Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-18-2007 03:59 PM:

The Turkey I Bought In Istanbul

Several Turkotek regulars were seen enjoying the Turkish sights and hospitality before, during and after the ICOC. These include Jeff Krauss, John Howe, Wendel Swan, Rob van Wieringen and more. Several of them are known to have actually added to their collections while there. Perhaps some of them may be enticed to present some of their purchases here, too.

As I noted in the salon, I acquired a pair of Tekke kizil chuvals the day before the ICOC during a whirlwind initial visit to the Grand Bazaar.
It was an impulse purchase.
I still had a pulse, so I bought them.
They are rather large, at 4' wide and 3'8" tall, 125cm x 80cm.
Kizil chuvals, with their plain red-ground elem, are purported to be less common than Ak chuvals with the white elem. And nearly universally they are decorated with the same or similar designs, usually in 9 pile stripes.
According to Turkmen by Mackie and Thompson the Ersari are known to weave large bags with horizontal stripes, but in pile and with mainly border designs filling the stripes. They say that the Tekke piece shown in the book, plate 34, "reproduces almost exactly a design found in Ersari work, but on a much smaller scale.....It is therefore possible that this design has been assimilated from an outside surce."

I will need to get a better magnifying glass to count the knots. There are a lot of them. Perhaps I need a microscope. If you look at the last picture, the wide strip with the white background is about 3/4" or 2cm wide. Notice how thin the black outline on the "barbell/spanner" designs is.
The 7-8 colors include white, dark blue-or black, green, red, yellow (in only one of the pair), orange-red, brown and maroon.
There is no silk that is obvious and the white is corroded and lower in length than the other pile colors. I thought it was cotton but it is wool. The blue on the front is actually dark green on the back, but has lost its yellow component on the front.
I do not know how often one can find a pair of these chuvals. The bargaining that took place when I bought them included the possibility that I would be going home with only one of them, but a compromise was reached and they are still together, at least for now!
Very early in my collecting career I saw a single kizil chuval at a department store for sale. This was in 1992, when the Frederick & Nelson store was going out of business in Seattle:

I am glad I waited until now to get this pair - for less than the single one back in 1992.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Larkin on 05-18-2007 05:28 PM:


You don't need the magnifying glass to see the knots, you need it to see the pile. Only kidding. It's just that I was never able to fully accept the "less is more" aesthetic of this type of bag. But this pair is mellow and pleasing. Welcome back. Thanks for the salon, which we will enjoy much.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-18-2007 07:15 PM:

More or Less....


There is a lot of "more" in the "less" on these bags than one usually gets in a weaving. Besides, when they are in the stack at the back of the tent, you can't see the designs anyway.....

Patrick Weiler

Posted by James Blanchard on 05-19-2007 01:26 AM:

Hi Patrick,

Congratulations on those kizil chuvals. Those look very nicely done, and the pile is in good shape. I agree that they have a nice visual appeal.

A while back I showed a Turkmen "trapping" that was created by sewing together two strips from a similar chuval. It was hanging over the door in a rug shop run by Turkmen dealers in Pakistan. They were a bit taken aback when I asked them "how much", since I don't think they saw it as a sale item. The price was very reasonable. I am still trying to count the number of knots -- it is very tight.

I read somewhere that one theory for these part-pile chuvals is that the pile strips keep the bags from slipping when they are piled up. I suppose that is as good a theory as any...



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-19-2007 11:58 AM:

Going Shopping?


I recall seeing your trapping before. They probably used the rest of the chuval to manufacture a "new" antique!
As for the reason for the design, it was speculated by Mackie/Thompson to have come from outside sources and they refer to full-pile striped Ersari pieces. They also note, about the Ersari pieces done mostly in border designs:
"Some, unknown as border designs, display such a perfect ambiguity between the motif and the ground design that it is tempting to believe that they were originally conceived in a different technique - perhaps fabrics with floating wefts." And: "Further reflection convinces me that this is yet another example of the translation of designs from one medium to another. Among the Turkmen, the commonest examples are the copying of slit=tapestry, weft-float brocading, ikat, possibly applique, feltwork and fine brocade."

What this could mean is that the pile sections, copied from earlier, different materials, have no actual function other than decorative. The notion that the pile "ridges" would keep the bags from sliding is, I think, speculative at best. One would need to have the pile sections interlock with one another in order to effect this "traction" against each other. If they are stacked with the pile up and the plain-weave backs down, there would not be much friction. And if these designs in pile were copied from flatweaves, the flatweave decorations would have even less "stiction" than pile strips.
Most tents are set up on flat ground, anyway, so sliding would not be a significant issue. And if the technique worked so well, why was it not copied?
It is a device that evolved from another and was a genealogical dead end. Otherwise, our ubiquitous plastic shopping bags would have pile strips on them, too...

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Chris Countryman on 05-19-2007 03:45 PM:

A not exactly related question

Thank you for your tour of Istanbul for all of us who couldn't go; it (slightly) mitigates my regrets about having to feed and clothe my family instead of attending ICOC.

A bit of curiosity about the sale and transport of old textiles: doesn't the Turkish government have laws limiting their export? How old does a piece have to be so that it must stay in the country?

I wondered is some of the ruggies didn't get caught up in being unable to take their prizes home.


Chris Countryman

Posted by Steve Price on 05-19-2007 04:06 PM:

Hi Chris

I've never had a problem taking textiles out of Turkey, and I don't know anyone who has been hassled about it. I suspect that the Turkish government, aware of the economic impact of tourists spending money on rugs, would have its customs people look the other way if you walked through the departure lounge at Ataturk airport carrying a bundle of antique rugs.


Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-19-2007 07:10 PM:

Not Very Old


I remember hearing that 130 years was the maximum age for exporting antiques out of Turkey, probably without a lot of extra legal hassles. And I think you can only take up to $2,000 worth of things out per person without paying customs fees. If this were in fact true, then quite a large number of rugs miraculously age and increase significantly in value the moment they leave Turkey.
I would like to think that these chuvals are around 131 years old, but I was not asked when departing the country.

Traveling as far away as Turkey, 10 hours earlier than West Coast US time, is a challenge, as well as a financial burden. But since Turkotek payed the entire bill for me, along with first class air fare and 5-star hotels, it was easy for me.

Steve, I haven't received my expense check yet!!!

Patrick (Just Kiddding!) Weiler

Posted by Richard Larkin on 05-19-2007 07:24 PM:


I get it. That monkey is just emphasizing your joke about the trip. At first read, I thought he was the guy at the airport spotting all the rugs over 130 years old. I knew they had to have somebody who can do it.

Rich Larkin

Posted by James Blanchard on 05-19-2007 07:39 PM:

Hmmmm... 2007-130 = 1877. So even the helpful Turkish customs authorities know that virtually every "antique" rug seems to have been woven during the "last quarter of the 19th century". In any case, I suppose that if halted and any antique pieces were suspected of being older than that, it should be simply a matter of insisting that the customs folks "prove it".


Posted by Steve Price on 05-19-2007 10:14 PM:

Hi Pat

The check is in the mail.


$teve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 05-19-2007 11:25 PM:

What I Was Told and My Experience

Dear folks -

I was told, as I was buying textiles in Turkey, that taking out "antiquities" is forbidden (e.g., picking up a piece of carved stone from Ephesus) but that there is no bar on taking out "ethnographic" materials.

The sorts of rugs we collect fall into this second category (I was shown some material for sale claimed to be 17th century, so theoretically I could have been bringing back things that old).

Leaving Turkey, Turkish customs asked us nothing at all.

Coming into the U.S., U.S. customs asked what we had bought. I said "some rugs." They said "Welcome home."

Nobody looked at anything and we had material for which we had paid a total of, at least, $4K.


R. John Howe

Posted by Horst Nitz on 05-22-2007 05:16 PM:

Hi all

if on the other hand your purchase is of a size or weight inconvenient to take as a hand luggage or in a suitcase and you desire to have it send to your home address, you usually need clearance by means of rubber stamp with TIEM if to avoid complications.



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 05-30-2007 09:20 PM:

How rare, why rare?

I was surprised to find, in ORR Volume III, No. 12 from March, 1984, a black and white photograph of a Quchan Bojnurd region Kurdish saddle bag of weft face plain weave and bands of pile with the major pile stripe of the same design as the kizil juvals:

The article was written by John Wertime, Coming to Grips With the Kurdish Weaving Tradition.
He says:
"The peculiar use of pile patterning a weft-faced plain-weave ground seen in fig.1(also fig. 11 in Discoveries from Kurdish Looms) does not often occur in other Kurdish weaving areas."
He does not note the similarity in design to the Turkmen kizil juval.

Way, way back 14 years ago Steve Price authored an article in ORR about an ak chuval. They are quite similar to these kizil chuvals, but with a white pile elem with various designs instead of a plain red elem in the kizil juvals. There is a picture of it on the front of the magazine, but no link to the article:
Remember, this was way back in 1993. He noted "One type, the kizil-juval (red deep bag) is extremely rare. The other, the ak-juval (white deep bag) is less rare, although very few of the known specimens were made before 1875."
The next issue of ORR included an article by George O'Bannon, "Tekke Turkoman Juvals, Cautionary Comments."
One of the rugs from this article was previously published in a different ORR article:
It is a full pile kizil juval.
O'Bannon discusses the ak juval at length, then mentions the kizil juvals:
"I would not agree the "kizil juval is extremely rare." Admittedly few of them are published, but there are many of them."
He says Nagel's have offered many of these over the years. He says that in the late 1980's "when Kelaty first brought Turkoman rugs into the United States from Russia, their shipments included many of exactly this type and vintage. The reasons they seem extremely rare are that the U.S. tariff on Soviet goods kept them out of the U.S. marketplace; most are late weavings with obvious synthetic dyes and, hence, not appealing to U.S. Turkomaniacs; U.S. Turkoman collectors are less venturesome than their European counterparts, so dealers and auction houses here didn't offer them; and kizil juvals are simply not as interesting or beautiful as the ak juvals. "Rarity" has as much to do with who will buy what as with real scarcity. Ak and kizil juvals are not in the same category of rarity as bird asmalyks, Yomud white tree asmalyks, or Saryk gul-i-gul main carpets; these weavings are rare and scarce because they are truly old."
He goes on to describe a few other Turkmen bag types, concluding:
"All of these are types which are fairly common as weavings but which are seldom bought or purveyed by dealers because they have never particularly excited the interest of collectors or even writers on Turkoman weavings."

It would seem to me that, prior to Kelaty bringing lots of Russian weavings into the west in the late 1980's, these and many other Turkmen weavings were rare. And quite likely, as with other weaving types that "suddenly' appear on the market, there seemed to be a proliferation of them, at least in early 1990's. But as with other previously "rare" weaving types, the flood slows to a trickle when the source dries up.
After the great Armenian earthquake when the California governor was able to persuade the Soviet Union to allow a number of Armenians to relocate into the California, a large number of relatively un-worn "Caucasian" rugs flooded into the U.S. market. Many were first quarter 20th century, but a number were earlier. Probably just like the Turkmen weavings that became available in the mid-to-late 1980's. Nowadays, though, you would be hard pressed to find many of these pieces in rug stores.
Shahsavan bags had a similar flow and ebb of availability. Turkish kilims had a heyday, with several books and exhibitions, and a large number were sourced in Turkey and brought west. They may have seemed to suddenly not be rare anymore - but once the initial pieces were pushed into the market, the availability again diminished to a trickle.
I would venture that one will not find a large number of either type of Turkmen juval in the western rug markets simply because there are not that many of them. You can buy a passle of Jaf Kurd bags, as they were brought into the western markets by the bales in the 1920's. And many of them have synthetic colors, too, but they seem to be more available than Turkman juvals.
Then there is the case of the Afghan war causing many Baluch rugs and bags to come onto the market. Now good, old Baluch rugs are not coming out of Afghanistan because, again, the supply has withered away.
On September 11, 1993 (also shortly after the Price and O'bannnon articles) Skinner sold a Tekke ak-chuval, 2'8" x 4' for $2,860 and it is noted in the Hali Auction Price Guide from issue 73 of December 1993/January 1994:
"These white-ground tent-bags were once considered rare and special, and everyone wanted one. Today they are known to be not at all rare; examples (as well as of red ground kizil-chuvals) appear on the market all the time and, according to dealers, are almost impossible to sell. A pity - at their best they are lovely things and are superbly woven. See Pinner, The Rickmers Collection: Turkomen Rugs, pls. 22-25."

Non-rarity notwithstanding, a kizil juval was sold at Sotheby's New York in December of 1993, more than half a year AFTER the article by O'Bannon. It was cataloged as 19th century, 3'7" x 2'8", estimated at $4-5,000 and sold for $11,500. The Hali Auction Price Guide from issue 73, February/March 1994, says:
"Flatwoven kizil (red) chuvals are quite common, those in mixed technique are rare, and examples woven throughout in pileweave are rarer still. Both differ from the better known Tekke ak (white) chuvals in colour, in the designs of their pattern stripes, in their undecorated alems, and, almost certainly, in tribal origin. This very beautiful example did not seem too costly."
I guess they have gone from "not rare at all" to "those in mixed techniqes are rare."
And, if as George insisted back in 1993 that "Rarity" has as much to do with who will buy what as with real scarcity." Then one would think supply (plentiful) and demand (negligable) would have kept prices down considerably less than these examples sold for.

So, back in 1993 there seemed to have been a number of these things that entered the market for a few years. O'Bannon thinks that, due to lack of demand, they were just not being made available to the western market, but I did not see any during a trip to Europe in 2001, and only saw this pair in Istanbul, along with a single kizil bag face at the Dealers Fair. They are not in evidence at dealers in the U.S. and I do not think I have seen many, if any, on e-bay - and they will sell anything on e-bay. Only the occasional completely flat-woven Yomud chuval appears.
Rare or not, a very finely woven pair of kizil juvals with good color and good age is still a pleasure to have. I still have not purchased that microscope to count the knots yet...

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Horst Nitz on 05-31-2007 08:35 AM:

Hi Patrick,

not from Turkey, but I have not counted the knots either. In fact, they are so tiny, and since I can't get at the back of it properly, I can't even make out whether they are As or Sy - what makes a Tekke and what makes a Yomut kizil cuval?



Posted by Steve Price on 05-31-2007 08:41 AM:

Hi Horst

Just to let you know - my email service is down, and I have no idea when the images you (or anybody else ) sent me will become available. Could be minutes, could be days.


Steve Price

Posted by Horst Nitz on 05-31-2007 01:19 PM:

Hi Steve

sorry to hear. You have my wholehearted moral support, I hope this helps .


Posted by Steve Price on 05-31-2007 01:24 PM:

Hi Horst

Apparently it did. My e-mail came back on line and I inserted your images. When I finished, your last message had been posted.


Steve Price

Posted by James Blanchard on 06-01-2007 01:09 PM:

Hi Horst,

I thought the palette of my "fragment" looked more Yomut, especially the brownish-red. But as far as I can tell, it looks to be knotted ASR, with deep warp depression, so that seems more Tekke.


Posted by Horst Nitz on 06-01-2007 03:09 PM:

Hi James

both our items share that white grounded stripe with alternating eight-pointed stars and crossed spear- or arrow heads. The other stripe shows a design which I would be inclined to associate with Yomut, i.e. on their main carpets. You have the advantage that you have access to the back of the knots, I think I may try to carefully turn the thing inside out eventually.

I find these chuvals very pleasing and, as collectible objects, also good value for money.

When I compare my eyesight with that of my children I feel prompted to assume that those chuvals must have been made by girls, perhaps as an inauguration to the job. The knots seem tinier even than on any other Turkoman rugs I have come across.

As we are going on about bags, the following item is on the other end of the scale, only 18 by 53 cm in size, Turkoman yes, but what provenance I wonder, Ersari Beshir? What do you make of it?

It brought it from Istanbul and it had three or four rather stubborn stains on it, for which the dealer had given up on it after having spent Euro 100 on cleaning attempts. They are all gone now with the help of some chloroforme.

Best wishes,


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-14-2007 10:17 PM:

I must be Saryk


It seems that internet problems have been plaguing several of us lately. I have been off-line for several days and finally got service back. I wrote a lengthy reply to your recent post, dashed off to answer the front door just prior to hitting the Submit Reply button and when I returned, nothing. So, I am rewriting the post again.
You asked:

"what makes a Tekke and what makes a Yomut kizil cuval?"

That is a more complicated question than it appears. This issue may equal the uncertainty surrounding the attribution of tent bands.

In the book Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections, from the 8th ICOC, there is a kizil chuval, plate 212, attributed to the 'Yomut family'. The notes mention:
"The undecorated alem is specific to chuvals of the 'Yomut family' and this attribution is supported by the decorative twin lines at the upper edge and the colours both of the pilewoven strips and the plainweave ground."

It looks just like our pieces, but yours does not appear to have the top stripes and mine do. And the reference to the undecorated elem is curious, because all kizil chuvals have that feature.

There is a kizil chuval in the book Oriental Rugs Volume 5 Turkomen by Uwe Jourdan. It is plate 81, Tekke Chuval:
"As the lower panel has been left red, this type is called a kizil (red) chuval. Remarkably, these appear to be rarer than the ak chuvals. Both types have been attributed to the Yomut in previous publications. The top and side cord finishes are typical for both the ak and kizil chuvals."

This certainly does not solve the riddle, but to further obscure the picture, there is a kizil chuval on the market listed as Tekke/Saryk based on Tekke structure (AS/R) and Saryk iconography. The top is unfinished so no double stripes are extant.

You mentioned the hight knot count, too. Mine have around 350 knots per square inch, quite a bit more than the average Turkmen weavings. I am tempted to suggest that either these kizil chuvals have been woven by several different tribes in the same manner or there was one tribe that made them in a technique somewhat different than their standard weavings, just as pile/flatweave tentbands were also made.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 06-15-2007 10:02 AM:

Pat -

Just a note on the possible worthiness of these Turkmen chuvals of yours (as you know some experienced folks have yawned off board about some of our purchases while in Turkey, and in my case that might be partly deserved).

But with regard to your Turkmen chuvals, it might be good to remember that in 2001 Dennis Dodds did a mostly Turkmen "rug morning" program at the TM that is captured in our archives.

In it Dennis saw fit to include his own chuval of this same variety.

So the current president of ICOC did not, at least at that point, denigrate such pieces.


R. John Howe

Posted by Wendel Swan on 06-16-2007 08:03 AM:

Hi Horst,

Why do you assume that your small bag is Turkmen? Because of the colors?

It looks Persian to me. The criss-cross overcasting on the side is very typically Persian, not Turkmen. The structure, the design and the lack of a closure method are all commonly found in small bags from Northwest Persia.

Best regards,


Posted by Horst Nitz on 06-18-2007 04:39 PM:

Hi Patrick, Wendel,

Patrick, I had a look at a high resolution image on the cuval - it must be those two faint, dark blue single wefts about 1/2 " from one another that you are thinking of? One day I will crawl into the thing with a headlamp and magnifying glass, to check the backsides of those knots. Yes, those internet issues can be quite a pain: I've spend all weekend setting up WLAN and mobile internet access until I was looking forward for work to start again on Monday.

Wendel, it was the Istanbul dealer who actually suggested that the small khordjin was Ersari Beshir. That chap had spezialized in Usbek and Turkoman objects and I went along with that attribution (on the same occasion I purchased a small fragment of an old kaftan belt that I am now using as a book mark, and an old Usbek silk waistcoat that perfectly fits my age 11 daughter.

What in my opinion also speaks for a Ersari Beshir attribution are the stylized trees-of-life (?), a motiv that seems to appear more frequently on their rugs than on others in Central Asia. I had a look into W Loges (Turkmenische Teppiche) and Schuermann (Central Asian Carpets); neither offers a decisive clue, going by the colours and motive, it might be from anywhere as far east as Khotan. The criss-cross design in the borders seems to be a representation of aina (Mirror) göls.

Persia, in my experience, I would rule out - strange, isn't it, how one can arrive at such diverse assessments? Azadi and Andrews (Mafrash) and Hegenbart (Rare Oriental Woven Bags) with emphasis on Persia, all offer nothing of the kind. Perhaps 'Yastik' could give a clue, but my copy is still in Istanbul (Asli apparently has retrived it from the boat and has promised to forward it).

Best wishes,


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-18-2007 08:48 PM:



I have never seen an Ersari weaving quite like your little bag. The size, 18cm wide, is only about 7" wide, small even for a chanteh.
I think Wendel may be on the right track, with a Persian source. The quincunx/"dice" motif at the top of the fields is quite common in SW Persian weaving, although not unknown in Central Asian weaving.
A small bag with no closure mechanism may relate it to the small NW Persian (sometimes attributed to Kurds or Shahsavan) bags that have been described as bags carried by Jewish rabbi's over the fore-arm, such as the white-ground one shown in the middle of this Discussion page on Chanteh's:
It also could easily be carried over a sash or belt.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Wendel Swan on 06-19-2007 12:27 AM:

Hello Horst,

I do hope you retrieve Yastiks, but it won't be of help on this issue, I'm afraid. To substantiate the NWP attribution, see plate 15 in this link and read Mike Tschebull's comments:

That small khorjin was one of two from NWP exhibited at ICOC-X in Washington, both of which were published in World of Carpets and Textiles. The Rudnick example probably had no closure system originally.

I have a similar size NWP khordjin on plain weave cotton without closures and bud and stem motifs allover. There are many, many examples of this type but those on a colored ground are rarer.



Posted by Wendel Swan on 06-19-2007 06:23 AM:

Horst and all,

Plate 15 in the NERS exhibit was not shown at ICOC-X. I apologize. One of the two we exhibited had animals and the other had shrubs all over.

Plate 224 of Tanavoli's Shahsavan is an analgous small warp faced plain weave (dyed dark brown) khordjin with animals and losts of the quincunx/"dice" motif to which Pat referred.

Tanavoli illustrates many small khordjin with cotton grounds.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-20-2007 08:48 PM:

Back to the Beginning Again


I bought an 8X loup for under $10 (at a camera supply store) and pored over these two bag faces. I counted 600 knots per square inch, with no warp depression and 12h x 50v asymmetric open right knots. Offset knotting is used throughout, which allows sharp diagonal designs and "thin" lines.
I have seen this type of bag with knotting reported to be up to around 500 per square inch and this pair is certainly in that category.
I will probably need glasses from now on.....

These bags may have been woven at the same time on the same loom, with the face of one bag at the bottom end, then both backs, then the other bag face at the top of the loom. The pile points down on one bag and up on the other, similar to a khorjin with the pile down on one face and up on the other. With each face 2.5' tall, the whole assembly was at least 10' long on the loom.

John, the bag you pictured that Dennis Dodds showed at the TM is also the one in Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections exhibited at the 8th ICOC in Philadelphia in 1996.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Unregistered on 06-21-2007 10:44 AM:

Hi Patric,

This is an extremely high count of 93 knots / cm2 and it makes me wonder why on earth so much effort is spend on an, as far as function is concerned, everyday’s piece. A few areas of very finely worked pile to make up for the otherwise very plain ground? Could there be a philosophy behind it, also it comes to my mind that those stripes rather invariably figure up to nine?

I’ll write some more on those small bags later tonight.



Posted by Steve Price on 06-21-2007 11:08 AM:

Hi Horst

When you post later, please overwrite the word "unregistered" in the user name field with "Horst Nitz".


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-21-2007 06:42 PM:


That's an interesting and intriguing point...all that fineness, and only a little bit of pile. Is there a philosophy behind it? A very apt question.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-21-2007 08:36 PM:

I can't see it, either


They probably had to rest their eyes a bit between knotting the pile sections. Otherwise they would have gone blind!

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Horst Nitz on 06-23-2007 02:54 AM:

Hi Patrick, Wendel

Thanks for you thoughts on this matter as well as the link to the wonderful online exhibition, exhibits wise as well as technically. Did you put it up, Wendel? I think I can discover a ‘technique streak’ in you, your earlier essay on illumination fostered some ideas with me.

As far as the small bags are concerned, I can discover no obvious relation. The schirasi of bag 15 and one or two others may be similar, but since this occurs over a very wide area (as I have discovered in the course of this little exchange) I think nothing much can be made of it.

The image on the left is for your, Patrick, referring to the earlier Turkotek link you sent. It shows a piece for decoration in the style of a chanteh, not an unfinished one. It was probably meant to be flung over somewhere and could be left like that or stitched together. It is probably Usbek, dated 1975, was given as a bakshish and belongs to my daughter.

The one in the middle we already know.

The one on the right is water on your mill. The schirasi is similar; so is the plain weave ground. I looked at it with a magnifying glass: technique is apparently the same, weave finer, material however is different, goat hair in this case. Unless someone comes up with a better idea, it is Shasevan to me.

Following up ideas on the matter, I find the following comment noteworthy (Stanzer W, 1988, Kordi): “ … both small bags from the Darreh Gaz region show once again how difficult it is to attribute some weavings to the Kurds with certainty. The … (motiv) … is more common among the Shasavan in the west, and the inner field … is in well known Shasevan style. Nevertheless … comparisons … point to a Kurdish provenance.”

It think it might also work the other way round. The multicoloured, diagonal shirasi also occurs on bags from Khorasan, so do the rather geometric S-forms in alternating colours in the border of the Shasavan bag on the picture; so does the ‘aina’- or ‘mirror’ göl.

Where does this leave us? In brief form, it often seems not possible to establish the provenance of a bag reliably, based on one attribute alone as there do not seem to be significant single indicators. As in the case of the small bag I present, even three or four attributes may not be conclusive, as all of them in one form or another occur over a vast area.

Bye for now,


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-27-2007 10:45 AM:

Got Your Goat?


I have a small bag face, picture to follow, that has similarities to your third piece. No goat hair that I can tell. But speaking of goat hair, John Howe mentioned this interesting statement:

"A great many Tekke Turkmen six-gul torbas seem to have white goat hair warps."

I realize we have been speculating about microscopic differences between sheep and camel wool, but we have not explored the differences between sheep and goat. My question is whether or not Tekke pieces used white goat hair for pile. The pair of bag faces that began this thread has very white areas in some of the pile stripes and the white has receded similar to what one would expect from corrosive black dyes. Using my pocket microscope at 100x, this white wool appears quite a bit different from the other wool, with a much smaller diameter and more tangled together than the larger sheep wool fibers.
Is there any evidence of goat hair pile in oriental rugs?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Steve Price on 06-27-2007 10:48 AM:

Hi Pat

The white pile that you just described sounds a lot like cotton. Could be?

Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-27-2007 11:54 AM:

hair of all sorts


When I was last at full cry in the field of nearly terminal rug disease (ca. mid 1980's), one of the issues that was on my mind was the differing character of various wools (pile and foundation) that one might encounter. The differentiating factor as it seemed to me was the presence of what appeared to be hair. The range was between the sort of thing John seems to be referring to (apparently all hair in the warps of some old Tekkes) to absolutely soft, cashmere-like pile wool showing virtually no hair content. In the face of this mixed evidence, one would hear and read a lot about goat hair, and I was much given to saying this or that was goat hair in some component of a particular rug without really knowing what I was talking about. Around that time, I came to have a casual acquaintance with Dr. Murray Eiland, Jr., who used to make quite a good deal of the fact that certain wools were "kempy," by which he meant that they had a relatively high content of hair. It sounded plausible to me, and accounted for quite a bit of the evidence. But it never settled the question of how much, if any, goats got into the picture. Following on the question posed here, first by John and in extension by Pat, I also wonder whether the goat question has been reliably documented.

Steve, carrying forward on my penchant for speaking out without much grounds, I would say that it is very easy "in the field" to distinguish between (goat?) hair and cotton. In an earlier posting somewhere, I mentioned that I consider the "chew test" to be nearly infalible in spotting cotton. The only drawback to it (as I also mentioned) is that it requires very low personal standards as well as a fearlessness in the face of museum security. Also, given the huge advances achieved in DNA analysis in recent years, one must be extra careful. Nevertheless, having regard to the phenomenon John refers to in Tekkes (which I think I recognize), definitely not cotton.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-27-2007 11:57 AM:



Once again, you're (probably) right and I'm wrong. In rereading your and Pat's posts, I see your reference was to pile. I agree that could well be cotton, and one often finds it slightly low in old pieces where it is interspersed sparsely with wool pile. I had my focus on the question of warps.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Horst Nitz on 06-27-2007 04:29 PM:

Hi Pat and all

goat hair is not plyable enough and perhaps I guess becomes brittle if worked into loops too small a diameter. It works on Schirasi o.k., flat-weaves, especially sumaks also o.k., Siirt batanje (goat hair blankets) very good; for kese excellent. Kese: the kind of pouch or glove made from a stiff fibre that is used in the peeling procedure in the hamam. The traditional ones are made from black goat hair.

You are not trying to pull our legs?


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-27-2007 10:29 PM:

Am I Pulling Your Leg (Hair) Horst?


I have seen a lot of selvages wrapped in dark goat or horse hair, which appears shiny and thick compared to the softer, fuzzier sheep wool. If the Tekke can make goat hair into warps, there may be some hope for pile knots, too, if the right goat hair is used. Cashmere, for example, is often woven into very fine clothing. Wikipedia says:

"(Cashmere) Fibres are highly adaptable and are easily constructed into fine or thick yarns, and light to heavy-weight fabrics."
"The finest fibres are gathered from the saddle of the Cashmere goat; most of the cashmere comes off of the sides and back of the goat's body from the shoulder to the rump. If the goat is shorn, the fibre must be "de-haired" to remove the coarse, unusable guard hair. Sometimes the fine fibres are collected by combing the goat; either method is time consuming and tedious, thus the high cost of cashmere....
De-hairing is a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair and after de-hairing the resulting "cashmere" is ready to be dyed to colour and converted into yarn, fabrics and garments."

And they do reside in the area in question:

"The goats reside predominantly in the high plateaus of Asia with the most significant populations being found in India, Pakistan, the northwestern provinces of China (Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Gansu, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Qinghai and Tibet), Mongolia and Iran (Kerman and Khorasan provinces)."

Khorasan is quite close to Turkmen territory.

Here are a couple of photos of the khorjin taken at an angle to show the colored pile standing above the white which appears almost flat-woven:

An avid Turkmen collector, who bought a brilliant Tekke "Salor Gul" torba at ICOC, inspected this piece recently and also thought, at first, that the white was quite bright for wool and might be cotton. A close examination with a magnifying glass confirmed that it was not cotton.
It was not until John mentioned goat hair warps that I thought it might be goat hair. Microscopic inspection shows the white in this piece to be considerably finer than the adjacent sheep wool pile knots, leading me to the (preliminary) conclusion that it may, in fact, be fine goat hair instead of sheep wool.

Got your goat yet, Horst?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-28-2007 12:25 PM:

Hi Patrick,

I think you are going for the legendary Angora goats who's fiber has always been highly coveted for use in weavings for warps and pile knots. I have several pounds of it I am spinning up now and have spoken of it's qualities often over the years.
It is unexcelled in it's abilities to soak up natural dyes, in my opinion, especially yellows. I am shocked it is news to anybody here. Sue

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-28-2007 01:13 PM:

As I have spoken of many times the kid mohair I have is almost indistinguishable, in fiber micron size, from that of lamb's wool from longwool sheep breeds. It's in the spinning where the differences become highly magnified without needing a magnifying lens.

I do a lot of outdoor testing, so I can also say that it makes way cooler icicles in the winter, than sheep wool does.

Last year I couldn't figure out where many of my Angora samples, which I'd knotted onto wrought iron hanging flower basket hooks, kept disappearing to. One evening, after hanging out replacement samples, (which I had taken the added precaution of double knotting), I found out what was going on. A family of raccoons were on the deck and one of the baby's was up on the railing and was very carefully holding a knotted mohair lock with one hand and gently petting it with the other hand. So it seems raccoons can distinguish it, too, and seem to prefer it to the never disturbed sheep wool hanging samples, as but another distinguishing characteristic, at least in my neck of the woods. Sue

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-28-2007 02:57 PM:

Bigger than a Moth


You may be right about Angora instead of Cashmere. It was the possibility that it is goat hair instead of sheep wool, due to the different wear characteristics and bright color, that intrigued me.
Wikipedia does say:
"Angora goats were bred for their white coat."
But they do not mention that Angora goats were bred in Turkmenistan:
"The angora goat is thought to originate from the mountains of Tibet making their way to Turkey in the 16th century. Until 1849 the Turkish province of Ankarra was the sole producer of Angora goats."
This does not mean that the fiber in these bag faces is not goat hair, just that if it is goat hair what kind of goat was it?

By the way, I have had moths eating at some of my rugs over the years, but never any raccoons - probably because they would have a hard time getting into my upstairs windows.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Steve Price on 06-28-2007 03:16 PM:

Hi Pat

Angora and Ankara are variants of the same word. Angora wool is very fine and lustrous and finds its way mostly into luxurious sweaters in the west. In rugs, it is the pile material in many, maybe all Turkish tulu (also called filikli, which means, "with goat hair").


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-28-2007 05:17 PM:

Hi Steve,

I think you are mistaking Angora goat wool/hair with Angora rabbit. Even the finest Angora goat does not spin up into "skin soft" yarn. It is used more in lined outerwear, etc. The Angora used in luxury sweaters is from Angora rabbits. Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 06-28-2007 05:32 PM:

Hi Sue

I'm sure you're right about that. Angora (=Ankara) goat wool is used for the pile of tulu rugs.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-28-2007 06:03 PM:

Hi Patrick,

Wikipedia is not always reliable. There is no such thing as a cashmere goat. Cashmere is defined by micron count of fibers. One goat's fiber can qualify as cashmere while it's sibling's don't. It's fiber can qualify one year and not the next, for instance. Cashmere doesn't even have to come from a goat at all to qualify. Sue

p.s. Raccoons can pretty much go wherever they want. According to the local tranquilizer gun wielding "Critter Gitter" guy it only takes a determined raccoon 15 minutes to get into a kitchen right through an outer wood wall. I have a friend who bought a 8,800 sq. foot house which was found to be housing 17 raccoons. You can sit and watch them peel cedar shingles off her roof faster than any roofing guys can. Try neem oil for those moths.

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 06-29-2007 02:28 AM:

Wikipedia is not always reliable. There is no such thing as a cashmere goat.
Sue, Wikipedia is much, MUCH more reliable than you are.

However, if you think that Encyclopædia Britannica is better than Wikipedia:

cashmere: animal-hair fibre forming the downy undercoat of the Kashmir goat and belonging to the group of textile fibres called specialty hair fibres. Although the word cashmere is sometimes incorrectly applied to extremely soft wools, only the product of the Kashmir goat is true cashmere.

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-29-2007 07:07 AM:

Think whatever you want to, Filiberto. Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 06-29-2007 08:07 AM:

Hi Sue

We have a long history of asking you to refrain from posting riddles and hints that you have special knowledge which you are unwilling or unable to reveal. That has been bothersome because it sidetracks discussions without contributing anything to them.

Recently, you have been posting ridiculous assertions that you present as absolute facts, and reacting aggressively to those who point out that you are mistaken. Specifically, your claims that the spinning wheels illustrated were not spinning wheels, that 2.7 is an approximation to 1.601, and that there is no such thing as a Kashmir (or cashmere, the spellings vary) goat, are easily shown to be wrong. I suspect that your assertions about the use of a peculiar rod as a measuring tool and the habits of the local raccoons are fantasies as well. I live in the midst of a woods loaded with raccoons, and many of the homes in the area have cedar shingled rooves. They get into open garages around here pretty regularly, and keeping them out of the trash requires some effort. But I've never heard of raccoons coming through a wall or tearing off a roof, so I doubt that this is a regular occurrence.

I have no idea what motivates you, but no matter what it is, I cannot permit you to continue to cassinize here. Please take a nice, long vacation from attempting to post on Turkotek. It will be some time before we are ready to resume approving messages from you.

I'm very sorry to have been forced into taking this action.

Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-29-2007 10:20 AM:

Kould Be Kasmir


Thanks for the supporting evidence. The article you mention shows a photo of a "Cashmere Goat"
The link also says this:
"Cashmere is used mainly for fine coat, dress, and suit fabrics and for high-quality knitwear and hosiery. It is sometimes blended with other fibres. The strong, coarse hair separated from the down is used locally for grain bags, ropes, blankets, and tent curtains...
The fibres have diameters finer than those of the best wools."
One of the differences between the white pile and the dyed pile in these bag faces is that the white fibers, under microscopic inspection, are considerably finer than the other wool.
The Brittanica information is not a confirmation that it was used as pile in rugs, but there is a hint about it in this item:
"The fibre, which absorbs and retains moisture much like wool, is somewhat weaker than fine wool and considerably weaker than mohair. It is highly susceptible to damage by strong alkalies and high temperatures. Dark fibres are bleached to obtain light shades, although the process may reduce strength and softness. Cashmere fabrics are subject to abrasion in wearing;"
So, it is inherently weaker than wool and is subject to abrasion, both characteristics which would explain the etched, relief effect that is obvious in the khorjins. It also may have been bleached, making it a bit weaker still.
They say it was used for "grain bags, ropes, blankets, and tent curtains" so there is no reason to assume they did not keep some of the finer, whiter hair for highlights in pile weaves, along with - as John Howe noted - warps in some pieces. So, the title of the thread should be changed from the "Turkey I Got In Istanbul" to "The Goat I Got In Turkey".

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Steve Price on 06-29-2007 10:23 AM:

Hi People

JACK cASSin weighs in on this issue in his first blocked message of the day. I won't inflict the full text on you, but it does include a few cassinizations.

Some examples:

He writes, concerning Kashmir and cashmere,
sue's argument, while not very well expressed, is factual

the word "cashmere" is a trade name

True, "cashmere" is a word that is often used incorrectly in the textile trade, but it is not a trade name (like, for example Coke or Xerox). And there really are cashmere goats, which are the same creatures as Kashmir goats.

He continues with,
Kashmir is a country and from there comes the term "Cashmere", which originally had no meaning locally - it is a western term
First, JACK cASSin, Kashmir isn't a country, it's a region. Part of it is controlled by India, part by Pakistan, and part by China. Second, cashmere is a transliteration of Kashmir; the local languages didn't use our alphabet. When spoken, in fact, it sounds exactly like - well, I don't have to spell that out.

Steve Price

Posted by Steve Price on 06-29-2007 11:24 AM:

Hi Again, People

JACK cASSin's second submitted post of the day was blocked in the moderator queue, but here is the full text anyway:

see, you did it again

someday you and i will meet and when we do you will learn something not only about me but about your pathetic self

enjoy stupidity because it becomes you well

I did what again? Pointed out three cassinizations in the same message?
1. No such thing as cashmere goats,
2. cashmere is a trade name,
3. Kashmir is a country.
That's a lot for one post, but I don't think it's a record breaker.

The thought of what he will do to me when we meet (I should add, again, since it won't be the first) fills me with terror. He is SO scary.

Steve Price

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-29-2007 11:49 AM:

"F-A"=Facts-Cashmere, not Fat-cASSin

Steve and All.

From CCMI, Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute, see chart and get more information at site:


CLASSIFICATION Specialty hair fiber.

SOURCE The Cashmere (Kashmir) or down goat. From the fine, soft undercoat or underlayer of hair. The straighter and coarser outer coat is called guard hair. The two-humped Bactrian camel. From the fine, soft undercoat or underlayer of hair. The straighter and coarser outer coat is called guard hair.

GEOGRAPHIC ORIGIN From the high plateaus of Asia. Significant supplier countries are: China, Mongolia and Tibet. Today, little is supplied by the Kashmir Province India, from which its name is derived. The cashmere products of this area first attracted the attention of Europeans in the early 1800s. Significant supplier countries are: China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, New Zealand, Tibet and Australia.

GATHERING PROCESS The specialty animal hair fibers are collected during molting seasons when the animals naturally shed their hairs. Goats molt during a several-week period in spring. In China and Mongolia, the down is removed by hand with a coarse comb. The animals are sheared in Iran, Afghanistan, New Zealand and Australia. The specialty animal hair fibers are collected during molting seasons when the animals naturally shed their hairs. From late spring to early summer, camels shed their hair. Fallen clumps of hair are still collected by traditional hand-gathering methods.

PRODUCTION The coarse hairs and down hairs of the cashmere goat and camel are separated by a mechanical process known as dehairing.

ANNUAL YIELD Up to one pound of fiber per goat, with the average 4 to 6 ounces of underdown. Approximately 8 to 10 kilograms.

WARMTH Natural light-weight insulation without bulk.
Extremely warm to protect goats from cold mountain temperatures. Fibers are highly adaptable and are easily constructed into fine or thick yarns, and light to heavy-weight fabrics. Appropriate for all climates. A high moisture content allows insulation properties to change with the relative humidity in the air. Has thermostatic properties which protect and insulate the camel in high mountain cold and blizzards while keeping cool in desert heat. Camel hair garments are worn by native desert travelers to protect them from the heat. These same characteristics are transferred to fabrics made from camel hair.

HAND Luxuriously soft, with high napability and loft.

NATURAL COLORS Gray, brown and white. Golden tan.

DYEABILITY Capable of dyeing to a broad range of colors. Accepts dye equally as well as wool.

BEST BLENDS Pure virgin* fiber or blended with wool only. Blends with nylon or tri-blends with wool and nylon in woven patterns may indicate the use of inferior quality recycled** fiber. Nylon, however, is used with virgin quality cashmere in hosiery and some other knitted products. Pure virgin* fiber or blended with wool only. Blends with nylon or tri-blends with wool and nylon in woven patterns may indicate the use of inferior quality recycled** fiber. Nylon, however, is used with virgin quality camel hair in hosiery and some other knitted products.

GARMENT CARE Dry clean wovens; knit goods may be handwashed.

END USES Men's and women's coats, jackets and blazers, skirts, hosiery, sweaters, gloves, scarves, mufflers, caps and robes.

*VIRGIN FIBER New fiber that has not been processed in any way, or has been made into yarns, fabrics or garments for the first time.

**RECYCLED FIBER Fibers reclaimed from scraps or fabrics that were previously woven or felted and may or may not have been used by the consumer.

regards, Jack Williams

Posted by Chris Countryman on 07-01-2007 12:27 PM:

On a lighter note

Greetings. I once visited a farmer here in Indiana who raised cashmere goats. Even still "on the hoof," their coats were wonderfully soft. The farmer told us that his ram's name was "Headache," and when we asked why he said, "Just watch." Once Headache moved into the Barn from his outside pen, he began launching himself again and again, butting the 8"x8" and 12"x12" posts of the barn.

Sounds like old Headache might have felt at home on this particular forum.


Chris Countryman

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-01-2007 07:56 PM:



Here is my little flatweave bag with what appears to be a bright, synthetic red on the neck and in the two red diamonds on the peacock's tail:

Here is the back:

It looks old enough to be early 20th century, and not so old that it is a new fake made of extremely old wool with all natural dyes. It has some wear and maybe a moth-eaten spot or two.
Possibly Shasavan, but not as busy as even the relatively spare and open beetle bags.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Horst Nitz on 07-03-2007 04:45 PM:

Hi Patrick

the biesty looks a distant relative of the one on my bag. The two missing legs are made up for by a bigger tail, ergo its a peacock, yes? I think I've got a gazelle (this reminds me of lead pouring and comparing Christmas crackers). Behind both I suspect a Shasevan mind, as you do.

The red looks very fresh still and since no running seems to have occured - if ever washed - it might be an early crome dye from around 1930. Azo dyes with that intensity usually had a tendency to run and / or fade (although less susceptible to fading than Aniline dyes).

Whilst this is the modern streak in it, the fully blown aina-/ mirror göl is on the ancient side, a great border design I always love to look at.

I admire you for those great shots from flat angle of the piled stripes on your cuval.



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-03-2007 05:49 PM:

No Blood


I was not sure if the close-up shots showing the lower white areas would work. I do not have a close-up lens for my fairly new camera and this was as close as I could get. I still plan to take it to a dealer who specializes in Turkmen weavings to see what his opinion is, goat hair or bleached wool.
I did wash the chanteh and there was no bleeding at all. As I noted, a brand new fake reproduction would not have a fairly obvious synthetic red in it, so it is more likely a mid-to-early 20th century piece. I do not think there was a market for fake Shahsavan pieces before the book From the Bosphorous to Samarkand in 1969, nor was there a production area that made fake tribal pieces back then. They were still bringing the real stuff out from the tribal areas - no reason to fake it.
It could also be Kurdish, as there is a little Kurdish-looking cloudband hovering over the tail of the peacock, unless it is a blood-sucking Kurdish bat with blood pouring from it's large, gaping mouth. It probably died from ingesting the synthetic dye of the peacock.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Lloyd Kannenberg on 07-05-2007 08:39 AM:

Hello Patrick,

I like your little bag. It is very similar to this one,

Plate 196 in Nooter's "Flat Woven Rugs and Textiles from the Caucasus". He attributes it to the Shirvan region. I take Mr. Nooter's opinions seriously because he has made a number of field trips to various parts of the Caucasus.

Lloyd Kannenberg

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-05-2007 04:28 PM:

Not Unique?


They must have copied mine


And I thought mine was unique.

(Just kidding, Steve)

That is a remarkably similar piece, Lloyd. The border is nearly identical, but having the little tassles of wool all around is quite different. It is possible that my piece had those tassles, too, but wear and tear could have led a seller to remove them as being unsightly to a potential buyer.
It appears, then, that there was a tradition of these little pieces with similar designs. The Nooter piece looks older than mine, if only because of the synthetic red in my piece. Thanks for finding this one!

Patrick Weiler