Posted by Patrick Weiler on 12-16-2004 09:53 AM:

Piece of Baluch

Here we have a piece of an old Baluch bag. It has "almost" Christmas colors of deep red and dark green. The colors are so dark that it is nearly impossible to make out the design, even in bright light. I wonder how the weaver even knew what she was doing! That may explain the irregular and non-symmetric design.

From the back you can see the variation in weft.

Was this one of those Baluch pieces with pile "shoulders" that went between the faces? It looks like an early 20th century piece.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 12-19-2004 10:23 PM:

Calling all Baluchi's

Does anyone have one of these Baluch saddlebags with the pile which continues along the sides from one face to the other?
I would like to know where the ends are. In normal saddlebags, the closure panels mark the "ends" of the weaving. When a normal saddlebag is opened up, the weaving starts at one closure end, continues through the face, then the back, and finally ends at the closure end of the other face. When these Baluch (and I believe only Baluch) saddlebags have a continuation of the pile, it would seem that the usual "end" at the closure panels could not exist.


Patrick Weiler

Posted by Sophia Gates on 12-20-2004 02:20 AM:

Baluch bag with Shoulders


I have one! I will try to dig up a photo. It's a complete bag, ie, two bags joined. Hard to describe. But it seems to make sense when you see the bag because the shoulders actually add reinforcement to the whole structure, so instead of just the flatwoven back joining the two bags the pile extensions are connected to the outside edges of the flatwoven "bridge" from bag to bag, thus strenthening the whole khorjin.

I think this design evolved because it's strong and functional, rather than for esthetic reasons (my opinion!)

OK, I can see I'll have to get a picture ASAP!

All the best,

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 12-20-2004 02:45 AM:

Here is Sophia’s image – rotated of 90° for practical reasons:

Thanks Sophia!


Posted by Chuck Wagner on 12-20-2004 08:20 AM:

Hi Pat,

Here's another one, from my closet. This is from the Sistan region. These images were posted earlier in a the Salon on Baluchi Aesthetic by Tom Cole. Colors look similar to yours, but this one is in good shape. Mid-20th century:

The discusion tread link is:

Also, Hi Sophia, long time no post !!


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Sophia Gates on 12-21-2004 01:33 AM:

Sistan Bag

Dear Chuck,

It is nice to hear your voice again, as it were

I have sent Filiberto another pic of the bag so you can see the color better and a bit of the back. Mine is definitely a bit the worse for wear!

That green does seem to show up a lot in rugs from this region, yes? I've wondered if that's due to the availability of some plant or other? Mine does have a deep indigo blue ground as well, can't tell if yours is the same from my monitor.

I have a balisht face that I got from Tom awhile back that is also from the Sistan region - actually I have two - and they are quite colorful. The older one is camel ground and has green and aubergine rather than the usual blue and red for accent colors, (it does have the usual holes while the other is blue but has accents in brilliant color (for a Baluch!)

I have found them growing on me over the years.

Take care!


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 12-21-2004 03:11 AM:

Hi Sophia,

Here you go…



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 12-21-2004 10:29 PM:

The End


I am still not sure where the end/beginning of your weaving is. There is a dark line near the top of the flatweave section, (as seen in the first picture) but that may be goat-hair closure loops? How does it close?
Are the pile shoulders sewn to the flatweave section? You said:

the pile extensions are connected to the outside edges of the flatwoven "bridge" from bag to bag,

Are these shoulders sewn both at the outer edges and the inside?
That would make the bag openings quite restricted and maybe susceptible to wear and tear.
It is odd that this type of bag does not appear elsewhere. Are there any "older" shoulder-type versions known? Could this be a recent adaptation?
Oh, and you have some cute little doggies on your bag. Or are they cats?
I know I have seen mice on some rugs, but I don't recall too many cats. Perhaps cats are not very good migrators?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Sophia Gates on 12-22-2004 01:41 AM:


Dear Patrick,

First - Happy Holidays!

Now - on to the bag: the bag closes via a braided goat hair system. On my bag, the loops are formed by a goat hair braid attached both to the edge of the bag front and to the back, as you can sort of see - I'll try to get a scan that might help illustrate. I think a rope or braid passes through the loops to close the bag. I don't have the original rope if there was one - it could have been generic rather than specific to the individual bag. It isn't the same kind of system at all as you see on Southern Persian or Kurdish bags.

The shoulders are attached only on the outside edges. They're all protected by the braided goathair you often see on "Baluch" type pieces. At the bottom of each bag there is a delicate brocaded design. I think you can see that also, at least a little.

The whole thing is pretty sturdy but this particular one is old and has seen a lot of use. It's actually quite finely made, with fine wool, and I'm thinking it wasn't ever really meant to be super heavy duty. It looks to me more like a donkey size bag than for a large horse or camel.

I was sort of baffled by how it was made so I've just taken another look at it. It appears to have been woven all in one long strip, then crocheted and sewn together at a point on the bag about six inches above the bottom of one bag. I've never seen anything like this and I had assumed it was a repair but I think that it's actually the way it was made (?) It makes sense because that way the join doesn't compromise the bottom of the bag. Maybe I should try to scan this too. After it was folded over and put together to form the essential shape I guess the outside edges were joined and the goathair braid woven on, both for strength and for protection of the edges. Very cool!

And, I think it's interesting, as you do, that this design seems to be unique. Most other khorjin-type double bags, wherever they're from, seem to me to have an essentially similar design, even similar closure systems, and this one is different in appearance, in function, and apparently in how it was put together.

That makes me wonder about the people who made it, who they were - the Sistan Baluch color is so different, the wool is quite long although shiny and fine, the structure and design of the bag is apparently unique - I wonder if anybody can tell us more about the people? I confess that my memory has slipped with respect to Tom's salon so I can't remember if he discussed these weavers as people!

I think the little critters could be dogs but also maybe goats? They're cute! Also - it's very very soft with fine wool.

I'll try to get better images of the (remaining) closure system and the back where it's put together, hopefully tomorrow.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 12-23-2004 02:14 PM:

Holy Bag!


You said:

"It appears to have been woven all in one long strip, then crocheted and sewn together at a point on the bag about six inches above the bottom of one bag."

Does this mean on the pile front of the bag?

Also, another interesting construction issue is if this was made in one piece, the weaver had to either weave the "hole or open" area in pile and then cut it out later, or leave the warp threads un-piled (in the open area) during weaving and then cut them out and secure the "edges" or openings of the bags. The warps would have been continuous. The weaver would have needed to leave that open/hole area un-piled while weaving the rest of the bag. Would that have caused tension issues?

Now, I must get my shopping started! Only 2 more shopping days.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Sophia Gates on 12-24-2004 02:59 PM:

Confusing Bag

Dear Patrick,


I will, as promised, send scans which might shed some light but right now I'm up to my ears in holiday business.

Best holiday wishes to all!

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 12-24-2004 06:10 PM:

Eine Kleine Punkt

Hi Pat & Sophia,

A brief note: on either end of the hole on my piece is a strip of weft-substitution flatweave about 1 1/2 inches across. I'll have to dig it out of the closet to provide any construction details, probably after the holiday.


Chuck Wagner