Nice photo essay, John; I've always admired the Chilkat blankets; even thought about owning one. What I like the most is its shape (pentagonal) and abstract designs. This is the same reason I like and own asmalyks. Basically this is the only "comparison" that I take away from the essay. The rest are all contrasts such that if one takes away the speculation of tribal movement from West to East, leaves only contrasts with no relationships other than shape and my "likes".
Dear folks -
I had not realized how alert and well-versed Marvin is on close English usage.
I had rather casually used "compare" as an ecumenical kind of verb trying to suggest that the action being taken was to determine whether the Chilkat dancing blanket and the Turkmen asmalyk have discernible features to be classed as similar and some others to be classed as different.
But as Marvin points out the first definition of "compare" reserves this word for denoting instances in which similarities (alone) are being noted (all else are instances of "contrast"). While my usage is apparently allowed, it is lacks the rigor of the primary definition.
One strong hint of the true core of "compare" is in the definition of "comparable." This latter term is defined as "having traits in common."
So Marvin is correct, as my old eighth grade English teacher, Ruth C. Frey, would agree: I have at the end been driven back to citing mostly "contrasts."
R. John Howe
No matter whether the asmalyk and the blanket have much in common except the shape and being attractive. The blankets are a completely new genre to our site, and having some Turkmen stuff on the same pages with these alien textiles offers emotional reassurance to our less adventuresome readers.
Save Your Money
You could probably buy several world-class asmalyks for the price of a single contemporaneous Chilkat blanket.
Both have derived their form from their function. They each have tassles on the "bottom".
But the bottom is the flat side on the asmalyk, due to the shape of the hump of the camel, and the bottom is the pointed side on the Chilkat blanket, allowing the blanket, or robe to permit the arms of the wearer to be loose - yet still proved more coverage to the rear.
If you make it to Seattle for the next ACOR, plan to visit the Seattle Art Museum. Even though they recently returned their Matisse "Odalisque" (1928) to the family of the Jewish art dealer it was stolen from during WWII, they still have several Chilkat blankets on permanent display.
There's a nice one in the Rochester Museum and Science Center also. The last auction price that I saw for a Chilkat blanket was less than the world class asmalyks, but that was 6-7 years ago so I'm not up-to-date.
Dear folks -
Chilkat dancing blankets are very expensive and have apparently always been so. The books indicate that, about 1850, a Chilkat dancing blanket had $30 of purchasing power, a great deal of money then.
And as Pat Weiler mentions, there is to be an exhibition of Chilkat dancing blankets at ACOR 7 in Seattle. In addition, there is to be a demonstration of Chilkat dancing blanket weaving by a weaver named, Anna Brown Ehlers.
I contacted Fred Ingham, who heads the ACOR 7 organization effort, he gave me Ms. Brown Ehlers' email address and I have written inviting her to participate in this discussion. No response so far.
Pat, if you have any influence, you might also encourage Ms. Brown Ehlers to join us. It would really be good to have an actual Chilkat blanket weaver in our conversation.
R. John Howe