Posted by Steve Price on 10-24-2006 10:00 AM:

"Dragon and Simurgh" Kaitag Embroideries

Hi Folks

We did a Salon on so-called "Simurgh and Dragon" Kaitag embroideries a few years back. It included several examples, all with an obvious familial relationship, but fairly varied in execution. I thought some of them might make an interesting exercise for our purposes here.

Here they are:

Your rankings and reasons. I don't have an external expert lined up to offer comments on these, by the way.

Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 10-24-2006 11:03 AM:

Steve -

About not having an expert lined up. That's fine, you can "be" the expert for this thread, just refrain from giving your own ratings for awhile.


R. John Howe

Posted by R. John Howe on 10-24-2006 11:13 AM:

Dear folks -

I don't really know anything about Kaitag embroideries, but I'll offer my opinion anyway.

Labelling these three pieces A, B, and C starting with the top one:

A: Best: Rating: 8 Rationale: I think this is the best piece in terms of color and the drawing seems nearly, but not quite, on a par with that of Piece B below it.

B: Better: Rating: 6 Rationale: I think the drawing on this piece is likely the best of the three but the colors seem lacking to me.

C: Better: Rated: 6 Rationale: Color seems nearly as good as that in piece, A but not quite. The drawing seems more conventialized and a bit cramped maybe because less well planned.

Posted by Steve Price on 10-24-2006 11:31 AM:

Hi John

Just one point: the colors on number 2 are probably very close to those on numbers 1 and 3. It comes from a published source in which the color reproduction looks to be far below state of the art to my eyes.


Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 10-24-2006 02:23 PM:

Steve -

Then I think I need to redo a bit with my ratings hinging more on drawing alone. That being the case my revised ratings would be.

A: Best: Score:8
B: Best: Score:8
C: Better: Score: 6

If in additional comparisons the poster has reason to believe that the colors on our monitors are inaccurate, that would be good to state, since color seems likely to be a frequent basis of evaluation.


R. John Howe

Posted by Richard Larkin on 10-25-2006 08:37 PM:


I have no idea what these are. I give A an 8, best, and find it eye-popping. I give B a better at 6. Perhaps I'm penalizing it for the more somber-appearing color, in spite of your comment. But I find the drawing less energetic as well. It could be more "spacious," and is less so than B, but on balance I rate them as indicated. C doesn't move me so much, and I'll give it a better at 4 for being pretty anyway.

Are they silk on linen? Cotton?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Steve Price on 10-26-2006 12:43 AM:

Hi Rich

The embroidery is silk. The ground textile is probably cotton for all three, although I don't know this for certain.

Steve Price

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 10-26-2006 04:08 AM:

Let’s see:

A: Best, 8 – better colors than the following and I like the “full composition” too
B: Best, 7 – inferior to B in colors and composition
C: Best, 8 – Don’t ask me why. I just like it.



Posted by Steve Price on 11-01-2006 10:42 AM:

Hi People

I've seen a fair number of Kaitags of this group, and my impression is that the colors are not very different from one to another. So I would ignore the apparent color differences in these three; the first one is probably closest to what you'd see for each of them seen in person.

There are several categories of Kaitags, and these belong to the group used over the head regions of baby cradles as protection against the evil eye. The intention was to use highly disruptive patterns and colors, which would prevent the evil eye from focusing attention upon the infant.

For this reason, I think it's reasonable to judge them on the basis of how well they meet their objectives, which would be to have a riot of color, irregular forms, and discontinuities. All of this, apparently, within the framework of a fairly well defined design (the so-called dragon and simurgh, the layout, etc.). This, incidentally, is the basis of their appeal to me as well. I own one of this genre, but have not included it because it's impossible for me to judge it with anything approaching objectivity.

I think the first two are excellent, the first one better than the second because of the busy-ness and density of the embroidery. The third is, in my opinion, far inferior in every respect. The "simurgh and dragon" are nearly unintelligible, the vertical columns of cartouches are replaced by simple vertical poles. It lacks the profusion of details and general exuberance of the other two. I think the evil eye would go straight for a beautiful child if this was the only distraction in its path.

My ratings are, in the order that they appear in the first post,
A = Best, an 8 or 9
B = Very Good (Best minus?), a 7 or 8
C = Poor, a 2 or 3


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 11-02-2006 05:45 PM:


If the idea is to help the evil eye get lost in the scramble, A is the winner far and away. It brings in the notion that I think Louis mentioned, and maybe one or two others, that understanding the purpose of the weaver may be very important, and possibly beyond our reach in many instances. As a matter of fact, when we tell ourselves we understand the purpose of the weaver, then I think we may really be in trouble.

Rich Larkin