Posted by Richard_Tomlinson on 04-24-2003 09:07 AM:

Flatwoven Bagface

Hi Patrick

Thanks for a fantastic salon with loads of useful and informative information.

Here's a little flatweave bagface that I believe is Luri. The main field is camel hair I think. The handle is thick and stiff. The dyes are natural but weak and fairly subdued. The one end is braided and folded over. The field design is simple and intriguing. Whenever I look at this bag, I think "Crop circles, UFOs !!"

I believe from what I have read in your salon, this piece features several typical Luri features (except the warps are white wool.)

Is it Luri? What are the motifs?


Richard Tomlinson

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-24-2003 10:15 AM:

Intriguing Example


The bag that I show in the salon is 10 1/2" wide x 17" long, not including the tassles. 27cm x 45cm.
It has a cotton warp and weft except for two inches of the warp on the back is goat hair. Lurs and Bakhtiyari used cotton in their flatweaves, usually for white highlights and for the background in the designs on their large khorjin.

You bag looks similar in size, but with wool foundation and a bit wider and shorter. They may have had similar functions.
I cannot tell from your photo if your bag was made in one long piece and sewn up the sides, or, like mine, made in one wide piece and folded over and sewn up one side. The herringbone outer borders on your piece look similar to those on my bag.
The main design on your piece seems similar to many sofreh from the Afshar/Baluch SE Iran area. The weft float borders on your bag also are familiar from this area.
There has not been a lot of study of bags of this type, so references are limited. A photo of the back, with measurements, may enlighten us more.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by John Collins on 04-24-2003 10:41 AM:

Why are you fellows calling this a bagface? There does not seem to be any closures visible in the photo. This mat is finished like a rug in typical Luri fashion, with a kilim and braid at the top and plain kilim and knotted fringe at the bottom.

John Collins

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-24-2003 12:48 PM:

Size Does Matter


You are quite right about the ends appearing to be woven just like a regular small flatweave mat.
Since Richard prefaced his remarks with the statement "little flatweave bagface", I approached the weaving from that perspective.
It is interesting that relative size is difficult to determine from a photo with nothing to help us see the relative size.
The wear at each side of the weaving, with relatively less wear in the middle, is unusual. I am curious about the process that would have resulted in this type of wear.
Again, the size would help. I believe that small flatweaves were used as flour sofreh and clothing carriers.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 04-24-2003 08:45 PM:


I assumed it was a bagface from the size ( 18 x 13 inches - 46cm X 33cm excluding fringes )

Yes - it looks like a sofreh but considerably smaller.

Patrick, I will try to get some pictures up of the sides and back later.

Thanks for the comments.

Richard Tomlinson

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-24-2003 09:11 PM:

Odd Size


Yes, that is an odd size. Most of the flour sofreh are about double that size, and usually rather square. It is certainly too small for a rug. As a mat, it may have had a heretofore unknown use. A bread cover?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-25-2003 01:27 AM:

Mysterious motifs


You asked "What are the motifs?" on your weaving.
The motif of a central diamond with upper and lower pendants and either attached (by arms) or detached side pendants is not uncommon in tribal weavings. It may have been borrowed from more formal medallion-and-pendant rugs.
Several sofreh in the book Bread and Salt by Tanavoli show this design.
Speculation about the meaning of this design runs from the apotropaic "evil eye" deflector to the sun, a supernova or fire representations.
Points East, West, North and South have been suggested, as has the abstract scorpion motif, again supposed to be used to deflect against evil influences.
A most likely explanation is that the weavers felt compelled to add some color, identifying characteristics or interest to their weavings, borrowing from sources such as commonly used traditional motifs to the more adventurous.
I will post a photo of the back of my spindle/ladle bag showing some of the scattered decorations.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Tomlinson on 04-25-2003 03:23 AM:

Hi Patrick

Thanks for the comments. I will get Steve to add some additional images of the sides and back.

It appears that the camel hair (if that is what it is) has worn more quickly than the wool, especially with regard to the selvages.

A strange little 'mat'.



Note: here are the images Richard sent me. Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-25-2003 02:09 PM:

Back Up


These photos show the back of the ladle bag. You can see the 2" of goat hair warp threads along one side. Why did they do this when the rest of the foundation is cotton?

The close up shows a couple of the indiscriminately placed cross motifs that are scattered about. There is no rhyme or reason for including these extra-weft designs, unless they are to ward off the evil eye.
Although these two look a bit like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where God is touching Adam by the fingertips.....

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Danny Mehra on 04-27-2003 03:55 PM:

Kurds of Fars?

Hi Richard and Patrick,

Looking at the braided oblique end finishes at one end of this piece, I was wondering if it may be Kurdish. Isn't that a typical end finish style of typical Kurdish weavings?

Best wishes

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 04-27-2003 06:15 PM:

Not exclusively


You are right that oblique interlacing is a characteristic common to many Kurdish weavings, but it is not exclusively used by them. In the chapter on End Finishes from Marla Mallet's book Woven Structures, she shows a Bakhtiyari kilim, in addition to several Anatolian weavings with this feature.
On Marla's web site, there is a section devoted to end finishes,

Several different types of rugs show this feature, including Caucasian, Kurdish, Anatolian, NW Persian etc.
This end finish makes a durable guard for the end of the weaving.

Patrick Weiler