Archive for May, 2015

“Show and Tell” As the New Textile Museum Building on the GWU Campus Opens

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2015 by rjohn

Late in March, 2015,  the new Textile Museum building on the George Washington campus, here in Washington, D.C. opened with a flurry of events.

Many of you participated in them.  But, if not, you may still be able to see, in what follows, and enjoy from afar, some of what went on.

Museum_Opening_UP_2015-WLA_1271

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/finding-the-common-thread-between-clothes-and-identity/2015/03/20/3d30c8ee-ccbe-11e4-a2a7-9517a3a70506_story.html

The culminating day of this opening weekend was devoted to a kind of “mini-TM symposium.”  In the morning, were two lectures, one by Tom Farnham

TomFarnham1

who helped us look anew at Myers.

TitleFarnhamLecture

Jon Thompson followed

JonThompson2

with what he described, modestly, as a series of motif “crumbs.”

TitleThompsonLecture

After, lunch, there was a show and tell session of the sort that traditionally ends TM Symposiums.  This latter is the primary focus of this post.

Michael Seidman supervises preparations and facilitates this session.

Michael1

Here is a look a look at the considerable preparation required.

Before19

Each rug has to be tagged by its owner (rug owners get testy of their rare piece cannot be discovered afterwards).

The pieces brought in are organized into the sequence in which they will be shown.

Before5

Before2

Before11

Before10

Michael gives some of the “textile holders” (an under-rated task) last-minute instructions.

Before21

Margaret Jones, who often takes notes for me, is poised.

MargaretJonesTakingNotes

Authorities are arrayed in the front row.

People4

People2

There were more authorities.  You’ll see them as we go along.

We are ready to start.

The detail in the attributions given for the pieces in this show and tell session varies widely.  It is difficult to take notes on over 70 pieces being walked by (some times rather briefly) on a stage with, comments, either distorted by the audio system, or not amplified at all.  In some cases I have been able to work with owners after to obtain a more full-faced description.  But some descriptions are necessarily telegraphic.  That is one sense in which this is a decidedly virtual version of this session.

The first two pieces were gifts to the TM presented by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Culture.  They were presented by Azada Huseynova, Head of the Museum Affairs Department at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan.

Gift1

The first of these was a contemporary, Azerbaijani pile rug from the Karabagh area, with an “eagle Kazak” pattern.

S0

st0b

As second piece was flat woven.

S00

People7

This piece was a woven scarf from a remote Azerbaijani village.

Here is an unobstructed look at it.

st00Jeff Spurr addressed the first pieces arrayed for the show-and-tell.

JeffandMichael

Subsequently, he has given me descriptions and comments reflecting, as close as he can remember, what he said about each textile on the occasion.

He said that the first of these were shawls, twill-tapestry pashmina (goat hair) weavings from Kashmir.

 S1

 st1

Here is a detail of the first, a large fragment, which Spurr described as jamawar, or “clothes pieces,” essentially yardage, but woven in lengths only slightly longer than classic Kashmiri long shawls. Spurr said evidence suggests that this sort of weaving, always floral, in spot motifs or stripes, was introduced in the middle of the 18th c., this example, with three different motifs oriented on the diagonal, dating to about 1790.

st1a

The next piece was a fragment (but perhaps a full loom width) of khat-rast (striped) jamawar, dating to around 1815, broader stripes contrasting with the narrower ones coming in around that time, older striped shawl cloth having featured uniformly narrow stripes.

S2

st2

Details of S2.

st2a

(color differences due to camera and lighting variations)

st2b

 The next piece, was also jamawar, but, with its hashiyas (longitudinal borders) and zanjirs (transverse borders in same design), is of a type that Spurr has labeled “jamawar shawls.” This example was highly unusual with its undulating, serpentine pattern as opposed to the usual stripes. Spurr knows of only one published similar example. Its very narrow borders are puzzling since atypical for the period.  Still, he concludes that it should be dated to about 1815 or so. It featured a full loom width, but must have been cut down since it was too short to be complete.

S3

st3

A closer look at its undulating, serpentine pattern.

st3a

 See the unusually narrow border (bottom of the image below).

st3c

Spurr was amazed to find a second shawl with undulating pattern, if slightly different, in this same small selection of shawl pieces. Here two different ascending vines, one more elaborate than the other, alternate up the field. It was also a “jamawar shawl,” but was complete, featured more typical borders. He dated it to about 1820.

 

S4

st4

st4a

Some closer looks at the two ascending vines.

st4b

(again, color differences are from camera and lighting)

st4c

 Spurr described the next shawl as a dorukha shawl, also essentially jamawar, though, with end finishes, but a fragment of the original textile. Dorukha was one of the features of the end of the shawl tradition in Kashmir, an innovation to excite interest (starting around 1865) of single-interlocking rather than double-interlocking twill-tapestry weave, thus double faced, the designs enhanced by fine embroidered running stitches around the principal features. This example could have dated to around 1880 or so.

S5

st5

Here are some closer detail images.

st5b

The distinctive end finishes recall small, embroidered sections of twill weave attached to the ends of European market long shawls, though dorukha shawls like this were largely woven for a local, Indian market.

st5a

Embroidery stitches on the border.

st5c

 Spurr identified the next item as a bokcha, or square, wrapping cloth, made up in Persia in the mid-19th c. from a large piece of Kashmiri jamawar of a boteh-vine design on a diagonal more characteristic of about 1840, plus Kashmiri hashiya borders, though the actual edge finishes appeared to be Kermani termeh (Perian shawl cloth emulating Kashmiri models), of the striped type, cut on the bias. It was owned by the late Harald Keshishian.

S6

st6

Details of S6.

st6a

AM3a

AM3b

AM3c

st6c

Back of S6. The Kermani edge finish is more obvious on the back, which principally comprises red cotton, a common backing for such items made up by specialists for sale in the bazaar.

st6back

st6d

The next piece was a Syrian silk robe, or aba, woven principally in tapestry weave in two loom widths, attached one above the other to form the complete robe.  Late 19th century.  Probably woven in the city of Hama.

S7

st7

Details of S7.

st7aMetallic thread.

st7c

st7b

Notice that the inside bottom corners are decorated with an applique/cut-out technique, perhaps more properly described as reverse applique. Spurr notes that most of these robes do not feature this extra, though still characteristic, touch.

st7d

Spurr said that the next textile was a silk ikat panel in prayer format (though more likely for the wall), most likely from Yazd, though similar pieces were made in Bukhara. It features the central cypress tree resting on a mountain, with flanking birds, all ancient and ubiquitous imagery. It is probably 20th century though earlier ones exist.

S8

st8

Details of S8.

st8a

(color differences from camera and lighting)

st8b

st8c

Yazd was an historically important center for weaving silk textiles, though it went into decline in the 20th c.  The images below show these silk ikat panels still in production at Yazd.

Overview of the termeh loom being used in the image to the left

 

Spurr described the next piece as a fine example of antique silk velvet ikat, also woven in Yazd. It was a complete panel that served as a large cushion cover, and probably dates to the mid-19th c.

S9

st10

Details of S9.

st10c

st10b

st10a

Spurr identified the next piece as an example of machine printed cotton, probably mid-late 19th c. The industrial weavers of Manchester were the masters of this craft, and exported it everywhere. Eventually, they sold their technology and expertise to the Russians, which, accordingly, called printed cottons “Manchester.” They, in turn, exported huge amounts of it to their newly-conquered territories in Central Asia, and both they and the British sold cotton cloth such as this boteh-decorated piece to Persia.

S10

st9

Details of S10.

st9a

Next came an extremely rare and obscure example of raffia weaving. Spurr identified it as having been made in prayer format (and looking rather like Indian cotton dhurrie prayer panels), by Sakalava weavers in Madagascar, famous for their traditional raffia weaving with or without ikat. They would have been made for Muslims from India who had been brought to Madagascar in the later 19th c. to work on French plantations. A group of these pieces were found some years ago by a British textile dealer looking for something completely different in Gujarat.

S11

st11Details of S11.

st11a

st11b

Spurr identified the next piece as a silk, tie-dyed (plangi) shoulder cloth (slendang) from the province of Palembang in Sumatra. Its decorative scheme reveals its Indian origins, with end panels featuring butas much as one would find on a Kashmir shawl. The present example was one of those made principally with commercial dyes in the early 20th c. Earlier examples employing natural dyes are rare. As is usual, it features embroidered decoration in metallic thread around its edges, which also served to protect it and provide it more form in use.

S12

st12

Details of S12.

st12a

st12b

st12c

st12d

The next piece is an example of contemporary marbling technique on silk.  Istanbul.  Spurr: “Evidence for marbling in the Islamic world goes back to the Timurid period and the 15th century. Then and later it was applied to paper; only in recent decades did anyone consider applying it decoratively to textiles for dress.”

S13

st13

 

Spurr on S14 below: “A common Uzbek costume feature, both for urban and rural folk, was a belt employing a design rendered in silk cross-stitch, called iroqi by the locals. This particular design was also commonly used for edging robes, though one rarely sees them attached, suggesting that the robes themselves were rather plain. That this was a belt is indicated by its balanced borders on its long sides. As is typical, the metal attachments at both ends have been lost.”

S14

st14

st14a

Next was an Uzbek tie-dye.  Spurr: “Central Asian tie-dyed and sewn resist textiles of sheer, handspun silk, called galghai, survive from the late 19th and early 20th century in various sizes. They were typically worn as headscarves though some would have been quite enveloping. This fine example is somewhat unusual given its purple ground, its smallish, rectangular shape, the careful drawing of the circular bulls-eye medallions, and the charming accent of the one white circle. The most common color palette is red, yellow and white. Related textiles of large size and heavier gauge silk were also used as hangings on special occasions.”

S15

st15

Details of S15.

st15a

st15b

st15c

st15d

Spurr: “The following square textile is a Kungrat aina khalta (mirror cover), a decorative textile employing silk embroidery in this case. The ground, however, is green-dyed homespun wool, local woolen grounds being typical. Often the embroidery is done in wool yarn as well, both a contrast to the commercial materials always used in comparable Lakai textiles.” Both the Kungrat and the Lakai are Uzbek tribal peoples.”

S16

st16

st16a

st16b

st16e

The lovely piece, below, is a contemporary, Armenian embroidery, based on earlier Caucasian embroideries. It is from the Mehmet Cetinkaya production. Naturally dyed, silk embroidery on a cotton ground.  Its wonderful colors suggest that the often touted 18th century dyeing skills are not entirely lost.

S17

st17

Details of S17

st17b

st17a

st17d

S18, below, is a modern reproduction of kemha, the complex silk fabric used in the sultan’s kaftans. This is a product of Armaggan, the foundation established to recreate the decorative arts of the Ottoman Empire at it’s peak.

This piece is a loom’s width of one of their styles. Excellent workmanship, with metal wrapped silk threads. This material is woven by a professional weaver on a complex loom that combines hand weaving with some Jacquard features that permit weaving of precise repeats.

Some of the patterns can be found in the TM collection of the old kaftan fragments. You can find some examples among the “Featured Pieces” sequence at this link:

http://museum.gwu.edu/textile-museum

S18

st18

Details of S18.

st18a

(color differences due to camera and lighting)

st18b

Louise Mackie described the next piece.  I don’t have her comments as I write, but this is a 19th century Italian velvet panel, still with an ogival pattern, so typical of the influence of Ottoman design introduced a few hundred years ago.

S19

st19andLouiseMackie

Here is is, almost full-length and unobstructed.

st19a

My notes indicate that Louise said such pieces were used to decorate churches on high holy days.

st19andLouiseMackie4

st19andLouiseMackie3

Details of S19.

st19d

st19b

st19f

st19c

The next piece was Uzbek pile.

s20

 st20

Notice in the next two detail images below that the ends are slightly separated from the field by a few rows of flat weave.  This permits the ends to fold over easily and suggests that this piece was used as a cradle.

Details of S20.

st20a

st20b

st20c

The next piece was a Central Asian palas.  Typically woven in one piece.  Chevron design. Woven by Goklan Turkman or weavers in Iranian border areas.

S21

st21

Details of S21.

st21c

st21b

(color differences, again, due to camera and lighting)

st21a

The next piece was Yomud, pile asmalyk.  Most will know, these were woven in pairs and used to decorate the sides of a wedding camel.

S22

st22

Frequently seen diamond field design.  Interesting main border.  Estimated to the mid-19th century.

st22a

st22c

st22b

Good range of color for a Turkman weaving.  Copper shade is unusual.

st22d

The next piece was rare, Tekke, Turkman engsi.  Usually seen to have been used as door rugs for a Turkman trellis tent.  Very few photos of one in use.

S23

st23

Wonderful, glowing red.  Crisp, spacious, traditional drawing.  Pristine condition.  Likely woven before 1850.

This example is “rare” because it has “animal tree” devices in one lower cross-panel.

st23d

Some closer views of them.

st23g

st23e

Some additional detail images of S23.

st23a

st23c

st23b

The next piece was a six-gul, Tekke torba.

S24

st24

Good color and nice, roundish major guls that suggest age.

st24b

Additional details on S24.

st24a

st24d

The next piece was probably a Yomut main carpet, but definitely one with a “tauk naska” gul.

S25

st25

“Tauk naska” literaly means “chicken,” but some Turkman collector wag has suggested that if they are this well drawn (notice even the combs are retained) the devices must be “eagles.” 

st25g

Whatever, it’s a very nice, likely, Yomut, main carpet.

Here are some additional details of S25.

st25bNotice a very good blue-green.

st25f

st25e

st25c

A spare, delicately drawn, minor gul.

st25h

The next piece was a flat-woven salt bag.  It was described as Baluch, likely from the Pakistani side.  Early 20th century.

S26

st26

Details of S26.

st26a

st26b

st26d

The next piece was describe as a rare Baluch niche pattern rug.

S27

st27

It has a frequently seen “tree of life” motif but a Turkmen-like gul in the “mirhab” area,

st27a

st27e

and three more of two different types toward the bottom.

st27b

More details of S27.

st27c

st27d

The next piece was an old Persian fragment that belonged to Harold Keshishian.  I am going to treat it by inserting here a description of it in a virtual version of a 2008 TM Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning conducted by Dan Walker.  I am doing so because both the images of it there are better and the description of it is fulsome.

 Next Walker moved to two old fragments that belong to Harold Keshishian (ed. we are only going to treat one of them here).

They are part of a Persian group sometimes described as having “vinescroll and palmette” patterns, usually on a red ground with dark blue or green borders. This group has had many names over the years – Shah ‘Abbas, Isfahan, Herat, and, more recently, Indo-Persian – and this suggests the uncertainty that has long surrounded the origin of these carpets.

Both May Beattie and Charles Grant Ellis believed, based mainly on issues of color, that certain examples of this type were woven in India. Although there are indeed North Indian carpets based on this pattern, they can be distinguished by structure and color usage from the Persian rugs.

Most scholars today believe that the vinescroll and palmette type is Persian in origin and dates from the 17th century.     

 Here are four images of the larger of Harold’s vinescroll and palmette fragments. It gives a good sense of what the border and field looked like, and the scale of the pattern elements suggests that this was once a fairly large carpet.

Note: The indication in this 2015 session was that this piece was likely woven in Isfahan.

S28

Closer full length below.

Detail of field below.

Detail of border below

Walker pointed out that vinescroll and palmette carpets were commercial products made in very large quantities. Well over two hundred examples survive today in collections in America, Europe, the Middle East, India, and Japan. They are represented in many Dutch paintings, particularly during the periods 1620 to 1630 and 1660 to 1680, when their popularity must have peaked.

The next piece was another old fragment of Harold’s.  It is part of a multiple niche rug.  My notes say only that it was probably woven in Herat.  The wool and the color drew comment.

S29

st29

Here are some details of S29.

st29b

st29d

st29c

st29e

The next piece a very good NW Persian rug with a “shrub” field design that could also be read in “tree of life” terms.  A village rendition.  The dark ground of its field creates a feeling of depth.  Effective use of white and other contrasting colors.  Could be Kurdish Bijar.  Possibly Luri.

S30

st30

Details of S31.

st30a

st30b

st30c

st30d

 Broadly abstracted reciprocal Bijar main border frames effectively with its larger scale.

st30e

The next piece was described as Kurdish, western Iran.  Its drawing recalls earlier Safavid carpets.

S32

st31

Details of S32.

st31a

st31b

st31c

The next piece was a very good Kurdish rug with the so called “shish kabobi” pattern, based on classical vase carpet patterns. A version can be seen in Burn’s Kurdish book.  Striking use of a white ground in its field.

S33

st32

Wonderful color.

st32turned

Details of S33.

st32a

st32b

st32c

Border is a compound version of what is called a “split leaf” border.

st32d

The next piece was Persian horsecover.

S34

st33

Details of S34.

st33a

Dennis Dodds examined it.

st33andDennis

He said “This saddle cover was made in the Sanandaj region of western Iran in the Kurdistan province. ‘Sehna’ is the name given to many carpets woven there. Most use only a single weft between each row of symmetric knots. This finely woven example, with a supple handle and vegetal dyes, displays a dense, ‘herati’ pattern juxtaposed in stark contrast to a deep, saturated, blue-black indigo that offers stark contrast. It dates to the last quarter of the 19 century.”

st33b

The next piece was a sofreh, bread-carrying size.  Good colors in an abstracted seeming more modern design.  Central Persia.

S35

st34

Details of S35.

st34a

st34c

st34b

The next piece was described as Afshar.  Southwest Iran.

S36

st35

Details of S36.

st35a

st35b

st35c

In a subsequent email their owner said that “S37, S38 and S38a are flat woven exemplars of (ed.Southwest Persian) “grain bags”, though surely used more promiscuously than just for grain.

“S37 ad S38a are single bags and S38 double — double means wider and stitched down the middle. S37 is the back of the bag; the other two are fronts.”

S37

(back)

st36

Details of S37.

st36a

st36b

st36c

S38 is a Southwest Persian grain bag.  It is “double,” that is, sewn down the center.

S38

(front)

st37

Details of S38.

st37a

(color difference due to camera and lighting)

st37b

st37c

S38a is another Southwest Persian grain bag.

S38a

(front)

st38

Details of S38a.

st38a

st38b

st38c

The next piece was a flat woven horse cover on indigo ground, Qashqai, with 3 rows of zoomorphic creatures.

S39

st39

Details of S39.

st39a

(color differences due to camera and lighting)

st39b

st39c

st39d

The next piece was a complete Kamseh saddle bag set.  Its owner said “This design is often attributed to the Baharlu, but I know of no independent information about this attribution.”

S40

st40

Details of S40.

Notice the frequent use of “chickens.”

st40a

st40b

st42b

The next piece was another complete khorjin.  It owner says that “to judge by the weave and especially the reinforcement provided by the pile on the back, it is likely Luri.”

S41

st41

Details of S41.

st41b

st41c

st41a

st41d

The owner said that S42 “is a mystery rug that I brought to get the opinion of the experts. None was offered at the session, but afterwards Alberto Boralevi said he thought it is Caucasian. My guess based on the wool and design is that it is Luri, but who knows?”

S42

st43

 Details of S42.

st43a

st43b

st43c

st43d

st43e

 

Their owner wrote afterward: “For S43 and S44, I do not know the exact attribution and brought them along to get advice from the experts. None was offered.

“Note the design similarity between the two in the field. It is a design often seen in 19th century Afshar borders, but these rugs are not obviously Afshar in construction. Both are loosely knotted, fine glistening wool (where available), and each is wider than long with no obvious signs of cutting. Note the field design similarity with S44.

“It has attributes that some would today call Shahsevan, but I have not seen any independent or unique structural attribution for that origin.”

S43

st44

Details of S43.

st44a

st44b

st44c

(ed. Again notice the similarities between S43 and S44.)  The owner said further: “S44 is a timely memorial to Michael Craycraft. I bought it about 35 years ago, believing it to be likely Luri.

“I bought S43 quite a few years later, struck by the similarity in structure and size as well as field design. I do not know what they are or even if they have the same origin.

S44

st45

Details of S44.

st45a

st45b

Owner: “S45 is a Khamseh rug that some people would call of Mughal design origins. It seems quite old in the Khamseh version of this tradition and is unusual for the pale blue field that appears much more saturated in your pictures.”

S45

st46

Details of S45.

st46a

st46b

st46c

Owner: “S46 is an even older Khamseh piece, possibly 18th century, with minor field elements that are found regularly and more prominently in the later 19th century Khamseh repertoire.

“In this regard, notice the birds, the flower heads and the buds intruding into the field.

Also noteworthy is the “classical” nature of the border, that gets more geometrical later, and the field botehs, that are later less elegant and more tightly spaced.”

S46

st47

(color differences are due to camera and lighting)

Details of S46.

st47a

st47b

st47c

The next piece was described as “Kashgar” with silk wefts.  Kashgar is in Eastern Turkestan and it is said that rugs woven there show Persian influence.

S47

st48

Details of S48.

st48a

(color differences due to camera and lighting)

st48b

The next piece was unusual.  It is a kilim with lot of knotted and brocaded devices.  Caucasian attribution.

S49

st49

st49turned

Details of S49.

st49a

st49b

st49c

st49d

Michael Franses examined the next piece, a stunning Azerbaijan embroidery.

st50withMichaelFranses

Here is a comprehensive view of it.  I haven’t captured Michael’s comments on it, precisely, but the notes taken for me indicated that it was dated first half of the 18th century.  Embroidery stitches include both cross-stitch and flat stitch.

This design is described as “Kasim-Ushag” and such pieces are often attributed to Karabagh.  Estimated as possibly the first half of the 18th century.

S50

st50

Beautifully drawn with a wide palette of wonderful colors.  Use of white is very effective.  Highly abstracted animal figures surrounding the center medallion.  Armatures recall “dragon rug” usages.

Almost as large as a carpet.  May have been a cradle cover.

Details of S50.

st50a

st50c

st50d

The next piece was attributed to Kuba or Shirvan, although it is more coarsely woven than is usual for those areas.  Oversize reciprocal border with a flower at the center of each device.

S51

st51Details of S51.

st51b

st51c

The dark green ground main border is attractive.

st51e

The next piece was estimated to be from Kuba or Shirvan.  A tallish niche device and a lattice with flowers on a white ground field.  Crisp drawing.  Very good color.  Blue selvedges are characteristic.

S52

st52

Details of S52.

st52a

st52b

The two-blues main border and the striped minor ones on both sides of it are very striking.

st52c

The next piece featured a lower, center Lenkoran medallion surrounded by four smaller ones.  There is a hooked, pentagonal medallion above, surmounted by a “floating” niche device. A reciprocal main border.  Said to have been woven in Karabagh.

S53

st53

Details of S53.

st53d

st53a

st53b

st53c

The next piece had an unusual field composition.  Three sets of six each “tic, tac, toe,” like field medallions. The “main” reciprocal border and the two floret borders are seen in Caucasian rugs from Daghestan.  Borders, taken together, are almost the same size as the field.

S54

st54

Details of S54.

st54a

st54d

st54b

The next piece was described as a small NW Persian sumac bag.  Unusual field, composed of three cross-panels.

S55

st55

Detail of S55.

st55a

The next piece was described as a Caucasian-NW Persian bag face with a striking, white-ground center “medallion.”

S56

st56

Detail of S56.

st56a

It’s owner described the next rug as “Khila from the Baku area, shows influence of the shawl trade with India, textile patterned stripes on the bias. Internal drawing of botehs introduced around 1820. Carpet is probably 3rd quarter 19th cent. Note careful planning of border resolutions of the diagonal stripes at bottom and top.”

S57

st57

Details of S587

st57a

st57d

st57c

The next piece was a fragment of an Anatolian rug with a “Star Ushak” design.  The expert opinion in the room was that it was likely woven about 1600.

S58

st58

(color differences due to camera and lighting)

Detail of S58.

st58a

The next piece was a fragment of an 18th century, Central Anatolian, village rug.

S59

st59

It was turned 90 degrees.

Stefano Ionesco said, in an exchange after this session that he has happy to discuss this fragment, which belongs to a small group showing the palmette and other Ottoman flora in the field.

A similar example is held in the Vakiflar Museum in Ankara, directed by Dr. Susan Bayraktaroglu:

st59stefanoMuseumExample4

The spandrels and the field motifs suggest those rugs are derivative from plain-niche ‘Transylvanian’ prayer rugs, displaying borders with rosette and palmette enclosed by sickle leaves.

In the village rugs like this, elements of the borders were used to decorate the field.

A very similar rug is depicted in the Carpet Merchant by Osman Hamdi bey, 19th. Cent.

st59StefanoOsmanPicture

Stefano indicated that we should also mention the CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER rug sold at Christies (lot 210) and attributed to Konya:
st59StefanoChristoferAlexanderExampleStefano asks the audience about the distinctive “gul-like” device, enclosed by sickle-leaves, which has been described as pineapples, ram horns or even flying beasts.

Stefano thinks these devices, with the distinctive spine, originally were pomegranates.

st59a

Stefano invited and led a discussion of it. He engaged Michael Franses and made a comparison with the border of a Transylvanian rug, published in his latest book Anatolian Carpets from the Brukenthal Museum, Sibiu.

st59andStefano2

The most common border in plain niche ‘Transylvanian’ prayer rugs displays a combination of palmette and rosette, enclosed by sickle leaves, mixed with other Ottoman flora.

Here are two examples of such devices used in Ottoman borders. The first one, from the Black Church in Brasov, is the “palmette” type (which has a direct predecessor in Cairene prayer rugs and also in Safavid carpets)

st59twoimagesfromStephanoright

The second one is the “pomegranate” type, which lacks a known forerunner ; it does not appear in textiles, ceramics or other media.

Probably this peculiar motif (scarcely discussed in the literature) was used only by the weavers in Anatolia.

st59twoimagesfromStephanoleftAttempts to track the motif to an existing plant or fruit did not reach a consensus,

I found what seems a similar example Schurmann’s “Oriental Rugs,” 1979.

In later examples the position of the sickle leaves is twisted.

S59, possible comparator

st59comparator1

Schurmann acknowledges the similarity of this rug’s designs with those in “Transylvanian” pieces, but note (above) that he places his piece in Melas.

Dennis Dodds joined the discussion.

st59andothers4

st59DennisCommenting

In a subsequent email exchange with me, Dennis said that “(ed. Stefano’s fragment) is central Anatolian, possibly between Ladik and Mujur/Sivas. It is probably last half 18c.

“I think the most likely description (ed. of the device being examined in this piece) is simply a generic palmette-like blossom between two flanking angular leaves.

“(ed. Here, below) is a version of the same motif from a c 1700 western Anatolian rug which displays an ambiguous floral idea between two leaves.”

DennisDoddsushak prayer (2)

DennisDoddsUshak prayer (5)

Ultimately, Jon Thompson was drawn into this discussion.

st59andothers

Jon opted for the palmette term and pointed to other Ottoman flora, which are peculiar to this design: carnations, hyacinths, side areas “saz” leaves.

st59d

As indicated above, attempts to track the motif to an existing plant or fruit did not reach a consensus.

The next piece was described a Turkish, likely Central Anatolia.  Could be late 19th into the early 20th century

S60

st60

Details of S60.

st60a

st60c

A lot of lighter purple used.

st60d

st60e

The next piece was a fragment of an Anatolian rug from the familiar Konya, yellow ground group.  Memling guls.  Devices may have come from tile designs.  Mid-19th century.

S61

st61

The next piece was an Anatolian, niche design, attributed to Ladik.  A skeletal “tree of life” in the field and a striped main border seen on Bergama rugs.  Probably around 1850.

S62

st62

Details of S62.

st62a

st62b

Its owner noted the early, unusual niche design, in S63.  Was sold to him as woven in Anatolia, in Mihalic, near Dazkir.  Early 19th century.

S63

 st63

Details of S63.

st63a

(color differences due to camera and lighting)

st63d

st63b

The next piece was a long rug from Central Anatolia.  Someone has suggested that it is probably from the village of Derbent, north of Konya. Note the lappets at both ends, more frequently seen in yastiks.

S64

 st64

Details of S64.

st64a

st64b

st64c

st64d

st64e

The next piece was a small, single-piece kilim.  Slit tapestry.  Aksaray, Central Anatolia, 18th century.

White cotton used for small highlights.

S65

Richard1

(click on photo above for a larger image)

A detail of S65.

Richard2

(click on photo above for a larger image)

The next piece was a niche kilim attributed to Eastern Anatolia.  It has pronounced, alternate warp depression and a stiff handle.  Some metallic thread.  Possible Kurdish influence.

S66

st66

Details of S66.

st66b

st66c

The large kilim fragment, below, was woven in Chiprovtsy in NW Bulgaria.  Attention was called to the fabulous way in which this fragment has been mounted.  It lets us see a bit what the original piece looked like.

S67

st67

Its owner said that this saf was made for a mosque.  Late 18th century, before the Ottomans left this area.  He added that other fragments from the original kilim are known and being pursued.

Details of S67.

st67a

st67b

st67c


It’s owner gave the following description for S68: “Central Anatolian Konya region. Hotamis prayer kilim with red field and complex re-entrant side borders.

“Size: 48” x 76.5”. 18th century.”

S68

st68

Details of S68.

st68a

st68b

st68c

 The next piece was described as a Konya/Cappadocia village carpet, ca 1800, similar to a piece that appeared as a Hali cover.

S69

st69

Details of S69.

st69b

st69c

Now we moved to two Scandinavian pieces that Wendel Swan brought in and that had structures of the primitive type.

(ed.) The photos and descriptions of these two pieces are taken from another session because they are better there.)

W6

W6WendelandJohnScan1

The first of these was an early 19th century Swedish rug, woven in two sections and then pieced.

W6

W6WendelScan

Wendel said that this rug was made for use on a bed.

He said that the blue is probably linen, as are the warps.  The image below is a detail of both the front and back of this piece.  It has 8 to 10 rows of weft between each row of knots.

W6back2

Each knot if half looped and half open.  The knots are pressed forward so that the pattern shows only faintly on the back.  Wertime said that this structure is a form of weft-wrapping.

W6d

Here are some additional detail images of W6.

W6bWendelScan

W6aWendelScan

W6c

Wendel’s second Swedish rug, with a primitive pile structure, was this one, which he attributes to Bohuslan in Southwest Sweden.

W7

1828 rya a W7

This rug has looped pile (with the loops intact) and is woven so that the pile pattern is not visible on the back.

W7f

This back structure is weft-faced and so is distinctive from that of some Central Asian rugs that are woven with symmetric knots on alternate raised warps, producing a similar opaque, but warp-faced, back.

As you can see this rug is inscribed and dated.

W7a

W7b

Here are some additional detail images of W7.

W7c

W7e

I want to thank Margaret Jones, Jeff Spurr, Dennis Dodds, Stefano Ionesco, Tom Cook, Bruce Baganz, Richard Isaacson and Michael Seidman for their considerable help in the fashioning of this post.  Thanks also to The George Washington University for inviting The Textile Museum to join their community and for providing us with two state-of-the art buildings that solve our facilities problem for as far into the future as can been seen.

Any errors discerned in this post are mine.

I hope you have enjoyed, even found useful in places, this virtual version of this TM opening weekend show and tell session.

Regards.

R. John Howe