Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-23-2005 06:25 PM:

What's first

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the salon.
Why do you think the turkmen design roots can be found in a flatweave design construction?
And if so, why not the other way around?

Best regards,

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 03-26-2005 02:14 PM:

One From Many

Hello Vincent

I'm inclined to believe that the gul format of pile rugs,
with it's metered layout could find it's origins in
or might be a crossover application from palas weaving.
Their symmetries are so alike.


Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-26-2005 09:23 PM:

Hi David,

Palas / kilim.
What are we talking about?
As said: Some think they can find the answers in kilim designs.
So, if we can find some very old Turkmen kilims, it makes things more easy.
Palas. Do you mean that palas has a different construction like weft wrapping and floating wefts like the one you're showing?
Because palas is used for kilims from the Caucasus. A Soumack from the Caucasus is a Soumack and not a palas.
A palas is basicly a flatwoven split kilim, without weft wrapping or floating wefts as a BASIC construction quality.
Some kuba/chirvan palas pieces use weftwrapping and needle techniques for design highlights.

Best regards,

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 03-26-2005 11:54 PM:


It is all rather confusing. Gelim, Kelim, Palas, Soumac, where
does one stop and the other begin? I guess this is why,
it is my understanding, the study of the kelim is regarded
as a discipline seperate from pile carpets. The following on the Palas from Richard E. Wright's Research Reports:

'Palases' are woven as narrow 'paths', 3 arshins wide and 7 1/2 arshins long. They are always woven in pairs and sold as such. A peculiarity of these carpets is that the selvedge is worked on three sides only with a view to sewing two carpets together to make a single carpet. 'Paths' are made with and without selvedges. When they start work on a carpet the weavers' first concern is to prepare and dye the wool to match the chosen pattern. Then they make a warp from linen thread, matching the designed height and width of the piece. The warp is rigged up to the wall of the hut in the most primitive fashion, well known to every peasant woman

I don't even begin to pretend to understand these
distinctions. This Turkmen Palas does seem to be a
rather singular creature, and especially considering their similarities
to Uzbek and other central asian flatweaves, it stands
to reason that much could be learned of these relationships
from their study.

Speculatively Speaking,


Posted by R. John Howe on 03-27-2005 12:34 AM:

Hi Vincent -

You wrote in part:

"...A palas is basicly a flatwoven split kilim, without weft wrapping or floating wefts as a BASIC construction quality."


Arguments of definition are arbitrary. Folks can recommend certain uses for words but others often disagree. Further, many words, "kilim" is a good example, are used with a wide variety of meanings.

But Tanavoli, in his book on "Persian Flatweaves" has disagreed explicitly with your indication here of what a "palas" is for him. He specifically differentiates "palas" from "kilims (he spells it "gelim") indicating that a defining quality of a "kilim" is for him that the piece is composed of only one set of wefts and one set of warps. This means that "slit weave" tapestry is one of his "kilim" structures.

"Palas" he claims have one set of warps but two sets of wefts one of which is structural. The structures he says are produced on the basis of this setup are four and "slit weave tapestry" is not included.

Now one can simply disagree with where Tanavoli has drawn this line of distinction but one would need an alternative argument to justify that.

Why do you think that "palas" are made using "slit weave tapestry?" Or do I misunderstand?


R. John Howe

Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-27-2005 10:21 AM:

Hi David and John,

In mr. Wright's writings it's a kilim like we see so often made in two parts. A left and a right part. This can be split kilim or whatever. So nothing about the way it is constructed.

Tanavoli. Didn't he write Kilim?
He show a palas on top of an ox-cart in the Caucasus.
The kilim he shows is of the s(p)lit/pigeontail kilim construction. But maybe he changed his mind?

Think for the benefit of David's discussion it would help if we know what we are discussing.
Turkman flatweaves, like we know them, are all of the weft wrapping kind. If the world wants to name these palas because Tanavoli spins a different yarn now, it's ok with me.

Best regards,

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 03-28-2005 01:39 PM:

Vincent, John, All

A couple of questions.

Is there any correlation between the geographic location
of various Turkmen tribes and the types of flatweave they produce?
Specifically, do the more western tribes have a
greater tendency to utilize the more "western"
types, such as slit weave?


Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-28-2005 05:58 PM:


What's the use of extra wefts in the turkmen flatweaves? It makes the textile stronger. The extra wefts add a binding quality so in transport bags this is useful. In flatweave kilims it makes the textile thicker and dense. So it's more practical in everyday use. As an extra, the loose threads at the back make the kilim more insulating. The finer the design is, the more loose ends at the back, the better it insulates against cold from floors, wooden walls etc.
Is split kilim more western Turkmen? How far west do you want to go? Because now we've learned that most kilims in Morocco are palas, everything is possible.

Think the extra qualities these kind of weft wrapped kilims posses, are very practical in desserts. Hot days and cold nights.

Best regards,

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 03-31-2005 06:20 PM:

Let's Not Go There...


No need to go all the way to Morocco. I was refering
more to the differences between the flatweave
products of say Iran vs. Afghanistan, and more specifically
to the work of the Yomud such as this horse blanket (?)
from the salon.

All I remember were attributed to the Yomud. Why?
Or is my inexperience showing.