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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.

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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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Slide 41

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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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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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Slide 50

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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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Slide 51

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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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Slide 56

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Slide 58

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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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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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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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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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Afshar piled bag face

Blumenthal Nicholas Collection

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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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ICOC 14: The Concluding Show and Tell

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2018 by rjohn

The concluding sessions of the ICOC’s held in the U.S. have been sumptuous show and tells.  ICOC 14 ended this way, too.

Arriving early, I encountered the Textile Museum’s Education Curator, Tom Goehner, prepared to give whatever support was required.

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The Myers Room gradually filled.

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Wendel Swan, who always facilitates these ending sessions, did so with this one, too.

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I had arranged with Wendel to make an initial presentation. 

I have had, for years, a fragment of Central Asian ikat that I bought from Jim Blackmon.  I asked Melissa Keshishian to mount it for me.  She said that the material is so thin that, if she mounted it on a black background, its colors washed out, and so she had mounted it on a red ground.  This is how the mounted piece looks.

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This piece was part of a robe, the ikat portion bordered by a yellow-ground edging that is not ikat.  As Melissa indicated, the ikat fabric is so thin that one wonders how one could actually wear it as a robe.

Most ikats seem to have red wefts, but this fragment has blue wefts, indicating that it may be of a particular group.

I said that I have shown this ikat fragment to Elena Tsareva, before, and that she has said publicly, and repeatedly, that she thinks it is the oldest item of Central Asian ikat that she has seen.

Well, we know Elena’s work and her presentation, here at ICOC 14, was a virtuoso performance, that many of us are anxious to have published.  I thought this might be the right occasion for recognizing her work, and I said, that, although this piece had been on the wall next to my computer for years and that I had enjoyed looking at it every day, it seemed to me that it should go now to reside with someone who could appreciate it more than I could…and I handed it to her.

Elena said that she was, positively shocked, at this gift, but then spoke to the piece.

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She said that the oldest ikats known are from Yemen in the 8th century.  These pieces have narrow striped patterns.

How old is this Central Asian fragment?  She said “Next time.”

With this presentation made, the show and tell session began.

Click on most images, sometimes more than once, to get larger versions.

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The first piece was one brought by Sheridan Collins.  It comes with a story.  Sheridan bought it in Uzbekistan.  It was made in the 1980s by Turgunboy Mirzaahmedov, former designer at Yodgorlik Silk Factory in Marghilan, (estab. 1972), who was jailed for 15 years under Soviets, for making ikats as a cottage industry, when it was banned.  His son is currently running the factory.  

Irina Bogoslovskaya spoke to this piece.  

She had given a conference talk the day before on the development of Uzbek ikat and the Yodgorlik Silk Factory.  She called it a “unique” piece, “important” because of who the maker was, given his history. 

Here are some detail images of it.

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ST2

The second piece was an ikat coat, estimated by some as 1930s.  Elena thought earlier.  It was describes as “Russian,” made in a Samarkand style.  Less than 30 centimeter wide panels.  Indicates age.

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Details of ST2.

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Cheri Hunter brought a silk, velvet, ikat coat.  A child’s garment, seemingly composed of unmatched pieces of silk velvet ikat. 

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Textiles were considered treasure in Central Asia and velvet was the most valuable of them.

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Details of ST4. Made during the 20th century, in the Middle Amu Dyra area, from Bokhara velvet.

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Embroidery on the sleeve was said to be possibly Middle Amu Dyra.

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The next piece was an Indonesian wrap-around, cotton, skirt, in ikat.  Amy Rispin said that she had bought it in Ireland.  She wanted to know more about it

ST5

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Details of ST5.  Comment in the room placed it in the Babu island part of the Indonesian archipelago.  Warp-faced.

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After publication, David Fraser wrote:

“I spotted one error (I think) that you might want to correct. ST5 looks to be a man’s cloth from the Indonesian island of Savu (not Babu, as cited in the text).
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“For your reference, I have attached the image of a Savu textile that Barbara Fraser and I purchased in the town of Badu, on the island of Savu, in 1991, and  gave to The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in 2015.”
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ST6 was an amazing, Uzbek, sleeping blanket. with wonderful color.  Brought by Michael Seidman.

ST6

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It was woven in four strips and then sewn together.  Elena said that she wants a photo of this piece for a book she is doing on Uzbekistan carpets.

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Very traditional. Some question about whether it could be “Arab,” but consensus was that it’s Uzbek. One commentator said that this rug is typical of Samarkand.  Another seemed to suggest that the diamond devices were originally “turtles.”

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Said to be goathair warps.  These pieces are woven with symmetrical knots on raised warps only, on an open shed, and so the front color and patterns are not visible on the back.  The back is warp-faced.

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ST7

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ST7 is a full-pile Yomut mafrash face, with very soft wool.  Its owner said that it is the only Yomut piece he has seen, with an asymmetric knot open left, that has no other “eagle group” features ( Troost  is said to have published some others).  David Reuben’s study of Yomut weavings with asymmetric knots suggests that this is a rare piece.

Damaged hanging cords still attached.

Details of ST7.

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ST8

Next three piece were from the “Okbash Collection of Frances Plunkett.”  The first one a piece that appeared in Turkmen (1980).  Jon Thompson described it, there, as a Yomut “strut pole cover, ok bash.”  It is full pile.

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It was then in the Jerry Thompson collection.  Jerry said that he knew of no other in which the “syrga” element is used as the exclusive field device.  That device is frequently used as a border.  Comment in the room was that the “syrga” device likely descended from a tessellation.

Elena spoke to this piece, saying that she thinks its small size, and the fact that it in pile, make her doubt that it was made to be a tent pole cover, and that it is more likely a spindle bag, one of a pair. 

Frances, and some of the rest of us in the room, doubt whether this piece is too small to have been an ok bash.  I know that the opening on this piece (and that on some smaller ones) is large enough to admit one half of the strut poles of a usual-size Turkman trellis tent.  I have used Peter Andrew’s indications in his two-volume work on trellis tents (he gives the diameter of usual struts and how many would be in a usual Turkman tent) to demonstrate that the openings on some “smaller” pile pieces with ok bash-seeming formats, are large enough to admit a bundle of one half of the tents struts from a usual Turkman trellis tent.  Of course, this just demonstrates what is possible, not what a given piece in the ok bash-like format was made and used for.

Elena also said that she said that she prefers to place this piece in the “Caspian” group, articulated in her more recent efforts to break out parts of the Yomut group (see her treatment in her book on the Neville Kingston Collection).  She described the field motif as an “ear-ring” pattern.

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Elena said that ST9 is a ‘fantastic” piece and agreed that it has a size and structure appropriate to an ok bash. Elena said there are no studies of Turkman flatweaves and so she could not offer a clear attribution.

ST9

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She said maybe in the southern part of the Yomut region.  The white is cotton. Edges were added later.

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ST10

ST10 was another flatwoven ok bash, good color, with diamond forms arranged diagonally.

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Frances said that this piece was found unopened and that, in her experience, the tassels on unopened pieces of this sort seem to be original.

Now we moved to some Kyrgyz weavings: the “chavadan,” a variety of bag.  

ST11

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The owner of this piece said that he would be interested to hear from anyone who knew something about the origin of the small devices in the corner of the guls (detail below).

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In an email after, Elena was wiling to venture a bit about the device above:  “The pattern you ask about is rare, but very stable, which points to its old/ancient origin on the one side, and special meaning on the other. Never studied it specially, thus can’t say more than that. Will think about it, in particular, because the composition has definite relation to early Turkish carpets, which we see on Italian paintings, etc.”

ST12 was also said to be a Kyrgyz chavadan.  Comment in the room indicated that the designs, in ST12, include male and female symbols, and project notions of marriage.

ST12

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I remembered that Antipina, the Kyrgyz scholar, had said that the chavadan had “it’s place in the juk in the yurt, and continues even today in the modern household.” (O’Bannon, translation in 2000 of a 1962 Antipina text).  She said “the chavadan is put at the very bottom (ed. of the juk) with the decorative side facing out so that it may be seen. 

The juk was a place in either the tent, or a recessed area in a house, where the families “wealth” in textiles was displayed.

Here is a juk in a house.  This photo is in Antipina’s book in the section where she treats the chavadan. Pulgon is a village in Kyrgyzistan. It’s not clear from this photo whether chavadans are being used.  Something is at the bottom of the right and left stacks.

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In an email after, Elena said: “Chavadans: yes, their place in a yurt is at the juk bottom; in case the ‘foundation’ is made by a wooden chest — chavadan is put just above the chest — the images you sent show this very well.”

Trying to describe these chavadans resulted in a personal learning experience for me.  First, apparently, many non-Turkman groups made similar textiles.  The Uzbeks made “mapramach.” The Karakalpaks made “Qarshins.” There may be other instances.

The important thing I learned (and I may be one of the few in the world who did not know this) is that all of these varieties are box-shaped storage bags like those we see a lot made by Shahsavan and various Caucasians.  They are NOT envelope-type bags.  We see mostly the fronts and the sides for a familiar reason: dealers remove the less interesting parts of complete bags to make more salable textiles.

I have not found any images of complete Kyrgyz chavadans, but there are lots of images of parallel formats.  Here, for example, is an image of a complete Karakalpak “qarshin.”

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And Jozan.net currently has up this image of a complete napramach.

 

A complete Napramach from the Collection of Reinhard Blanck and Stefan Dobadka.

The front and the two sides are knotted, the back and the bottom are made of simple but strong woven cloth.

You can see and learn more on this link: https://www.jozan.net/the-napramach-–-an-ancient-suitcase-and-chest/ 

This site says that the word “chavadan” originates from the Russian word “chemodan” – a suitcase.  Duh!

Even the frequently encountered pieces with three joints make sense when we see that they are the sides and ends of a box form.

Napramach from the Collection of Reinhard Blanck and Stefan Dobadka.

As noted above, the Kyrgyz “chavadan” seems to be the same in form and use as the Uzbek “mapramach.”  The latter were sometimes woven, but also done in other ways (e.g. embroidered among the Lakai and others).

I have found one photo that seems to show mapramach being used in the way described above for the chavadan. 

The photo below shows a couple in the interior of an Kungrad Uzbek tent, again showing the use of the mapramach at the bottom of the juk.

(click for a larger version of this image)

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By permission of Anahita Gallery Photo Archive Photographer Belkis Khalilova Karmysheva.

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Maybe most folks knew, but the fact that chavadan, napramach and qarshin bags are box-forms was certainly not, previously, clear to me.

The next piece was a large fragment of a Central Asian tent band.

ST13

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It has been brought by Paul Ramsey,

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who said that it was full pile with an asymmetric knots open to the right, but that its structure is different from other Central Asian pieces he has seen.  He said that he bought it in Turkey about 15 years ago.

Elena said that it is Chodor.  Its green is typical.  Camel hair warps and wefts.  Some warp depression. 19th century. (John Wertime observed that we ought to consider more often than we do that materials in such a piece might include goat hair.)  

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Alberto Boralevi said that he has a similar piece that is later.

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Wendel Swan asked why such a piece would be made in full pile.

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Elena said, perhaps, the weaver did not know how to make such a band in mixed technique: weaving it in full pile is like weaving a little rug, nearly any weaver could do it.  Weaving bands in a mixed technique is more difficult (Aside: Marla Mallett and Josephine Powell believe that weaving mixed technique tent bands is difficult enough that they were likely woven by specialists.)

The next piece was a fragment of a Turkman chuval with a mina khani field design.  Middle Amu Dyra.  Bought, years ago, from Michael Craycraft.

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ST14

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Closer details.

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The opulent use of silk in this piece makes one wonder who would dare to cut it up, but, of course, we know that this happened frequently.

 The silk in this piece is insect-dyed, but there are also areas of insect-dyed wool.  Jurg Rageth found that insect-dyed wool in Turkmen pieces often had more than two plies and that this feature indicates a piece woven before 1850.

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Examination of the area in this fragment with the orange-ish shade (image above) suggests that this area is wool, dyed with cochineal.  The wool in this area also has more plies than does that in others.  Suggests that this piece was likely woven before 1850.  Elena said that it is “superb work” and agrees that it is early.

The next two pieces had been brought by Michael Rothberg.

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The first of these is the piece below.  It is so unusual that I’ve asked Michael for his description of it.

ST15

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Here are his comments:

Small audience rug? 2 ft 10 in x 2 ft 4 in; mid 19th century

Asymmetric knot (pulled left)  fine weave: 108 knots/sq in.

Weft: dark brown wool (2 shoots); warp: light & darker brown wool, twisted together (z spun)

Colors (10):  aubergine, light green (faded to teal), dark green, red, cobalt, pale yellow, mid-blue, peach, ivory, undyed brown.

Dense handle, not ‘floppy.”

Design: very unusual; bands with white cloud band “aksu” pattern; series of horizontal octagons with “C” motifs inside, plus other forms

Color palette and border treatment strongly suggests CHODOR tribe, but the knot is usually pulled right in old (proto) Chodor pieces. (Proto-Chodor, a term coined by Hans Sienknecht (??) refers to older, finely woven Chodors that have a different weave and color palette from the Chodor pieces dating from after 1875 or so).

Elena Tsareva mused that it might be from an “Eagle Group” source, but I don’t see it. The colors are completely different, and the design is not seen in “Eagle Group” pieces.

Further, this rug does not really have the dimensions or look of a chuval, despite its size.

The Chodor are known for one-of-a kind designs, as in their “prayer” rugs, so perhaps this weaver was just left handed?

No known similar examples. (Find one, please!)

My thanks to Michael for this fulsome comment.

Details of ST15.

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The second of Michael Rothberg’s pieces was the one below. 

ST16

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Here is Michael’s description of it after this session.

Arabatchi audience rug, mid 19th century. 2 ft 9 in  x 2 ft  5 in; asymmetric knot (pulled left)

Weft: camel hair and undyed cotton (2 strands); warp: wool; pile: wool with bits of silk highlights (four colors: yellow, light green, light pink, purple)

Design:  ll-over “tree” motif, with the ones in white forming an “X”, similar to some ensis: Grote Hasenbalg and ICOC exhibition example, only in a small format.

Border: cross-hatch design on ivory border, as in the ensis.

This piece was likely made for on honored (male) guest to sit on near the hearth; there are a number of Tekke rugs of this size and with the SAME cross-hatch border,

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suggesting a particular use. No other examples of this type in Arabachi are known to me—–published in my first article on Arabachi in HALI.

The next piece was the kilim below.  Its owner invited comment.

ST17

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(overall shot a little out of focus; following details are better)

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Paul Ramsey said that this was a type kilim seen in the 70s.  Woven in Afghanistan and called “Kaskari.”

The next piece was a large, fragmented Middle Amu Dyra chuval face with an ikat design. Its owner thought it was older, but wanted an opinion. Elena spoke to it.

ST18

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She said that it is older, Southern Amu Dyra, with an open left aymmetrical knot.  The warp is goat hair.

Details of ST18.

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Elena said that it is rare to see the eight-pointed stars that are in the borders.  She said that it was likely made for sale and may have been a rug rather than a bag face.  The dyes are all natural despite a lower area where the red ground has a faded look.  Elena said that the bottom elem design that we can only see the beginning of was beautiful.

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She said that the bright blue in the upper gul interiors is unusual for this area.

The next piece was very long.  If you look at the bottom of the image below, you’ll see that it goes on for a considerable extent beyond what could be shown on the board.

ST19

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This rug drew lots of comment.  This piece is John Wertime’s.  It will appear in his forthcoming Hali article.  John spoke to it, saying that it has a goat hair ground and dyed sheep’s wool pile. Symmetric pile knots.

He said that, too often, technical analyses say “wool” when goat’s hair would be more accurate.  He argued that if we do not get the basic materials from which textiles are made right we are doing a disservice to analysis.

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Elena said that its length suggests that it was used for a gallery or porch.

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Alberto Boralevi said that his first impression was that it might be Moroccan.  Attribution suggestions included: Afghan, Pashtun, Central Asia and non-Turkman Central Asia.  Wertime has said that this rug is of uncertain origin.

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The designs and colors on the pile side are visible on the back.

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The next piece was a pile rug brought by Fred Mushkat.

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ST20

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Fred said that this rug was woven in Jiroft, Iran.  South Central about 140 miles south of Kerman (the dot is Jiroft).

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He said that this is described as a “gabbeh” pile carpet.  This is a little known group with minimalist designs.  The foundation is goat hair and the pile is wool. Pile not quite as long as southwest Persians rugs that are also given that name.

Details of ST20.

John Wertime said that this is a great example of this genre. *

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He pointed to the use of countered weft twining.  He was referring to the single row of chevrons at the top and bottom of the rug. You can see them in the image below.

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In the image below, the back of this rug is folded up over the front showing that the knotting is of the most usual kind.

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The next piece was a fragment with great color, drawing, and monumental design devices.  It was brought by Michael Seidman.  This is part of a very large Kurdish rug woven in the Saujbulagh area of Northwest Persia

ST21

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Comments included praise for the quality of the wool and the sensational colors that Kurdish weavers often produced.  Also their wonderful drawing with large scale motifs.

Details of ST21.

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The next rug was another Saujbulagh Kurd, over 20 feet long.  You are seeing less than half of it here.  It is Austin Doyle’s who said he acquired it “from a Boston estate and Ali Aydin.”

ST22

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Again the spectacular color and the monumental drawing that does not neglect smaller devices.

Let me try to bring you closer with details that walk down its visible part.

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And, here, is a bracketed section of its border system.

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ST23

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Colin England brought the next piece and said that it is a 20th century copy of a well-known Mughal rug.  Made in India, probably Kashmir. Pashmina, likely sheep.

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The field pattern is a tessellation, marked off by the white lines.

Deails of ST23.

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The next rug was brought by Michael Seidman.  He said that is a Kurdish variant on a serrated leaf motif seen in “vase” carpets.  The Burns book on Kurdish rugs has several.

ST24

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Elena said that it could be Karabagh.  That there are two groups, one with long pile and the other with dense, short pile.

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Michael said that the outer border is typical of Central Asian embroideries.  The main border is found in flatweaves of NW Persia and the southern Caucasus.

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The next two pieces were brought by Gerard Paquin.

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ST25

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Shahsevan sumac.  Woven in the Moghan-Savalan area.

John Wertime said that, “with the variety of motifs, it almost looks like a sampler of Shahsevan designs, though it is of course it is not a sampler.”  He also said that it is a premier example of fine Shahsevan weaving, and that he did not know of a comparable, published example. 

Gerard said that this piece is very finely woven and cited its range of colors.  

Gerard also mentioned that he had purchased it recently from Rodney MacDonald, an upstate NY dealer who had gotten it locally out of a house over 15 years ago, and had kept it in his own collection, until parting with it recently.

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ST26

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Gerard’s second piece was a small sumac bag with tassels. It’s less fine that ST25.  Again, the range of color was noted and the fact that the field devices are outlined in different colors to increase their visibility against the dark blue ground. Transcaucasus.

 He said that it presents itself, at first, as a mystery piece, since the tassels hang downward from the opening on the bottom of the bag, and, unlike to most bags, instead of having a plain weave back, the front and back are in  identical patterning, as though the bag was meant to be seen in use from both sides. 

Gerard, in conversation afterward, supplied an image of a comb and a wooden cover used for protection from the sharp spines for when the comb is not in use.  This comb is likely Turkmen, based on the stamped decoration.  

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But the Shahsevan, and other groups, used combs of the same configuration.  Below are Shasevan women combing wool on such a combing tool.

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In the image below, a wooden cover is about to be placed over the two rows of pointed teeth in the Turkman comb.  It’s clear that a covering is needed for safety, especially in the close quarters of a tent.

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And in the image below, the wooden cover is being slid onto the two rows of teeth.

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Below is Gerard’s “comb cover,” placed over the Turkmen comb, as a demonstration of its possible use.  

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John Wertime said that this comb cover is not a form that he is familiar with, and that, if correct, it is a rare item.  The downward hanging tassels are fashioned from wrapped warps, and so appear to be original to the piece. 

Gerard is not aware of any pictures documenting such use, and would be very interested if any could be found.

It may be redundant with many readers’ experience but “combing” wool is distinctive from “carding” it.  Combing fibers is a much older process, probably because it employs a simple and logical tool, such as the one illustrated here, consisting of one or more long, slender, pointed teeth.  Drawing the wool through the comb removes all the short fibers and tangles from the wool.  Spinning the combed yarn yields a “worsted” yarn, which is stronger, smoother and more lustrous than the softer and more “wooley” yarn produced by carded wool.  Combing wool can result in the loss of as much as half of the fleece, depending on the breed of the animal and the quality of the fleece. 

The next piece was another brought by Fred Mushkat.  

ST27

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Fred said that he’s working with John Wertime on minimalist pieces.  This one was Turkish.  Kurdish.  Probably a sleeping rug.  A typical interpretation of an animal pelt design.

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It is composed of three square pieces. The knotted pile is of unspun 6-inch wool.  The back has a quite different appearance.  The lower half of the back is being held up in the image below.

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Below is a larger detail of the back.

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This back is wonderful and not minimalist.

The next piece was another sleeping rug.  A little wilder looking.  Two pieces sewn together.  Long, heavy pile is from unspun wool.  Initial impression was that it was possibly made in Eastern Europe.  The brown in this rug is from goat and the yellow pile is from sheep.

ST28

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One reason for suspecting an Eastern Europe making is that this piece has a possible good purple in it.  Purple from natural sources had died out in Turkey for a long time, until Josephine Powell discovered how to make it in her kitchen sink.  In the interim, after natural purple has died out in Turkey, it was still being made and used in Europe. Post conference, a chemical analysis showed that the purple is a chemical dye.

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The back is not elaborate.

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ST29

The next rug was another in this minimalist group.  This was described as a Moroccan rug.  This piece may have been dyed after completion of the weaving.  There was also comment in the room that the gradual chromatic progression could have been the result of using different shades from the animals.  The browns from goats, the yellows from sheep (although there are goats with different color coats).

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This is knotted pile with multiple rows of weft between pile knot rows.

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ST30

Wertime said that this piece is from mohair.  It is called a “filikli.”  Unplied pile is knotted on four warps.

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The last of the minimalist rug was the one below.  It was woven in the Siirt area in southeast Anatolia, using variously colored mohair taken directly from the goat.

ST31

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It was woven in plain weave on cotton warps, 

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and then had the surface brushed up with a dried thistle, on one side,

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to form a faux pile in some areas.  These pile fibers are not the ends of knots.  They are pulled up parts of continuous wefts.

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The back remains entirely flat-woven.  Wertime has said that this structure is one of the oldest versions of pile known.

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The next piece had been brought by Connie and Jim Henderson, a recent gift.   It featured a wide, rich palette (10 colors) and dense, precise weft-float, brocade patterning.

ST32

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Here is a slightly closer image of ST32, taken with a different camera (click twice to see a much closer version).

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Two seeming separate flatwoven panels that Wertime said had been made to be a single bag.  Wertime placed it in the northwestern Caucasus.  A source, after, said that it is probably Kurdish.  There are hints of similar work in Wright & Wertime, Caucasian Carpets and Covers (1995) from considering combined comments and patterns about pieces shown on pages 111, 114, 146-147.

Here is the back of ST32.

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Additional details of ST32.

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ST33

The next piece was a complete mafrash bedding bag.  It was described as “trans-Caucasian.”

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Zili weave.

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Some brocading.

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The next piece had been brought by Marshall and Marilyn Wolf.

ST34

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This is a 20th century Central Asia (Kyrgyz) tent band.  Great graphics.  Elena suggested Uyghur, a bit farther to the east.

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That’s Marilyn on the right in the photo above, returning to her seat, after demonstrating how best to show this piece by doubling it back and forth across the board.

The dark blue ground is on cotton and may have been dyed before the designs were applied.  Almost no repetition of design elements.

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The designs are entirely in silk embroidery: double chain stitch.

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The next piece was the second of several Caucasian pile rugs brought by Austin Doyle.  He said it was southern Caucasus, from the 1975 Shurman Marshall estate sale. Possibly Kurdish.

ST35

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Details of ST35.

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T36

Austin said that he got this second piece from Grover Schulz in Chicago.  Similar to a piece in the Rudnick Collection.  An older south Caucasian rug.  Has never seen another like it.

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Details of ST36.

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Austin’s next piece was a Marsalli rug with a niche field design. Silk wefts.

ST37

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It has a curvilinear niche, seen to be an indicator of age.

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And the color patterns of the field compartments make a “V” shape.

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Two additional corner shots of this nice piece.

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Austin’s next rug was from NW Iran, likely Karadagh.

ST38

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Attention was called to the cartouche borders.

Here are some details images of it.

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ST39

Austins’ next rug took us back to the Caucasus.  An unusual Fachralo Kazak, with a niche field design.  Again a shallow niche. 

Interesting hands but also feet at the bottom of the field.

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The main border design’s large palmette devices tempt an “insect” description,

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More detail images of ST39.

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A cartouche above the niche that seems to be intended to carry a date, but the marks on it are not legible characters.

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ST40

The last piece of the day was small “city” rug brought by Colin England.  Made in the early 20th century, known as a “Kum Kapi.”  This rug is signed in multiple places by Zareh Penyamin, one of the most famous weavers of the Kum Kapi school.

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This rug has both silk pile (as well as warp and weft) and silver-wrapped flat-woven sections.  About 500-600 knots per square inch.

More detail images on ST40.

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Marshall Wolf stood in the audience and said what good session this had been, with interesting, quality material and knowledgeable comment.

Wendel Swan brought the session to a close and ICOC 14 was over.

After, gifts were given to the three presenters who gave talks in the academic sessions.  The lady on the left is Shirin Melikova, director of the Azerbaijanian Carpet Museum in Baku. She has a small Kyrgyz pile rug.  The lady in the middle is Irina Bogoslavskaya.  She was given six books on Russian printed cottons, but they were too heavy to hold up.  The lady on the right is Elmira Gyul and has a rolled up Uzbek kilim.  Irina and Elmira are experts on Uzbek, embroidery, textiles and carpets.

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My thanks to those who helped me construct this virtual version of the concluding session of ICOC 14.  Thanks, especially, to Margaret Jones, Jim Henderson, Fred Mushkat, John Wertime, Gerard Paquin, Michael Rothberg, Elena Tsareva, Saul Barodofsky, Andrew Hale, Colin England, Austin Doyle, Frances Plunkett, Alberto Boralevi and Ivan Soenderholm, at Jozan Magazine. 

I hope you have enjoyed it.

Regards,

R. John Howe

Dealers’ Fair at ICOC 14: A Second Look

Posted in Uncategorized on June 11, 2018 by rjohn

Dear folks –

ICOC 14 is over and the associated dealers’ fair is no more, but there was a second reception on Saturday, June 9, and I thought you might to enjoy having a second look.

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Again, the participating dealers were:

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Fair Dealers directory

Amir Textiles and Rugs                     

– Amir Oskouei –

141 Park St., Beverly, MA 01915/USA

Tel. +1/ (603) 205 41 49

Email: amirtextilesandrugs@yahoo.com

Internet:  http://www.rumirugsandtextils.com
Booth No. 17

 

Aydin Oriental Rugs                           

– Ali Aydin –

22 Grotto Court

Germantown, MD 20874 / USA

Tel.: +1 / (301) 792 72 26

Email: rugsdc@yahoo.com

Internet: http://www.aorientalrugs.com

Booth No. 9

 

Gallery Aydin                                      
– Adnan Aydin –   

Küçük Ayasofya cad. 5/B,

Sultan Ahmet Istanbul, Turkey

Tel. +011/ 90 (212) 513 69 21

Email: adnanaydin73@gmail.com

Internet: http://www.galleryaydin.com
Booth No. 1

 

B. Bolour                                              

– Noah Bolour –

932 N. La Cienega Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90069/USA

Tel.  310-289-7959

Email: noah@bbolour.com

Internet: www.bbolour.com

Booth No. 11

 

Fred Hazin                                            

– Fred Hazin –

1452 Broadway

Burlingame, CA 94010 / USA
Tel.  +1 / (503) 351 11 75
Email: fredhazin123@yahoo.com
Booth No. 4

 

HALI Publications Ltd                        

– David Young –

8 Ability Plaza, Arbutus Street,

London E8 4DT, United Kingdom
Tel.  +44 (0)20 3727 4945

Email: david.young@hali.com

Internet: www.hali.com

www.cover-magazine.com

Booth No. 10

Fazli Solak                                            

– Fazli Solak –

2417 Ellsworth St  Suit A

Berkeley, CA 94704 / USA

Tel. +1/ (310) 254 5075

Email: fazlisolak@att.net

Booth No. 15

 

Hazara Gallery                                    

– Mohammad Zavvar –

6042 College Ave.

Oakland, CA 94618 / USA

Tel. +1 / (510) 655 3511

Email: hazaragallery@gmail.com
Internet: http://www.hazaragallery.com

Booth No. 16

 

Ibrahim Tekin                                      

– Ibrahim Tekin –

Binbirdirek Mh, Peykhane Sk.

Ersoy Apt. No 48-2,

Fatih, Istanbul, 34122, Turkey

Tel.: +90/ (530) 881 26 44

Email: rugspecialist@yahoo.com

Booth No. 14

 

Lote Hali                                               

– Fahrettin Isik –

Binbirdirek Mah.Klodfarer Cad. Servat Hani No: 29/206 34122
Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey

Tel: 0 90 532 331 4366

Email: fahrettinin@gmail.com
Internet: http://www.ottomangallery.com

Booth No. 17

 

Owen Parry                                         

– Owen Parry –

The 5 Bells, Llanelli Church,

Gilwern Abergavenny, UK

Tel. +44/ 7771 901130

Email: owenrugs@gmail.com

Booth No. 7

 

Ramazan Boga                                   

– Ramazan Boga –

Klodfarer Cad. No. 29/D

Sultanahmet Istanbul, Turkey

Tel. +009/ (054) 2689 10 68

Email: anatolianrugs34@gmail.com

Booth No. 9

 

Remart Antique Galleries, Inc.        

– Rodney McDonald –

24 Strathallan Park Rochester,

NY 14607 / USA

Tel. +1 / (585) 259-6156

Email: rodneymcdonad.remart@

gmail.com

Booth No. 13

Yoruk Rug Gallery/Minasian Rug Co.

– Mete Mutlu –

1244 Chicago Ave

Chicago, IL 60618 / USA

Tel.  +1 / (773) 600 9130

Email: yorukrugs@gmail.com

Booth No. 12

East of the Bosphorus                       

– Nicholas Wright –

Tel: +1 / (413) 458 5841

Email: wrightnh@roadrunner.com

Booth No. 6

 

Fine Rugs                                              

– Hamid Rafatpanah –

16 North Bryn Mawr Ave Unit 465

New York City, NY/USA

Tel.: +1/ (212) 696 0510

Email: oldcarpets@aol.com

Booth No. 8

 

James Cohen Antique Carpets         

– James Cohen –

Park Royal Oriental Carpet Centre London NW10 6NF, UK

Tel.: +44/ (0) 7747 610 248

Email: jamescohen50@hotmail.com

Internet: www.jamescohencarpets.com

Booth No. 3

 

Semerkand Textiles                            

– Osman Balbaros –

Yaglikcilar caddesi Astarci Han Kapali Carsi No 3. Beyazit – Istanbul, Turkey

Tel. +0/ (212) 526 2269

Email: balbaros.osman@gmail.com

Booth No. 5

 

Seref Özen Tribal Rugs and Textiles

– Seref Özen –

Küçük Ayasofya cad. No 15,

Sultanahmet Mah. Fatih

Istanbul, Turkey

Tel. +90/ 5337606792

Email: serefozen@gmail.com

Internet: http://www.serefozen.com

Booth No. 2

 

Serkan Sari

– Serkan Sari –

Waldstr. 71 76133

Karlsruhe Germany

Tel. 0 49 721 267 13

Email:  info@serkansari.com

Internet: http://www.serkansari.com

Booth No. 8

 

Hope you enjoyed this second look.

R. John Howe

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A Walk Through the Dealers’ Fair, ICOC 14, 2018

Posted in Uncategorized on June 8, 2018 by rjohn

 

Image may contain: sky, twilight and outdoor

This afternoon the Dealer’s Fair for the ICOC 14 opened here in Washington, D.C. in the Hamilton Hotel at 14th and K Sts. NW.  The dealers had a reception and my wife, Jo, and I walked around it and took some photos.

What follows in this post is a series of these photos without text.  There’s a lot of good material being shown.  The dealers’ fair is open to the public without charge.  You could still get there is you are close enough.

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