A Seistan of another color?
Dear Tom and all,
Many years ago I bought this Belouch group bag face primarily because of its overall light color palette. As with many others, this one shows better in good light. In the flesh, it seems lighter than the image suggests.
For the purposes of being consistent with Tomís details, here is a close up of the center of the medallion. The red tones are a bit redder than they appear on the monitor:
And as far as structure is concerned, here is a detail of the back:
This face is also distinguished by the number of colors used and the juxtaposition of those colors. There are nine distinct colors: red, orange, yellow, light blue, medium blue, green, aubergine, black and ivory. Two shades of red and two of yellow are used, but the variations do not appear to be intentional, so I didnít count them as separate colors.
The bag is finely woven: 10 knots to the inch vertically and 10.5 horizontally, for 105 kpsi. Knots are asymmetrical, open to the left. Warps are light ivory, wefts are primarily dark brown (black) but at least three other colors are sparingly used. The warps are not depressed at all.
It seems to be what Tom would call Seistan. Comments?
You probably noticed that the border of your bagface has the same design as the Seistan band I have shown on another thread. In my band, though, the center of each of the tic-tac-toe devices has a five-point "dice" motif. This is probably because the weaver of the band had more room to fill in the centers - the band is 3 1/2" wide and your border is probably smaller:
The band has asymmetric, open left knots at about 8x8 = 36 kpsi and ivory or brown wefts. The warps show moderate depression, different from your bagface.
Both weavings show similarities in the bright colors, too, but I assume your bagface is older due to the fading of the blue in my band. A deep eggplant aubergine seems to be common to both weavings, too. The little crosses around the center designs of your bagface also show up in many of the triangle areas of the band.
I have seen this border design in weavings from other areas, so it is probably not exclusive to Seistan, but it seems to be cropping up a lot!
As long as we are on the subject of light-colored Baluchi's, here is an image
of a relatively old pushti. You'll notice, Patrick, that the same tic-tac-toe
boxes appear randomly in this one also:
i will just get in here before the discussion develops and say,
"Marvin - that is the most beautiful beluch pushti or balisht i have EVER seen"
Wendel.. Seistan would be the area for where this weaving originates... and
Marvin... GREAT pushti! Wonderful thing.. appears to be old AND beautiful!
Hi Wendel. Would you say something about the wool, hand, and handle of your
piece? At the time of your aquisition of it, or subsequently, have you learned
anything of interest bearing on its origin and age?
Hi Marvin. I pose you the same questions as I did Wendel. Additionally, what are the dimensions of your piece? Was there ever a time when you would have refered to such a piece as a "balisht" (or some variant spelling of same)? If so, what has caused you to now call it a pushti?
Although I bought my bag face in Minneapolis more than 20 years ago, Iíve learned little about it since. The collector/dealer from whom I bought it had a good eye but none of us knew enough then to say anything more than ďBelouch.Ē
As you can see from the back, the pile yarns are relatively thin, so it has a loose and pliable handle in spite of being rather finely woven.
The wool feels quite soft, but isnít particularly glossy or lustrous. With some Belouch group pieces, you can practically feel the lanolin oozing out. Not so with this one. It has always seemed very clean, so I donít believe that an ordinary wash would change its feel. The pile was probably never very high.
Incidentally, the colors look entirely different on my monitor at work and that at home. Who knows how they appear to other readers?
Iím not sure this information is of any help, but I canít say much more. You can see it the next time you're in Washington.
Good evening, Henry.
I chose the word "pushti" because it popped into my mind first, and I like the sound of that word better than "balischt". Otherwise I don't have a clue as to whether one is or isn't the other. From an aesthetic point of view, the topic of this salon, it makes no difference. More genreally, it never made any difference to me - same with the tribal attributions (that's another word I like) since speculation is not my game. The "pushti" is coarsely woven at about 56 kpsi. The wool is lustrous and soft, and the handle is very floppy. The field is camel hair as it is in full pile with the brown trees corroded. The light blue is also in full pile. Unfortunately, someone tried to fill in some of the brown corrosion and I haven't taken the time to remove it. The size is 1'4" x 3'1/2", excluding the kilim ends. Hope this answers your questions.
Hi Wendel. Hi Marvin. Thank you both for the info.
Wendel- it seems that your bagface is not a part of a pannier pair that would have been connected by pile shoulders. Thus, it is either one of a pair of "khorjin" that are connected with a typical flatweave bridge, or it was a single bag. If its shorter dimension is more that 28", I think that would favor the latter possibility.
Marvin- I have seen a couple of bagfaces which are the same "type" (including identical dimensions) as yours. Many 16" wide bags are about 32" long, while yours (and others) are 42".
I would think that we can't call all three types of single bags "poshti" as, at the least, it would readily lead to confusion. As there seems to be disagreement over what the people in the area of where these things are found call them, perhaps we should make no assumptions and simply call:
A square (single) bag- A square bag.
One of a pair of "khorjin"- A pannier bag (leaves more to the imagination than "donkey bag").
A bag previously known as "balisht"- A long bag.
An especially long "balisht- An extra-long bag.
This has nothing to do with aesthetics and everything to do with: communication, classification, clarity, and appropriate humility for what we do and do not know.
I feel a little silly for writing the above. However, if a field is to advance, clarity and consistency are essential. Anything short of that invites confusion, miscommunication, and the ignoring of what we think we have learned by the following generation.
Just some thoughts...
I applaud your effort to give things names that make sense instead of trying to use words in languages we don't understand or guessing at their uses.
I tried something similar with Turkmen spindle and spoon bags in an article in HALI some years ago, proposing that we just call them portrait format bags instead of pretending that we could tell by looking at them what they contained when they were in situ. No takers. For years, Peter Andrews tried to get the rug world to use the correct Turkmen word for what we insist on calling ok-bash. Despite my attempts to help (perhaps because of them ), it never got very far either.
I hope your idea catches on. Maybe best that I don't try too hard to help out, though.
As it exists now, my bag face is 23.5 inches wide and 26 inches high. Although the selvedges are not original, it doesn't seem that there would have been any significant additional width.
I had never before contemplated whether it might have been pannier format.
The face, as you see it in my post, is the way it would have been on the loom, with the pile pointing downward.
Does a weaver begin a chanteh (single bag) by weaving the back first or the pile first? If pile is first, that would make the pile go upwards when sewn together and used.
Proposal: "Chanteh" = Small bag
Hi Wendel. I think your bagface is too large to have been part of what is
often times called a 'Baluch' "chanteh". Usually these are in the neighborhood
of 14", more or less squarish.
It is likely that 'Baluch' pile weavings are the products of peoples of more than one language. It, therefor, is rather doubtful that they all used words such as: "chanteh", "balisht", "poshti", and "khorjin". Perhaps we should be calling 'baluch' "chantehs"- small bags?
With regards to your question, I am not sure I recall seeing a 'Baluch' "chanteh" that was not pile on both sides- one side with the pile pointing down and the other side with the pile pointing up.
The bag shown by Wendel is probably one half of a complete khorjin and cut.
Note the continuation of the minor border (with white composed of diagonal
oriented 'design') extends to the bottom edge without turning the corner and
continuing along the bottom edge. I may be mistaken, without seeing the piece in
person or a detail of the bottom edge to see if any flatwoven end finish is
extant along these minor borders, it is difficult to speculate.. but I would
guess it is, as I say, cut. Many are.
By the way, the word 'chanteh' exists in many languages, and in Farsi, it refers to bags that serve a special function. They are repositories for personal possessions, often made as dowry pieces, often made in pairs, double sided bags that are folded in half and closed along the sides. The same goes for 'balisht', made for a specific purpose (pillow on which to rest one's head), again often made in pairs and associated with dowry weaving (refer HALI 76, From the Horses Mouth, for the reference to dowry).
I'm not so sure that my "long-bag" (36 and one-half inches) is a bag. What remains of the end finishes are identical top and bottom. There is no evidence that this had a back. Did the Baluchi - or whoever - weave pillow covers like Anatolian yastiks?
I don't know whether the Belouch wove pillows in the 19th century, but they've sure made a lot of them since World War II.
Marvin.. Balisht are the 'Baluch' version of yastiks.. .same function.