believe that there are images of birds in breeding posture depicted in the rug, I guess this would be a good candidate motif for it. Otherwise, (in my opinion), there are too many alternative readings to make it likely that this is what it is.


Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-25-2002 05:08 PM:

Lot of Birds in the "South"

Steve -

Mind you, I'm not arguing for this, because I think it would be easy once we begin to look for sexual or reproductive images to begin to "see" things that aren't there. And Fred has warned us about that.

But one possible reason, not really "a priori," for reading these as birds might be that there are a great many bird forms in South Persian rugs and that's where this one is from.


R. John Howe