Posted by Steve Price on 07-24-2003 09:01 AM:

Closing Remarks

Hi People

I introduced this topic in the hope that we might, through our collective experiences and thinking, be able to shed a little light on some of the puzzles surrounding the Turkmen pile decorated tentbands. They are widely believed to be the Turkmen weavings most closely related to archaic Turkmen products, but it is very difficult to make specific tribal attributions of most of them. And, with only one known exception, all are woven with single wefts between rows of knots, using symmetric knots tied around alternate warps. The one exception is an all-pile tentband, not a pile decorated piece, knotted asymmetrically. Two other published examples are described as being asymmetrically knotted, but the owners assure us that this is not the case - both are symmetrically knotted.

We made no significant progress in developing ideas about tribal attribution.

On the second major issue, though, Vincent Keers generated a rational explanation for the nearly universal use of symmetric knotting on alternate warps. Working with a home made loom, Vincent discovered that the use of single wefting makes the fabric extremely flexible, and that symmetric knotting over alternate warps gives it a level of stability and an evenness in final appearance that cannot be achieved with asymmetric knotting on alternate warps or by knotting in the conventional manner in which knots are wrapped around consecutive warps. That is, the mystery of the very unusual structure of the pile-decorated tentbands now has a plausible explanation, thanks to Vincent's investigations. I have highlighted this because I think it is a significant contribution to our understanding, and such contributions are relatively rare and deserve special attention.

Other discussion topics included reference to some other sources of on-line information about Turkmen tentbands as well as to some resources in print. We also noted the occasional presence of "out of context" design elements in some tentbands: tauk noska type animals and motifs that appear to be related to aina guls.

Richard Farber submitted a fragment of a long (his fragment is about 4 feet long; another related specimen is about 10 feet long), narrow (about 3 inches) textile embroidered on both sides with silk on a canvas-like cotton ground. We puzzled over its origin and use for awhile. Tom Cole was able to place it within the Turkmen group, but not more specific than that. It's use is still unknown.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the discussion.


Steve Price