Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-01-2002 08:37 AM:

What is so special about KIlims

What is so special about kilims ?

I wanted to thank M.Bischof for his settings of this salon about the Kilims. Although some of his views might be controversial – just to generate the right level of energy for the discussion- they have the merit of approaching the vast subject from uncovered angles up to now.
As Kilims , after being “discovered” and entered even in Museums , such discussions must occur to allow the subject to come of age. I also observe the emotions it creates in other threads currently about what is collectable and what might not be.
I personally believe that this forum might actually be one of the most suitable ones to discuss these matters –not that it is the most academic – but it is probably the one that allows the most diverse points of view to be freely expressed.

As, I happen to be one of the lenders to the exhibition curated by Mr Koll and Mrs Steinbock , I first want to recognize their courage and passion here. This was an incredible undertaking as they had to spend many hours in mounting the pieces , building and erecting the frames , taking time to write , follow the printing for the accompanying catalogue and going through all the stress…

I have particularly appreciated their approach of getting the pieces out of secrecy and offering them to the enjoyment of the more general public as it also means that they expose their taste and appreciation to the “sharp” critics that only like this type and disdain this feature , only top pieces etc… This is what has decided me to team up with them .

Reinforcing the movement started by the excellent 100 Kilim Exhibition organized in München in Oct 91 by the first generation collectors , the “Kilim” needed to be somewhat relaxed and released from the dark selective knowledge of false connaisseurship - just for pure enjoyment and also for alternative ways of appreciation. At the end, they were made by “simple people”, to be seen by others , that found in the Kilim a fantastic communication and expression medium.

Actually we can enter the “Kilim Atrium” from several doors. Mr Bischof has indicated a few in his essay for this salon- (quality of colour , creativity, age , provenance tracking,etc..)..
I will try to develop a few more here from my own experience as a “gatherer” in the past 20 years – mostly as a lone ranger and not only kilims.

Encountering Kilims
The encounter with a Kilim for me generates always a two level reaction : one rational and the second aesthetic-emotional.
I believe that both condition each other and their combination drives to that sense of completeness that results in the overall appreciation of the work.
On the rational side I look to understand :
1) Function
2) Representativity- Strength of Identity
3) Communication-Message
The combination of the above three factors constitute for me the rational “content” of a Kilim. This could be applied , I guess for any nomadic textile.

The function for which the Kilim was made is important. This was the first purpose of its creation !
The other question is, “had that function even existed in the life of people that has woven this Kilim , how strong was it at that time?”.
Is the object fully functional for the purpose it was made at the origine ? and , maybe later given another function by the next generations ?
The function determines the size of the Kilim , the care for it , the economic boundaries and than obviously impacts the representativity and the communication that must be imprinted onto the piece. I
t determines its wear and tear through its life ; and probably even determines its final selling price to the first hand one day.
To illustrate this with an example , the decline of nomadic products in the last quarter of the 19th century was also partly due to the Ottoman government which has settled by force around 1860 several nomadic tribes. There was a famous “Stay where you are” decree that fixed nearly overnight , several tribes into their winter quarters in Western Anatolia. Several functions required by nomadic life started to gradually disappear.
Today , the few tribes in the Taurus that still have small migrations no more have camels –apart a few exceptions- but tractors. They live in villages but still go to the “Yayla” in the summer. As a consequence , no more “Farda” kilims are required. (the Farda Kilim was woven to cover the first camel of the pack during migrations).
Art for art or art without function did not exist in the life of these people. This is why recreated modern Kilims , despite nice dyes , lack the primary purpose for existing (except for house decoration only), because they have copied all the rest but the function does not fit.

Based on the function , the weaver will decide on the representativity of the piece.
I mean by representativity the expression of family and tribal identity – this is me , my tribe , my particular way of being . The second factor is the stregth with which this identity is expressed on a specific piece.
Is the design made according to a specif Tribal “Canon” , with the colours and composition structures firmly in place or is there a more free design with elements of self arranged composition ?

The third factor is, the Communication intensity and the message of the Kilim.It mostl depends on Who was the audience for which the Kilim was woven ?
This will obviously depend on the function but also other factors will influence : herself just to express the emotions , joy or sorrow of an event , preparing for her marriage , the secret lover who could glance the woven kilim and read her desire for union – in Anatolia there are a lot of similar old stories?
The husband only –as some of the prayer kilims woven solely for the wedding night than kept as a treasure ?
The immediate family for receiving and recognizing the family history ?
The total tribe for festive occasions ?
The other tribes to distinguish one’s camels and tents among all tribes taking the same migration routes ?

Obviously these questions can not be answered with certainty in any of the Kilims we encounter.But because of the consistency of nomadic life conditions there are general features that form, that are obvious by experience, based on dimensions, manufacture and design features that can be detected.
A message and the force of the identity can be “detected” even if we do not understand its meaning. It is as if you hear people speaking a foreign language you do not understand but you know it is a language.

To me the three factors above, are more important than the sheer “provenance” question which might only deal with apparent identity.
Up to now , I have heard endless debates about a piece being say from Sivas , Cappadokia ,Aksaray or Konya. Actually nobody can really say . But even if we knew , what would that mean : that the piece was purchased in that town (Actually I have several kilims from Istanbul area than !) , that it was manufactured in a village close to that town or was that last seen with peasants that had settled in that town for three generations ? The fact that the radiocarbon dating of some Turkmen carpets has shown that pieces 300-400 years old can survive, not only in mosques and settled families, but also in the hand of the tribes and through migrations for so long. So , some kilims we have today might have been made at thousands of kilometers and generations away from the last place of the tribal settlement.
The tribal attributions also are insufficient to tell us more about the Kilims’ rational content. Saying that a piece belongs to Yuncu or Hotamis helps to classify it in design and colouring maybe but it may not increase our knowledge about its content.

To make more progress on that field , we need to be more concerned by understanding based on the above factors than by classifying and categorizing.

I think it makes sense to make a break here before developing the second part which is the aesthetic emotional reaction and address some of the factors why Kilims are so special , i.e that they form a specific medium by themselves which also sets specific appreciation criteria.
At this point I would like to reward the courageous readers up to here with one picture of Plate 2 in the Koll-Steinbock book.

I think it was made as a prayer Kilim , based on size (about 110x160cm) , the wear pattern – the lower end is where people stand and move the feet a lot ; some wear is in the middle where hands rub the carpet surface during prostrations. It is also assymetrical in design between the top and bottom to allow consistent identification of where the feet is and where the face is for every time they use it. That provides us the function.
About the representativity/identity , we can say that there is a strong identity message centered around an insisting repetition of just one design motif (present on several carpets/kilims from that area), but with an extremely subtle use to provide a full unique contruction with minimal means.
It was made in Western anatolia- based on colouring and weave and the type of wool- but is it a unique Kilim. It could be categorized as Yuncu but based on some first hand “pickers” who know the settlement in that area, it is a KILAZ nomad kilim.
Other subtle details might point out to the existence of the message out of this redondance of a single design. I will post close-ups in a later message.
As to the asthetic and graphic appreciation , one must observe it and it is a Kilim that leaves a lasting taste.

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-01-2002 02:08 PM:

Hallo everybody, dear Ali R. Tuna,

now we have a kind of transatlantic-bridge, don't we ?

I personally believe that this forum might actually be one of the most suitable ones to discuss these matters;not that it is the most academic; but it is probably the one that allows the most diverse points of view to be freely expressed.

Our decision to develop such an essay within the frame of this platform (and that means: not within another one) was first based on its independance. Some of the topics here are subject to diverse interests of diverse people, understandably. So we saw that many topics where never touched within "mainstream" publications. We met frequently Western guests in Central Anatolia and since 1992 we constantly tried to convince them for opening up such discussions. But all we got was polite applause - and no action. When you say "not that it is the most academic" I must ask you (a mean question): where is this more academic forum? Able to bring up and to discuss these questions? In studies of kilims and of early village rugs this is the part that simply does not exist. May be the necessary character of research is too interdisciplinary, may be it is too much out of reach of art historians (who cannot contribute much into this sphere: but who could bring together historical geographers, anthropologists, Turkic linguists, specialists for the scientifical details like wool, dyes etc.?) who tend to claim this are their own ground ... ? That it does not exist is a pity as then there is no balance against the (legitimate) interests of the trade.

To give an example: quite some years ago, in the hot atmosphere of the "mother-goddess-period", the unfounded speculation came up that certain parmakli-type of motives in some kilims are a pale memory of vulture images. Based on this speculation prices for such rare pieces sky rocketed. As until now not the slightest trace of witness for this "theory" could be found, just the opposite seems to be the least improbable view on this problem, the owners of such pieces most likely will never have any chance to sell their pieces even for a fraction of what they once paid. Ok, the damage is slight and is compensated by far through the fact that they got other wonderful pieces well below what should be (!) their estimate - but quite a bit of safe-guarding know how supplied by independant sources would be quite helpful as we guess. So, Ali R. Tuna: what is not there we must develop then by our own combined efforts - and therefore I want to use this chance again to promote the call for support for Josephine Powell's private museum project and for keeping safe her collection and her data! If one compares this with what museums put together one would burst in laughter - to the disadvantage of "our" museums. And, opposite to ambitious weavers in the Near East, these have enough stuff with fixed money, at least in Europe.

Up to now, I have heard endless debates about a piece being say from Sivas, Cappadokia, Aksaray or Konya. Actually nobody can really say.

This is not true. The picker, the person who surfaced a certain piece, can say exactly where it is from. And as any (!) of the questions that you put here start with the correct answer to the question where it is from, who has made it, it is essential to save it. Otherwise we are stuck in pure speculation. From this we have enough.


Michael Bischof

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-01-2002 05:45 PM:

Michael -

At the end of the immediately preceding post you say in part:

"...The picker, the person who surfaced a certain piece, can say exactly where it is from. And as any (!) of the questions that you put here start with the correct answer to the question where it is from, who has made it, it is essential to save it..."

My thought:

This may be the best we can do (take the picker's testimony about where he/she found a given piece) but is it likely to be satisfactory for purposes of accurate geographic attribution? Is there any real assurance that a piece found by a picker in a given geographic location was woven there?

I think speculation is going to be hard to avoid.


R. John Howe

Posted by Michael Wendorf on 11-01-2002 08:43 PM:


Hi Mr. Tuna and readers:

Why is plate 2 a prayer kilim? Size, wear pattern and assymmetry could be coincidence or many other things. The analysis seems to me to be conclusory. I do not see anything that to me suggests a prayer kilim. Perhaps you can explain again. Thank you.

One courageous reader, Michael Wendorf

Posted by Ali Riza Tuna on 11-02-2002 04:34 PM:

Dear Michael Bischof

yes I like this Transatlantic bridge - this said some discussions are also good over a beer in Germany or by sipping tea in Konya !

My side comment about this forum not being the most academic was rather complementary to it helping express ideas freely by a wider public and enthousiasts. If it was purely academic , I certainly would not be allowed to contribute. We must also be careful about what we do not know !
This said , proper research work , by a multidisciplinary academic team can not be surpassed and it is of high value when it is proporly done with new field data- maybe our discussions will generate some PhD subjects for students of Textiles !

So yes , I agree with you that the work has to be continued in a multidisciplinary , but also multi-faceted way.
The role of the trade about the promotion of arts is a historic given , also in other art forms - galleries for painters etc.. and I do not want to elaborate further on it.
The role of enthousiasts and amateurs to promote recognition of an art form before the academics is also a natural process . Actually , the first academic bases always came from the artists themselves - Leonardo da Vinci writing his Treaty on Painting. It is still of nice actuality.

Today , maybe we count too much on the role of the Museums and the media to create and promote the culture and arts. This might be the wrong expectation.
In addition , I personally do not always agree on what is promoted or presented as big art by some museums.
A few years ago at an opening exhibition , I was about to walk on "something" on the floor of a Modern Art Museum when somebody has indicated me that "this was one of the works" !!! It is always difficult to find and stick to one norm either.

But overall , we can start being satisfied that the Kilim finds echoes in a larger public , that several museums either have acquired or opened their doors (as the German Textle museum recently) to Kilims. Obviously not enough yet but we as the finders and amateurs have to be giving it a better status , void of any unfounded speculation as you mention.

As to the discussion about the "provenance" : I do not say that we should forget the provenance question. But being only focused on provenance without the " rational"content will not make our knowledge on these textiles progress.

A good example of using provenance would be for instance the following :
I happened to know that at least two of the Yuncu long "yolluk" kilims came into the trade directly from the possession of important members of the Yuncu tribal community. One was purchased in the village from a family that kept it -who knows for how many generations . The other was brought to the bazaar by a committe of members who wanted to negotiate it for the sake of the village community. We still ignore their function but that tells us about the importance of this type within the tribal context.
The provenace is more important for the trade , but unfortunately the acquirers rarely have the true and reliable information. I guess that less than 5% of kilims can be really traced back to their sources. As I said before , even if the information was accurate about the purchase source it would still give us fragmentary information.
My fundamental point here is that debating the provenance only occults the real knowledge about the rational content and aesthetic value.

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-02-2002 05:12 PM:

Hi Michael Wendorf,

To be true - I have not seen the original owner of this kilim making his prayer on it .
This would be the only irrefutable observation to prove that this particular kilim is a prayer kilim.

However , the dimensions of the kilim (exactly 163 cm long by 118cm wide) - or 64" by 46"1/2 are within the size range of several kilims with "mihrabs" known for prayer use in the literature and market observation (width range 90-130cm , length range 120-180cm not limitative) . There are also , especially in West Anatolia , several small carpets of similar dimensions known for their use as prayer carpets.

A textile designed for prayer has to provide enough space for the body for the ritual movements, sometimes to accessories like a chapelet . The anthropomorphic dimensions , i.e. the human space required to make all the movements of the prayer correspond more or less to these dimensions.

The individual prayer mats used at one's home are usually larger than the ones for the mosque -especially to be used outside in crowded religious days. There is not much space in the mosque when people pray in rows or "safs". Smaller prayer mats are required for the mosques.
I just want to mention that a prayer mat does not need to have a mihrab design absolutely . It has to be assymetric to distinguish the place to place the head versus the place to place the feet.

Most prayer carpets and kilims wear the feet side where most of the movement is occurring and also about the middle where the body pressure and hands are applied during the kneeling , especially by older people.

In that specific Kilim all of these indices are present. In addition the last row of whites is narrower.
Now , the design is using a very tribal single motiv (comb or tarak). However its endless repeat is also consistent with religious themes of "tesbih" or repeated invocation of God's presence.

Now I must confess that , preparing this reply I have come accross two kilims from Konya area mentioned as the "sofra alti" or "used under the eating tray". However the kilims for this type of use , although within the above dimensional range , tend to be more squarish and also symmetrical - to make sure that nobody is disadvantaged around the plate.
If anyone suggest another function for the kilim discussed here , I would be much interested to hear.

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-03-2002 03:55 AM:

Hallo everybody, dear Ali R. Tuna,

you write:

" A good example of using provenance would be for instance the following :
I happened to know that at least two of the Yuncu long "yolluk" kilims came into the trade directly from the possession of important members of the Yuncu tribal community. One was purchased in the village from a family that kept it -who knows for how many generations . The other was brought to the bazaar by a committe of members who wanted to negotiate it for the sake of the village community. We still ignore their function but that tells us about the importance of this type within the tribal context.
Then everything depends on how you happened to know this story. Could you cross-check it ? It may well be true , it may well be a kind of marketing story. So how do you know ? - And in case you know: wouldn't it be right then to interview this family "of important memmber of the Yuncu tribal community" and research the primary purpoe for this type of kilim at the source ? Of course not you : a multi-branch team of ethnographers, linguistic experts, people with know how about the details of weave ...

How you come to the estimation that only 5% of kilims can be traced back I do not know. In our essay we described how early pieces are found - and distributed then. That, at the end in some retails shop, they appear to be "anonymous folk art" is an artefact, man made, by purpose. But in order to do real textile art research one must pass through this fog - at the beginning !. Otherwise one creates evaluations about not properly identified objects. When I was a young collector this fact ( that I normally was not able to trace them back) motivated be to become a gallerist/dealer, because obviously to know such details make it necessary to be part of the frame work that surfaces early pieces.

May be my brain is too slow at a rainy Sunday morning here so I simply cannot understand the reason in your sentence:
"My fundamental point here is that debating the provenance only occults the real knowledge about the rational content and aesthetic value."

What is wrong with defining the subject of study first ( including its integrity: so our "grading scheme" ) and how can it occult the "real knowledge" and about the "aesthetic value" ? See, please, the comment in the thread "geographic attribution", where a single prayer carpet design is discussed. It exists as workshop carpets and as old cottage industry carpets. They differ a lot - and without having them identified properly the whole evaluation would be plain nonsense.
Or look, may be, at the discussion of the Raack early "Fachralo" fragment where the non-existing identification makes all interpretations weak ( we cannot identify the origin and therefore not the context in which these kind of rugs were once made - so any word about their character, including aesthetic statements, have no basis).


Michael Bischof

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 11-03-2002 05:17 AM:


Michael, in that thread YOU wrote:

We have the textile art early village rug fragment here, the collectable piece. Apparently it was woven without ready design. The unity of
· intention and motivation
· planning and preparing this piece of textile art - except the dye part !
· executing it
seems to be given. She was in command. The result shows in its spacing and the way the high-class natural dyes are set together
the spirit of such authentic weaves. The fact that this early material normally comes down on us only in fragmented form keeps them affordable, at least as long as the main stream of the lesser educated people prefer the intact later and epigonal pieces ("German condition").

You sounded enthusiastic about Jerry’s piece.
You made some aesthetic statements.
Now what? You already changed your mind?


Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-03-2002 05:29 AM:

Hallo everybody, good morning Filiberto,

uff, may be my brain is too slow today ? Why do you ask whether I changed my view ? No, just the opposite ! Looking at early kilims , or at Jerry's fragment, I know why I admire them as great examples of this particular type of textile art - against the late commercial epigones of their tradition. And, keeping in mind your remark concerning "affordable" I stated: the fact that the very early examples are mostly fragmented keeps their prices not down but "in reach".

May be I should add: as the age of any piece is in no way related to its "look", how old it appears to the viewer, this is a kind of risky business. A middle of the 19th century fragment of a well documented kilim or rug type ( where we have complete examples of the same aesthetic quality) is a stupid burn of money when it comes to buy pieces.
Or fragments that are very old, that are by no means "handsome" or "attractive" any longer ( no single great dye, no motive shown in an hitherto unrivalled way...), may be important "objects of study" but no "pieces of art". And they are important only in case they come with the proper documentation of their origin. Otherwise they are, and will ever be, a meaningless 800 years old piece of rotten wool.

So: no risk, no gain ...



Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 11-03-2002 06:28 AM:

Dear Michael,

You cannot admire Jerry’s fragment according to your own words because:

Either it has no identifications, so it isn’t worth the trouble.

Or it has an identification and consequently there must be "complete examples of the same aesthetic quality" somewhere so it "is a stupid burn of money when it comes to buy pieces".


Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-03-2002 09:05 AM:


you want to prolong my arguments till the very ( ... absurde ? ;-) ) end and then say :
it does not fit the facts ?

No, Jerry's fragment is beautiful. Yes, it is not sufficiently identified. To characterize it I must use knowledge that I got from research in Turkey.

With "objects of study" I mean worn down things that have nothing beautiful left . Plus: apparently nothing of the same age is known in complete condition. The younger pieces show a lot of "decay", one piece of Tracy shows ( for me ! ) some "spirit" that a weaver lady has as long as she can escape
from the bitter necessities of daily life - may be even she did the piece for herself.


Yours sincerely


Posted by Steve Price on 11-04-2002 07:02 AM:

Hi People,

In trying to sort out the obvious differences of opinion between Filiberto and Michael, it occurs to me that at least three aspects of kilim appreciation are being confounded. They are:
1. The aesthetic enjoyment. This is not terribly dependent on knowing much about the piece, for most people.
2. The significance as a piece of ethnographic art. This depends on knowing a great deal about the piece within its culture context, and all that this implies.
3. The market value. This, of course, depends on both of the others.

I think that when these factors are separated, much of the basis for their disagreement evaporates.


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-04-2002 12:32 PM:

Hallo everybody,

thanks for your balanced statement, Steve Price ! Of course one has (always) to separate these issues. I would propose , this is our invitation, to add one more separation:

So one would get two entirely different kind of aesthetic evaluations. The first one is open to any kind of source but, as it is a kind of subjective "feeling", it is not any kind of argument. One likes it or not - not much sense to mention it further or even discuss it. Unless it is a kind of "cry of joke" or pride as one got this particular piece ... this is what was called "aesthetics" until now. I do not know to find a better word for it than the German "beliebig".

The second one deals with aesthetics as well . But, however my own feelings are, the authentic measures of the people ( as far as I could research them ) would always come first. Because in this case I respect the weave as a genuine piece of art , with a merit of its own.
If I find it boring ... well, may be I am boring. If I find too much green in it .... well, who the hell am I to tell them what colour they should have used ? - so I can always retreat to the lower level 1 (see above).

Now to the application of all this. Open these links - attention: please do not corrupt your own judgement by looking at the URL of the links while it loads up. Do not try to see what kind of piece it is until the picture is there, only the picture. Then compare both
Link 1 (Editor's Note: This originally was a hypertext link to the website, first exhibition, page describing kilim number 7. It has been removed at Jack Cassin's request) and
Link 2 - try to collect all what you know about early kilims ( provenance, age , stylistic relations, iconography .... yes, and age !) and report to here your opinion ! As both pieces are published in the Net I guess we can well discuss them here without attacking the policy of Turkotek ( yes , Steve ?).



Posted by Steve Price on 11-04-2002 02:01 PM:

Hi People,

Ali Tuna sent me this chart for insertion into the discussion.

Thanks, Ali,

Steve Price

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-04-2002 02:07 PM:

Appreciation chart

The chart above shows my personal approach to the Kilim evaluation overall.

Others might have different approaches .
As you can see, this chart is independent of age, and provenance only plays a role if it helps me to better understand the "rational content" . Over the years that helped me to stay out of the "fashionable" provenances which might pull the prices up or distort the real provenance.

Age will play a role as the likelyhood of the piece being genuine and with good aesthetics will increase. (but not age for age - I for instance do not like the Ottoman tent kilims).
However , the approach helped me to purchase pieces that were not on fashion at the time which I find great. They could also be newer pieces but if the tradition stayed with the makers and they have kept their easthetic context and strength of the message (even up to 1930's why not) than the pieces might be worth a great experience.



Posted by Vincent Keers on 11-04-2002 07:18 PM:

Strange things are happening!

Hi Michael,

First, this is what I wrote for plate 16.
But now, suddenly, the kilim of all kilims is gone.

Please forgive me because I'm going to stir the pool a little.

This plate 16, gives me the feeling I get, when I look at "old" illuminated pages at the tourist shop in an Oriental Hotel.

The damage is beautiful. But it seems this kilim did have a border design all around. So more like a carpet design.
Normally, one would expect, a horizontal design is given between the medallions.
Now, it could be this kilim only had three medallions. I think it had, because the most lower "star" is in a position that wouldn't allow a fourth/fifth medallion.

But maybe this kilim had a border design at the top, and at the bottom?
If so, then, what we are looking at, is the top border. Because the top medallion is compressed and there are no signs of complementary "stars" design.
The weaver did know she had to start weaving the top border design. Why? Because the side borders dictated this?

And now,
What about the other two?

First image I like most. Don't know what I should think about the yellow color in the white but the graph is beastly, wild.
So this one has drama.
Dear Mother Goddess help me!
It has been made somewhere between Greece and the Caucasus.

Next one is drama too. The compression is to heavy. If rotated 90 degrees, one sees what happened because of this weaving as a robot.
The kilim is shaped like the tower of Pisa.
The colours are drama too.
Label attached.
"Original handmade in The first Democratic Islamic Republic Turkey".
(If this kind of kilim is going to get adopted, please give the people my address. I have a few poor kilims that are in need also.)

And you what so nice?
I'm right.
And you know why?
Causu...uhhh I'm Vincent

Best regards.

Posted by Harry Koll on 11-05-2002 09:00 AM:

Dear Ali,
I want to come back to your kilim and the question: what was the original purpose? Of course
it might have been a kilim for praying. But it might also be used to cover a niche in the wall, or
not? We have seen people using kilims with that size for such a purpose. As I have seen your
kilim, I can tell: it has a fine structure and it is made very carefully..The dying is really good and
the colours are splendit.I like it and I dont know a comparing piece with those „fingers“
on the sides.Whatever purpose, it must have been an important kilim in the making family.
best Regards, Harry

Posted by Steve Price on 11-05-2002 03:31 PM:

Hi Michael,

A few posts above you ask whether it's OK to compare the two kilims to which you refer. Neither one appears to be advertised for sale, so I see no reason why they can't be discussed on Turkotek.

On the other hand, one of them is not very well reproduced on my monitor (it is quite a small image for such a large kilim), and the other is reproduced with good detail but is too fragmentary to allow me to judge much from the image alone. In fact, the author expresses uncertainty about whether the two fragments are even part of the same kilim (counting the warps and wefts per inch would be enough to establish that they aren't or to make it pretty likely that they are, of course).


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-05-2002 04:37 PM:

Hallo everybody, hello Steve,

with this kilim my idea was first to provoke statements of our reader before coming in with my own estimation. I guess the "kilim_7.jpg" is made up from 2 parts from in fact the same kilim, I do not question it. Though you are right - such an easy thing should have been done, on that presumed level.

Whatever, sooner or later as I suppose we will discuss here the benefits and the risks of early kilim fragments. I thought this could be the right entrance - to discuss such things here one needs pictures from pieces not on offer, cannot (or should not ? ;-) ) put down pieces that one has sold, must not offend pieces of nice, educated collectors ... not that easy to much all criteria.

So I am curious about reactions ...



Posted by Steve Price on 11-05-2002 05:24 PM:

Hi Michael,

I didn't raise the issue of whether the kilim fragments on WAMRI were from the same kilim - the author of the description of it did. It would not have crossed my mind to wonder about it otherwise, since it's such an easy thing to determine with a pretty high level of certainty if you have both pieces in hand.

As for which pieces we can and can't discuss, we don't talk about things that are for sale except under unusual circumstances, and even then we make no statements about them that could be construed as evaluation judgements. You're surely allowed to discuss things that belong to nice educated collectors, though. Rugs and kilims can't be offended, although the owners can. So, it's politic to not be insulting toward the owner when discussing the kilim. After all, someone doesn't have to be stupid, ignorant or weak in character to own a kilim that's, say, late 19th century. And there are lots of them in print and on the web.

I find it hard to judge the pieces you referred to, for reasons I mentioned. Maybe other people aren't as distracted by the fragmentary nature of the one, and are experienced enough to be able to enlarge the other in their mind's eyes. I encourage those folks to express their opinions about them.


Steve Price

Posted by Steve Price on 11-06-2002 05:17 AM:

Hi Michael,

One more thought about selection of pieces for discussion and comparisons. There is a number of kilims on line in the Josephine Powell collection (you used one of them in your proposed comparison). We know more about their provenance than we do about most kilims, and none is on the market or is likely to be in the foreseeable future. As a bonus, discussing them might help promote their adoption for conservation, a worthwhile end in itself.

The fair use provision in the copyright laws permits importing text and images from other sites (or published materials) for review, criticism or educational purposes even if the owner objects, but I'm sure Charles Lave and Bethany Mendenhall would be pleased to see us do it, especially if we mention that the kilims are or were available for adoption.


Steve Price

Posted by Vincent Keers on 11-06-2002 07:20 AM:

Dear Mr. Tuna,

Looking at the image again and again, I wonder why you think the kilim has a top and bottom.
(I saved it, and now it's constantly on my monitor as background)
Flipping the image vertical, gives you a different perspective. Then you could imagine the weaver started weaving the first line "tribal symbols" and realized she could put in an extra symbol at the left and the right side.
Think the diagonal ending of the white lines, can be an extra indicator of what is top and what is bottom.
And, it seems the weaver adjusted the white in between space because she knew the design would compress as work was in progress. Think she did something to compensate the effect.

This doesn't mean it can't be a prayer kilim.
Every clean cloth can be used for prayer.

Just a few extra thoughts on this beautiful kilim.

Best regards,

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-06-2002 01:31 PM:

Dear Mr Keers , Dear H.Koll,

To Mr. Keer's point : you are right. I am not sure there is a top and bottom and I looked at it from both sides. I do not know which is the beginning. Normally the fingerlike "parmakli" feature used at the end of each row should be looking downwards versus the weave direction. On the top row however (as posted) the Parmakli weave is pointing towards the bottom- I am posting a detail to show this feature- so that does not help either.

Actually there is more "experimenting" at the top so it might be the beginning. You may be right.
the KIlim is assymmetric though with the two wide lanes at the bottom and none at the top.

HarryKoll's point about that Kilim might have been used as a niche covering it is an interesting suggestion.
I would lean more forward if it was from Cappadocia where a lot of people lived for centuries in the stone carved cities. But in Western Anatolia , I guess I have never heard about the existence of a niche in the Black tent, nor these people were settled before 1860's and probably even later had stone houses.
Still to be discussed.
Actually there are several kilims in the literature at these dimensions and maybe Josephine powell#s studies might tell us for what use they were made.


Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-06-2002 03:22 PM:

Hallo everybody, hallo Steve Price,

yes, this is exactly what we intended to do. We expressed it in the salon essay, additionally in many links on the page - as we are well aware how big their advantage is in terms of the measures of "grading" that we propose here. So to support Josephine and adopt one of those kilims means to support research and documention of early kilims in an unrivalled manner. May be the top pieces of the last
decade went to Europe - Josephine is an American citizen and with her kilim knowledge European leading experts won't compete.

But I am still curious what other people think about the proposed comparison between this Kilim and the Wamri - Kilim fragment No. 7 (WAMRI.ORG; Exhibition 1; Number 7)


Michael Bischof

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