Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Boris Johnson Leaves Hospital and Thanks the NHS and Two Nurses by Name and Country

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2020 by rjohn

NYTimes:

…In an emotional five-minute video, Mr. Johnson thanked the country’s National Health Service, declaring it had “saved my life, no question.”

Wearing a suit and tie, but looking and sounding fatigued, Mr. Johnson singled out two nurses…Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal, who were at his bedside during the frightening overnight hours. “The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”

Mr. Johnson will convalesce at Chequers for some time…he will not be immediately returning to work but will “soon be able to sign off on major decisions.”

He said: “Stay Home. Protect the N.H.S.  Save Lives.”

Composed from a NYTimes article by Mark Landler

NYTimes: The New Killer APP: A Simple Phone Call

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13, 2020 by rjohn

We’ve become a nation that calls like never before.  We are craving human voice.”

Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the nation’s phone, television and internet providers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we’ve

Boralevi: Turkish Carpets in Italy

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2020 by rjohn

On October 28, 2018, Alberto Boralevi

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gave a lecture in Istanbul on “(Antique) Turkish Carpets in Italy.”

This post is of a Powerpoint document that captured this lecture.  It is the second post, I have made of this sort.

Most readers will know that Alberto is a long-time textile dealer and scholar.  If you want a more detailed description of his background, you can find it at the beginning of the first of these posts which was on another lecture Alberto gave on Kaitag and related embroideries.

https://raymondj.wordpress.com/2020/03/27/alberto-boralevi-kaitags-and-other-embroidered-textiles-a-personal-view/

Alberto delivered this lecture during the annual Istanbul Carpet Week as part of the cultural program of that Fair. For this reason it is devoted only to Turkish Carpets, but the same research could be  extended to the Persian production as well as to other provenances. 

It is well known that carpet collecting is spread worldwide, particularly in the US where it is addressed to all kinds of carpets and related weavings, both early and more recent ones and particularly to the tribal productions.

In Italy the situation is different because this country was  one of the main sources of early  classical carpets since the beginning of collecting in the second half of the 19th c.

Even today, Italy has few but very important collections focused on the classical Turkish carpets that  were imported since the Renaissance times and even before. From Italy many of those carpets were re-exported to other countries in Europe and to the US, but something remained or was recently re-imported by a handful of illuminated new collectors.

You will notice occasional invitations to share this lecture with others.  Since Alberto is interested in increasing the number of people who see and can enjoy these lectures, you are invited to do so.

When you want to leave this lecture, look up and find a line of code at the top and click the small x on its right end.

I hope you enjoy this second instance of Alberto Boralevi’s knowledge and generosity.

Below is the first page, and a little more, of this lecture.  Click on “full screen” in the bottom right corner.

View this document on Scribd

Regards,

R. John Howe

Alberto Boralevi…Kaitags and other embroidered textiles: a personal view

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2020 by rjohn

Alberto Boralevi, many readers will know,

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stems from a family of art dealers that have been in the antique carpet and textile business in Venice and Florence since the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1982, he discovered in the Pitti Palace of Florence the now famous Medici Cairene Carpets. For 15 years, from 1986 to 2001, Alberto Boralevi has run his Gallery, The Carpet Studio, in Florence. Since 2001 he works on a ‘by appointment only’ basis at the first floor of the historical Palazzo Frescobaldi, in the heart of Florence.

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Besides being an antique-textiles dealer, he has been scholarly researching in the field of antique carpets and textiles, publishing numerous articles, books and catalogues and working as consultant for museums such as the Museo Stefano Bardini in Florence, the Museo del Tessuto of Prato, the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum of Baku (Azerbaijan), as well as for important private collections.

As Chairman of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC) Academic Committee, Alberto Boralevi organized the International Conferences on Oriental rugs in Milan (1999) , Istanbul (2007), Stockholm (2011) and Washington 2015 and 2018. He has organized the 5th International Symposium on Azerbaijani Carpets (ISAC 2017) and related events held in Baku 17-20 October 2017.

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 In June 2011, he received the Joseph V. McMullan Award for Stewardship and Scholarship in Islamic Rugs and Textiles from the Near Eastern Art Research Center of New York, being the second Italian and the first dealer to be honored with this prestigious acknowledgement.

He has given lectures and presented papers around the world in the latest 30 years. Among the books he published: Sumakh. 1986; L’Ushak Castellani-Stroganoff, 1987; From the Near West (on Sardinian Rugs and textiles), 1997; Oriental Geometries. Stefano Bardini the antique rug, 1999. He was also co-author and chief consultant of Antique Ottoman Rugs in Transylvania, edited by Stefan Ionescu,2005.

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In a recent exchange, Alberto indicated to me that he has a number of lectures he has given, captured (words and images) in Powerpoint documents.  He has, generously indicated that I can post some of these lectures on my Eccentric Weft site so that more can access and enjoy them.

And, this post is the first of these efforts.  It is a lecture that Alberto gave on September 10, 2019, at the Museum der Volker in Schwaz, Austia,

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Image result for Museum der Volker

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on Kaitag and other embroidered textiles. Click the link below to access his lecture which is a Powerpoint document (click on the full page version to get rid of the advertising). 

When you get to the end of it just click out of Powerpoint.  You should come back to this page and get to read the brief ending remarks but if that doesn’t happen, just consider the post complete.

https://www.scribd.com/presentation/453389507/Kaitag-A-Personal-View

 I hope you enjoyed and learned from it, as I did.

This may be the first of several posts of this kind.  Alberto has some other lectures he is willing to share.

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I thank him for letting me know that these lectures exist and being willing to work with me to fashion these posts.

‘Til next time,

R. John Howe

Richard Laursen on What Analysis of Dyes in Textiles Can Tell You and What It Cannot

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2019 by rjohn

On April 27, 2019, Richard Laursen,

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a research chemist, emeritus at Boston University, gave a program to members of the International Hajji Baba Society, here at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC,, describing what analysis of dyes used in textiles can tell you and what it cannot.

Richard gave an illustrated lecture and a virtual version of that follows:

You can click on any image is this virtual version to get a somewhat larger version.

I will sometimes cue you to do that.

Slide 1

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Slide 2

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Slide 3

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The yellow ovals indicate where the bulk of the textiles came from.  This is particularly true for ancient textiles because textiles are organic materials, which are usually destroyed (eaten) by fungi and other microorganisms found in soil and elsewhere.  All living organisms require water and moderate temperatures to thrive, so ancient textiles are generally found in arid locations and in some tombs where they are not in contact with soil and/or water.  Therefore, most of the textiles we have analyzed come from arid parts of Asia and the Andes of South America.

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Slide 4

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The circles indicate where some of our samples have come from.  I will talk about the red ones.

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Slide 5

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Slide 6

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First I will discuss the analytical methods we use.

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Slide 7

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There are two basic approaches to textile dye analysis.  In method A, some sort of light is shown on the textile and the reflected light is analyzed.  In method B, a small sample of the textile is removed, and extracted to remove the dye.  The extract containing the dye is analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), which separates the components in the dye, and allows spectrometric and mass analysis of each.

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Slide 8

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This slide outlines the components of the analytical system we use.  The sample is loaded onto the HPLC column, through which appropriate solvents are pumped to elute (wash) the separated components out.  Each component is then analyzed by a Diode Array Detector (DAD) and by a Mass Detector (MD).

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Slide 9

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The lower panel shows an elution profile, which is obtained after the separated components have passed through the DAD, only.  Each peak represents a dye component—in this case of an extract of the yellow dye from pagoda tree leaves.

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Slide 10

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From this type of analysis (method B) one can provide three types of information that characterize a particular dye component: (1) the retention time, which gives information about the polarity of each component, (2)  the UV/Visible spectrum, which gives much information about the color and the class of the dye component, and (3) the molecular mass (molecular weight) of the compound.  With three types of information, it is generally possible to identify a compound.  In addition, the profile or pattern of compounds acts as sort of a “fingerprint” often allowing one to identify the plant or animal the dye came from.  None of this possible using method A.

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Slide 11

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Slide 12

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One of the first textiles we analyzed came from fragments from Cherchen, a former village in the Taklamakan Desert region in Xinjiang, China.  This is indicted by a yellow oval.

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Slide 13

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This is an enlargement of the Taklamakan region.  The yellow lines indicate portions of the old Silk Road that linked Europe and China.  Traders in ancient times had to travel between oases either north or south of the desert.  Cherchen was one of the oasis towns.

 

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Slide 14

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During the 1990s, archaeologists discovered, in a cemetery near Cherchen, the mummified remains of a man who had been buried nearly 3000 years ago.  He was not buried in a tomb, but in a hole in the ground, but out of contact with the soil, and so he desiccated rather than decomposed.

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Slide 15

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Near the Cherchen Man were some textiles, which also survived nearly three millennia.  Analysis of one of the yellow dyes revealed a dye compound that had never been reported before. 

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Slide 16

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The structure of this dye remained a mystery for several years, but eventually we deduced that it is probably the yellow flavonoid, luteolin glucuronide.

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Slide 17

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All green plants also contain flavonoids (whose function may be to protect the chlorophyll in the plants from photo-oxidation; over 8,000 flavonoids have been chemically characterized so far), so dyers often used local plants as a source of yellow dyes—provided the plants contained sufficient concentrations of the flavonoids.  It turns out that one of the plants that grows in profusion in the Taklamakan region is certain species of poplar tree.  Two of these are Populus euphaticus and Populus pruinosa that have deep roots that allow them to grow along riverbeds that are filled with water from nearby glaciers in the spring but are dry in summer.  The leaves of both these species of poplar tree contain luteolin glucuronide, so they may have been used to produce the yellow dye seen.

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Slide 18

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We also found the same yellow dye in a sample (from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London) from Loulan, a former village in the Taklamakan region (see slide13).

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Slide 19

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This slide shows profiles of a yellow-green dye (flavonoid + indigo) from the V&A Loulan fragment and of an extract of Populus pruinosa, which are very similar.  The peaks at < 5 minutes are “garbage” peaks and can be ignored.

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Slide 20

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During the past 25 years or so, archaeologists in Iran have found the mummified remains of 5 or 6 men in the Chehrabad salt mine near Zanjan, Iran, that dates back to about 400 BC.  Apparently these are the remains of miners who were killed when earthquakes brought the roof down on them.  Other organic artifacts were found, too.  These objects (including the miners) were well preserved because not only was the mine dry, but also because salt is a good preservative.  These artifacts are interesting also because they belonged to poor people, rather than potentates who were often buried in tombs wearing special clothing, etc., so the dyes in these objects give a picture of what average/poor people were wearing.

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Slide 21

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The object we analyzed was a multi-colored belt of some sort.  The left-hand side of this slide shows part of the original object, and the right-hand inset, the front and back views of the (relatively huge) sample we received.  [One can also see in the original where our sample was cut out.]. The blue and red colors were from indigo and madder (Rubia tinctorum), respectively].

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Slide 22

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This slide shows in the background, the Chehrabad salt mine.  In the yellow dye we found an unusual flavonoid sulfate (see inset).  It turns out that this compound is found in many species of tamarisk, which is one of the few plants that flourish in dry, saline locales.  We suspect that this may have been used to make the yellow dye, because it was readily available locally and the people who used it probably were too poor to buy something more expensive.  Flavonoid sulfates have been reported in only one other dye plant—in Peru.

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Slide 23

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Slide 24

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Horyu-ji is a Buddhist temple founded in 607 AD and is the oldest wooden building in Japan.  A number of textiles have been stored there for centuries.  In the seventh century, the Tang Dynasty, in China, was close to its cultural apex and many things were imported into Japan from China.

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Slide 25

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A number of textiles were stored at Horyu-ji.  Apparently, sometime in the late 19th C or early 20th C, monks at Horjyu-ji were hard up for money and sold fragments of some of their textiles to collectors.  Some of these fragments eventually made their way to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  This was fortuitous because nowadays all textiles (and other objects) from ancient temples and tombs are considered property of the Imperial Family of Japan and removing samples for analysis is absolutely forbidden.  However, the MFA fragments left Japan before this ruling and are not subject to the aforementioned rule.  This slide shows several fragments, but the one of interest is that outlined in the yellow oblong box.  Unfortunately, the back side of the object is shown and not the front.

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Slide 26

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If that fragment is turned over, it can be seen that the pattern on it matches closely the pattern on a larger Horyu-ji textile that is currently in a museum in Japan and is shown in a book by Yoshioka.  The fiber is silk.

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Slide 27

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This is seen better if the fragment is superimposed on the larger textile.

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Slide 28

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We then analyzed several colored threads from the MFA fragment and found the following:

Black   Indigo (heavy dyeing gives a very dark, almost black color)

Yellow from the grasses, Arthraxon hispidus or Miscanthus sinensis

Green  Indigo (blue) + A. hispidus or M. sinensis (yellow)

Red      Madder (Rubia akane)

Since both Rubia akane and Arthraxon hispidus are now used only in Japan, we initially deduced that the textile threads (this textile was woven with colored threads) had been made and dyed in Japan.

Interestingly, the black threads in the Yoshioka textile seem to be more worn than in the MFA sample, and the green is more pronounced in the MFA fragment.  This is consistent with the presence of indigo, which tends to coat the surface of fibers and sometimes wears off.  The same phenomenon is seen with Levi’s jeans, in which the blue indigo rubs off at the wear points (e.g., knees).

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Slide 29

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The foregoing suggested that the textile threads had been dyed in Japan.  However, when my colleague, Chika Mouri, who has background in traditional Japanese medicine, consulted the Xinxiu Bencao, the first  official Materia Medica of China, which was originally written in the 6th C, she found that Arthraxon hispidus  had been used as a yellow dye in China before Horyu-ji was even constructed.  Furthermore, in our own research we had found species of madder from China that had characteristics of Rubia akane which is found primarily in Japan.  Therefore, the textile we analyzed could have been made in China.  In fact, it probably was, because in those days, China was considered to be sort of the “motherland” for Japan and many items that were considered to be of high quality were imported from China. Two of the more important of these were silk and the writing system.

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Slide 30

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The association of Arthraxon hispidus with Japan comes from the fact that, even today, a yellow dye is produced from this plant only on the island of Hachijo-jima.  “Hachi” means 8 in Japanese and it is the 8th in a string of islands south of Tokyo.  Hachijo-jima itself is was formed by two now-dormant volcanoes.  The dye is called “kihachijo” (literally, “yellow of Hachijo).

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Slide 31

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Kihachijo is used to dye silk a muted yellow color, along with a reddish brown and a black color, which are woven to make (expensive) kimonos and other products (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqjbat5bILI).

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This slide shows two of those kimonos. [One of the volcanoes can be seen in the background of the un-cropped photo below.]

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There are three commonly used species of madder in the world today.  These are easily differentiated by HPLC.  All contain the red dye, purpurin, but differ in their content of alizarin or other red components.

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Slide 37

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This slide shows an approximation of the growth ranges of the three species of madder.  Rubia tinctorum is the species most commonly seen in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, including Xinjiang.  There is sort of a natural barrier formed by the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Himalayas that seems to separate the growth ranges of Rubia tinctorum (to the west) and Rubia cordifolia (to the east and south).  Rubia akane is found in Japan, though it or related species are also found in China. 

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Slide 38

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There is only one natural blue dye—indigo.  It is produced by many plants, but at present there is no way to determine which plant produced it.  It is like table sugar: there is no way to tell whether sucrose was made from sugar cane or sugar beets.

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This story starts in Xinjiang, China.  In 2004, my daughter and I were on a post-conference tour in Xinjiang and stopped at a Kazakh yurt that actually was a sort of luncheonette.

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Slide 42

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During that lunch, we happened to be seated next to a fellow named Guy Petherbridge (on the right; my daughter is on the left), who was head of Heritage Central Asia, a U.N. organization headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 

This turned out to be fortuitous because we had already explored parts of the Silk Road in China, to the east, and I thought it would be interesting to look at the silk road from the west.  So the next year we went to Iran, Turkey and Uzbekistan.  Because Guy Petherbridge was my only contact in Uzbekistan, I wrote to him, and he kindly arranged for us to visit, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and the Ferghana Valley, complete with a car, driver and interpreter.

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Slide 43

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One of the places we visited was the Samarkand Museum of Applied Art, where we found, in the storeroom, a very nice suzani, which, it turned out, had been dyed only with natural dyes.

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Slide 44

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Later we received, from a collector of suzanis in Germany, a sample of thread which had been dyed with an insect dye (cochineal), which is distinguished by a large carminic acid peak.  This was probably an Old World species of cochineal, rather than Mexican cochineal, but it was not possible from these data to be sure.

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Slide 45

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The same collector also sent a red thread from an Ottoman embroidery that had been dyed with madder (Rubia tinctorum), which could be distinguished by the presence of alizarin.

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Slide 46

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A yellow thread from a third sample had been dyed with yellow larkspur (Delphinium semibarbatum), a very common source of yellow in Central Asia.

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Slide 47

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Most species of Delphinium are blue, but these are yellow.

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We also visited the Tashkent Museum of Applied Arts.  This had been the home of a government official in the late 1920s and was probably a private residence before that.

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The first gallery in this museum contained a number of suzanis, the very first one being that shown here.  Shown here are Svetlana Osipova (facing the suzani) who arranged the visit, her husband (on the left) and a museum attendant on the right.  The pair of legs, showing, below the suzani belong to the Museum Director, who was clipping off, using an enormous pair of scissors, loose embroidery threads for us to analyze. 

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This slide shows the suzani, some of the threads analyzed and the results of the analysis.  Although a few of the threads had been dyed with natural dyes, most of them were dyed with synthetic dyes, which means that this object was embroidered after 1865, when the first dye was synthesized by Perkin.  This also means that this suzani was not made, as claimed, during the first half of the 19th C.  In retrospect, the purple color that is predominant in this suzani should have been a tip-off, because that shade of purple cannot be made using natural dyes.

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Slide 52

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We also analyzed the purple color from another suzani in the museum shop.  This slide shows that the dye was a complex mixture of colorants.  Visible spectra of some of them (peaks A, B and C) all have the same shape (a peak with a shoulder on the left) that is characteristic of triphenylmethine dyes, but have different shades of purple.

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Slide 53

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We do not know precisely what compounds these are, but they are very similar to fuschin and ethyl violet, which were among the earliest commercially available synthetic dyes.

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Slide 54

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The synthesis of the purple dye, mauve, by Perkin set off a revolution, resulting in the synthesis of hundreds of dyes by the end of the 19th C.  The “tree” shown here indicates some of them.  Note that the triarylmethine dyes were among the earliest.

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Slide 55

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The synthesis of mauve also set off a revolution in the fashion industry.  Everyone (women, at least) wanted mauve-colored garments, such as the gown on the left.  This included Queen Victoria, although the color of the gown shown (at the right) in the recent TV series, Victoria, is not quite right (nor is the coffee cup and truck behind).

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I would like to acknowledge the two people who did most of the laboratory work described here.  On the right is Xian Zhang, my last PhD student, who initiated the textile dye analysis project and developed the early methods; and Chika Mouri, who came to me from Japan with a Ph.D. in traditional Japanese medicine and from whom I learned a lot about plants during the two years she spent with me in Boston.

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Slide 59

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This picture has nothing to do with the foregoing material, but it is an example of the interesting things that can happen when traveling.  Before going to Uzbekistan, my daughter, Sarah, and I spent nearly a week in Iran.  Late one afternoon while being driven along a highway in Isfahan (the home of Hajji Baba), our host, Sadegh Miri (https://www.instagram.com/sadegh_miri_photography/?hl=en) pointed out a little hill ahead of us on the otherwise flat landscape.  “There’s an old Zoroastrian fire tower up there,” he said.  Sarah, an art historian, said, “Let’s take a look at it.”  So we pulled over and clambered up the hill, with Sarah in the lead, despite her long Iranian-style manteau.  When Sadegh and I got to the top, we discovered Sarah being interviewed and filmed by two men.  It turned out that they worked for Lebanon TV and were interviewing whoever came up the hill.  They were probably as surprised to see Americans there as we were to see them.

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Richard took questions and brought his session to a close.

I want to thank Richard for coming to give this important program, and for working with me after to fashion this virtual version of it.

Michael Kaplan and Jeff Krauss produced this program.  Thanks to Tom Goehner for arranging the use of the Textile Museum’s Myers Room for this session.

A number of people asked me whether there was to be a virtual version of Richard’s program, and here it is.

Enjoy. 

‘Til next time,

R. John Howe

Here is some additional information on Richard’s background, interests and career:

Richard Laursen obtained his BS (1961) and PhD (1964) degrees in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, respectively. After two postdoctoral years at Harvard University, he joined the chemistry faculty at Boston University, where he conducted research in protein chemistry for about 35 years. Following sabbatical leave in the Sherman Fairchild Conservation Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, he turned his attention to the analysis of natural dyes in textiles of historical interest—in particular development of new techniques for extraction of dyes from textile specimens and their analysis. For more information, see also: http://www.bu.edu/chemistry/faculty/laursen/ and (for publications) http://www.bu.edu/chemistry/faculty/laursen/publications/ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penny and Tim Hays Open Their “Just in from the East” Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized on April 4, 2019 by rjohn

Penny and Tim Hays,

have been serious collectors, primarily of Balkan textiles for a number of years.

Until recently, they were active members of the textile collector community here in the Washington, D.C. area.  They are serious collectors, traveling frequently to the Balkans, visiting museums, and researching the literature vigorously (including translating obscure texts).  One of their initial acts as collectors was to purchase an entire collection of Manastir kilims.  More recently, they have begun to consider Anatolian material.

In retirement, they have been lured to Florida.

They bought a home there and have added a gallery to display their collection.  They purchased this specific property because it had an 800 square foot space that could be converted to a display gallery.

Last month they put out a kind of invitation to the opening of this gallery to a selected audience.  It read like this:

“Tim Hays here. We have met and spoken on several occasions in DC, Stockholm, and Istanbul. We are the dotty collectors who specialize in Balkan kilims. We are as Christian Erber designated us, the Sarkoy people. Although our focus is and was on the elusive Manastir Kilim.

“We collect a bit more widely than that, including Anatolian and Syrian textiles. Our primary focus, however, remains Balkan folk and workshop weaving. We have pursued this subject for 12 years and since our recent retirement and move from DC to Florida we have been able to achieve our long term goal of creating a gallery to display more of our collection. In addition with help from fellow collectors and friends such as Davut Mizrahi, Erhard Stoebe (Vienna), Jaap van Beelen (Bulgaria), and Andy Dailey (late of Tirana and now residing in Cairo); I believe we have accumulated a much better understanding of the Balkan weaving traditions of the Ottoman Period to the present. Many dealers such as Omer Bozdag, Muhammet Solak, Seref Ozen, and Mehmet Cetinkaya provided their knowledge and experience.

“We will be having a small reception on 9 March here in Sarasota Florida to mark the opening of our 800 square foot display space, housed in a converted garage and workshop. We will have much more room to showcase our woven art and conduct our research.

“We plan to produce a catalog/monograph displaying some of our interesting pieces and documenting some of the historical and ethnographic data we have accumulated on this poorly understood and under documented group of weavings.

“Our renovation project also includes a small beer garden and kilim washing area. What could be more apropos?

“In any case, we want to share our pleasure at the completion of this goal.”

And they did.  They report that about a dozen friends and neighbors attended. They, also, separately hosted Roger and Claire Pratt, friends from their rug travels, and fellow collectors. 

This post is intended to let you experience aspects of this opening.

We’re approaching the house.

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There’s a drive way with the gallery at its end.  This the front of the gallery, formerly a garage and workshop. gallery.  Notice the appropriate Hapsburg yellow color of the building. Just right for a Balkan collection.

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There are grounds with a palm tree and the former caddy shack and bunk house of an adjoining golf course behind it.

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There is a privacy fence with a few textiles displayed on it.

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And a covered entrance area with what Tim calls his “beer garden.”

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Let’s go in.  We’re going to walk around inside without focusing on particular textiles, just to get a feel of the place.  We’ll look at and speak to individual pieces later.

Here we are going in the door.

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We look around.

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There have to be books and shelves for stacks of smaller pieces.

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Here are a few piece closer without singling anything out yet.

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These pieces, above and below are hanging on a Amish clothes drying rack, made locally.  They use this rack to display small Balkan, Central Asian, and African textiles.

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Above is an East Bulgarian Prayer Kilim, used by Sunni Muslims in the area of Shumen. These narrow kilims were used for individual prayer in one of the many mosques formerly active in the town of Shumen . Only the great Tulip Period Tombul  (plump) Mosque remained active in 2018. Although a new medresse is under construction in the grounds of the former Tombul complex. Built with donations from the Turkish Government and Bulgarian Muslim Council.

Below, left partial image is of a Greek pillow cover from the town of Florina in Thrace. Although this cover is clearly in the style of a Muslim yastik or posh, to the makers of this cover who are Greek Orthodox, the design symbolizes aspects of the Holy Trinity.

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Above are two small Shah Savan personal bags for precious items. Khorjin format from ca. 1900.

Below is a recently acquired East Bulgarian Manastir kiim with yellow field and pale rose ground. Rather late example with West Bulgarian motifs in the field (we’ll treat this again, later).

We are showing this atop a late 19th Century Konya kilim fragment. We are making good use of this work table to study and prepare pieces for the collection.

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Here are some individual pieces with descriptions.

PT1

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PT 1 is a very rare red field blue ground Manastir Kilim with pronounced West Anatolian design motifs and influences (including finger or comb motifs).

Most Manastir kilims have yellow or rose red fields. This one is one of four with a blue ground. One is in our collection and three are in an important Turkish collection. PT1 was published previously in Hali Magazine.

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PT2

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PT2 is a medium-size Avunya kilim from Western Anatolia. We acquired this example from an Israeli dealer because of the obvious affinities to Bulgarian Manastir kilims. Perhaps this is an example of Balkan Muhajir production in Anatolia. Muhajir began returning to Anatolia as early as 1855. 

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PT3

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PT3 is a one of a pair of Pirot West Bulgarian Group kilim draperies or possibly divan covers in the kostenice (lions paw) design with a single side border in the Queen’s Sleeve pattern. These designs were part of the regular repertoire of the Serbian weavers active in the workshops of Pirot and intended for the home or European Market after 1860.

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PT4

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PT4 is a Manastir kilim with yellow field and rose ground in a most striking design incorporating West Bulgarian motifs in a tradition East Bulgarian Prayer format.

We believe these pieces were produced by heterodox Bektashi or Alevi Muslins in Eastern Bulgaria. They are examples of idiosyncratic home weaving for personal use, probably as devotional wall hangings.

There are many Sufi tekkes (Prayer halls) scattered about the countryside in Eastern Bulgaria.

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PT5

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PT5 is a fragment of a Chiprovtsy kilim in the 18th Century Bakamsky Medallion pattern. NW Bulgaria.

Very old fragment of the oldest known type.

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PT6

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PT6 is a Pirot divan cover from the mid 19th Century.

A rare survival of a infrequently seen type. Nice saturated colors.

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PT7

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PT7 is a fragment of a Central Anatolian Kilim with camel hair and nicely saturated colors.

Sometimes fragments fit perfectly into those awkward blank spots in a display.

Probably mid-19th Century.

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PT8

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PT8 is a This is a South Bulgarian looped pile tulu Rug.

In Bulgaria, as elsewhere in the Balkans, local people make tulu, felt rugs, and semi-felted covers just as in Anatolia. This Bulgarian tulu is very similar to those produced in the Konya-Karapinar area.

Tim uses a small Vintage Turkish animal feeding or water trough, upholstered with a vintage kilim fragment, as a stool. 

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PT9

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PT9 is a large detail of a Syrian aba or robe with a Kufic inscription of the phrase Masallah (as God wills).

Silk from Damascus or Hama.

Early 20th Century.

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PT10

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PT10 is a fragmentary Mid-19th Century Aydin (West Anatolia) kilim.

Published in Faszination Kelim 2006 Awed Tomm Collection.

Again demonstrating how a work table facilitates textile display and study.

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PT11

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Above is a two-panel Balikesir kilim from NW Anatolia.

I was inclined to label this an example of Yuncu weaving, now I am not certain.

In any case, we find these open field kilims with classic blue and red colors to be very striking.

Similar to pieces in the Josephine Powell Collection.

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PT12

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You’ve seen PT12 above.  As we said, it’s a recently acquired East Bulgarian Manastir kiim with yellow field and pale rose ground.

Rather late example with West Bulgarian motifs in the field.  You can see those better in the details below.

Details of PT12.

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PT13

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Comment: A fragment from an 18th Century Cappadocian kilim. We had this piece conserved with some of the numerous holes and lacunae backed with appropriately colored linen. We think it provides a better overall impression of its striking colors. Some of my kilim friends do not agree.You can decide for yourself.

 

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PT14

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PT14 is a lovely Central Anatolian fragment of a double niche kilim with saturated colors. The color quality suggests this example is relatively early.

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PT15

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PT15 is a Syrian or Lebanese wall hanging or cover.  This may have been intended for use as a bochke or wrapper for personal items or gifts.  The colors displayed show how well silk can take dyes.

Early 20th Century or earlier.

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PT16

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PT16 is a South Toros Mountains area cuval cover with dazzle stripes and rows of Memling Guls. White may be cotton.

Early 20th Century??

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PT17

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Comment: Prayer Kilim from Razgrad in Eastern Bulgaria.

Such kilims and others like it from the town of Shumen, are confirmed to be products of the Sunni Muslim people of these two important former Ottoman garrison towns.

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PT18

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Comment:  Nearly complete camel cover kilim from Central Anatolia. Great border design and colors. Possibly from the area of Karapinar. These long kilims of with lengths, of 3.5 meters or more, were made as load covers used during migration.

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PT19

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PT 19 is a fragment of a Cappadocian Kilim with well saturated colors and a graphic design.

Mid-18th Century or earlier 

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PT20

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PT20 is a Manastir Rug 19th Century from Macedonia.

Manastir rugs are the only pile weavings we know to have been produced in the Ottoman Balkans prior to the end of the 19th Century.

See Sonny Berntsson’s article in Hali 112 for a definitive assessment.

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PT21

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PT21 is a Central Anatolian kilim Fragment (center) and Afshar pack or animal strap (far right).

One advantage to having lived in Europe is the opportunity it presents the collector to obtain attractive examples of textiles not seen in the US. 

Is the item below an instance of this?  Make explicit.

This pack strap was shown in an exhibition of Persian nomadic straps and bands at a small dealers shop in Berlin.

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PT22

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Comment:  This kilim is the piece that began our interest in and fascination with Balkan weaving.

This is a 3rd Quarter 19th Century Pirot prayer kilim. It’s the first Balkan piece we collected and was acquired at the 2007 Istanbul ICOC Dealers Fair.

Although we believe such kilims were intended for the Ottoman market, the weavers in the workshops of Pirot Serbia were Orthodox Christians.

The fine weaving, colors, and format are typical of the West Bulgarian weaving tradition.

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No one seems to know the significance of the confronting fish at the bottom of the kilim. We find this feature most striking.

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PT23

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PT23 is a another Cappadocian kilim fragment. 

Probably 18th Century.

The colors in this example are intense and give the piece great visual appeal. 

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PT24

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Comment:  Late 19th Century Konya kilim half.

Previously published in Faszination Kelim Arwed Tomm Collection 2012.

Graphic design but later color palette.

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PT25

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PT25 is an interesting and attractive suzani type embroidery.

Unfortunately we lost the tag which had been attached which indicted its provenance.

But we displayed along with other small textiles on a great standing display panel purchased for the gallery.

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PT26

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Comment:  Attractive Kurdish grain bag with good colors and a striking back side.

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Back of PT26.

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PT27

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Comment:  Kirgiz or Uzbek felt ok bosh (tent pole cover). With typical archaic decoration.

This is one remnant from our earlier collecting of Central Asian textiles. Complete with braided horse hair decoration.

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PT28

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PT28 is a Incredible detailed small Oltenian (SW Romanian)  kilim table cover or display piece.

The ultra fine weaving and the small size of this piece are hard to appreciate. The weave is like a man’s shirt and the piece is 72 X 50 cm. . A masterwork on small scale by a master weaver.

We have other Oltenian kilims in 2X2 Meter size with these same folk story images

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PT29

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Comments: Yomud Igdir Turkmen small bag with glowing colors and glossy wool.

Mid-19th Century.

 

PT30

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Comment:  This cushion cover, a large yastik size weaving is from Florina in Northern Greece (Thrace).

Although the textile’s form and design are very similar to those made by Muslim people in Macedonia, Bosnia, and Albania; the Greek weavers are Orthodox Christians. The Greek weavers attribute Christian religious meaning to this originally Islamic pattern. In fact, the design symbolizes the Holy Trinity in their belief system.

A good example of cultural borrowing in an ethnically mixed region.

This piece from the period 1920-1930 and the weaver chose synthetic versions of the original color scheme.

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PT31

 

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Above is an East Bulgarian Prayer Kilim, used by Sunni Muslims in the area of Shumen.

These narrow kilims were used for individual prayer in one of the many mosques formerly active in the town of Shumen .

Only the great Tulip Period Tombul  (plump) Mosque remained active in 2018. Although a new medresse is under construction in the grounds of the former Tombul complex. Built with donations from the Turkish Government and Bulgarian Muslim Council.

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PT32

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Above is a kilim weave banner for the accession of the first King of Yugoslavia in about 1920.

Adaption of the Royal Banner of the King of Serbia.

This is the banner if King Peter I. Used on balconies on public occasions or to decorate official spaces.

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PT31

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This is our favorite Manastir Kilim of the yellow field prayer kilim type.

Typical East Bulgarian colors including woad blue.

This piece is slightly larger than most we see add gives a rather more Anatolian impression than most. 19th Century East Bulgaria.

Very lovely central arch filled with protective amulets.

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So that’s the opening of this personal gallery.  An interesting idea.  Not many of us go this far.  I’m of the “pushpin” sort using the walls of our apartment.

I’m not sure that Penny and Tim

are great wine drinkers, but I’ll lift one here in honor of this occasion.

Tim and Penny say, “We have a standing invitation to all readers to come for a visit. We will be changing displays as the mood strikes us.  Our email address is: berlintimh@mac.com

Good work, folks,

R. John Howe

ICOC 14 Exhibition

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2018 by rjohn

There was a marvelous exhibition on the occasion of ICOC 14, curated by Wendel Swan,

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and mounted at the Corcoran Gallery.

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This post is a virtual version of that exhibition that does not pretend to convey what it was like walking around it. 

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That experience was available for about three days, but is gone.

But we will do the best we can.

What follows are overall images of the piece shown in this exhibition, preceded in each case, by one of the best gallery labels I have seen.  Here is one, out of sequence to let you see what I’m talking about.

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These gallery labels were produced by Ken Kepchar, a member of the DC rug community, who produced that same sort of gallery labels for the exhibtion that accompanied ICOC 13, here.  He deserves real credit for them.

So, here we go.  We will try to avoid interrupting with comments, but can’t entirely promise.

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Click once or more on each image to see a larger version.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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Below are four small bags, including the one in label 72 above.  Only the one in the upper left, below, is featured in the label above.

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Click on the image group below to get a larger version.

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I haven’t managed to have details of the pieces in this exhibition, but Dennis shared this one for the piece above.  It does help the piece show itself.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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17

Chodor, Embroidered Bochke

Collection of Bruce P. & Olive W. Baganz 

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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The Swedish rya (bedding rug), below, dated 1828 employs a 2-1-2 pattern that was also used in the preceding Konya and in many of the Turkmen objects shown, but infinitely repeating. 

It also appears, but less obviously, in the Caucasian embroidery (#12) at the end of this sequence and before the hats. 

This rya shows how widely patterns from the Near East and Central Asia were used.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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There were four pieces without specific gallery labels.  But we provide the information on each of them below.

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Khamseh Confederation

Small pile saddle cover

Blumenthal Nicholas Collection

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81

Qashqa’i piled bag face.

Blumenthal Nicholas Collection

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82

Afshar piled bag face

Blumenthal Nicholas Collection

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83

Afshar sumak pipe or tobacco pouch

Blumenthal Nicholas Collection

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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There were a number of hats displayed around the other pieces in the exhibition.

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These hats were selections from the collection of Roger and Claire Pratt. 

Wendel says that this hat part of the exhibition is very much Roger’s work and that we need to thank Roger for conceiving, organizing and installing it.

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Click once or more on the image below to see a larger version.

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We’re going to look at the 42 hats in the exhibition more closely, each described by Roger.

There are eight groups of hats.

The first group were Turkmen Hats (hats 1 to 7).

Hat 1

Gojuk important ceremonial hat. Turkmenistan. Mid 19th

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Hat 2

Ersarsi Tribal Hat.  Turkmenistan. Upside down tulip like motifs similar to chirpy motifs.  Yurt like shape.  19th century

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Hat 3

Ersari Tribal Hat, second half of 19th Great embroidery.

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Hat 4

Chodor Pointed Woman’s Cap. Fourth quarter of 19th  Colorful ikat adras separates bands of embroidery. From Khorezm in Khiva and Nukus area.

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Hat 5

Chodor Child Cap. Mid 19th

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Hat 6

Yomud Tall Hat. Second half 19th

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Hat 7

Yomud Child’s Hat. 1st quarter 20th  Piecework attached to top with wide  bands.

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The second group were Turkmen Tekke Hats (hats 8 to 11).

Hat 8

Tekke Tall Hat on old velvet.  Circa 1900.  Colorful, graphic design with fine embroidery.

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Hat 9

White Tekke Child’s Hat.  Turkmenistan. Mid 19th Century or earlier

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Hat 10

Tekke Female Hat.  Early 1900s.  Traditional motifs and embroidery as seen on Chirpies.  Lined with printed Russian cotton

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Hat 11

Tekke Hat.  Third quarter 19th Century. Merv, Turkmenisatan. Extremely fine embroidery.  Saturated colors, two shades of purple.  Tulip like motifs

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The third group were Central Asian Non-Turkman Hats (hats 12 to 19)

Hat 12

Uzbekistan Bokhara Girl’s Tailed Velvet Hat with metallic embroidery and Tajik style ikat lining.  From Tajik side of  Samarkand area Circa 1900.

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Hat 13

Uzbekistan Bokhara Girl’s Taiiled Velvet Ikat hat.  Last quarter 19th Century

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Hat 14

Woman’s hat from Khiva, Khoresmian hat, Uzbekistan.  Glass trade beads and metallic embroidery with purple velvet on the sides and Arabic writing.  Second Half of 19th century.

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Hat 15

Embroidered Velvet hat from Bukhara for Tajik women, mid 20th century.

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Hat 16

Shahrisyabz- Uzbek/”Lakai” Hat.  Embroidery, mid 19th century. Very fine workmanship and unusual design.

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Hat 17

Tajik Lakai Dome Shaped Embroidered Hat.  Tajikistan.  Fourth quarter 19th century.

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Hat 18

Cross stitch hat, Bokhara.  Circa 1900  Russian printed lining.  Exuberant pomegranate design on sides.

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Hat 19

Cross stitch hat, Tajikistan Lakai.  Fourth quarter 19th century.

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The fourth group were Persian Conical Dervish Hats (hats 20 t0 23).

Hat 20

Black Perisan Kerman (possibly Kashmir India?)  dervish hat with long colorful arched branches framing  botehs and rosettes.  Early 19th century.  Printed cotton lining.

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Hat 21

Persian Azeri  Blue Dervish Cap, second half 19th century near Ardebil.  Classic Persian embroidery design with confronting birds and cypress tree motifs. 

Wool brocade, or terme at the bottom edge

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Hat 22

Persian Azeri, Ardebil area,  violet four panel finely embroidered

quilted dervish hat.  Early 19th century. One of the panels has an elaborate anomalous design pattern with confronting birds on a “nest” perhaps reflecting Shia mysticism

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Hat 23

Persian Azeri White quilted Dervish hat with tulips and birds.   

  Early 19th century.  

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A fifth group were Central Asian Longtail Hats (hats 24 to 27).

The next four hats, of the Central Asian, longtail variety, and are hard to show adequately.  Here they are first, together.  Left to right they are Hat 25, Hat 24, Hat 26 and Hat 27.

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Now, let’s look at them individually. 

Hat 24

Kafir Hat from the Swat Valley, Northwest Pakistan near the  

       Khyber Pass at the Afghan border.  Circa 1900

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Hat 25

Kirghiz girl’s hat with tail.  The tail covers the plaits of the woman’s     

       hair. Fourth quarter 19th century. 

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Hat 26

Tajik girl’s hat with tail.  Circa 1900

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Hat 27

Hunza Valley Longtail winter hat, Northeast Pakistan near the  

        China and Afghan border Hand woven wool, cochineal. Early 20th Century. 

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Here is a front view of Hat 27.

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The sixth group were Turkmen Hats from Iran and Anatolia (hats 28 to 31).

Hat 28

Yomud Goklan Hat, Golistan region of Persia near Turkmenistan.

       About 1920-30. 

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Hat 29

Turkmensahra Yomud, Helmet shape design resembling Mongol descendant. 

     1900-1920

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Hat 30

Turkmen in Anatolia, near Bursa. Hat with coins, shells, and beads. 

Circa 1900

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Hat 31

Persian Kopet Dagh Hat near Turkmenistan. Totemic design.  Circa

1900

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The seventh group were inscribed Religious Hats (hats 32 to 36).

Hat 32

Persian Dervish Hat.  Early  19th century or earlier.  Embroidery

 in green, the Prophet’s color.  Graceful Arabic script in cartouches

and panels reads in part “If you keep your prayers on the path of

Iman Ali, you will easily get rid of sorrow and unhappiness.”

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Hat 33

Qadirriya Dervish Hat.  First half of 19th century.  Three circles  in

       Ottoman style, Anatolia.  Green six pointed stars are the seal of

       Solomon.  The script reads in part:

       “Descendants of the Mohammed family

       Ebu Bekr and the Prophet, peace and blessings be on them”

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Hat 34

Persian felted dervish hat made of soft baby camel hair.  Early 

        1900s, Connected writing is “ALI” written endlessly.

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Hat 35

Adrebil Qajar religious hat.  Mid 19th century or earlier.  Fine silk

      and couching metallic embroidery of Koranic verses.  Most of the

      writing is about devotion to God and protection of believers.  The

      side bands are designed in a pinwheel format which means

      continuation of life.

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Hat 36

Blue Persian dervish hat with 12 sections.  Curvaceous cartouches.

        Circa 1875.

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The eighth and final group were the Ottoman Syrian Aleppo Hats (hats 37 to 42).

Hat 37

Female Aleppo hat woven mostly with metallic

       and silk yarn in small panels and joined together. 

       Slits on two sides are laced for easy adjustment.

       Late 18th century.

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Hat 38

Ottoman Aleppo Hat with tassel and stylized tulips.

        Early 19th century.

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Hat 39

Aleppo metallic silk tapestry weave in unusual kilim design

       Early 19th century

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Hat 40

Fine Leatherwork hat in the Aleppo style.  Mid 19th century

 or earlier  

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Hat 41

Sophisticated Aleppo Hat with fine detailed embroidery

        and elegant design.  Circa 1800

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Hat 42

Unusual Aleppo round hat with a velvet base meant to secure

        a turban.  Fine metallic silk embroidery with traditional

        Ottoman floral designs with a French influence. 

Second half 19th century.

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So that’s it: the virtual version of the exhibition on the occasion of ICOC 14.

Walking around it, I heard lots of experienced folks excited about the wealth of the material and the skill and effectiveness of an installation that was to be up for only a few days.

Thanks are due to the owners of this material, who generously loaned it.  You have seen on the gallery labels who they are.

While I took a few of the images here, most came from the lenders or those who were involved in the exhibition.  Special thanks must go to Kurt Munkacsi, Bruce Baganz, Leigh Marsh, Blumenthal/Nicholas, Eric Jamrich, Fred Mushkat, Roger Pratt, Michael Pratt, Karen Bennett, Ken Kepchar and Wendel Swan.  Wendel worked hard to provide images of the exhibition pieces that show themselves at their accurate best.  Roger worked hard with me to select the best photos of the hats and by providing descriptions of them.

But, finally, a huge congratulation and thanks to Wendel Swan for a virtuoso curating of this exhibition, especially since he did it while also serving as the primary producer and arranger of ICOC 14 itself.  His omnipresence act here is impressive.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual look at this fine exhibition.

Regards,

R. John Howe

 

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