Posted by Vincent Keers on 04-16-2003 08:20 AM:

And now what?

Dear Bertram,

So, it seems that the Shahsevan attribution is a very specialized, secretive thing.
There seems to be some hidden message that can't be translated.
No ugly Shahsevans available, not one specific design.
Strange for a confederacy of tribes that have been creating for over 250 years in recent history.

Here it's forbidden to speak about technicalities. It's only design.
Before this salon is over, it would be nice if we could understand why it's Shahsevan and why not.

Bertram wrote a book about the subject, so let's wring out something more.

It's my impression that most Shashevan attribution are made on the basis of a sort of
airiness in design and a vivacity in colors.
A, more than usual, use of yellow and green.
Now it happens that I like these three aspects.
This results in a more than average percentage of beautiful Shahsevans.
!100%! That doesn't help.

I've asked, in another tread, for one specific Shahsevan design. Nothing has come.
Maybe we should look for a design that looks common
but isn't because it has been treated differently by the weaver.
I've a suggestion.
It's the floating "bull-horn" design.
I've given it a name, but that's not the point.
It seems as if these designs aren't connected.
Neither do they seem to be treated as half design.
These horny objects seem to float freely in the design.
Filling the emptiness but keeping it airy.

It's a start.
What do others think?
Any other design suggestion?

Best regards,

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 04-16-2003 10:06 AM:

Hi Everyone and Vincent,

Floating "Bullhorn" design. I like it. An excellent, dead on target name. One for future rug history books. A stylized Viking helmet. Wherever the action was the Vikings were there. Check out their maps. Does anyone know if any of those thousand or so tall, light, tartan wearing mummies unearthed along an ancient Chinese trade route had plaids that matched up with those tartan flatweaves which show up frequently in photos of migrating tribes? They are usually the outermost textile on the pack. Check them out.

Is it too much of a technicality to remind, in passing, that Scandinavian Soumak tapestries were being woven long before it was called Soumak? If it is, what kind of Inquisition is this thread? I am hopeful that it isn't one.

Do I think that 100% of Shahshavan weavings are 100% beautiful? No, not quite. I am just an American mongrolian with perhaps not enough northern chords within me struck by these weavings to feel their full impact viscerally. I do have enough Irish in me, however, to recognize many pairs of "smiling Irish eyes" peering around veils in tribal pictures to make me wonder. On top of that, it is a matter of record that the Vikings ran a thriving slave trade out of Dublin.

The heavens fall to the earth every day, in fact they never left. Sue

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 04-17-2003 09:10 AM:

hi vincent

i am following this salon with great interest.

you have provided an example of a mafrash (i would assume it is usually attributed to the 'shahsavan')

obviously you are not entirely convinced. if you are so anti a shahsavan attribution, how would you classify the mafrash? and could you please provide sound reasons for that attribution.


Posted by Vincent Keers on 04-17-2003 11:34 AM:

Dear Richard,

So am I. (Following this salon)
And I could have said:"Oh, yeh Shashevan. So what's new under the sun."
But Bertram seemed to know a few things more, so I went for it.
No, I'm not anti Shashevan attribution.
I'm anti attribution as a sort of religion.
I would like to get something more concrete.
Something I can get on with. Because up to this moment, it's all here say.
I've had hopes someone stood up telling me that a Shahsevan attribution
can be made on the basis of some technical data.
But helas, nodody shows up.

The Mafrash is from the Caucasus. It's original.
A few years back I made the Shashevan attribution.
Up to this day I honestly do not know why, but I did.
So, I've looked at it again and asked myself why?
This floating "Bullhorn" design seemed to be available in some
other so called Shashevan mafrashes. So maybe that's why.
Is this ok? I don't know.
But if this design isn't available in this kind of design setting (floating)
in other textiles, it could be something to hold on to.

Just trying to get something more, out of this salon.
But I must say, up to this moment it's becoming a sort of quest for the impossible.

So be it,


Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 04-18-2003 01:50 AM:

hi vincent

i am in agreement with you regarding a more substantive attribution. as yet, noone has come forward. (bertram is surely not the only person who has expert knowledge of shahsavan weavings?)

but at the same time, your answer of 'caucasian' as an attribution of the mafrash is equally of little help. how vague is 'caucasian'?
identifying rugs is not an exact science but we amateurs out here need a few more clues.

i really found mr collins' comments on an afshar saltbag ( show and tell) most useful.

i think by providing a few examples of shahsavan caucasians and non-shah caucasians, we might find out more.


Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 04-23-2003 03:44 PM:

Hi everybody,
I was at ICOC, that's why I could not follow.
Tanavoli made a very good book on Shahsevan including many designs. All we would have to do is comparing designs from areas southeast of Tabriz with designs he attributes to Moghan and then look further into the Transcaucasus and look there for rugs that carry the same designs. This does not necessarily mean we will have S. rugs in front of us. But from there on we can start to compare structures. This has never been done that's why we can not differentiate till today.
I think that rugs of people being in specific areas for a long time have different structures than rugs of people who came there only 300 to 400 years ago.

I would rather see ram's horns in the design you picked. Other features in the picture point to Shahsevan as well.
To attribute it as Caucasian is just a little more precise than
'Oriental rug'.
Unfortunately I don't have acces to my books right now, otherwise I could picture some more pieces that I'd call Shahsevan from the Caucasus. The owner of the country has changed, but not the people.
And I know a lot of ugly (to my eyes) Shahsevan pieces.

Posted by Vincent Keers on 04-23-2003 08:47 PM:

Hi Bertram,

Think the Rams horn design is a more attached design.
Most Rams horns seem to be treated as part of a bigger picture.
The way the design is treated in this soumack example is more free.
I can't find a kilim that handles this design on a free "floating" basis.
Some rugs from East Turkestan use this design in the borders.
I do find that most soumack pieces do not use this design in this floating free style.
But a percentage does.
One thing is sure. It isn't Christian.

Best regards,