Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-07-2003 04:58 PM:

Number 6


The design shown in number 6 is similar to one seen in Kurdish and SW Persian tribal rugs. This would lead me to believe that #6 was woven closer to those sources, or "Western Khorason".
This bag face uses a similar design, but not as complex as #6, in the octagonal guls in the corners of the bag:

It is certainly "lighter colored" than typical later Baluch weavings. The design in the "middle" octagon is a rosette, but this motif alternates with the two headed animal / trident design in the diagonally adjacent corner guls.

This bag has a green that perhaps has lost some of its yellow component and looks almost blue on the front:

The green can be seen a bit more clearly from the back, as can the orange-red color in the crosses that are in the corners of the rosette that is just a bit different than the brick red and the dark red (8 colors in all):

There is also a light aubergine-purple that is seen in the body of the upper-left "S" cartouche in the top close up and the upper right "S" cartouche in the bottom close up.

For some unknown reason, the weaver abruptly halted the field design 3/4 of the way to the top of the bag and began again as though she were starting the field over again but shifted by a half gul.

The pile is woven from the bottom up, so the top of the bag was woven last.
There are 6h x 8v knots per square inch, asymmetrical open left, no warp depression, two shots of brown wool weft and white wool warp. The flat weave at the top is folded over and sewn down with goat-hair thread.
Interestingly, there are a few symmetric knots in the bag, too.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Tom Cole on 06-07-2003 08:53 PM:

Both pieces, #6 and your piece are from w. Afghanistan. The border motif, those S forms in the hexagonal cartouche is a typical W. Afghan Baluch design. A Khorassan example of this field pattern would tend to be a tighter drawing, more precisely and tightly drawn... not sure if those are the correct words, but hope the idea of what I am trying to say comes across. The piece has nice colours, a good thing.

Posted by Henry Sadovsky on 06-08-2003 12:31 PM:

Old "dark" and young "bright"

Hi Patrick.

Tom wrote: "A Khorassan (of course, by this Tom means Iranian Khorassan) example of this field pattern would tend to be a tighter drawing, more precisely and tightly drawn... " I would add also, that it would be darker.

Thus, your statement-

"It is certainly "lighter colored" than typical later Baluch weavings.
loses its meaning. That is to say, there are 'Baluch' weavings which are much darker than your bagface and which are older than it. Such weavings simply come from a different area (perhaps) and different weaving group (no doubt) than your's. Additionally, many (perhaps, even most) brightly colored "baluchs" are late. For example, I think piece #3 in Tom's Salon is probably quite young.

Descriptors such as "dark", "bright", "light" or "gay", when refering to the palette of a 'Baluch' weaving, does not, in itself, allow any judgement as to the age of said weaving.

As an aside, it is quite interesting to compare your bagface with a similar one on page 78 of Diehr's book, "Treasured Baluch Pieces". Just how similar are they? Which is older?

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-09-2003 07:33 PM:


I do not have the Diehr book. Could you post a copy of that piece?
Does he give a provenance for his piece?
As for the "lighter" colors, this piece does have a lot of what I would call "light blue" in it. This light blue tends to give the overall weaving a lighter overall tonality than weavings of similar design without the light blue.
As Tom has said, and I think you are indicating also, the colors used can be more useful in determining where the piece was woven than how old it necessarily is.
I think that a lot of weavings from specific areas have quite similar colors for a number of reasons, including the content of the water used - which can be markedly different from one locale to another, the "traditions" of dyeing - such as local recipes that may be unique to an area, and the possibility or likelihood of professional dyers providing their services to the majority of weavers in any given area. This last item may also relate to the abundance of Baluch prayer rugs. I suspect that many, if not most, were made for sale rather than for personal use - even the older ones - because of suggestions that the Baluch were not necessarily followers of the Moslem traditions which utilized prayer rugs. Just as many agrarian cultures manufacture crafts to supplement their gardens and animals, so too would the Baluch most likely have done.

Speculatively yours,

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Henry Sadovsky on 06-10-2003 01:05 AM:

Hi Patrick.

I don't have access to a scanner right now and will not be able to scan in the photo for the next few days as I will be out of town. If no one does so beforehand, I will get the photo up when I return to town.


Posted by Igo Licht on 06-11-2003 11:21 PM:

Baluch bag Photo

Here is the photo of the bag shown also in Fran Diehr book (plate 78)


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-12-2003 10:17 AM:

To Be the Same, or Not To Be the Same?


Thank you for posting the picture.
The basic design is certainly the same.
The colors in the Diehr piece tend towards the warmer orange-red rather than the cooler blue-reds in my piece. In my experience, weavings with the orange-red wool also have a different feel - a "thicker" and softer wool compared to the "thinner", harder feel of the blue-red weavings. Perhaps this indicates a different weaving area.
In the Diehr piece, the design seems to start from the lower left, and as the weaver could not complete an entire design segment, this left the right side of the bag with about an inch of open space which she filled with small "s" motifs. At the top, she had almost enough room for a half-gul, but not quite enough room for half of the rosette that is in the middle of the guls. Note that the rosette is more geometric and stepped than in the single rosette gul in my piece.
Alternately, the design starts in the middle at the bottom of my piece, leaving the top of the field requiring some kind of resolution instead of at the right side of the field with the Diehr piece. In this case, the weaver started a new row of slanted "S" cartouches at the top, cutting off the field design in mid-motif rather than leave a gap to fill. This resolution does give the field a "framed" look, with corresponding slant-"S" cartouches in each corner, but leaves the abrupt break in the design across the field near the top.

Why does this field design tend to be woven to not "fit" properly within the confines of the field? If these were Turkmen bags, the design would be similar to a six or nine gul bag - with all of the "spaciousness" and discrete design elements that make the best Turkmen bags so successful.
Were the weavers purposely attempting to make an unbalanced design?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Vincent Keers on 06-12-2003 08:02 PM:

Hi Patrick,

This design is perfect.
Like life is perfect.
Like this world is perfect.
Like this sopting is ferpect.

Isn't there this story that says that the design is only given to you for only a short periode of time? It passes you by, like a ship on a river, like the stars in the sky?

Well, I gave it a try.

Best regards,

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-12-2003 08:41 PM:

One Fine Design


At least you tried. I think you meant to say "Like a ship in the sky, like the stars in the river."

I looked at a half dozen books and found Baluch rugs and bags with this design. Not in even one of those weavings could this design be said to be accurately proportional all the way around. Even in the rug in plate 45 in Boucher, said to be Qainat area of Persian Khorasan, the design starts out fitfully. Brian MacDonald shows a bag, #186, of the Taimuri of western Afghanistan, that comes close, but the rosette guls in the middle end up being a column of flowers, not guls at all. He also shows a balisht in plate 183 that starts out well, but the design falls apart towards the top, almost becoming a "prayer rug" design. Opie's Tribal Rugs shows #13.20 that comes close, but the top gul peters out 2/3 of the way up. Anne Halley shows a rug in plate 98a of Rugs from Pacific Collections (Firdaus area) that also has only half of the top row of guls. An exemplary attempt is made in a Compartment Design bag of Mark Hopkins (Northeast Iran) from plate 311 in Atlantic Collections, but there is just too much room left at the top of the field to hold a fourth complete row of guls. The weaver just put in a row of compartments with the diagonal "S" motif instead. Hopkins' Plate 317 from Atlantic Collections (NE Iran/NW Afghanistan) gets around the problem by just putting 10 floating guls in the middle of a plain field sofreh. No attempt was made to integrate the "minor guls" into the pattern.

So, either all of these weavers purposely confounded the design, or maybe it is too difficult a design to accurately render.
These weavings with this design seem to come from many different areas, too. How did ALL the weavers know to mess this design up?


Patrick Weiler