Archive for the Uncategorized Category

“Potpourri” by David Zahirpour

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2019 by rjohn

On January 12, David Zahirpour 

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gave a “potpourri” program here at The Textile Museum, in Washington, D.C. 

David is a long-time dealer and active member of the DC area textile community.  He knows his rugs, and is often a Textile Museum resource on textile repair demonstrations, since his is a skilled textile and oriental rug restorer.  He also has the only total immersion rug washing facility in the Washington, DC area.

David said that his own take on “potpourri” would be that all the pieces he had brought were bags or parts of one.   He said that the weavers of these pieces were migrants and moved from place to place.  Wool was plentiful to folks who were largely shepherds.  Bags could hold things and were not breakable. He said that it seems likely that such pieces were made for the weaver’s own use that that she would select the best materials and lavish her skill on them.  Such things made bags interesting and, often, they could be quite beautiful.

He began with a large, mixed technique Tekke Turkmen chuval.

D1

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The skirt is pile as are narrow bands above it.  This piece is very fine and the literature says that impression in the areas of narrow bands is, in part, because they have only one shoot of weft between rows of knots.

David says it is likely that the orange in this piece is from synthetic dyes but that he is not allergic to them, if they seem to be of the stable “carbon” variety, and do not, noticeably, run or fade rapidly.  He estimates it 1920-30.  He said that he’s not sure that the blue-red ground, in the tapestry areas, is from cochineal.

Details of D1.

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The next piece was a large, complete Bakhtiari chuval, with mixed technique

D2

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The field area of the front is sumak.  The “bottom” of both halves of this chuval are done in pile.  This is to permit them to tolerate abrasion and so extend the useful life of the chuval.

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This piece has an unusual and interesting back.

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Opie wonders why a weaver would invest this much creativity and care in the back of a textile that will not be seen much.

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You can see in the image above, that the closure system is one of slits and loops.  This is seen to be a Persian attribution indicator.

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The next piece was a small, complete, Shahsavan khorjin.  Again notice the slit and loop closure system.

D3

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The two faces of this piece are in reverse sumak.  In reverse sumak, Marla Mallett says, the “normal front and back faces are reversed”…but that this term describes the front-side appearance of the structure, and does not indicate the side of the fabric from which it was worked.

Reverse sumak is very sturdy and tough.  It will take a lot of wear.

Here is a detail of the plain weave, back of this small khorjin.

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D4

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D4 is a complete half of a Shahsavan khorjin. Sumak.  Good drawing and color.  David said that although complete khorjins are found, half khorjins and khorjin faces are more usual.  The white ground border frames nicely.  This border is seen on some Turkmen textiles.

Details of D4.

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The next piece is a sumak side panel from a small cargo-type mafrash.  A complete piece of this type would have a back panel of this same size and shape and two end panels that would be smaller and squarer.

Good drawing and excellent color.  

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Notice that this side panel has borders all around it.  Many Shahsavan mafrash bags have designs that are basically horizontal stripe arrays that continue all around on both ends and the other side panel.  Mafrash side panels with borders all around are preferred by collectors. Mafrashes with a side panel with borders all around often have three other panels without designs.

Here is this panel turned to let you see a slightly larger version of it.

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Details of D6.

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The piece below is a Bakhtiari salt bag. (This is, likely, the back.  I’ll show you the “front” shortly.)  It is done in brocade with some twining visible.

D7

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David explained the the top narrower mouth the bag extended so that when salt was in it, it would flop over and down, close the opening, and preserve the salt.

Here is a large detail of the, likely, more decorated front of this salt bag.  Again, mostly in brocade with some tapestry striping.  David estimated it as 1920-30.

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Note that there is a narrow band of pile along the lower edge of this bag, a Bakhtiari usage we saw above.

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Details of D7.

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The next piece was a complete khorjin opened up.

D8

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It was folded and held together to show what it looked like when sewn up.

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Here is the front side when together.  I have also turned it to give you a large image of it.  The faces are done in sumak with a plain weave back and area with the slits.

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Next was another complete khorjin opened up.  This one was Qashqa’i with some visible synthetic dyes.  The faces are pile and the backs are plain weave edged with pile.

D9

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Here is how this complete khorjin looks put together.

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Details of D8.

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The next piece was a Yomut Turkmen spoon bag. Pile with edge decorations.

D10

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Such spoon bags are woven with the warps parallel to the short sides.

The small piece below is a complete Qashqa’i school bag.  Done in tapestry decorated with brocade.

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D11

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Details of D11.

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The back of D11 is less interesting but has a different design.

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Next was the very nice Turkmen pile piece below. (click on the image)  David says it has an asymmetric knot open left and a fineness of 225 knots per square inch.  It has a velvety handle.

D12

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David described it as a Salor chuval, woven in the 19th century, in Char Juy on the Amu Darya River in Turkmenistan.  The modern name of this town seems to be Turkmenabat.  The literature now indicates that there were a great many tribes along the Amu Darya and that the Salor were visible among them.

Here is a map that shows Turkmenabat on the right center. (click on this map to get a larger image)

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This piece deserves a closer look.  Here are some details of it.

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This bag has a lot more color in it than you see at first.  There are several reds, one of which looks to be from cochineal.  There is a strong green, a white, and what seems a black. 

If the cochineal is real and on wool, rather than silk, we should check to see if the pile threads have more than two plies.  Jurg Rageth found that the dying with cochineal on wool, with more than two plies, faded out about 1850, so its presence is a pretty clear age indicator.

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Sometimes you can see colors better on the back.  Here, below, is a large detail of the back of this piece.

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There is some ridging of warps in the detail below, indicating some warp depression, something you would expect with a Salor weaving.

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All in all a very nice piece.

The next piece was Baluch in a format we do not see frequently: a rifle cover.  Done in pile with some flatweave varieties at both ends.  Lots of tassels.

D13

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Details of D13.

The image, below, is of the top where the rifle is inserted.

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The piece below was a small, complete, miniature, half khorjin.  Pile face with hanging cords at the top corners.  Probably Tekke about 1910.

D14

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Detail of D14.

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David said that the next, interesting, small, pile, Yomut, Turkman, bag: same design on both sides, could have been used in a variety of ways, but one likely one would be as a koran cover. 

Someone has said that this piece is most likely a pair of camel knee decorations that have been sewn together.  David has checked the selveges and says they seem to be original, but agrees that knee decoration indication is probably correct.

D15

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The next piece was an unusual set of bag in more than one way.  David said that it was a Quashqa’i bag set with long connecting panels that fit over the head in a way like Anatolia heybes do.

D16

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Here is a Turkish child wearing a heybe

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The faces of this Qashqa’i bag set are woven with areas of plain weave interspersed with those of long pile.   These areas of pile are arranged in vertical rows and terminate at the bottom in similar tassels that hang down below the bottom edge of the bag.

The colors seem chosen for dramatic and graphic effect.  Some synthetic dyes seem certain.

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The connecting “shoulder straps” are done in weft-faced, tapestry with a zigzag design.  Notice the long “slit’ for the head.

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I had seen lots of Anatolian heybes worn, with the head through slit, and the bags handing front and back, but I had not see a similar Persian example.

The next piece was a tall and relatively narrow Baluch mostly pile piece.   There was comment in the room that it had the shape of a Baluch balischt, but David said a balischt is a pillow and this seemed to him to be a bag.

D17

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It has a back in mostly slit tapestry but also some brocade.  Here is a detail of this back.

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Notice that both the top and the bottom have flatwoven decorations but are different.

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Additional details of D17.

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Some pieces had been brought in and we dealt with them next.

The first of these was a Heriz in a scatter carpet size.  It has nice, fresh Heriz colors and a “plant in vase” field design.

Heriz rugs are woven in far NW Iran about 50 miles east of Tabriz.  They are woven with symmetric knots and longer pile.  Edwards says that Heriz weavers can do something he has not seen other weavers do.  They can look a a scrap of a curvilinear design (often something from nearby Tabriz) and weave a version of it that is rectilinear.

D18

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Detail of the back of D18.

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The next piece was described by its owner, at David’s question, as a Caucasian bag.  David examined it closely, saying that the side selveges are not original.  He called attention to an unusual red and the edges of the central medallion.  He agreed that it is Caucasian.

D19

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It has this back that might seem a little incongruous but which is woven on warps that continue, from the front pile face, without interruption.

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The next piece was a nice Veramin bag face.  David liked it a lot.  Good drawing and colors.  A great many groups moved through the Veramin area and so lots of influences are visible.  Someone wrote that even some Tekke Turkmen were seen.

D19

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(click on the image above to get a larger version)

 

Some has suggested that this panel is not that of a torba-like envelope bag but rather the front panel of a cargo-type mafrash bag.  David agrees.

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Details of D19.

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Its owner said that the next piece was a Saryk torba.  It is well drawn and, as is often the case with darker pieces, has a wider range of color than one initially thinks (there are several reds and a striking blue).

D20

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(click on the image above to get a larger version)

It did not have some classic Turkmen Saryk features, like a symmetric knot and cotton whites.  But there were Saryk weavers in Afghanistan.

Below is a detail of a map Schurmann supplies in his “Central Asian Rugs” which shows Saryks in Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in the Pendeh area.

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(click on the image above)

I had thought the the major gul form seemed less that typically Saryk, but Jourdan shows a 19th century Saryk torba with precisely this same gul (p. 87, item 29) as well as the rectangular blocks below and above it.  So this piece may well be a late 19th century Saryk weaving.

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Next was a small Caucasian mostly slit tapestery Shrvan kilim, with nice fresh colors.  David liked its small size that would make it easier to display variously.

D21

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Details of D21.

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David had suggested that one test for the kinds of things we should bring to this potpourri RTAM would be pieces that we had not been able to part with.  I tried to follow this rule.

A first piece that I brought was the “penny rug” below.

D22

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I have written about this piece and others like it,before, on Turkotek, in early 2004.  It might be best just to give you the link:

http://www.turkotek.com/salon_00104/s104t2.htm

One caution about making a post like this one on Turkotek.  At the point that I wrote it, I had seen a few other penny rugs, but owned only this one.  But, quickly, after making this Turkotek post, I began to get contacts by groups making penny rugs, asking me to come and speak to them.  I had to confess that I had only one and was not at all an expert.

Today, while writing this, I looked around the web and found this treatment that may provide some additional information.

https://pennyrugsandmore.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-history-of-penny-and-sewn-rugs.html

Enough about penny rugs,

A second piece I bought was this flat-woven Baluch strip that my wife bought in Berkeley, CA over 20 years ago.

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Here is an end detail of the back.  You can see that it’s a strip of mostly sumak, folded over and sewn down on the sides.

A first question is what is it? It’s clearly taken from something but a lot of people have looked at it and we have not had certain answers.

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A second question is about the design.  We have not seen it before.

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David proposed an answer to the first question.  He said that he was certain that this was a center connecting strip from a Baluch khorjin.  The two bags hung down from it.

He agreed that the design is unusual.

The last piece of the day was an instance of my discovering I was mistaken about something I thought I had researched successfully long ago.  The piece in question was this small weaving.  Flat-woven mostly in sumak with some plain weave.  It has good crisp drawing and fresh colors.

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I’ve owned this piece for over 25 years and, as I say, I thought I had researched it.  It seemed to me likely an item of Kurdish weaving from northeast Iran, Kurasan, about which Wilfried Stanzer had written the book “Kordi.”

In his book shows the piece below that seems very similar to mine. 

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He describes this piece as a “Kordi Tobreh Posti.”I had read somewhere (I thought perhaps in Stanzer’s book) that “poshti” was sometimes translated as “small rug,” 

When I said that to David before our session began, he immediately said that my piece was part of a bag.  This turned me around because I thought I had researched it. 

So after this session I went back to confirm my research and the results have been humbling. 

First, “poshti” is nowhere translated as “little rug.”  The seeming preferred translation is “back.” 

Next, I turned to Stanzer to see what he said and he also sees “poshti” as part of a bag.  In his description of the piece above he uses the terms “Kordi Tobreh  Poshti.”  He says that a tobreh poshti could be part of a khorjin, and he shows khorjins similar to the two pieces above.  Here is one with the same side borders.

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But he says a “tobreh poshti” is more likely to be a “small shoulder bag for provisions and utensils.”

It has taken me at least 25 years but maybe, finally, I’ve got something right about my little Kordi piece.

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Thank you, David.

Stanzer ventures that “the palette, the clear and accurate design and the structure of (ed. his similar piece above) are typical of the Lain area.”  He gives a good map that shows Lain to be on the far eastern side of north Kurasan, near what was once the USSR border.

I probably should not tempt things with a geographic speculation.

David answered questions and brought his session to a close.

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I want to thank David for preparing and giving this useful potpourri program.  David also worked with me, after, to fashion this virtual version.  I also had excellent help from other experienced folks who want to be anonymous.

Sometimes not a lot of structure is needed to put on a program that is both entertaining and that results in real learning.  I can testify in this case.

I hope you have enjoyed, even learned a little from this RTAM.

‘Til next time,

R. John Howe

 

 

 

Mehmet Yalcin and John Howe on Central Asia Textiles and Some Others

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2019 by rjohn

Dear folks –

On December 1, 2018, Mehmet Yalcin,

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and John Howe

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gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation program that centered on Central Asian textiles, but included some others.

Mehmet says that he was born a Turkish nomad. 

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He has had an interesting life that included wide international travel, work in different international organizations, a Harvard doctorate, and his current ownership, now for 23 of years, of two textile-artifact shops, Woven History & Silk Road, here, on Capital Hill, in Washington, D.C.

John (that’s me) is a long-time textile collector.  I am active in the DC textile community, especially in the documentation of these Textile Museum Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning (RTAM) programs.  I am very interested in textiles, and try to get things right, but would never claim to have done so.  The urge to authority can get in the way of enjoyment.

I said, at the beginning of this session, that the RTAM programs are named in honor of the late Harold Keshishian, an important DC area dealer,

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who may have been most important among those who founded them.  RTAM programs have traditionally drawn on local textile dealers as important resources. 

I approached Mehmet about giving this program with me as a continuation of this tradition of drawing on dealer resources.

Our program began with a series of “Central Asian” textiles made in western Mongolia.

In a broader map,

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Mongolia seems embedded in the northern part of China.

But looking at the map below, we see that a small uncolored finger of Mongolia, on the right, reaches out to the green of Kazakhstan.

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And this is significant because the far western district of Mongolia, in the map below, has a population that is 80% Kazakh.

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And this is where the first set of “Central Asian” pieces we treated, were and, are, made.

Mehmet made a further argument that the conventional notion of “Central Asia” is too restricted, and that a proper view of it, defensibly, includes both Mongolia on the east and the Caucasus on the west.

This first set of textiles we treated in this session is a series of hangings made by Kazakhs in western Mongolia.

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S11

(image identifying numbers will, often, not be sequential)

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(If you click on most of these images, you will get a larger version)

These hangings are hand silk embroidery on a cotton ground.  They usually have a border on three sides, quilted cotton or velvet.

Here is a closer detail of the piece above.

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S11a

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These silk embroidered are hangings that nomadic Kazakhs hung on the walls of their yurts.

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Below is a Kazakh yurt (the Mongolians say “ger”). There is still a significant number of Kazakhs who are pastoral nomads, although their numbers are declining.

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Below are some Monglians erecting a Mongolian type yurt (ger) (note the steeper roof angle.).

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Mehmet, and a young Mongolian, employee of his, Solar,

from this western district, feel that nomadism is attractive and, counter to the conventional wisdom about nomadism, in many parts of the world, they feel that the number of nomads in Mongolia may be increasing.

Solar says that he and his grandmother were nomads, with only a flock of about 100 sheep. He says that nomadic life if full of lots of spare time (in which, for example, textiles can be made)  During the winter, when he moved to town to go to school, she hired herders to look after her sheep.  He says that barter is a frequent form of exchange in western Mongolia, although money is now more frequent.  He also estimates that someone, who undertakes nomadism in western Mongolia, will have a difficult time at first, but will be, predictably, successful in about five years.

There are signs that most folks who are “nomads” in Mongolia, are not of the “free-standing” sort we often celebrate in our descriptions, but rather herdsmen employed by rich folks who own most of the sheep and other livestock.

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Still there are persistent traces of nomadism.  Kazakhs, and others, have been reluctant to give up their yurts even when they settle.  Yurts frequently appear between other structures in Mongolian cities.  They also ring the outer edges of cities.

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(Below is a Getty image and caption that gives a less optimistic view of this situation.)

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA – 2012/07/26: Ulaanbaatar’s ger districts are populated mostly by displaced nomads who have moved to the city in search of economic opportunities.
Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world’s largest remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land. Due to severe winters and poor pasture, many thousands of herders have traded in their centuries-old way of life for employment in mining towns and urban areas. The ger (yurt) camps that ring the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, house a permanent population of displaced nomads. There, they live without running water or a tangible use for the skills and crafts that were practiced on the steppes. The younger generation is no longer learning these essential aspects of their nomadic heritage. (Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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But let’s go back to these Kazakh tent hangings.  We do think that it is likely that they were made, mostly, by Kazakh pastoral nomads.  Once folks come into cities they tend to (need to) take jobs.  Jobs take up the time that nomad life provided for making such textiles.

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The pieces we are showing were made in the mid-20th century and some are inscribed and dated. 

The “rondel” designs look Chinese and may sometimes be, but the fabric below is Central Asian, woven not embroidered.  But it indicates that rondel designs have appeared in Central Asian textiles since at least the 7th-9th centuries.

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The Silk Roads were a real thing and lots of things flowed back and forth along them.

These hangings are silk hand embroidered on cotton, with a quilted edge on three sides also of cotton or velvet.  The embroidery is mostly in chain stitch.

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Below is a second of these hangings. Notice that these hangings have unfinished bottoms.  It is said that the Kazakh makers do this for hangings made for a couple and that the unfinished bottom is to suggest that their marriage be one of unending happiness.  They are often made by the bride’s grandmother, or passed from mother to daughter, and even, sometimes, made by the bride herself, as part of her trousseau.

S13

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The designs in the outer areas of this one, seem similar to Kyrgyz felt designs.

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The design in the center panel is very different, but we’re not sure of its source.

S13a

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The next hanging (S14) has a paler palette.

S14

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It seems older. Its designs are elaborate.

S14a

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The next hanging features some of the seeming Kyrgyz, felt-sourced designs, and a centered area, the designs of which are distinctive, but of the same scale.

S16

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Details of S16.

S16a

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The next hanging has a darker palette.  It hangs in a conspicuous place in Mehmet’s shop.  He thinks well of it.

S36

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It has a good range of color.

S36a

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Next, is another Kazakh tent hanging that Mehmet displays prominently.

S39

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One of the most elaborate designs.

With S17 we move to a hanging with a five-star rondel design.

S17

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It is also a departure from the designs above in that it features birds and flower forms in it center area.

S17a

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One more of these Kazakh tent hangings.

S19

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More seeming Kyrgyz felt design influence.

S19a

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On last hanging image is of a fragment from one.  This piece has only two rows of flower forms.

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A closer look in a different orientation.

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With S18 we moved to what Mehamet sees as a Kyrgyz “suzani.”  Note the surrounding border and distinctive, flower-based rondels.

S18

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This piece is inscribed and dated 1959.

S18a

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Another detail of its right side.

S18b

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Another hanging,  Uzbek. Applique.  Some of the applique squares are Russian printed cotton.

S15

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S21 is another applique that is younger: the seeming ikat borders are printed.  Needlework in the diamond applique areas.

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S21

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Another view of S21

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S20 seemed quite different.

S20

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Mehmet says that it’s an Kyrgyz panel.  The dark ground was woven first and then embroidered.  The designs do not resemble most used by the Kyrgyz.

But below is an older Central Asian embroidery, 11th to 13th century.

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And the Russians really liked flower designs in their printed cottons.  Here is a modern version based on traditional Russian patterns.

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So S20 above may be plausibly Kyrgyz.

Mehmet had several textiles he describes as “Lakai.”  The small piece below is, I think, the best of them.

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Mehmet thinks this is not a village piece, not meant for the urban market.

Here are two details of it.  It seems, also, to have been done using chain stitch.

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The next piece is dramatic.  Mehmet calls it a “bokche.” Again embroidered.

S1

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S1 is an unusually elaborate bokche.  Turkman bokches are envelope bags that look like this.

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Image result for Central Asian Bokche images

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But Mehmet sees the piece below as a Lakai version of this kind of cover.

S1

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We often encounter this latter variety of bokche as V-shaped pieces like those below.  The literature calls these V-shaped pieces “segusha.”

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Below is another, larger version of these V-shaped pieces.

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Sometimes, the area above the V is filled in with black cloth, but in the case of S1, that area is richly embroidered.

S1

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One more comment about this latter type of bokche/segusha.  It is also used to decorate the “juk” in a nomad tent.  Most will know that the juk is a pile of the family’s valued textiles that is placed in a place of honor opposite the tent door. The top (and widest) part of this bokche/segusha would be tucked in toward the top of the juk stack and hang down the front of it.

Mehmet next showed some other small Central Asian textiles.  They are used as tent decorations or even used by women on the sides of their heads.

S6 

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Here is one up close.  There is lots of wrapping and use of tassels, including beads.

S2

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S3 is another Lakai hanging.  It’s worn but is older and has good color and drawing.

S3

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The next piece was a small embroidiered cover.

S4

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An experienced person said afterward about S4: “Embroidery is from Afghanistan, Katawaz, a Pashtun tribe.  Typical example: fine work and funny colors.”

The next piece was also small. Mehmet said about it “… a Uzbek girl’s dowry purse, which is very finely done and it is silk. I remember picking it up in a dark, dusty, small Afghan Uzbek dealer’s shop in Peshawar in 2006. I know it is old, maybe from the 1930’s. It’s a beautiful piece.” 

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S27

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Details of S27.

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The next piece was less refined.

S23

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An experienced person said after that S23 is a “typical Kurgrat embroidery.”

S45

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An experienced person said about S45 “This is Hazara, from Central Afghanistan (as opposed to the Hazara district of Pakistan that also produces embroidery).  (I’m) not an expert on Hazara embroidery, but in Afghanistan, things like this were often placed on top of the tray of tea pots, cups, snacks when served to guests.”

Below is another piece of Uzbek embroidery, about which we can say no more than that.

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There were some dresses and coats.  The first S8 below.

S8

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Mehmet described this dress as Afghan “gypsy.”

The next is a Turkman coat that is relatively simple on the outside, but has a gloriously colorful ikat lining.

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S55

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The coat below is an embroidered Tekke Turkman chyrpy.  Not a very fancy one but fully embroidered.

S9

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It has a lining that seems older but that is hard to make out.

S10

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Mehmet wore a black quilted coat. He says that “It is a traditional Uzbek Chopan from Tashkent. The outside is silk, inside is Russian cotton material.”

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Here are two images of the inside of Mehmet’s coat.  Notice that the rectangular quilting is visible on the inside and that there are two kinds of printed cotton, one simulating ikat.

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Closer.

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John had the coat, below, in the room, but did not wear it.  It was made here from material that is cotton and silk ground and contemporary Uzbek hand embroidery with an Ottoman pattern.  He was not alert enough to order a Russian printed cotton lining and so the one it has a solid tan.

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S26

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Mehmet says that this is a Turkman purse with silk embroidery.

There were some hats.

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Let’s look at some of them more closely.

S28

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Mehmet says that S28 is a Turkman wedding hat for a man.

S29

Mehmet says that S29 is an Afghan “gypsy” hat.  Metal, conch shell decorations.

S30 is an off topic hat.  It’s Tibetan and ends in a near scarf. Mehmet says that it is “a traditional Tibetan hat worn in Ladakh, Zanzskar and elsewhere in the eastern Himalayas in India.”

S30

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The next hat was entirely beaded.  Mehmet says that he “picked this hat from an Afghan Uzbek dealer in Peshawar, Pakistan in 2007. I was told it was a Turkmen wedding hat.”

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Mehmet had some Turkman pile pieces.

The first of these were some complete miniature Tekke khorjins.  These three pieces are in perfect condition and the technical quality of the weaving is very high.  Mehmet thinks they may have been used as Koran bags.  I estimate them at about 1910, on the basis of their knot ratio, which approaches 1/2.  Mehmet thinks they’re older.

S31

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S32

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Animal forms (see the top of both pile fronts) are unusual in Turkman pile weaving.

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They are nice pieces.  Don’t see many like them.

S35

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Comment:  S35 is a Turkman pile torba with an ikat field design from the Middle Amu Dyra (formerly often called “Ersari”).  20th century.

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The word “carpets” crept into the announced title of this session so we had to produce a few.

If you collect on a budget, as I do, your older pieces are often fragments

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The first carpet is from the Middle Amu Dyra area.  We think it could be quite old.  The narrow borders are one indicator and I know of only to others with this design.  It has the brightest orange warps (which look natural) I have ever seen. It was published in the catalog for ICOC 10.  There is one caution about a late date: this piece came to me mounted on a tan backing and there is some transfer of red to that backing that I can’t explain if this piece is old.

H1

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A second carpet is this dilapidated but classic Chodor fragment.

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Again, there are narrow borders.

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And lots of cotton showing on the back.

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And there are vertical, S-design, connecting panels between the diamond forms, the latter, composed of triangles. These S-tabs seem to be overlapping the diamonds and can be read as a 3-d effect..

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I will offer this piece to the Textile Museum as a study piece.

A third carpet fragment is the Kizil Ayak piece below.  Again, there are narrow borders, used both as a main border but also used to form compartments.  This narrow border is the same one used in the Middle Amu Dyra main carpet fragment above.

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This piece is so faint that it doesn’t get much wall time.  Note that there are animal forms in all the quarters of the major guls and that they, invariably, are standing upright and face one another (this is a directional rendition).  And the minor guls in the center of the field are split by the main border usage that forms the compartments.  I like compartmented designs and so forgive them for this aesthetic, desecration of the minor gul.  Noting such features is one of the things that results in our being called “Turkomaniacs.”

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Another carpet fragment, I bought via the internet from a flea market in Jordan with the help of Filiberto Boncompagi, one of the technical manager on Turkotek.com

It has dark warps, Caucasian-like borders, and interesting gul forms.  The consensus is that it’s Uzbek.

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I sent it to Melissa Keshishian for mounting and she demonstrated how one can use a background color close to the field color of a rug to disguise the fact that it has two holes in it.

The next piece was, in fact, a large Middle Amu Dyra Turkman chuval, large and heavy enough to use on the floor. It is likely 19th century

H2

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It has an ikat design similar to Mehment’s torba, that you say earlier.

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The piece below is a smaller Yomut chuval that I have also sometimes used as a throw rug.

H3

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It has a good green in some of its guls.

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Sometimes when you’re collecting on a budget, you’re reduced to a mere strip of a main carpet and here is one. This is a lateral strip (not complete) from a Tekke Turkman main carpet.  I feel confident that it’s 19th century.

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Most of the carpets I have on the floor, in our apartment, are from Chris Walter’s non-profit “Ersari Project” production.  Hand woven by Afghan Turkmen refugees in Pakistan.

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Chris Walter (on right) and friends in Haripur Refugee Camp

Hand carded and spun. Woven with natural dyed wools. Traditional Turkman designs and colors.  The weavers are paid and any additional proceeds are used to finance schools for Turkmen children.  Chris and his Afghan partner have been doing this since 1988.  Here is more information on this part of Chris’ non-profit efforts.

https://www.yayla.com/rug/rug_page/ersari_about

The rugs I have from Chris’ production are all from the Haripur refugee camp in Pakistan.  Nowadays, the “Ersari” production has been moved to Afghanistan.

The scatter rug below is one of the first I bought from Chris.

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A17

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When I first saw it, I thought might have been a somewhat conventionalized version of an Afghan “gul-i-gul” but found a near example in Jourdan (see 234 on page 234) attributed to the late 19th century.  I like the big, blocky border that seems to me like the proportions of some early Woven Legends throw rugs. 

Notice that this rug is inscribed (as many of Chris’ Turkmen pieces are) in its lower right corner.

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A17a

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I can’t read it, precisely, but I know what it says.  “Turkmen Refugee Molla Ashir, Camp Haripour, 1373″ (Afghan Calendar), that’s 1995, 23 years old.

Sometimes I have asked Chris to make me a special order rug, often a copy of something I like.  Here is one example.

A few years ago the Chicago dealer and collector. Joe Fell, gave a TM presentation and showed this Middle Amu Dyra bag face. 

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I took a photo of it and made an 8″x10″ inch and sent it to Chris and asked him to copy it for me.

Now copying a rug is a challenging undertaking. 

Think of the progressive kindergarten story where one child whispers a short story into the ear of the child next to her.  She does that to another child, and that sequence goes on until a number of children have been told the story.  Then we ask the last child to say out loud what the story is.  Invariably, the story told by the last child does not resemble much what the first child told the second one.

Now come to the world of copying a rug.  The customer gives a photo of the desired rug and says what size he wants and any color changes from the photo.  The person who takes the order sends it to Pakistan.  In Pakistan, a cartoon (knot for knot) of the rug in the photo is made.  Then the wools to be used are selected, and the cartoon and the wool to be used, maybe even the photo, are given to the refugee family who is going to weave the custom rug.  They do so and give the rug back for “finishing.”  The finished rug is sent back to the dealer who ordered it. You can see that there is a lot of chance for slippage.  Maybe the carton is made in the wrong size or in the wrong orientation (say turned 90 degrees).  Maybe the person supplying the wool doesn’t have all the colors wanted. Maybe the weaver doesn’t use all the colors prescribed. Etc.

It takes about a year to get a custom rug woven.  When it was ready in this case, Chris shipped it to me.  The image below is what is looked like.  Compare it with the photo I sent.

H4

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You can see that the drawing is pretty good (these weavers can weave this rug), but that the colors used are not what were in the photo.  Some colors have been left out.  The copied rug is not “bad,” but it has been conventionalized and is not really what I wanted.  I confessed to Joe Fell that I had had his bag face copied and he asked me for a photo of the copy.  When I gave it to him he, he liked it enough that he asked if I could get him another copy and I did.  Footnote:  The original ultimately  sold at auction for $17K.  Joe Fell no longer has the original, but he and I both have approximate copies.  🙂

The next rug is another of my special order Ersari Turkmen pieces, but this one has a little longer story that goes with it.

When I first began to collect and study Turkmen rugs I was given permission to work with the Textile Museum curatorial materials and encountered a design that I liked.

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There was a photo of it and I had an 8″ x 10″ blowup made and sent it to Chris and said “Make this rug for me, about 3′ x 5′. “

Now it usually takes a year to get a special order rug made, and one day Chris called me and asked whether I could use a rug, in the design I had ordered, that was 13′ x 15′.  Some serious communication problem had occurred and a hugely different size rug had been made.  I said, no, I wanted a 3′ x 5′. 

So another year went by and one day the rug arrived.  It was more like 4′ x 6′ and looked like this.

A32

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A26

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In addition to being still a little larger than ordered, the white usage in the gul had been dropped out, BUT I had been given lots of a good green that collectors value. 

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I kept it. 

It is also inscribed in the field.

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It reads: “Turkmen refugee Camp Haripour.” Lower left text reads: “Turkmen.” Lower right text reads “refugee.” Upper left: “Haripour,” and upper right: “Camp.” I couldn’t read the date underneath of it, but I think it is 1388.  That’s 13 years after 1995 and about right.

I want to be clear about these three efforts to copy a given pile piece.  I mean no criticism at all of Chris’ efforts.  I think the difficulties are endemic to such a copying effort.  I read somewhere that it usually takes three attempts to get a decorative rug, woven to order, to be what the customer wants.

The next piece I have from Chris’ production is a Yomut asmalyk format and design, woven by Ersari weavers as a rug, and that’s how I use it.

H5

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This is a contemporary pile copy of the face of a famous Yomut asmalyk design (a “jewelry” type).  The jewelry devices are across the top.

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One antique piece with this design was claimed to be on the market for $60K, in the days when the Oriental Rug Review was being published.

H6

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This is an Afghan Turkman pile saddle cover. Not Chris’ production.  Doesn’t have great age, but they’re not being made any more.  It is included here because I use it as a throw rug.  It’s full pile and pretty tough.  It has strong graphics that include a yellow that I think is natural.

If you collect on a budget and find yourself often with fragments, you begin to make pillows. 

And I had brought some.

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The pillow below is from a large fragment of a large, Afghan, Middle Amu Dyra Turkman carpet, with a gulli-gul.

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H7

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The next pillow is from the same carpet but focuses on the minor device (notice that there is also a “tertiary” device).

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H8

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The pillow below is from a 19th century, Tekke main carpet, with an unusual use of green.

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A final pillow is from one end of a Middle Amu Dyra rug with a mina khani design and what seems to me to be an archaic end border.

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This is the end border that seems to me to be archaic, although I confess that I don’t know, concretely, what that means.

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The last Turkman carpet I want to talk about is another special order from Chris Walter.  This time I had seen that he was making a mina khani design and also the dark ground border in H10 below.  I asked him to make me a 6’x 8′ version of this rug with this dark border and the most saturated red ground in the field that he could manage.

And he did it.

H10

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It is a special order rug that turned out to be precisely what I ordered and wanted.  I look at it every day.

Here are some closer details of it.

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Having discharge my obligation to produce some Central Asian carpets, I felt freed to show a fairly recent Central Asian purchase that is, I think, unusual.

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This is a bag that is not woven. It is, instead, plaited.  Marla Mallett, Andy Hale and Seref Ozen helped me with its attribution as Uzbek.  Below is a closer detail of it.

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I was attracted to it, in part, because for about five years, in the 70s, I was a serious knot tier.

I was told that such bags surfaced in Afghan markets, a while back, but that they were not picked up much because dealers were already having trouble selling things with a lot more color.  I had not seen another before I bought this one from Marla, but, wouldn’t you know it, another surfaced shortly thereafter on rugrabbit.com. 🙂

I quite like it.

Colin England brought a piece that is another instance of copying.  The piece below is from the Black Church in Transylvania.  It is an instance of the famous “coupled-column” design.  It is dated to the mid-17th century.

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The image, below, is a copy of this rug, woven in Azerbaijan in 2018.  Colin said he brought it to show modern production of “Central Asian” carpets that look a lot like Turkish carpets found in the Balkans.  (He said that he agrees with Mehmet that “Central Asia” is often too narrowly defined.  He said he thinks it includes everything east of the Black Sea, except Iran.)

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Designs, Colin said, travel with time.  Actually, not much time is needed.  A weaver can see a very old rug in a museum and often go home and weave it.  Time can get telescoped.

I’ve talked a little too much about Chris Walter’s contemporary Turkman carpet production, because I think the stories about trying to copy antique Turkman pieces are interesting. 

But I want to end by highlighting Mehmet’s contemporary production.

Mehmet has his own production in Turkey, Pakistan and Nepal.  http://wovenhistory.com/ 

Here are a few pieces from this production.  Mehmet says he uses only natural dyes.

First, Mehmet says are some pile rugs done in Afghanistan near Kabul.  “They are woven by a Hazara tribe that we work with.”

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If you’re producing rugs for sale, it has been found that pieces that include recognizable devices from the Pazyryk carpet are popular.

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A second set of pile rugs are those Mehmet says “are our Tibetan production pieces, that we produce in Nepal working with Tibetan Refugees.”

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The pile rug above is one of the “folklike” type that have been produced in a number of producer settings.  Woven Legends produced some early, and Afghan “war rugs” have been collected.  This is a Tibetan folklife design. Note that it is inscribed and date.  Such rugs are often attractive to buyers.

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The pile carpet above is a contemporary one with an ancient field design, often referred to as “Chintamani.”  It ‘is probably of Buddhist and Chinese origin,” but “was widely used in Ottoman and Timurid ceramics and weavings from the 15th to the 17th centuries.” (quoting Peter Stone and Mehmet).

A third sector of Mehmet’s product are Anatolian, slit tapestry kilims, woven in the Konya province in Turkey.

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Here is a detail of another kilim with a niche field design.

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Another kilim with good color.

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A detail of the kilim above.

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And another.

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The striped flatweave below is done, mostly, in weft-face tapestry.

S42

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You can see some instances of brocade decoration and maybe even some weft twining.

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S42a

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With our last piece on Mehmet’s contemporary production, we’re back to slit tapestry.

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We answered questions and brought our program to a close.

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I want to thank Mehmet for working with me to give this RTAM and for his help, and Solar’s, in fashioning this virtual version of it. 

Thanks, too, to my wife Jo Ann, who took photos, and to Mehmet and Solar for additional photography, and other contributions, after.  I had help from some experienced people, who want to be anonymous, but who also have my thanks.

I hope you enjoyed this post as we begin a New Year.

Regards,

R. John Howe

“Kilims from Your Collection” with Walter Denny, Sumru Krody and Michael Seidman

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2018 by rjohn

On October 27, 2018 a program entitled “Kilims from Your Collection” was held here at the Textile Museum.  It was not, strictly speaking, a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program, but it was a show and tell held in the usual RTAM day/time slot and so resembled them.

This program was held in conjunction with the current exhibition on Anatolian kilims.

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A Nomad’s Art: Kilims of Anatolia

Detail of kilim

Kilim (detail), Turkey, central Anatolia, late 18th century. The Textile Museum 2013.2.1. The Megalli Collection.
September 1–December 30, 2018
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Originally, the speaker/facilitator of this session was to be Peter Davies, the well-known NYC kilim dealer and author.
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Davies died unexpectedly, on September 12, and the decision was made to go on with the program he would have led.
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Michael Seidman
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organized and facilitated the program, and Walter Denny
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and Sumru Krody
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were the primary describers of the pieces.
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Bruce Baganz
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 spoke to the pieces he had brought.
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We gave Davies’ first edition of his book, “The Tribal Eye: Antique Kilims of Anatolia,” as a door prize,
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Image result for Peter Davies kilims
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and Walter said a few words about Davies.
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He said that Davies had started life with a horrendous, disadvantaged, childhood, but had bootstrapped his way to an education, interesting work in Turkey, and became a prominent textile dealer in NYC.  He was one of those, who, in 80s and 90s, drew attention to the importance of flat-woven textiles, and in his case, Anatolian kilims.  Walter also pointed to a remarkable obit on Peter, that his partner, Mark Scherzer has written, and that I have included, at the end of this post.
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We moved to treat the considerable material that had been brought in.  
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The word “kilim” is used and heard ambiguously and some thought the topic, and the material to be brought to the session, included flatweaves other than slit tapestry.  And also pieces not woven in Anatolia.
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We started with a few such off-topic pieces.
K1
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(Please note that you can click on most of the images in this post to see a larger version.)
Comment on K1:  Denny said that this is trans-Caucasian kilim in slit tapestry.  The lack of borders is an indicator. Likely by a Turkic weaver.  A well-done piece, not particularly old, and with signs of the possible use of synthetic dyes.
Detail of K1:
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K2
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Comment on K2:  This piece was described as “Karabagh.”  It is brocaded. Brown wool warps.  Not seen as old. Likely Kurdish.
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Details of K2:
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K3
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Description of K3:  Owner said it was bought over 40 years ago in Bagdad.  Sumac. Kurdish.  Likely made in the northern part of Iraq. This piece and K4, below, were said to be parts of an unmatched pair.
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Details of K3:
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K4
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Comment on K4:  This is the second, although much larger, part of the “pair” described in K3 above.
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Details of K4:
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K5
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Comment on K5:  With this piece we began to treat the slit tapestry, Anatolian kilims of our topic. 
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A general geographic sequence was followed, beginning with things estimated to have been woven in eastern Anatolia, and then, in turn, to pieces seen to be sourced in central and then western Anatolian.  But sometimes this geographic progression was not followed.
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K5 was said to have been woven in southeast Anatolia, near Syria.  Someone mentioned, after, that it is similar to some published pieces attributed to Ruswan/Rushwan Kurds in the east part of Central Anatolia  
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Lots of cochineal.  The blue-green in the field was noted. White areas are cotton, despite a tan cast.  Could be sunlight or, even, deliberate tea staining.  Lots of slits: a delicate slit tapestry fabric.  Nicely matched halves.
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Details of K5:
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K6
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(Click even on detail images that seem the same size.  Sometimes different large images appear.”
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Comment on K6:  This is an Anatolian storage bag, complete, but opened up.  Its more decorated center panels are brocade and the striped red and blue panels are weft faced tapestry.  The warps are parallel with the horizontal in this image.  Seen as Kurdish and that likely means eastern Anatolia. 
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Similar bags are in “Giving Back the Colors,” on the Josephine Powell Collection.
Details of K6:
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K7
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(Please, click on the image above.  It’s not that small underneath.)
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Comment on K7:  This is a half kilim with a niche design.  A saf-like design, but not an actual saf.  Cochineal, and a good green. Kurd.
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Details of K7:
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K8
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Comment on K8:  Bought in SE Turkey. Madder and cochineal reds.  Green cast to colors.  Halves nicely matched despite intricate design.  About 1900.  Kurd.
The attribution notes for K5, above, apply to this piece as well.
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Details of K8:
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K9
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Comment on K9:  This is another complete Anatolian storage bag, similar to K6 above, but not opened.  S.E. Anatolia. The tablet-woven attached strap was noticed.  
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Details of K9:
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The owner came forward to arrange it as it would be when in use, with the two brocade panels at front together.  A handsome piece.
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K10
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Comments on K10:  Now we’re back, again, with the slit tapestry kilims that were the primary focus of this session. K10 is a complete, two-panel kilim from southeastern Anatolia, Yörük or Kurdish, with weft faced slit tapestry weave and some supplementary weft-wrapping for outlines and prominent use of cotton for white highlights.

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It has an unusual color palate, about 12 colors, including what is likely to be cochineal (cool red) in addition to madder for warm red and orange shades, typical of eastern Anatolia.  The owner pointed out a color of possible interest, asking whether the prominent light green in the center rams-horns “koç boyunuzu” motif might be indigo-sulfonic dye.

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Walter noted that this first synthetic dye was used from the early 19th century (one source says 1740, but P. Davies says indigosulfonic acid came in use in 1780 – but not attributed to a source).  It has an advantage over the usual green, created with indigo over-dyed on yellow, by being a one-step process.  It was widely used in Turkey.  It can fade in light and with washing processes, but the light green color in this piece is strong on both sides. I have heard that some see it as an age marker on Turkish rugs, but have not seen the evidence of when folks in Turkey stopped using it. 

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The owner added that this is at least late 19th century provenance, since it came from a German-Jewish friend, a second mother, who brought it from the family home at the center of Berlin where it had been since about 1900 before the family left Germany in the 1930s.

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Details of K10:
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K11
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Comment on K11:  Its owner said that at first, this seems to be nearly one half of a two-part kilim, but once you get it up on a wall, you find that it is a study piece, showing what happens if a weaver does not maintain uniform warp depression.
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Despite this fatal flaw, it features good color, and drawing.  Chalky whites are cotton.  It is usually attributed to Malatya because of all the cochineal.
Details of K11:
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The next two pieces are similar enough to justify discussing them together.
K12
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K13
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Comments on K12 and K13:  These were small, one piece, white ground slit tapestries with the same, hexagonal, field device and similar border treatments. K12 has bright colors and those of K13 are more subdued, including an unusual darker red in its borders.  These pieces were not seen to have great age.
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They were treated after kilims attributed to eastern Anatolia and those thought to have been woven in central Anatolia, but no firm attribution seems to have been given. K12 is described in one set of notes as “central Anatolian” and in another as “Taurus mountains.”
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In his opening remarks, Denny had talked about how the rise of modern art had made kilim designs, including minimalism, more aesthetically worthy and used the words “minimalist” and “gorgeous,”in his description of these two pieces.  It is true that minimalist designs are getting some increased attention.  We saw in the ICOC 14 ending show and tell that John Wertime and Fred Mushkat are exploring minimalist pieces.
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Details of K12 and K13 in turn:
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K13
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Comment on K14: This is a small kilim with a niche-topped field and a chevron border.  It is described in the notes taken for me as “central Anatolia: and “north central or east Anatolia.” Good colors and a brown-green that attracts the eye.
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Details of K14.
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K15
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Comments on K15:  This is a large, one piece kilim with a niche field design.  It was woven upside down as indicated by the the orientation of the “jewelry” motifs in it field.  This weaving sequence lets the weaver get the hard stuff done first. It was said that it is likely that the weaver had never seen an “arch.”  Good colors, including an unusual blue-brown.
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The variation on the use of scale in this piece, especially in the large devices chosen for the main borders, is effective.
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Details of K15.
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K16
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Comments on K16:  This is a corner fragment of a large kilim.  Its owner said that he owns this humble piece only because of all the green in it.  The colors in it are subdued, likely from age. One attribution comment placed it in central or central-east Anatolia.  The whites are not cotton.
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Details of K16.
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K17
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(Click for a larger image.)
Comments on K17: Its owner said that this fragment of a large Anatolian weft-faced tapestry was given to him by Patrick Pouler, the Rugrabbit dealer.  It is admittedly decrepit, but has good color and that led him to have it couched onto a blue background.
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He said that Marla Mallett, looking at images of it, said that this kind of weaving could have been woven anywhere in Anatolia. One comment in my notes was that this piece likely had a Turkman origin.
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Denny said that you can never tell what will appear in a session like this and that he had not seen a piece like this previously.
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Details of K17:
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There have been some odd attempts at decoration of some stripes, maybe a crude kind of brocade.
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K18
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Click on the image above for a larger version.)
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I want to give you a chance to see K18 completely.  Below is another photo of it, in an entirely different lighting and setting.
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Comment on K18:  This is a half kilim,  A good type. well-drawn.  Some bad colors, but a possible good purple.   
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Its owner attributed its source as “Powell-Böhmer, and, perhaps, c.1900.  Saçikara Yörük (Saçikara Izmirili Hayta, J Powell attribution).  She called the main rectangle as having ‘sandıklar’ (‘storage box’ or ‘trunk”) elements with ‘Memling guls.'”
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Detail images of K18:
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K19
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Comments on K19:  This is a single piece Anatolian weaving with weft-faced tapestry and slit tapestry.  Good, fresh color.  No cotton. The feathering of the “borders” in the panels with lozenges is delicately done.
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Details of K19.
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K20
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Comment on K20: This is a kilim fragment, of a long half, organized in “stripes,”each containing an array of design devices.  Wonderful colors.  Estimated to the 18th century.
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Details of K20.
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K21
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Comment on  K21: Described as: 18th century. A version, as an entire half, is pictured in Bohmer’s book Nomads of Anatolia. His piece has 7 elements, this has three. Both on a camel wool ground.   Warp-fringed.  No white.
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Details of K21.
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Note the S-plied, brown and white warps.
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K22
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Comment on K22:  This is a single-piece fragment.  Beautiful.  18th century. Central Anatolia, Sumru saw a relationship to plate 38 in the Megalli catalogue.  The jagged “sun burst” elements were her connection.

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Detail images of K22.

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K23

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(Please click on the image above in order to see this entire piece in a larger version.)

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Comments on K23: This is difficult to get into a horizontal image, but it is also a piece with a story. 

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In Islamic societies, inheritance eligibility is broad.  So possessions often have to be divided among those eligible.  This includes valuable textiles, of which K23 is one.  The owner indicated that this kilim was divided into several parts and that he has been able to acquire them all.

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So what you are looking at are matched fragments of a complete kilim.

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It is in slit tapestry, has wonderful, clear colors, and is estimated to have been woven 1800 or before (sold as 18th century).    Hotamis, Central Anatolia

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Details of K23.

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K24

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Comment on K24:  This piece is another departure. It is a small, brocaded, Anatolian, textile, a size often used as yastiks.  It is not old. Its dyes seem mostly to be synthetic, and there is some fading.  the notes taken for me do not offer an attribution.

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Details of K24.

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K25

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Comment on K25:  This piece was described as one half of a cover.  Western Anatolia. As you will see more clearly, below, it has very dark brown warps, which have be covered in the weaving by bright wool brocade in synthetic colors.  The drawing is quite good.

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Details of K25.

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K26

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(Please click on this image to see a larger version.)

Comments on K26: With this half kilim, we return to our main topic.

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Its owner said after: 

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“The book by Bandsma andBrandt – Flatweaves of Turkey – describes a few kilims which are similar – plates 14, 20, 18 – and calls them Aydinli Kilims. (Western Anatolia near Ephesus).

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“This kilim half is 33 inches wide and almost 12 feet long.

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“It seems to be extremely, masterfully, woven, and the geometric figures are so regular in execution that, it appears to me, that this must have been woven on a very good upright loom. The two-headed animalistic figures are fully articulated and regular.

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In the main field, slits are extremely short (less than 1/4 “) while larger slits are seen only in the borders. Thus, the piece as a whole is quite dimensionally stable and strong.

The long border is typical – the crenelations are themselves crenelated.

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“Interestingly this piece has two different short border design arrangements. One with large octagonal motifs.

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The other has four borders with smaller stepped designs. The white filed is dotted with tiny brocaded elements.  

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“Many of the dragons and other design elements have very narrow outlines in contrasting colors, often using extra weft wrapping. The white field is also dotted with tiny brocaded elements. 

“Sumru said this is definitely 19th century. Walter said ‘Wow’ and noted the two-headed ‘dachshunds’ in the field.”  This was Josephine’s pet word for this device.

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Much of the owner’s description of K30, below, applies also to this piece. 

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Details of K26.

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Some of the design devices above the blue and red meandering band were referred to as possible “dragons.” I’ve cropped one out and turned it so that you can see it clearly.

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Walter had talked about naming design devices, in an earlier lecture, this week, and said that there is nothing wrong with adopting names for given devices, so that we can refer to them accurately in conversation.  We cannot claim, however, that the weavers saw them as we do, or as we name them.

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K27

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Comment on K27:  This band is part of a camel trapping.  Tapestry woven.  Bought in Turkey in the 1980s.  The band (6’10” long–plus 5” fringe at each end— by 3” wide) probably would have been used to wrap packs on a camel during migration.  The ends were woven at the same time as the rest of the band.

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K28

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Comments on K28:  Eastern Turkey, Vann kilim.   Predominant red, but several shades.  Dense drawing with lots of smaller design devices. Kurdish?

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Details of K28.

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K29

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Comment om K29:  This is a grain bag from western Anatolia.  Lots of tapestry but the most heavily decorated areas on this, the front, are brocade.

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The backs (below) are frequently as interesting as the fronts and are said, often, to be better indicators of attribution.  This back is seen by Pinkwart and Steiner to be like those of very old Bergama-Kilaz backs.  The backs are mostly in weft-faced tapestry with touches of brocade.

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Details of K29.

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K30

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Comment on K30: The owner has given me a fulsome description.  As we said, above, much of it applies to K26 above as well.

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“This kilim is attributed by Josephine Powell to Saçikara Yörük, a group of about twenty allied nomadic tribes (Türkmen and possibly other origins) for whom there is evidence of seasonal migrations in the broad region of southern Anatolia, roughly between Hatai, Maraş and Kayserei in modern Turkey.

“The piece was collected by Harald Böhmer with Josephine Powell, purchased from HB and delivered by JP during a visit to our home in 2002.  It is probably a 19th century piece that is related what was seen in mosques and camp sites during ethnographic fieldwork by JP in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The attribution and design elements are discussed with photos and drawings in her paper, “A Survey of a Group of Recent Anatolian Nomad Weavings”, in OCTS V, Part 1, pages 171-178, from a presentation at the 1999 ICOC in California. She said that these groups generally migrated and diffused eastward over the recent few centuries, and by the late 19th centuries were generally near Adana to Antakya and Aleppo with summer pastures north of this region in the plateau south of Kayseri.  Peter Davies (private communication) attributed this piece to Aydinlı Yörük, Western Anatolia. Josephine suggested that ‘…Aydinlı … is the term used by kilim dealers to describe all kilims they believe to be woven by Anatolian nomads’, her Footnote 5 of the cited paper. 

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“The piece is almost 10’ long with warps of hand-spun light ivory which are also used for the ivory field.  It is made from two well matched half panels sewn side-to-side. The main designs and colors are as in the cited paper, Plates 3 & 4, including the side borders.  There are different end borders and other minor variations. The dominant central motifs are a stack of layered hexagonal motifs that are bounded by serrations and “rams horn” decorations. These are surrounded by a continuous vertical blue zig-zag line which Josephine says are “usually called gökkol” which means ‘arm of heaven’, but more commonly thought of now as ‘blue arm’…”  The other prominent features, between the “blue arm” and the border, are many horizontal rows of “Dragon” or “Simurg” elements. A playful label for this design (ed. as we said above) is ”Dachshund”, attributed to Josephine in Böhmer’s “Nomads of Anatolia” (2008), p. 278 and photo details p. 232.

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“There are about 9 colors, evidently all natural dyes. There are also small decorations in extra-weft embroidery (horizontal S shapes, little blossoms, etc.) sprinkled in the ivory field.”  

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Details of K30.

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K31

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Comments on K31:  Walter says “amazing.” Saf design, but not a real saf.  Very complex tapestry weaving.  There is a seeming “prayer gable” at the right end.  Wonderful colors.

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Owner said: “18th century, from Karapinar or Karaman area. Maybe on natural sheep wool ground.  There is a 19th century example in Bohmer’s book on Anatolian nomads. Both his and ours are photographed on their side, the warps run the length.”

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Details of K31.

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K32

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Comments on K32: It’s owner said after: “This fragment represents a little more than a third of a half. The delicate figures in the stripes that separate the major “fields” are unusual. I have not seen them on other kelims. Excellent aubergine, lots of green.”

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“K32 is pictured in the 100 kelims book, 18th century.  Note the relationship between border elements and the similar motifs in K31.” 

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Details of K32.

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K33

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Comments on K33:  Its owner said after, 

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“K33 is a half of a half. There is a similar fragment in a major North American collection, pictured in Jurg Rageth’s book on Anatolian kelims and carbon dated to the 17th century. This has a red described by the Istanbul dealers as consistent with the 17th century.”

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Details of K33.

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K34

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Comments on K34:  After, the owner said, 

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“K34 is a half of a half. Often described in the trade as “saf” kelim, but certainly not. 18th century.” 

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Details of K34.

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K35

Owner’s Photo

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Owner’s description: Malayta, niche kilim with amulet. Size: 47 x 58 inches. Mid-19th century.  Audience: Kurdish?

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Details of K36 (my camera).

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K37

(owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment: Hotamis small format kilim, Central Anatolia, possibly could have been used for prayer. Positive – negative effect: are these polygons superimposed on stripes, or are they bisected polygons between solid polygons? Intensely saturated color in both field and borders. Size: 35 x 50 inches. First half of the 19th century.

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Audience: Konya area?

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Details of K37 (my camera).

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K38 

(Owner’s photo)

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Owners Comments on K38:  Obruk, Central Anatolia niche kilim. Size: 33 x 49 inches. 3rd quarter of the 19th century.

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Details of K38 (my camera).

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K39

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment on K39:  Adana, Southeast Anatolia niche floral form kilim. Size: 40 x 56 inches. Second half 19th century.

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Details of K39 (my camera).

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K40

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment on K40:  Erzurum niche kilim. Wool and metal thread. Size: 45 x 72 inches. Second half 19th century.

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Details of K40 (my camera).

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K41

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment on K41:  Konya niche kilim, Central Anatolia. Possibly a dowry or special commissioned piece with wool, cotton, metal thread and silk. Size: 53 x 72 inches. Second half 19th century.

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Details of K41 (my camera).

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K42

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment on K42:  Erzurum niche kilim with cochineal border and stylized carnations flanking the mihrab. Exhibited & published: The Sultan’s Garden, Denny and Krody, 2012. Size: 45 x 44 inches. Dated 1304 (1886).

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Details of K42 (my camera).

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K43

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment on K43: Bayburt niche kilim with elongated blue mihrab and aubergine & carnation border. Exhibited & published: The Sultan’s Garden, Denny and Krody, 2012. Size: 38 x 55 inches. 18th century.

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Details of K43 (my camera).

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K44

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner’s comment on K44:  Sivas niche kilim with red mihrab on blue-green field and apricot border. Size: 144 x 184 cms. 18th century.

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Details on K44 (my camera).

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The last piece of the day was the one below.

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K45

(Owner’s photo)

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Owner comment on K45:  Hotamis, Central Anatolia niche kilim with complex side reciprocal border on oriented red field. Size: 48” x 76 inches. Circa 1800.

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Details of K45 (my camera).

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Sometimes in these posts, I provide a look at the audience after.  The way things went in this session required that I do a “before” audience sequence. 

Here it is:

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It was raining outside.

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Helpers are important in these sessions.

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Almost ready.

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You can go back to the beginning and see it all again.

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Thanks to Amy Rispin, Jim Henderson, Michael Seidman and Bruce Baganz, all of whom gave special assistance in fashioning this virtual version.

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Hope you enjoyed it.

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R. John Howe

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Here’s the wonderful obit on Peter Davies:

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Image result for mark scherzer peter davies

A Life Well Lived

by Mark Scherzer (posted by Mark Scherzer)

Peter Davies, 1937-2018

Peter Davies, of New York City and Germantown, NY, died September 12, 2018. He is survived by two sisters in Wales, daughters Jessica Davies and Heather Cox, in Florida, son Perry Davies in California, and me, his partner of 40 years, Mark Scherzer.

The cause of Peter’s death was acute respiratory distress syndrome, brought on by bleeding he suffered when he lacerated his kidney in a fall a week earlier. It was a painful and ugly end to a remarkable and beauty-infused life.

Born December 5, 1937, in Cardiff, Wales, Peter was the first of three children of the extramarital relationship of Joan Breckon and Richard Davies. Though she had three children, Joan was a woman who fully enjoyed her freedoms, and Peter was raised to a significant degree by his grandmother. Living in Cardiff through World War II, Peter’s most vivid early memories included navigating the bombings of the Nazi Blitz.

After the war, his mother married an American GI, Hank Seesemann. Peter’s sisters were put out for adoption in Wales, but Peter, already apparently quite a handful and not so easy to give away, was moved with his mother to Hinsdale, Illinois, where the tone of his relationship with his new family was set by his step-father’s regular alcohol-fueled beatings. Intent on escaping his second class status in a dysfunctional family, Peter largely raised himself and saw to his own education. Through morning and evening paper routes he created a college fund. When his mother stole his college savings and suggested he could be content working locally and paying rent to the family for his room, or perhaps following family tradition and joining the merchant marine, he doubled down and funded his own way through Northern Illinois University (B.A.), University of Illinois Champagne/Urbana (M.A.) and Yale University (Ph.D).

His university degrees in English Literature and Theatre History led to teaching jobs at the American College of Izmir, Turkey, Loyola of Montreal, Tulane University in New Orleans, and Simons Rock in Great Barrington. He was a great motivator of students and several devoted former students who have remained close to him will be among those most devastated by the news of his death. But the degrees and the teaching jobs do not come close to reflecting the powerhouse of intellectual curiosity and creativity Peter became. He sometimes wrote and frequently directed chamber theatre productions, establishing the Tangled Fringe theatre company in the 1970s in the Berkshires. He oversaw three historic home restorations, designed landscapes and installed gardens of great beauty, led tours focused on the history and culture of Turkey, and engaged in community and environmental activism. He was widely read, and could discuss with authority such diverse subjects as ancient Greek city plans, the plays of Samuel Beckett, early Christian theology, the birth of jazz in New Orleans, and the history of the Ottoman Sultanate.

Peter traveled intrepidly, particularly in the middle and near east. He never stopped kidding me about my fearful response when he insisted we follow a motorbike out to the edge of a small town in southern Morocco to negotiate with some Tuareg tribesmen in an abandoned caravansaray over some potential purchases. (I guarded the car.) He loved recounting how, hobbled by an ankle injury, he sought out kilims in Quetta, Pakistan, by traveling everywhere by horsedrawn cart. His peripatetic life is reflected in the birthplaces of his children: Istanbul, New Haven, and Montreal.

While living and teaching in Turkey in the early 1960s, Peter learned to speak Turkish by sitting in the bazaar talking to rug merchants. He developed a lifelong love for that country (saying he felt “half Turkish”), returning year after year for the next fifty plus years, in later years sometimes with small travel groups he assembled and with me in tow, as driver and aide. His time in the rug bazaars led him, as well, to an appreciation of Turkish flat-weavings (kilims), which he loved for the way in which they infused practical needs with an inspired, collectively developed artistic vision. After several years of financing his summer travel through bringing back and selling kilims and ethnographic artifacts, Peter in 1976 left academia and established Turkana Gallery of Old and Antique Kilims, one of the pioneer businesses introducing this form of folk art to the American market. He wrote an authoritative book about kilims, The Tribal Eye: Antique Kilims of Anatolia (Rizzoli Press 1993), which he expanded and elaborated in Antique Kilims of Anatolia (W.W. Norton 2000).

In 1984, with help from my family we bought the Ephraim Niles Byram House in Sag Harbor, New York. Peter’s vision directed a restoration so complete and true that when we ultimately put the house on the market the East Hampton Star ran an editorial suggesting we donate the house to the Sag Harbor Historical Society. Peter wrote a monograph demonstrating how the house melded Byram’s idiosyncratic scientific needs and local tastes with the architectural teachings of Andrew Jackson Downing that were so influential in mid 19th century America.

Peter was a founder of the Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor. He served on the Village planning board, and ran the project to expand the Sag Harbor historic district to include the African American and Native American neighborhoods and landmarks that had been excluded when the first historic district was established. He fought for wetland preservation and against over-development. One of our most entertaining projects was helping defeat the proposal by the international luxury conglomerate LVMH to take over Sag Harbor’s main street for a concours d’elegance. Peter orchestrated a subversive campaign which included street theatre in front of the Louis Vuitton 57th Street store and anonymously distributing satirical flyers describing the plans of Louis Vuitton’s cousin, bag lady Latrina Vachon, for a concours de flatulence.

Diverse as all Peter’s interests and endeavors were, they shared certain themes. Evident in everything he did was a belief that history matters and that we live best when we understand our place in the stream of history. In the arc of history and in the present he favored the underdog. His childhood experience of abuse and neglect and the ravages of war did not make him believe that dog should eat dog, but rather that the most unfortunate among us should be respected and given dignity and help. He was not religious, but described himself as a pantheist who felt a pervasive life spirit around him.

Similarly apparent in all Peter’s projects were his consistent recognition that art and artistic vision must be intertwined with practical life – a marriage of utility and creativity that was reflected in every inch of our home and even in how he cooked – most excellently – our meals. He never stinted on pleasures, joy for him is an important human value to be found everywhere. But he never in indulging in the pleasures of food or drink or travel or personal contemplation time lost sight of what he considered fair or moral or promoting of human dignity.

In 2000, when Peter was already 63 years old, he and I bought the property that is now Turkana Farms. A year later, September 11, 2001, our City world was exploded when our home next to the World Trade Center was rendered uninhabitable and his weaving inventory, to the extent it survived, was buried in ash. In the vacuum created, Peter turned his energy to developing the farm, but in a manner that again reflected his values. Practical buildings and fences also had to be aesthetically pleasing. Heritage animal breeds were chosen in part to preserve and perpetuate historic traits of value. (Peter added to the subjects on which he could authoritatively speak the history of the Ossabaw pig, American Karakul sheep, and various breeds of heritage turkey.) The values of flavor and beauty trumped commercial motives. And the hard work was always, at Peter’s insistence, leavened by time to contemplate and enjoy the environment he had created.

The creation of the farm was another unlikely realization of a vision of the sort Peter had achieved, despite resistance, in such endeavors as staging controversial theatre productions or expanding the historic district in Sag Harbor. It required relentless focus and energy. He could be “difficult” and single minded in pursuing goals, but they were always carefully thought out goals reflecting his values. He had what his son, Perry, describes as a tunnel vision which nevertheless saw everything we generally overlook.

The day after Peter’s death, Perry suggested we take a Circle Line cruise as a means of processing our loss at a remove from everyday life. Perry clearly inherited Peter’s sense that there is nothing more invigorating than reveling in a stiff breeze on the open water. I anticipated it would be a calm, healing voyage, but had not anticipated how the excursion would call forth so many of the landmark events of Peter’s life, as so often recounted by him. We passed the place in New York Harbor where a gentleman passenger on the Queen Mary in 1946 hoisted 8 year-old Peter up to see the Statue of Liberty as he arrived in America, and the place where this young boy, already conscious of his personal dignity, insisted on covering his naked body with a raincoat for the immigration doctor’s inspection. We saw the Erie Lackawanna station where he departed for the Midwest in 1946, across the river from the then dark and disreputable blocks of the West Village where Peter and I first met in a bar in 1978. We passed the site of the World Trade Center, where the cataclysmic attack of September 11, 2001, set us off on a mad morning’s search for one another, each fearing the other was lost, and then from the East River we saw St. Margaret’s House, where later that day Peter and I eventually found each other. Ultimately, as we proceeded up the east side of Manhattan, we found ourselves opposite the window of the ICU room in New York – Presbyterian Hospital where Peter spent his last week, facing out of that window as he died. As Perry put it, these were sites of the major events from Peter’s arrival in America to his departure from the world.

The sight that was most poignant for me, however, was the view just south of the Trade Center of the penthouse Peter designed and lived in on Cedar Street. In his usual manner, Peter had taken a raw space and created a remarkable environment, in the fashion of an Ottoman harem room, filled with the weavings he sold. It was his gallery, where he staged fashion shows, special exhibitions, and parties, including our gala Regatta party for the 1986 Statue of Liberty Centennial. But it was also his home, where on our third meeting he told me he could love me, and which quickly became my home as well. From the water, towered over by massive new buildings on every side, the loft looked small and inconsequential. But into that modest space he brought an entire wider world I never would have encountered on my own, and joys I never would have known how to experience without him. At that moment I was able to see in physical manifestation what I had already been feeling inside: the immensity of the loss of my teacher, mentor, lover and friend.

 

 

 

 

Sumru Krody on Turkish Kilims from the Megalli Collection

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2018 by rjohn

On January 6, 2018, Sumru Krody,

Senior Eastern Hemisphere Curator, at The Textile Museum, here in Washington, DC, gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning Program on “Turkish Kilims in the Megalli Collection.”  This program anticipated an upcoming TM exhibition on this material.

A Nomad’s Art: Kilims of Anatolia

Detail of kilim

Kilim (detail), Turkey, central Anatolia, late 18th century. The Textile Museum 2013.2.1. The Megalli Collection.
 
September 1–December 30, 2018

Woven by women to adorn tents and camel caravans, kilims are enduring records of life in Turkey’s nomadic communities, as well as stunning examples of abstract art. This exhibition marks the public debut of treasures from the museum’s Murad Megalli Collection of Anatolian Kilims, dating to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Howe: Sumru, most readers will know, is a long-time curator at The Textile Museum and has been involved in and/or produced a large number of exhibitions and publications, which I will not enumerate here.

The Myers Room was full.

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Sumru began:

“Kilim” is a general name, given in Anatolia and its surrounding areas in West Asia, to a group of sturdy, utilitarian textiles, woven in slit tapestry-weave technique.

These works of art are multifaceted objects and obviously played an important role in the artistic history of Anatolia.

The highly-developed designs and the fine execution, seen on the surviving eighteenth- and nineteenth-century kilims I will share with you during the next 45-minutes or so, suggest that the Anatolian kilim tradition had been well-established by the time the seventeenth century came to a close.

Note: About the images in this post.  Initially, in each case, you will see an image of a given piece, like the one below.  Please click on the initial images and you will get a larger one.  There is also a third image, one turned 90 degrees to the right that lets you see this piece most closely

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, second half 18th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary-weft wrapping for outlines, eccentric weft. The Textile Museum 2013.2.59, The Megalli Collection. 

Dimensions (warp x weft): 417 X 95 cm (164 X 37 inches)

Turned image of 2:

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Sumru:

Formed with wool fibers and tapestry weave technique, Anatolian kilims represent a distinct weaving tradition, while conforming to the mechanics of tapestry weaving practiced in many parts of the world.

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Kilim, Western Anatolia, first half 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary-weft patterning, weft-faced plain weave. The Textile Museum 2013.2.6, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 308 X 75 cm (121 X 29.5 inches)

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Sumru:

Many consider the kilims of Anatolia to be great contemplative and minimalist works of art.

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, c. 1800, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary-weft patterning, supplementary weft wrapping for outlines, eccentric weft. The Textile Museum 2013.2.44, The Megalli Collection. 

Dimensions (warp x weft): 313 X 67 cm (123 X 26 inches)

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary-weft wrapping for outlines, very small amount of vertical color change. The Textile Museum 2013.2.73, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 394 X 84 cm (155 X 33 inches)

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Sumru: 

They were created by women who had a great eye for design, and an awesome sense of color.

They are prized for the harmony and purity of their color, the integrity of their powerful overall design, their masterfully controlled tapestry weave structure, and their fine texture.

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary-weft patterning,\supplementary-weft wrapping for outlines. The Textile Museum 2013.2.90, The Megalli Collection.

 Dimensions (warp x weft): 367 X 88.5 cm (144.5 X 34.5 inches)

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Sumru:

The visually stunning and colorful Anatolian kilims communicate the aesthetic choices of the nomadic and village women who created them.

Yet, while invested with such artistry, Anatolian kilims first and foremost were utilitarian objects

initially employed by nomadic families for a host of uses, primarily but not exclusively for covering household items and furnishing the interior sides of tents.

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, early 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, weft-faced plain weave, supplementary weft wrapping for outlines. The Textile Museum 2013.2.72, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 343 X 158 cm (135 X 62 inches)

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Sumru:

Since 2015, I have been documenting a private collection of 96 Anatolian flatweaves donated to The Textile Museum .

I have been engaged in analytical study of these textiles in order to contribute to our understanding of the Anatolian kilim weaving tradition.

91 of these 96 flatweaves are kilims,

43 are attributed to Central and South Anatolia,

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Kilim, Northwestern Anatolia, 18th century to early 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, weft-faced plain weave, supplementary-weft patterning. The Textile Museum 2013.2.81, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 147 X 79 cm (57.5 X 31 inches)

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Remember to click, sometimes more than once, on smaller images like the one below to get a larger version.

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Kilim, Western Anatolia, c. 1800, wool, slit tapestry weave. The Textile Museum 2013.2.68, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 401 X 86 cm (157.5 X 33.5 inches)

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Sumru:

38 to western and northwestern Anatolia,

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, possibly east-central, mid-19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, weft-faced plain weave, eccentric weft, lazy lines. The Textile Museum 2013.2.19, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 444.5 X 69 cm (175 X 27 inches)

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Sumru:

and 15 to eastern Anatolia.

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, early 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary-weft patterning, supplementary-weft wrapping for outlines, eccentric weft, weft-faced plain weave. The Textile Museum 2013.2.31,The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 137 X 387 cm (54 X 152.5 inches)

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Sumru:

What I am about to present to you today is where I am in my investigation.

This being still an on-going research, there is room for improvement, and I appreciate hearing your questions and comments.

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, c. 1800, wool, slit tapestry weave, weft-faced plain weave, supplementary-weft wrapping for outlines, eccentric weft. The Textile Museum 2013.2.14, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 292 X 160 cm (115 X 63 inches)

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Sumru:

I started, like any research project should, with questions that, I hope, will help me to better understand these textiles and their creators,

and  answer the fundamental question of:

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, 18th century, wool, cotton, slit tapestry weave. The Textile Museum 2013.2.7, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 181.5 X 138 cm (71.5 X 54 inches)

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Sumru:

What is there to see when you look at a work of art, such as an Anatolian kilim?

I also wanted to know:

  • What is an Anatolian kilim?
  • Who were the artists who created these weavings?
  • How did their lifestyle affect their artistic creation?
  • How do artistic form and function come together in Anatolian kilim?
  • How do materials influence what an artist makes in the context of Anatolian kilims?
  • How does this artistic tradition change over time?
  • How does a kilim’s design affect the way it is seen?

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Kilim, Central Anatolia, possibly west-central, early 19th century, wool, slit tapestry weave, supplementary weft wrapping for outlines, eccentric weft. The Textile Museum 2013.2.30, The Megalli Collections.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 428.5 X 67 cm (168.5 X 26 inches)

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Sumru:

But the most elusive questions and the most important, at least for me, are:

  • What did Anatolian nomads value in the kilims?
  • What criteria did they use to judge these items?
  • Were they the same as ours? Or different? And, if different, how different?

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Sumru:

Kilim, a type of textile, is often referred to as flatweave in the western literature because it does not have any pile or tufts, as carpets do.

The tapestry-weave technique is very old—archaeological examples go back well over two millennia—and very geographically widespread.

Textiles with tapestry weave are created in traditional Islamic carpet-weaving societies from Morocco to Central Asia, and more broadly, from the pre-Columbian Americas to ancient China, as well as to the European Medieval and Baroque tapestries.

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Sumru:

In slit-tapestry weave technique, as used in the Anatolian kilims, the design is created by colored horizontal weft yarns, interlaced in an over and under sequence, through the vertical warp yarns and completely obscure them.

 Like any tapestry-woven textile, Anatolian kilims have weft-faced plain weave structure, but the real essence of Anatolian kilim is its slit-tapestry structure.  The design is built up of small areas of solid color, each of which is woven with its individual weft yarn, and that between two such adjacent areas the respective weft yarns never interlock or intermingle.

The different colored weft yarns turn back, using adjacent warp yarns. The result is a vertical slit. In this manner, the artistic expression of the kilim and its technique are inextricably bound together.

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Sumru:

Anatolia was a crucial transitional point between the weaving regions of Europe, Asia, and Egypt. Its history is one of ancient, continuous interactions between the culturally diverse people.

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Sumru:

Weavers of kilims were descendants of Turkmen nomads and their settled kin.

Turkmen—ethnic Turkish nomads—began to arrive into Anatolia in about the 10th century, adding further diversity to already ethnically diverse area.

The lands they passed through on their way from further east, via Central Asia to Anatolia, were occupied by two different religions, Islam and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and two distinct cultures, Persian and Byzantine/Greek.

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Sumru:

Nomadism, is a style of life, in which groups of people, mostly close family members, move from one region to another to exploit the resources, like grass.

Anatolian nomads’ living and economic units were predominantly groups of families (kabile) or of extended families (aile).

They were generally herders and depend on their large flocks for their livelihood. Some nomadic groups, such as those in Anatolia, are pastoral nomads, or semi-nomadic, meaning they move between two pastures, one for winter and one for summer.

Nomadism is a lifestyle and separate from tribalism

Remember to click, sometimes more than once, on smaller images like the one below to get a larger version.

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Sumru:

Two major, but distinct, activities dominated the life of the Turkmen nomads:

1.Migration to winter pasture, called kisla, and to summer pasture, called yayla.

      Kisla = low elevation, in the valleys, that are warmer in the winter

      Yayla= higher elevation, on the mountains, that are cooler in the summer

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2. Pastoral life or life in pasture

There are very few if any nomads left in the Anatolia today. If there is any migration today, so-called nomads live in brick and mortal houses by the coast during winter and move up to mountains in the summer, pitching tents in yayla.

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Sumru:

The last remaining nomads were, in the mid-20th century, congregating in the Taurus Mountains, which parallel the north Mediterranean coast of Anatolia.

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Sumru:

During the twice-yearly movements, camels carried family’s belongings including the tent, while the family, except the youngest ones, walked alongside the camels.

During the migration, women could display their weaving skills, through the display of kilims thrown over the camel loads, to everyone they encountered on the road.

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Sumru:

When they arrived at the destination, the most pressing issue was to establish a shelter/home for the family.

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Sumru:

Once settled in yayla or kisla, nomadic women could have time to devote themselves to weaving.

Remember to click, sometimes more than once, on smaller images like the one below to get a larger version.

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Sumru:

Although utilitarian, the textiles were carefully woven and intricately decorated.

We can speculate that the reason for this care was that textiles had artistic, social, and religious importance, for the nomads, in addition to their pure functionality.

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Photography by Josephine Powell, KOC Foundation Archives

Sumru:

Unfortunately for us, we are so removed from these societies, today, that it is hard for us to perceive the specifics of these aspects, and especially not through examining these objects.

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Sumru:

We do not know how a nomad family organized their tent, in the 17th or 18th or even early 19th century. We are inferring the way they lived then, by analogy, with how their decedents were living  in the mid 20th century.

We are grateful the research done by Harald Bohmer, Josephine Powell and many others in 1970s, 80s and even some in 90s to preserve the 20th century way of nomad life.

But, we should always remember that we do not have direct access to the earlier kilim weavers. We are gathering our information among the great great grandchildren of nomads who wove the kilims in our collections, and we are relying on the notion that they have been living in very conservative, little changing environment, which is not true.

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Sumru:

Textiles were prominently displayed when the family reached the pastureland and set up tent.

Each tent formed a single open space with a wooden post in the middle.

The large transportation bags, that carried family’s belongings during the migration, were turned into storage bags and placed in various parts of the tent.

And were covered with long kilims, that were previously used as covers during migration. Occasionally, these long kilims served as wall hangings.

In short, by rearranging kilims and other textiles, women defined the single tent space for different functions.

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Sumru:

The practice of using textiles, to delineate living spaces, continued when nomads permanently settled in villages.

Once nomadic, now-settled women continued weaving their kilims and bags for couple of generations, though storage bags and other textiles gradually disappeared from their weaving repertoires. Only the kilim weaving appeared to be continued.

On reason for that might have been that kilims were flat rectangular textiles that could serve multiple functions as wall hangings, bedding covers, and even floor covers. And in 20th century, they brought income to the family through their sales.

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Sumru:

Kilims also were used to honor the deceased. When a member of the family died, the body would be wrapped in a kilim and carried to the gravesite.

The kilim was not buried; however. It would be washed and presented to the mosque, at mevlut ceremonies, gatherings to honor the deceased and held forty days after their burial.

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Kilim, Central or Western Anatolia, c.1800, wool, slit tapestry weave, weft-faced plain weave, supplementary weft wrapping for outlines. The Textile Museum 2013.2.94, The Megalli Collection.

Dimensions (warp x weft): 381.5 X 70 cm (150 X 27.5 inches)

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Sumru:

The creation of Anatolian kilim was, from start to finish, the work of a single weaver or family group.

The same group of people completed the full production cycle of creation.

Remember to click, sometimes more than once, on smaller images like the one below to get a larger version.

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Sumru:

They sheared the sheep,

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Sumru:

chose the wool,

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Sumru:

turned loose fibers to yarn

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Sumru:

dyed the yarns, set up the loom, and, as the weavers say “dressed the loom.”

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Sumru:

Then, they decided on