Archive for May, 2016

Saul Bardofsky: Two Themes

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2016 by rjohn

On March 20, 2016, Saul Barodofsky

Saul2*

gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program here at The Textile Museum, in Washington, D.C.

Saul draws a crowd.

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Audience1*

Audience2*

Saul told the story of how he got into the rug business.  He said that he was in the book business in San Francisco and a couple (Gary Muse and Susan Smith) showed up and showed him some Turkish textiles.  He sold his book business and decided to travel to Turkey.  He did and discovered Turkish textiles and the rug and textile business has been his world ever since.

Saul announced at the beginning that he would speak and show material under two themes.  First he would treat things that he had personally collected over the years, and second he would treat pieces that had been purchased for sale, but that he had been unwilling to sell.

Saul likes costume and frequently comes equipped.  His first piece of the day was a Syrian dervish-type robe of the Mevlevi order. 

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Saulrobe1*

He said that it is reminiscent of the type used in the whirling dervish dances.  It opens when its wearer turns.  Note the satin inserts.

Saulrobe2*

The Dervishes turn as one arm reaches to the sky "taking from God" and the other "gives life to the earth," says Celaleddin Loras, a Mevlevi Sheikh, or master of the order.

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The patterning highlight of this coat was the embroidery on its back.

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Saulrobe3*

He moved, now, to other pieces from his personal collection.

S1

Saul6*

This, he said, is a small Greek Island embroidered bag face: the finest he has ever seen.

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S4*

S4a*

The next piece was one pinned on the front board.

S2

S1*

This piece is a kind of “nazarlik,” (something to ward off evil forces).  The particular design is a famous one, called “Shah Miran,”  the goddess of snakes and scorpions.  “Nazarliks,” Saul said, are a pre-Islamic residue believed widely by Muslims without experiencing any contradiction with their Islamic faith.

This piece was woven in Sivas in Northeast Turkey.

Details of S2.

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S1a*

S1b *

The next piece was this small khorjin face.  Lur, South Persian.  Bought in 1979 or 1980, and kept hidden until now.

S3

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S2*

Details of S3.  Note the Persian slit-type closure system.

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S2a*

S2b*

On the right side of the front board was this lion rug.  Konya area in Turkey.  The manes of the lions are nicely detailed.

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S4

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S3*

Details of S4.

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S3b*

S3c*

S3a*

Saul’s next piece was a very shaggy Kurdish rug, Badani.  Long, unspun sheep’s wool.  Saul described it as a wedding night rug, a dowry piece from Malatya.

S5

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 S5*

Details of the Kurdish, Badani, S5.

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S5a*

S5c*

S5b*

Below are details of the back of the Kurdish Badini, S5.

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S6*

S6c*

S6b*

Saul’s next piece was a Chinese/Turkman (Yarkand) rug with a narrow palette.  I am not sure, but think that the two central figures in the field may be an abstracted version of one of the Buddhist auspicious symbols, the parasol.  Note also that the swastika is used to resolve the line border at the corners.  There are seeming flower forms in the spandrels and the small cross-hatch devices could be abstracted endless knots.  The meanings of Chinese symbols have until recently been well-known in Chinese society.

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S7

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S7*

Here is a line drawing of one version of the parasol symbol.

parasol2

Details of S7.

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S7a*

S7d*

S7c*

Here is a detail of the back of this rug.

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S7backdetail2*

Saul said that his next piece was Kurdish, woven in the Jehambelli plateau, between Ankara and Konya.  He thinks it is a “wedding canopy” hung flat above the wedding bed with the tassels hanging down, so as to distract the evil eye.

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S8

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S9

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Details of S8.

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DSC_0056*

S9b*

Saul’s next piece was a six-piece Ottoman wedding night set.  Pillow shams hanging down.  Silk and gold crocheted.  Maybe from Ottoman-Syria.

Saul said that he has owned it for 34 years and that it has never before been shown.

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S9

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S10*

Details of S9.

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S10a*

S10b*

S10d*

S10e*

S10c*

S10f*

Next, was a simple, super finely woven, chemise of hand-spun linen.

S10

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S11*

Details of S10.

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S11a*

S11b*

Saul’s next piece was a complete, but not sewn together, pile Caucasian mafrash (cargo bag type).  Two sides and two end panels.  Pile instances of this format are rare.

S11

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S12*

Here are closer images of these parts.

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S12a*

Detail of above side panel.

S12sidedetail2*

Images of the other side panel and the two end panels.

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S12b*

S12c*

S12d*

The next piece was a Caucasian salt bag.  Saul said “weft-float brocade.”

S12

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S13*

Back of S12.  Notice that cicim (weft float brocading) on the back is usually found on weavings from Central Turkey, not the Caucasus

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S13back*

Next, was another salt bag, this time a Caucasian with good drawing and color.  A photo of this piece has appeared in two carpet books.

S13

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S14*

Back of S13.

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S14back*

Next was a Baluch woman’s head covering, replete with cowry shells, beads, bells and pom poms.  Note, also, the use of old buttons. The cowry shells are thought to resemble female genitalia. (This was a gift from Tatiana Divens).

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S14

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Detail of S14.

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S16a*

The piece below is a woman’s belt with silk embroidery.  Uzbek.

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S15

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S15*

Details of S15.

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S15a*

S15b*

Next was a tiny 19th century Chodor bag.

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S16

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S17comp2*

Detail of S16.

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S17a*

Saul said that the next piece was the youngest he had brought today.  Embroidered.  Likely a hair-braid covering.  Use of hammer and sickle devices indicate Soviet era.

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S17

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S18*

Next was a pair of men’s spats (lower leg coverings) with gold metallic embroidery.  Late Ottoman period.

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S18

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S19bothspats*

Details of S18.

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S19*

S19a*

Next were two Turkmen hats.  Embroidered in silk.  Nice traditional colors.

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S19

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S22*

Next were two pairs of “nazarlik” gloves.  Knitted with mohair locks that would move to distract the evil eye.  Dowry pieces from the Konya mountains.

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S20

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S21*

The next piece was an Uzbek woman’s cap with braid cover.  Silk velvet ikat.  Likely made from a fragment of a silk velvet ikat coat.

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S21

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S23*

The next piece was a Turkman woman’s head band.  Silver, with amber, coral and carnelian.

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K22

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S24comp2*

Next was a tiny embroidered Uzbek bag.  Good, pre-synthetic color.  Two sided but only one shown.

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K22

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S25comp2*

The following piece has the shape of part of a Central Asian horse head decoration, but the tassels, braids, shells, beads and top loop suggest that it is a nazarlik hanging.

S23

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S26comp2*

Next piece is a Turkman pile koran bag.

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S24

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S27*

Detail of S24.

S27a*

Saul said that the next piece is also a koran bag this time Turkish.  Obruk near Konya.  It is the first piece he purchased when he began in the rug business in 1977.

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S25

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S28*

Detail of S26.

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S28a*

Another Koran bag, this time in silk ikat purchased in Samarkand.

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S27

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S29*

This is the back of S27.

Very often Central Asian ikat is backed with Russian printed cloth, but I think Saul said this back is done with a “mud-resist” technique.

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Still another Koran bag, this time complete, but opened up.  Central Turkey.  Saul thinks 18th century or earlier.

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S28

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S30unfolded2*

Folded, front side.

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S30*

Folded, back side.

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S30back*

The next piece was a camel head decoration.  Lots of cowrie shells with beads and mirrors.  Saul found it in Konya.  It was the last piece he purchased for his camel decoration collection. He figured that 378 pieces were enough.

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S29

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S33*

Details of S29

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S33b*

S33a*

Small gabbeh rug with a largely empty kilim field (camel wool).  The small mostly red medallion is knotted pile.  Southwest Iran.

Saul always felt this was a prayer rug, with a “secret mirhab.”

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S30

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S31*

Details of S30.  Notice the small device in the upper center of the field.

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S31a*

Note tufts on the sides.

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S31c*

The next piece was an oddity.  Made to serve as a frame for a picture.  Open cocoons from silkworms on velvet.  Offset with metal embroidery.

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S31

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S32*

Detail of S31.

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S32a*

Next was a beaded, dated and inscribed Qashqa’i camel headress.

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S32

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S37*

Details of S32.

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S37b*

S37d*

S37c*

Next piece was Turkish from Sivri Hissar .   Oldest Anatolian bag found recently.  Maybe 150 years old.  Cicim weave – used for storage.  Great colors and fine condition for its age.  Probably a dowry piece.

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S33

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S38*

Details of S33.

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S38b*

S38c*

S38a*

The next piece storage bag from Konya.  Saul called attention to its great color.

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S34

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S39*

Back of S34.

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S39back*

The next piece was a Kurdish baby carrier.  Eastern Malatya.  Dowry piece.  Sheep’s wool and goat hair that feels like silk.  Metallic thread in places, an indicator that this is a dowry weaving.

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S35

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S40*

Back of S35. 

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S40back*

You can see the quality of the weave in this view.

S40a*

Saul said that the next pieces were a matched pair, woven in Eastern Turkey.  Kurdish from the Malatya area.  Pre-synthetic and in fabulous condition.  Located in 1980.

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S36

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S41*

Back of S36.

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S41back

Detail of S36.

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S41a*

The next two pieces are a pair of matched Western Anatolian grain bags woven by Yunja nomads.  Natural dyes.  Pristine condition.   Beautiful, crisp brocaded fronts with silk additions. Probably late 19th century, and dowry pieces.  Yunja nomads.   They were located in Bergama in 1980.

Here is the front of the first one.

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S37

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S42*

Back of S37.

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S42back*

S38 is the second one.  This is its front.

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S38

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S43*

Back of S38.

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S43back*

The next piece was a long Chinese pictorial embroidered textile.  He said that one day someone walked into his shop and asked if he wanted to buy it.  He said he knows nothing about Chinese textiles, but decided that he’d never see another like it.

Saul feels that this is a clan banner.  Note the fine details – people’s whiskers and hair are superbly detailed.  Since each person is so highly detailed as to be recognized by other clan members, we can only assume that this was a “family photograph.”

You need to click three times on the images of this piece to see larger versions of them.

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S39

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S44*

Details of S39.  We’re going to walked around this piece, a bit, to show closer images.

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S44b*

S44c*

S44d*

S44e*

S44f*

The next piece was Central Asian, Uzbekistan, maybe Afghanistan.  This is the smallest Dshulshir (sleeping rug) we’ve ever seen.  Probably made for a child. Woven in five strips (of course) and then sewn together.  An unusual textile.

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S40

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S45*

The pattern of the front of S40 is nearly invisible on its back.  This is the result of its being woven with knots on alternate raised warps on an open shed, which is typical of dsulchirs.

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S45back2*

Details of S40.

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S45a*

S45b*

S45c*

The next piece was a small yatak.  Perhaps a sleeping rug for a baby or child.  Woven in Nazumla, a small village in the Koyna mountains.  The only child’s one we’ve ever seen.

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S41

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S46*

Details of S41.

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S46a*

S46b*

S46c

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Here are some images of the back of the Nazumia yatak.

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S47*

The next piece was a Caucasian kitchen tent hanging.  Kitchen utensils would be hung from it.  Considering both its age and condition, we must assume that it is a dowry piece and never used.

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S43

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S48*

Details of S43.  The small pompoms and hanging tassels are intended as a protection against the “evil eye.”

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S48a*

S48b*

S48c*

S48f*

S48h*

Next, was an Anatolian spoon bag in excellent condition.  Bergama area, Yuncu nomad group, late 19th century.

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S44

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S49*

Back of S44.

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S49back*

In another program Saul had some wooden spoons with hand-painted calligraphy from the Koran.

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He used these spoons and a different spoon bag to demonstrate how such bags are used to hold spoons, conveniently.

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Saul described the piece below as “Byzant” from Western Anatolia.  Hand woven cotton with silk embroidery. A baby cradle cover from the converted peoples, who still use the cross design as a form of protection. The small cross at the top is difficult to see (detail below). 

S44 and S45 were acquired in 1979 or 1980 and never shown.

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S45

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S50*

Back of S45.

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S50back*

Details of S45.  Note small cross.

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S50d

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S50a*

The next piece was a composite.  Two cradle covers, used to keep flies and sun off the child.  Made by Byzantine people who converted to Islam.

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S46

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S51*

Details of S46.  The cross devices and color changes are intended to keep the evil eye off the child.

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S51b*

S51d

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S51c*

Back of S46.

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S51backdetail*

Next, two pieces were fragments from very old Anatolian kilims.  Acquired in Izmir in 1981, Saul estimated them to the 15th century.  Perhaps from the same kilim.  

S47 is the first one.

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S47

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S52*

S47 is the second.

S47

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S52a*

Details of S46 and S47.

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S52b*

S52d*

The next was another fragment, this time of  the border of a Transylvanian rug,woven in Turkey.  Rugs such as these were often bought by Saxon Romanians and displayed in their Christian churches.  Many “Transylvanian” rugs are estimated to be 18th century or earlier.

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S48

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S53*

Next was a niche design hanging composed of fragments of Greek Island embroidery.  Composed pieces are often looked down on a bit, but I have seen several in serious textiles collections.  Saul said that he bought this one for himself. 

The fragments of which these pieces are composed are, sometimes, in part, from the 18th century or earlier. These were made in religious schools, and used as prayer hangings.  He said that a variety of stitches have been used and that he loves its colors, especially its greens and a distinctive blue.  Saul said that he sees this piece as one of early Ottoman embroidery.  The super-finely embroidered central panel also references the Islamic Kabaa, in Mecca.  The outside panels are boche fragments from the 16th century.  Boches are textiles usually about three feet square used as wrappings.

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S49

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S54*

Details from S49.  This is another that we’re going to walk around a bit with a number of detail images.

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S54a*

S54b*

S54c*

S54h*

S54i*

Next, was a very striking pile fragment.  Saul said that it was part of a long Karapinar rug.  Estimated to the 17th century.  Its full-pile wool and colors are spectacular.   It has intact selvedges.  Reminiscent of  an early example in Harald Bohmers book, “Weavings of the Peasants and Nomads of Anatolia.”

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S50

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S55*

S55compwiithoutSaul

Details of S50.

S55a*

S55b*\S55c*

S55d*

S55e*

Saul had some Anatolian woven bands.

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S51

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S56Saul*

S56*

S52

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S57*

S53

S58*

S54

S59comp2*

S59*

Next, a flat-woven Anatolian bag.  Kurdish dowry piece.  Antep area.  Pre-synthetic dyes with white cotton.  Recently purchased in Turkey, February, 2016.

S55

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S8*

Details of S55.

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S8a*

S8b*

Back images of S58.

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S8back*

Color variations due to light and camera effects.

S8backdetail1*

Saul ended his program with the unusual piece below that someone had brought in.  No attribution.  Maybe someone will write.

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S59

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S60withSaul*

Let’s turn it to try to get a large image.  Seemingly woven end wrappings, lots of cowry shells, some bells and some additional garnishes.  The center section is carved on both ends but with a smoother wooden center section.

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S60vertical*

S60a*

S60b*

S60closeend*

Saul answered questions and brought his session to a close.

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Saul4*

The audience migration to the front to talk to Saul and get hands on this interesting material, began.

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 After1*

Saul’s friend, Michael Spenser, who always assists him in his TM sessions.

Friend1*

I want to thank Saul for another interesting program.  Peggy Brown took another good set of notes.

I hope you have enjoyed Saul’s guidance through a program devoted to pieces he bought for himself and pieces he originally bought for sale but couldn’t part with

Regards,

R. John Howe