Patrick Weiler
November 4th, 2014 07:18 PM

Other Often Appropriated Motifs
There are several motifs, often border designs, which are strongly identified with one of the SW Persian tribes or another, but which are appropriated and shamelessly used by another. Usually they did this just to confuse us collectors a hundred years later. I do stuff like that, too. Like put a newspaper from Russia or Japan into a wall when I am remodeling, just to make things interesting when they tear the house down. Or build a storage box into the old laundry chute.

Here is one such design, the spikey-flower meander border. This saddle blanket is from Horse and Camel Trappings of Tribal Iran by Tanavoli.
It is labeled Qashqai, with symmetric knots.

This one has the same border, field and inner-boteh border designs, yet this one, 21"hx19"v (53x49cm) has depressed warps more indicative of Afshar work. The 12hx12v knots, at 144 per square inch is quite fine.

Not noticeable from ebay photos is one of the red dyes in the borders has turned to a pinkish orange on the front. This is most noticeable in the two minor borders, with the insides of the meander using the faded red. I am sure the weaver thought the brighter shade of red would stand out from the more maroon red of the border. And, yes it does, only as a lighter shade now!

And here is one with a chunkier construction at 7hx10v, for 70 symmetric knots per square inch with moderately depressed warps and the light orange weft we find in Afshar weavings. The boteh design is dissimilar to the field of circles, although within each boteh are two circles. But the outer and minor borders are the same.

Was this just a more rural version of the finer, high-class finely woven types?

For those who are still paying attention note the lower edge with white warps compared to the darker warps at the top.
Yes, once again the Rapacious Restorer was hard at work, denying us the virtue of a truly naturally disintegrating document of the ages.
These "common" design types have confused and complicated weaving identifications for many years. It shows that there needs to be some effort to differentiate on bases less obvious than simple design.
Next up is the Geometric Vase border, swapped and stolen with impunity amongst the tribes.

Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler
November 5th, 2014 12:11 AM

More Border Disorder
Here are a couple more border designs which seep across our imaginary tribal borderlines, often making determinations of tribal provenance complicated.
This is a flower or vase design border, here shown in a probably late 19th century Khamseh "Murgh" or chicken rug. Late, because Opie has opined that the necks on these birds were longer in older rugs. It appears to have all natural dyes.

It is rather difficult to say exactly where the motif begins or ends, but it looks like the "top" is the triple-crown/tulip device. Difficult, because if the triple-crown is the "top", that means that the bottom then starts with a W-shape outline, then a three-piece device which sort of looks like a man's face with a large handlebar moustache and wearing a bow-tie.

From this vase sprouts a trunk with a chevron branch and above it a curled branch, then the tulip.
The assemblage is not quite what one would have in mind if this were a vase with a tulip in it. You would expect the "vase" to have a flat bottom.

Here is an Afshar version, sold on Rugrabbit, with a fairly typical Afshar-type layout of added end panels - which in some probably older pieces would have been weft-substitution:

It also sports birds, with long necks, but these are upright necks. Posers, not peckers like the Khamseh version.
Hey, cast no aspersions.:flush:
Between the two tulip borders it also has a serrated leaf and diamond border.

Note that the diamond in this border is a more elaborate version of the 9-diamond motif found in the border of the Afshar bag posted in the Afshar Bagface thread. One might speculate on the timeline of the bagface version compared to the rug version, or if they are even related at all. Also check out the boteh minor border for future reference.

Another Rugrabbit piece, this time an Afshar khorjin, with the tulip only having two crowns. The tulips are upside down, but the bag is, too.

And an Afshar version showing this vase/flower border and at the top, a row of chevrons in the closure tabs also similar to the Afshar Bagface thread:

And here is
another Sold Rugrabbit Afshar bag with the vase/flower border, but also with a boteh design in the field:

The bag above allows us to transition to another border design shared by various tribal groups in Iran. Have you been paying attention since photo number two? This is a simple, straight and diagonal line boteh. I am speculating that the early floral boteh design was found possibly in the Kerman shawls which predated much of that region's pile weaving due to a downturn in the profitability of hand loomed shawls once machines took over.
From The History of Kerman Rugs on Dr. Paydar's Persian Rug Guide:
"The termeh (shawl) that was the primary craft product for many centuries refers to a fine handcrafted material worn by the elite as apparel. Due to its ornamental value, termeh was used for decorative purposes, but its main application was for clothing. The popularity of termeh reached its peak in the Safavid and Qajar dynasties (1502-1925). However, competition with Kashmir shawls, fine textiles from Scotland, and machine-made products caused a decline in termeh weaving. As artisans searched for alternative means of survival around the turn of the century, rug weaving gained importance."

The boteh may have been used in the soumak flatweaves of Kerman province, morphing into this geometric style, which then began being used in pile carpets. Here is a small, sold Rugrabbit Afshar bag with it in the border:

Then here in a possibly Khamseh Nafar chanteh:

For good measure, a Qashqai version:

And last, this same squared boteh in a Luri rug:

Though it is found quite often in Khamseh weavings, you can't discount a different source on a difficult to attribute piece. It's almost as though a familiar phrase has found its way into many different languages over distance and time.

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 6th, 2014 06:25 AM

"As American as apple pie."

"As Khamseh as..."
Well, if there were an equivalent in terms of Khamseh weavings, it would probably be this border, here on a rug in Opie's Tribal Rugs:

In fact, of the twelve Khamseh rugs Opie pictured in that book, five featured this border. In Stone's Tribal & Village Rugs, he labels it simply the "Khamseh border" (p.248). Here's a closer view from another lovely Khamseh rug:

But, it too was appropriated; in this case for Kurdish khorjin that largely form a stylistic group:

But also shows up occasionally on these related large Kurdish two-panel chuvals:


Joel Greifinger
November 7th, 2014 12:55 AM

I'll take my spikey with dots

There are several motifs, often border designs, which are strongly identified with one of the SW Persian tribes or another, but which are appropriated and shamelessly used by another.
Here is one such design, the spikey-flower meander border.
Ah, yes; the 'spikey-flower meander border, properly, so called.

That Qashqa'i saddle blanket design pops up on bag faces that then get attributed to each of the usual South Persian suspects. Among the Khamseh Confedaracy groups, I've seen it more specifically labelled as Ainalu. I don't know who made any of these, but they sure do look related:


Patrick Weiler
November 7th, 2014 10:07 PM

Gul Farangi
Another widely dispersed rug design is the Foreign Flower, or Gul Farangi design.
Here is a picture of Sultan Abdul Mejid:

Around the same time Sultan Abdul Medjid took power in Turkey in 1839, according to Wikipedia, "He tried to forge alliances with the major powers of Western Europe, namely the United Kingdom and France, who fought alongside the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War against Russia."
You remember that war, with The Charge of the Light Brigade against Vladimir Putin's troops?

During the Irish famine, he even sent the equivalent of $1million dollars to Ireland, along with three ships full of food - which the British tried to stop.
Well, that was when European influences, such as the luxurious palaces of St Petersburg, France and England began to be copied in art, architecture and rugs of Turkey, Persia and other rug weaving regions.
The European-influenced Dolmabaci Palace was erected for Mejid in Istanbul.
Wikipedia:"The name Dolmabahçe (Filled-in Garden) comes from the Turkish dolma meaning "filled" and bahçe meaning "garden." Various small summer palaces and wooden pavilions were built here during the 18th and 19th centuries ultimately forming a palace complex named Beşiktaş Waterfront Palace.
Dolmabahçe Palace was ordered by the Empire's 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I, and built between the years 1843 and 1856. Previously, the Sultan and his family had lived at the Topkapı Palace, but the medieval Topkapı was lacking in contemporary style, luxury, and comfort, as compared to the palaces of the European monarchs."
It looks a bit like the Russian Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Karabagh, in Russian control since they took it from Persia in 1913, made floral rugs in the imitation of French Aubusson rugs.
Curiously, though, from aubussonrugs.net: "Aubusson rugs’ history is rich and a significant part of the revival of the arts of the Renaissance period. They were hand woven flat weave wool rugs and tapestries originally based on Turkish designs. In 1665 and thereafter, Aubusson rug designs were based on the motifs of Savonnerie rugs. Prior to this time, Savonnerie rugs were only available to the King, with design and production overseen by the artists and weavers of the royal courts. With Aubusson rug designs mimicking those of Savonnerie rugs, they became available to anyone who could afford them, typically the upper class and sophisticated aristocracy of Europe."
Now, eastern weavers were copying western rug designs.
Here is an Aubusson rug:

And a Karabagh version, from Spongobongo:

Well, that was a long introduction just to post a couple of bag faces, but here they are. First, a Khamseh version.
It is a large 31"x28" (80x70cm). The saturated colors, dark red weft, "Khamseh" bird/hourglass border and more all indicate Khamseh work:

It has 100 per square inch, 10x10 symmetric knots, quite finely woven.

Next, what may be the Afshar variety, 26"x21" (66x53cm). The major border is shared by many groups. Like the Ardebil carpet, a chunk from probably the other face was patched crudely at the bottom, center.

The colors are dark and moody, the warp is mostly depressed, with also 10x10 for 100 knots per square inch, but with the light orange weft often seen in Afshar work.

These allover-field designs can be a bit jarring to the eye. The original central medallion Aubusson design is more tasteful, but it has mutated to this funky regional style over the years.

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 8th, 2014 01:18 AM

Share and share alike

The "Khamseh" bird/hourglass border
Ah, yes. The "Khamseh" bird/hourglass border.


Patrick Weiler
November 8th, 2014 08:40 PM

No Salesmen!

Those cute Baluch weavers stole the design from the Kurds. (Courtesy of Rugrabbit)

Because the Khamseh went tent-to-tent selling their patented border designs to anyone who would pay.

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 9th, 2014 12:39 AM

Who'd you steal that from?

Those cute Baluch weavers stole the design from the Kurds.
I've got that herati pattern bag face figured for Afshar. It looks to me like their (as opposed to the Kurdish) take on the design (cf. "Serrated Leaf Motif, post # 7):

But, I'm sure the Baluch could just as easily stolen it from the Afshar.


Patrick Weiler
November 9th, 2014 12:59 AM

Maybe it's Khamseh after all? Some of these pieces are so similar from one tribe to another that it is curious how they ever found them without the internet.

The deconstructed herati pattern seems to be common to both Afshar and Kurdish weavers in a nearly identical form. Construction may facilitate differentiating them, but I do not recall the Kurdish versions having offset knots. That, though, is probably a function of where in "Kurdistan" they were woven.
Then there's this Khamseh piece that showed up on my facebook news feed today:

It is an amazingly good copy of a Baluch weaving!

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 9th, 2014 03:55 AM

Dragon that herati by the neck

The deconstructed herati pattern seems to be common to both Afshar and Kurdish weavers in a nearly identical form.
I think there are recognizable design differences in the overall way that the deconstructed herati is drawn by Kurdish, as opposed to Afshar weavers. 
It's in the dragon's neck. 

Well, not really the neck, since they're not really dragons. The leaf that has morphed into the dragon; which, in some cases has acquired a neck. Notice the length of the 'necks' on these Kurdish versions compared to how the leaf tends to be drawn in the generally shorter, wider versions of the pattern favored by the Afshar. In many of the Afshar examples, the "dragon' begins to look more like a 'boat'. It's partially a consequence of shortening that 'dragon's neck'. :p


Chuck Wagner
November 9th, 2014 07:38 AM

So Pat,

Referring back a few posts, I guess then (from the border design) that we would consider this one Khamseh rather than Afshar ?

And what does Our readership think about this next one ?

I can't get happy with any single atttribution. Khamseh maybe. Luri maybe. Something else ? Afshar ? I think that 's unlikely.

Kurdish ?

Thoughts ?:

Chuck Wagner

Joel Greifinger
November 9th, 2014 06:36 PM


Kurdish ? Thoughts ?
Hi Chuck,

I am having Kurdish thoughts for your bag face.

I only remember seeing that border before done in soumak, rather than pile. It pops up on a variety of pieces in different sizes (namakdan, khorjin, mafrash) attributed to the Kurds in Karabagh.

The border is also in soumak on this bag. While the mixed technique and field design certainly say Bakhtiari, the border and the design on the pile elem whisper "Kurdish".

I think your bag face is a 'Kurd whisperer'.


Patrick Weiler
November 9th, 2014 09:10 PM


The border on the second piece you posted is one which I was planning to explore in this thread on Other Often Appropriated Motifs, because I have always associated it with Khamseh weavings.
Here is an example which I posted earlier in the salon:

In this piece, the design has morphed into two backwards-facing C symbols, with a small diamond between these sets of Cs.
In your piece, the diamond is a bit larger, and in the thieving Shahsavan and Kurdish versions, the Cs and diamonds are equal.
I would be rather confident in a Khamseh attribution for yours, due to the colors, format, morphed border design, warp colors and the selvage treatment, etc.
Nonetheless, from research on the salon we know that settled Persian villagers outnumbered nomadic tribespeople by a substantial amount. It is nearly heresy to claim that the "tribal" trappings, bags and rugs which have survived to this day are also likely to appear in equivalent percentages - village weavings versus tribal weavings.
The majority of the dyes and dyed wool used by both nomads and villagers were most likely acquired from the same sources. Indigo dyeing was a specialty, for one thing. Professional dyers with their usually family (and religious, as we know Jews were particularly prized dyers) apprenticeship traditions existed in regional centers of commercial activity. Tribal and nomadic weavers are known to have traveled to these centers to buy, barter, sell and trade for necessities including guns, ammunition, bridles and horse gear such as saddles, cooking utensils, knives and such. I am not aware of any nomadic tribes who made their own saddles, stirrups, bridles etc. Leatherworking, brasswork and ironworking were specialties which couldn't be done in a nomadic setting. It is reasonable to assume that tribal and village weavings from rural areas would have similar designs, formats (ie rectangular versus square) coloration and structures to each other.
Here is an antique 19th century Afghan saddle:

And an antique Persian or Turkish saddle:

One thing collectors of tribal weavings may forget is that before there were automobiles, and for many years afterwards in most of the world, everyone either walked, rode a horse, or traveled in a coach or buggy pulled by horses. And you carried your stuff in saddle-bags. It just so happened that in Persia, Turkey and elsewhere in Central Asia, they made their own saddle-bags, horse covers, bedding-bags and saddle-covers from wool, cotton and silk. Even if they lived in a village or town. So calling these bags Khamseh is more convenient for us collectors than calling them Kirman or Fars Region Rural Village or Nomadic Tribal Weavings.

Patrick Weiler

Dinie Gootjes
November 9th, 2014 09:19 PM

Hi Joel,

Let's whisper very softly :

All from Rugrabbit, last one mine.


Joel Greifinger
November 9th, 2014 10:32 PM

  Squelching rampant Kurdish thoughts

Let's whisper very softly
Hi Dinie,

That Kurdish whispering I thought I heard was probably just the hissing of the radiators in my house.

The version of the border on the rug in your post reminded me that I have a small Arab Khamseh rug with a similar, if cruder, rendition.

Your rug also has a 'checkerboard' design that looks close to the one on the ends of the rug I posted in the "Attribution Unknown?" thread.

Could you please post a close-up of your rug's checkerboard ends?

Patrick - Maybe you are right. Maybe all ambiguous rugs are Khamseh.

Patrick Weiler
November 10th, 2014 01:37 AM

Here is another piece of questionable attribution.

The main symbol is found in Afshar rugs:

And Khamseh:

It is 12"x10" (25x30cm) with a coarse 7x7 for 49 knots per square inch.
With undepressed goat hair warps and goat hair wefts, it presents a rural or nomadic appearance.

It could be Luri, or from a Luri component of the Khamseh Confederation. The major reciprocal triangle border is often found in Khamseh bags.

The gul looks like a simplified version of the "hash gul" found in some rakats and Baluch weavings. And this Khamseh piece from Spongobongo:

Patrick Weiler

Steve Price
November 10th, 2014 04:53 AM

Hi Patrick

Please reduce the dimensions and file sizes of the images that you're taking care of yourself. Maximum dimension for landscape format pieces shouldn't exceed 600 pixels, for detail images, 450 pixels will show about as much detail as there is. File sizes ought to stay under 200 kb, although rugs with lots of busy stuff in the field can go to nearly 300 kb.


Steve Price

Dinie Gootjes
November 10th, 2014 06:17 AM

Hi Joel,

I don't know where the rug is at the moment, so I hope this magnification of the border from another picture works.


Patrick Weiler
November 10th, 2014 10:03 PM

Thanks for the tip on image size. One of the features of my photo software shows kb, but also has the resolution in pixels - which I previously had not noticed.

Dinie, that treatment of the end finish is not unusual with Khamseh weavings. It is almost as though they wanted the look of the Qashqai rugs, but without the copyright infringement!
Your close-up also shows the squared-box meander which Khamseh have perfected from the Qashqai flowing version. Here it is in a ladle bag from a different thread:

Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler
November 13th, 2014 01:20 AM

Tipping Point
Dinie showed a small Khamseh rug with the squared-box meander border, a motif which seems to be specifically Khamseh.
(Whenever I say something like that, Joel finds some evidence otherwise. Go for it Joel!)
Here is another piece which could have been posted in the Attribution Unknown thread, because I wasn't entirely sure where it was from, apart from having spent some time in Internet-Land before I bought it. (Do you need a passport to visit Internet-Land?)
It happens to have that squared-box meander border, which I had never realized before. I was focused on the Afsharish/Qashqaish "cane", or striped, field.

It looks a lot like another piece which I bought as Afshar many, many years ago. By many years I mean before 1995. I know this because the book store across the street from the rug store had moved away in 1996. This piece is 12"h x 10"w (30x25cm) with 11h x 9v for around 100 asymmetric open-right knots per square inch, with depressed warps.

The miniaturized floral meander field design is one of many stripe versions. Some have small crosses in each column. Boteh's are also used in some striped designs.
Some are oriented diagonally, like Gendje rugs. Some are oriented in a chevron AND have little crosses in them, such as the ones along the edges of the field of this Khamseh Murgh rug:

Afshar and Kurdish weavers often have a wide border of diagonal stripes. And, sometimes the entire field is striped. Here is an Afshar with the simple meander striped field and a diagonal-stripe border with small parallelograms.

Somewhere along the line, this piece had a back put on it and it was made into a very small pillow.

With an Afshar-like rectangular format, along with the depressed warp and asymmetric open-right knotting, should the squared-box border in Khamseh colors and very dark brown wefts tip the scales to Khamseh?

Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler
November 13th, 2014 03:21 AM

Time's Up, Joel
That squared-box meander isn't only found on Khamseh weavings.
It also shows up on one I posted on November 2nd on the Rakat thread.

The panels in this khorjin are somewhat rectangular, a trait also often found in Afshar bags. The parade of bird-heads around the edge of the field is sometimes found in Bakhtiari bags. I suppose it represents pigeons sitting on power lines, looking down at the cars and pedestrians below and waiting to :flush:
The device in the closure tabs is unusual. It has a superficial resemblance to Turkmen chuvals with arrows pointing to closure cords, like this one from Spongobongo:


I assume that many floral designs, when done in flatweaves, tend to become more geometric. They are then borrowed back and put into pile weaves. The same is likely true for the triangle boteh border.
Which direction did it travel to get to Khamseh-Land? West from the Afshar or south from the Bakhtiari? Or was is original to Khamseh weavers and spread out from there?

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 14th, 2014 12:07 AM

We shall post no khorjin before its time
November 12 at 5:20 PM

Dinie showed a small Khamseh rug with the squared-box meander border, a motif which seems to be specifically Khamseh.
(Whenever I say something like that, Joel finds some evidence otherwise. Go for it Joel!)
November 12 at 7:21 PM (Two hours and one minute later!)

Time's Up, Joel
Now Patrick, I ask you, how sporting is that?
Finding suitable refuting evidence takes careful sifting and appraisal. It takes time.
Refuting your own assertion after only two hours just isn't (how do they put it in the Commonwealth...) "cricket". 
Well, as they say, "better late than ..."

Tanavoli, Afshar: Tribal Weaves From Southeast Iran, pl #80, p.155.
Small Southern Afshar (Aqta'-e Afshar) khorjin (20" x 8"):


Patrick Weiler
November 14th, 2014 01:19 AM

On your mark, get set

Meanwhile, another version of the box meander, over on rugrabbit shows it with only the boxes!

If distance effects the decline of a design, then Anatolia was probably pretty far away from the origin. It lost the vine part of the meander and only retains the floral, now box, part.

So, I took your advice and checked AddALL books for a copy of that Afshar monograph. They show 6 copies from different sites, but there is only one source that each of the 6 dealers gets the book from. And they all are the same price, expensive. Looks like I will have to decide between buying a nice Afshar bag or getting that book so I know what to look for.
The design on the bag you show looks awfully similar to those "dot" design pieces that you mentioned were called Ainalu Khamseh. Or Qashqai, or Afshar. Sheesh, if even the experts are confused, how do they expect us rank amateurs to figure it all out?

Patrick Weiler

Patrick Weiler
November 21st, 2014 10:22 PM

Is that a Khwintessentially Khamseh
On the topic of Other Often Appropriated Motifs, can we call this design Khwintessentially Khamseh?

It isn't the shark-jaw, serrated-leaf, batty-herati motif in question. It isn't that horsey-looking duck-and-hourglass design in the major border.
It's not the Khamseh Krown motifs surrounding the field.
No, it's that great big alien spacecraft square in the middle of the piece.

Wait, wrong spacecraft. Here it is, the ancient Persian version:

"Ahura Mazda is said to be a sky god, and is depicted sitting in a winged disc that has what looks like exhaust coming out of the bottom."
That quote is from Our Alien Ancestors. It's on the internet so it must be true.

OK, it doesn't really look like the design in question, but since we KNOW that Jiroft, a suburb of Khamsehville, harbored space aliens, the Khamseh must have originated this design.

The design consists of an 8-pointed medallion within another 8-pointed medallion. In the case of this Shahsavan version, there is a red-ground internal medallion and a white-ground outer medallion:

The Shahsavan have no claim to alien fame, so their version can't be the original one. This one is from:http://rjohnhowe.wordpress.com/2009/page/2/

Here is a version from a 2006 Turkotek salon;

Also Shahsavan, with a red-ground octagon within a white-ground 8-legged outer medallion. Back to the more spare Khamseh version is this one from Spongobongo. The inner medallion is the endless knot, 8-pointed, with the outer red-ground medallion in its simplest form.

We can't ignore the Kurds, with this from Tom Cole. The inner roundel has 8 points and the outer medallion is quite floral, in what may be a formal version of the design which could have mutated into the various tribal/rural versions culminating in the Khamseh style.

The Kurds have what in James Burns book he calls the turtle design. It is also called the hawse or water tank design, with an 8-pointed star within an 8-legged outer medallion:

OK, back to the Khamseh type:

A bit more rustic interpretation, but with all the essential details. It has the Mother Ship in the center of the field, surrounded by the X-wing fighter craft support vehicles surrounding it.
What is said to be a Qashqai version from rugrabbit, with the inner 8-pointed star and the outer octagon:

With that major Khamseh border, I would consider this piece "borderline" Qashqai.

Of course there are no Baluch versions...

I haven't had the opportunity to use that particular smiley before. I don't think directing it to any particular individual, especially the fine folks of the Turkotek family, is appropriate. But the Baluch, well, game on!

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 21st, 2014 11:54 PM

No Baluch variety?

The design consists of an 8-pointed medallion within another 8-pointed medallion...Of course there are no Baluch versions...

I know you caught a bit of the last salon.


I haven't had the opportunity to use that particular smiley before. I don't think directing it to any particular individual, especially the fine folks of the Turkotek family, is appropriate.


Patrick Weiler
November 22nd, 2014 01:09 AM

This ain't Baluchotek
MOM! Joel stuck his tongue out at me!
Yes, that is the most simplified version of an octagon with an 8-pointed star within it. It's too far removed from the artfully articulated and mature design of the Khamseh motif to have any direct relationship, though. Even some of the others I posted are probably not from that gene pool, especially the last Qashqai one. The Khamseh version appears most frequently in their work, though it is instructive to consider the forms which may have some familial similarities. It has an almost heraldic quality to it. One might say that it is the unofficial crest of the Khamseh. Their murgh, chicken or bird design is closely associated with them, but is more often used on their rugs. I'm not sure if this, as Peter Stone calls it, Octagram, has been used much on their full size rugs. I have only seen a couple. Opie, according to Stone, "suggests this is a transitional medallion in the development of the Tekke gul".

Patrick Weiler

Joel Greifinger
November 22nd, 2014 04:41 PM

Mature cresting

Yes, that is the most simplified version of an octagon with an 8-pointed star within it.
Uh, huh.


It's too far removed from the artfully articulated and mature design of the Khamseh motif to have any direct relationship, though.

This first has that artfully...mature... unofficial crest with classic endless knot:

and this is a funky local variation that seems to be missing some points but comes complete with "spanner":

And here it is on a Kurdish salt bag from Varamin:


Patrick Weiler
November 22nd, 2014 11:14 PM

The Source?

Thanks for posting the Kurdish salt bag from the Tanavoli book. If it wasn't labeled Kurdish, I would have suspected a Khamseh source.

The Khamseh crest resembles the Lesghi star, although they are like negative or reversed images, with the arrows pointed inward. Here is one from Spongobongo.

Then there's the Star Kazak version, in the upper and lower red medallions. They are 8-sided, but without the internal 8-pointed designs of the Khamseh versions.

A version dated 1857 owned by Richard Markarian, with the green medallion more or less 8-pointed:

And in salon 48, by Daniel Deschuyteneer, he discusses the possible design source being "Turkish roots". The possible 18th century Caucasian embroidery or dragon rug influence is also mentioned in Peter Stone's book on tribal and village designs. He notes the relationship between the Star Kazak and the Alpan Kuba design. He writes that Murray Eiland proposes the Alpan Kuba as also being the source of the Seichur cross design. They probably originally derived from the Khamseh-Baluch tribe.


All going to show that the true source is, well, not really known for sure.

Patrick Weiler

Dinie Gootjes
November 23rd, 2014 09:09 PM

Here is a star design with a birds head centre, from a weaver who was trying out how many little dots, crosses and daisies she could cram into one small bag face. Did not even come out badly, I think.

Then a rug with a design that is usually on rugs called Khamseh, though one I saw came under the Qashqa'i label. What do you think about this one? Also Khamseh? It is finely woven, with mostly moderate warp depression, wefts natural medium brown, knots symmetrical. It has an extra line of border at the bottom, almost like a Kurd. I don't see anything else Kurdish in the weave, closure system and design. The tufts at the sides are original, I think, they have the same colours as the pile, with the exception of a few obviously later additions and binding thread. Maybe reattached after it was opened up? Has anyone seen a SW Persian bag with a panel like this?


Joel Greifinger
November 24th, 2014 03:38 AM

It may not be Baluchotek, but how about Turkotek

The design consists of an 8-pointed medallion within another 8-pointed medallion.
How about an eight pointed medallion within an eight pointed medallion within an eight pointed medallion within an eight pointed medallion within an eight pointed medallion?


Chuck Wagner
November 24th, 2014 04:17 AM


Those last two are strikingly attractive bags.

When you get bored with them, you know who to email...

Chuck Wagner

Patrick Weiler
November 24th, 2014 05:58 AM

Bake a Tiara

Nailed it!
The 8-pointed design is comprised of two squares or rectangles placed 45 degrees in relation to each other. If it is two squares, it forms an 8-pointed star. This basic geometric structure is simple to make in tile, wood lattice and other architectural constructions, and easy to replicate in textiles. This could explain the universality of the design in many different weaving traditions.
Even a motif as complex as the small pattern Holbein is an 8-pointed design. It is found in the major Tekke gul, along with many other rug types, even, gasp, Baluch!

Dinie, that second bag face is wonderful. It's unquestionably Khamseh and with the tufts, it would seem to fit the dowry weaving tradition. The added pile panel would probably have been turned under and appeared as part of the back. It's quite unusual for a Khamseh bag, as it is more common to Bake tiara (I left that in there as an example of my discerning auto correct function) Bakhtiari or Luri bags.

Patrick Weiler

Dinie Gootjes
November 26th, 2014 05:53 AM

Chuck, I will remember to let you know when I tire of them, but don't hold your breath... Then I won't have anyone to email .

Patrick, I had never thought of it as a dowry piece, but it makes sense with all the special touches: the tufts, the extra panel, the many excellent colours, the beautiful wool, the intricate design. I love it, and it would certainly be one of my desert island pieces. A dealer in Holland who kind of became a friend, gave us an incredible deal on it, so it even comes with good memories.

By the way, maybe an idea for a slow time on T'tek: which five (two, three) pieces of your collection would you take to a desert island, and why?

Nope, this one is not mine


Chuck Wagner
December 25th, 2014 04:16 PM

As Khamseh As...
Hi Pat, et al.,

So, rummaging through one of the Other Rug Bunkers reminded me that I do actually have an unambiguously Khamseh rug. Conveniently, it has a more-or-less Herati border not yet discussed in this thread - I'm not sure whether we can say that this same border appears on bags.

An analog to this piece (which has symmetrical knots) also appears in Opie's Tribal Rugs - although - I'm still wondering if dealerlore haunts us even in Opie's work occasionally (more on that below):

The end panel is pile, not flatweave:

Regarding the dealerlore comment, I have always associated considered this border:

to be a distinct Afshar marker. Still, I can also recall Pat, James, and I trading alternative ideas regarding a rug (also with symmetrical knots) that we have that's covered in botehs (they both say Khamseh):

the back of which shows a structure somewhat different from the definitive Khamseh piece above including ivory wool warps, significant warp depression, and a lot of (but not exclusively) red wefts:

Chuck Wagner