Perhaps this green lattice evident on the face of the palas,
is an analog to other Turkmen pile woven designs such as the one on the Beshir bagface below,
or the following,
or even this Uzbek weaving.
The above mentioned lattice.
Find below an image of an Ersari mafrash from my collection with the palas design rendered in pile. There's that green again.
While on the lattice subject, let's not forget the following images from 1420 and 1429 miniatures in von Bode's "Antique Rugs From The Near East" (pg.85) which is accompanied by the following statements
"then regular repetition of certain definite ornamental forms by the most diverse book illuminators permits us satisfactory conclusions regarding their actual decorative stock-in-trade. According to these reproductions the field appears to have been filled with either with a simple scale-pattern or latticework, or else with a continuous and usually rather loose plaited design, in which stars, rosettes, hexagons or other incidental motives were interspersed".
One More Time
Just another example.
Bonjour à tous
The lattice design is a complexe subject that would need an entire salon.
Tracing design or motif history is a slippery slope. The more complex and specific a design is, the better the chances are of solving the riddles. Conversely, it's probably impossible to trace very simple motifs without substantial information beyond the times that the designs can be found in various places.
The straight line segment or pair of intersecting lines (a cross) are probably beyond the range of things whose history can be traced. They almost certainly had multiple origins; nobody had to carry them from one culture to another.
Lattices are more complicated than lines or crosses, but not by much. I'm sure that they, too, had multiple origins, since there's probably no culture on the planet that didn't have something like them in their design repertoires. For that reason, I think it's a mistake to try to connect the many lattice examples that are around.
It is kind of fun, though.
Dear folks -
I think the point the Steve makes above is part of what troubles me about a lot of the comparisons, arguments and seeming conclusions being made here.
I think we need to be careful about how widely we make such comparisons. At some level of generality nearly any design can be argued to have some similarities with almost any other.
I'm not sure such comparisons take us very far.
R. John Howe
There's My Cue...
Louis, Steve, John, All
Yes, the lattice alone could constitute an entire salon itself, it's significance proceeding as much from geometry and it's relation to design in general as from the multiple types or manifestations, as in the Herati designs and dragon carpets, Kurdish tribals, ect..
John, you have said that you don't believe that such comparisons, as in the examples posted in this thread,take us very far, and as yet I agree. But I hope to change this.
Steve, you have stated that "it's probably impossible to trace very simple motifs without substantial information beyond the times that the designs can be found in various places". Once again I agree, but as with John above, maybe I can alter this perception, in the least in regard to the examples we have here, in which I believe the effects of proximity and the influences of other textile patterns have come together in a regional style.
We seem to have three basic patterns here, based upon the palas brocade, the ikat, and the Mina Khani or Herati pattern, and I believe the relationships inherent in these three designs, which closely parallel those revealed in the salon, can contribute much to our understanding of Turkmen weaving in general.
I'll put something together and try to get it up soon.
Sorry to have taken so long, just busy of late.
"For the integrity of the whole is mutilated, if thou cuttest off anything whatever from the conjunction and the continuity either of the parts or the causes".
Marcus Aurelius - The Meditations
I had stated in my previous post that we seem to have three basic patterns represented by the Ersari here, based upon the palas brocade, the ikat, and the Mina Khani or Herati pattern. I believe the relationships inherent in these three designs, which closely parallel those revealed in the salon, can contribute much to our understanding of Turkmen weaving in general, for I believe that the effects of proximity and the influences of these other textile patterns have come together in a regional style, encompassing not only the three above mentioned classes of Ersari weaving, but the Turkmen gul format in general.
It is important to keep in mind a few basic principals inherent to the study of Turkestan and in turn Turkmen weaving in general, as postulated by Kalter in his "Arts And Crafts Of Turkestan".
1. Forms and ornaments which appeared in their characteristic shape for the first time in the Timurid period have dominated the traditions of the arts and crafts untill well into our century.(Kalter, pg.39)
2. Items which can be proved to be older than 100 to 150 years are extremely rare.(Kalter,pg.26)
3. Late medieval cultural traditions have survived untill our own time. This makes the study of the recent cultures of Turkestan so fertil, but at the same time so difficult; they can only be understood from a historical point of view.(Kalter, pg.41)
In short, the cultures of Turkestan have been static since the decay of the Mongol empires, and it is possible that traditions such as the use of the Palas as a floor covering and the influences of ikat weaving upon that of pile, may date to this early period. There is practically no physical evidence, so that which can be learned must proceed from correlation.
Brocade Based Patterns
Pile woven examples of Palas brocade patterns seem to be straight forward enough, and there seems to be a high correlation of design elements between the two groups. Given the propensity for weavers to imitate tile work and engraved patterns, and in turn for there to be numerous examples of tile and stone engraving imitating carpet, it seems matter of course that pile floor coverings would imitate the patterns of brocaded floor coverings as in the palas. That the palas repesents, as Mr.Slattery contended in the most important "More Palas Pictures" thread of this salon, "clearly the most basic type of floor covering to be found in this part of Central Asia" , and in keeping with Kalter's principal #3 above, which would assert that the palas has been as such since the late middle ages, further the plausibility that Turkmen gul patterns and symmetry mimic brocaded Palas patterns and symmetry.
It seems that a large number of Turkmen weavings fall into this class, weavings possessed of patterns and designs which mimic the patterns of ikat cloth, which itself is so important in this part of the world and which has an extensive history of production in the Turkmen regions.The size of this class of weavings speaks much of the importance of ikat, so esteemed and imitated.
The similareties between the two, Ikat and pilework, are many, but this discussion will center upon two characteristics or qualities of construction and design, those of warp based design and the symmetry of design.
It is entirely of coincidence that both the ikat and the pile woven rug should both be of a warp based design structure, in which the design is applied to the warps by way of dying sections of the warp in ikat, and by attaching dyed knots of wool to the warp strands in the pile weave. However, it is no coincidence that the patterns of the two fabrics share the same symmetry, for this characteristic of being a warp based design both expedites the borrowing of designs and symmetry and encourage the transaction, by way of simplifying of the process by which patterns can be transcribed from one medium to the other.
The symmetry of design, between ikat and the pile woven gul format, is perhaps even better demonstrated by considering the process by which the design is layed out upon the ikat warps by a technique of halving and folding the warps upon themselves in order to form a repeating pattern. The following simple demonstration will clairify this process.
Take an 8 x 11 sheet of standard paper and folds it in half along it's length. Then fold it again lengthwise. Take the resulting narrow strip and fold it in half along its narrowest boundry, then fold the resulting rectangle again, across it's shortest dimension. Now crease the paper heavily upon the edges, and then unfold it to reveal the perfectly symmetrical grid. The grid which shares the symmetry of the Turkmen gul format design. Simplicity in itself, this temporal exercise in design symmetry.
I will return to complete this discussion shortly.
P.S. Does this belong here with the other ikat patterns?
Find below the final installment of my conclusion.
The Herati Pattern
The pervasiveness of the Herati or Herati based patterns speaks of the Turkmen region's proximity to the city of Herat. As Wilhelm von Bode states in his "Antique Carpets of the Near East", "the capital of Khorassan, accredited as a carpet center, had great significance under the Timurids as a cultural focus untill about 1500, but then lost it's political importance in favor of Tabriz", and as is so often the fashion, weaving areas adjacent to important production centers adopt the patterns of said products. Such seems the case with these Ersari, although other weaving centers, producing any of the myriad interpretations of this Herati lattice based pattern could possibly be the source.
We now seem to have come full circle, for here we are speaking of the pervasive nature of the lattice, as a source of so much inspiration in carpet designs of the classical period and of uncounted rural variations. Remembering Bode's assertion from above regarding Timurid carpets " the field appears to have been filled with either with a simple scale-pattern or latticework, or else with a continuous and usually rather loose plaited design, in which stars, rosettes, hexagons or other incidental motives were interspersed", it seems plausible to conclude that the Herati pattern is of Mongol origin. Bode continued as above with the following ;
"Now and then there is originated in this way one of those cross and star effects with multiple modifications that seem so akin to the Persian tile floors, or in other cases,again, we will be reminded of the octagon systems of the Turkmen and Anatolian rugs".
As such, the lattice and the interspersed elements are of an inverse relation to each other. Where we see a field of octagons, we find a lattice work in the negative space, and of the lattice field we see opportunity for octagons, stars, turkmen guls, ect., in the negative. These patterns are intimately related.
In short, it seems that the effects of proximity and the influences of other textile patterns have come together in a regional style.
Particular Ornamental Style
On page 195 of "Art Of Islam", Carel J. Du Ry makes an interesting comment regarding a particilar ornamental style. "What one might describe as ceramic marquetry was a decorative feature particularlly esteemed by the Mongols".
Find below a doorway from thr Great Mosque of Cordova, circa 785 A.D. in Cordova, Spain,
compared to a doorway from Samarkand, 13th -15th cent.
Notice these floral devices on either side of the doorway. It has been suggested that the first, from Cordova, could be of the pomegranat such as found in the image below.
As kalter states, and as discussed on the Middle Amu Darya thread here on Turkotek
"Earrings composed of three spheroids, like ours from the Ferghana valley, have been shown to go back to the jewlery of ancient South Arabia and pre-islamic Iran and had spread throught the islamic world even in the age of the first caliphs".
I found this image in Kalters "Arts and Crafts of Turkestan" of a Sart (urban resident of Turkestan) kitchen.
I was struck by these large woven screens in the background. I found something quite similar on Marla Mallett's website as below.
Could there be some connection?
Just two images of a mosque in Khiva from Katharina's album, decorated with this exquisite tile work and reminescent of these finely detailed Herati patterns.
Link to full size image.
Link to full size image.