Posted by Bob_Kent on 12-01-2004 09:34 PM:

East Anatolian Fragment

This must qualify as a fragment, however you define one. It's about 3 x 5.5 feet, has some goat? hair in the foundation. It has many colors with several blues and browns (note subtle contrast of one brown versus the apricot background of the main border in the corner image below). I'm no expert, but I'd guess the purple is from cochineal. The light blue (not the electric blue of the center panel, but the light blue in border forms) doesn't seem to be from sulphonic, same for the blue greens. Similar to a few plates in Eagleton, but with more and brighter colors. Can anyone direct me to other published rugs or say more about it? thanks ...

Posted by Michael_Wendorf on 12-01-2004 11:40 PM:



Although Eagleton alternates between Gaziantep and Malatya as the place of origin for these rugs, people in Turkey today would probably place this further north - near Sivas. It is Kurdish.

Eagleton also seems to see Armenian and Caucasian influence in these pieces; perhaps due to similarity with some flatweave and related rug designs that are common there. I suggest you consider so-called large pattern Holbein rugs as a possible design source.

The electric blue in your rug is pretty distinctive, and it seems to have a different color value, as seen on my monitor, from some of the other colors; likewise the cherry red. The purple is difficult to judge, but does not appear to be madder. I like the negative images in your border.

I will defer to others on whether this constitutes a fragment, but I would prefer to think of it as a relic as opposed to a wreck.

Best wishes, Michael

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 12-02-2004 01:22 AM:

Water Tank


I would certainly call your rug a fragment, but quite a delightful one.
The design in your rug looks like the typical Kurdish "water-tank" design.
An example is shown on the Jozan website:

Yours is quite obviously Eastern Anatolian. The colors, especially the apricot, along with some of the other minor motifs, all point in that direction. The apricot color is common in so-called "Yoruk" rugs from Eastern Anatolia, although some authors have argued for a more specific description, such as Kurdish, for this type of rug.
I do not know of any study showing where the design originated, although it is more formally found to the east, in Khorasan.

In James Burns book, a rug with this design is shown (plate 99). He notes that other sources say the design may derive from a garden, or the "hauzi"-water-tank. Burns believes it may be a representation of the 'abyss" from the Yazdi religion.

I, of course, prefer the interpretation that these are symbolic of the heat exchange systems of archaic nuclear power plants.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 12-02-2004 03:14 AM:

Hi Bob,

Nice specimen.
You can find another example here:
from An Exhibition of Traditional Kurdish Rugs Organized by Michael Wendorf and Sponsored by The Near Eastern Art Research Center



Posted by Bob Kent on 12-02-2004 08:15 AM:


it's a tough one to photograph: if the blues look right then the red's off a bit. the subtle color differences, such as the cinnamon partial main border form in the corner image, get lost. in person this color is clearly different from the apricot background of the main border and the cinnamon seems longer than the apricot.

Posted by Michael_Wendorf on 12-02-2004 09:22 AM:


Dear Readers:

Yoruk referring to nomad or wanderer in Turkey is too generic. In my experience, these rugs as represented by Bob's fragment are known as Kurdish weavings even by people who hesitate to apply ethnic tags. There are simply too many of them that have been directly sourced from Kurdish groups to conclude otherwise. That said, there is quite a difference between the example referenced by Filiberto and Bob's example. The piece exhibited in 1999 has a great deal of a soft old green in it as well as extensive use of a burnt orange and a clear yellow. In addition, there were clearly three separate compartments as a design construct where Bob's rug can be read as three vertical medallions - only the change in ground color expresses the compartmentalization that is typical of the group.

I am not certain what Patrick means when he writes that the design is more formally found in the east, in Khorasan. There is a Kurdish enclave there that makes many rugs with similar motifs in the field and the Jozan example is one of them. They never seem very formal to me and I would tend to think of them as derivative of an older Anatolian tradition. If these are water tanks and related to garden imagery then you would want to consider Persian garden design sources. I still think one would be well served to consider so-called Holbein prototypes.

An interesting group.

Best wishes, Michael

Posted by Bob Kent on 12-02-2004 11:12 AM:

Michael, thanks, yes I see the LPHolebin influence. Compared to the rug in your exhibit, my beat-up one is smaller, has cochineal, and has brighter colors (electric blue, strong red). Maybe last quarter? Fun little rug.

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 12-02-2004 12:47 PM:



What I meant to say was a more formal or standardized version of the water-tank design was woven in the Khorasan area. Not that they wove them while wearing formal clothing. I need some remedial grammar lessons.
Bob's rug is a more rustic rendition of the design.
If, in fact, the design originated in the Eastern Anatolian region, then Bob's rug is a direct descendent of the original. The Khorasan version was brought there from the Anatolian region, a derivative of the original design, just as you say. The Anatolian version morphed and modified over the years.

Formally yours,

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 12-04-2004 12:19 PM:

Hi Bob,

Looking for something else, I found this in Hali 25 page 20:

Said to be Yoruk, East Anatolia, 109x221 cm.
Notice the border.



Posted by Bob Kent on 12-06-2004 10:37 AM:

thanks filiberto, here is a yastik from the recent textile museum anatoilan show that captures the LPHolbein feel of my rug with descending pendants, and a more naively drawn cool version of the rug from a friend's private collection:

Posted by Horst Nitz on 12-25-2004 05:25 PM:

Hi Bob and all

First, a Merry Christmas to all who peep in these days.

Wonderful colours. No doubt the piece is tribal or village and therefore it is difficult to imagine how the weaver should have come by indigosulphonic acid. That dye was used by workshops not before the middle of 19th century I should think. No, it just is a very nice light blue.

As to the origin, several areas seem possible. At least theoretically. One is Quchan in Khorassan. In Jenny Housego’s book on tribal rugs you can find an illustration. I haven’t got it here, therefore I cant tell the plate number.

Another might be the Varamin area where some of the Kurdish groups that left the southern Caucasus settled whilst others went on to Khorassan.

This implies that the southern slopes of the Caucasus or the Moghan steppes might be another origin, where some Kurdish groups formed part of the Shasevan confederation. Before they joined centuries ago they had lived around mount Ararat in eastern Turkey. It might be possible that the design has survived there amongst remnants. I am not suggesting that the design itself goes back to the middle ages, but Kurdish weavers in eastern Turkey may have picked it up from their relatives in Azerbaidjan. There always was ample travelling in those parts. The relation to Persian formal garden carpets has been suggested in the literature. This does not need to mean that the design itself is not older than those garden carpets. Due to a more sophisticated organisation of society and with it going a division of labour, workshops contracted by the courts in Ardebil or Tabris may have taken up the design and developed it further. It’s one of the short-comes in popular rug literature that it is usually assumed that designs were handed down from court to peasants. In that region courts still were quite solidly rooted in their tribal ancestry. Designs did not travel one one-way streets.

I appreciate the link to Holbein patterns for the central medaillons as well. It seems to be there anyway with regard to the hooked medaillons in the main borders.

Back to your rug. I have not seen a rug like yours with a “certified” attribution to the west. The colours seem so fresh, looking at it, the Caucasus does not seem to be far and some good 19th century Moghan rugs and kasaks come to my mind. Also some centres of those hooked medaillons in the main border of your rug show motives that are known from the Caucasus: allegedly they are called “animal hides” amongst old Armenian rug dealers (Doris Eder, 1990). It is my impression that they also form the vertical axis of the well known Lori Pampak Medaillon. Actually, the contours of the central medaillons of your rug can be linked to those red polygones in Karachoph type II rugs.

All the rugs of the type of yours that I have looked at and have held in hands came from Khorassan. If that is where yours comes from as well, then (with a little bid of extrapolation due to fine colours and execution of details) it should be middle 19th century, not later, perhaps earlier. I have one with a different design and colours similar to yours but not quite the same quality, reliably dated 3rd quarter 19th century. Here are a couple of pictures:



Posted by Horst Nitz on 12-27-2004 08:22 AM:

Hallo Bob

I realised I have given you the wrong reference. The proper one is: Brüggemann W, Böhmer H (1982) Teppiche der Bauern und Nomaden Anatoliens, München. Plate numbers are correct. The English title should read something like “Rugs of the Peasants and Nomads of Anatolia”.

Sorry for this.