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Old July 21st, 2018, 06:56 AM   #81
Filiberto Boncompagni
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OK, for the sake of comparison, here is a Baluch bought in ’94 as new.
I want to clarify that the purchase was made by my wife - not because it's a Baluch, but because it's a Baluch I don't like.
The wool is dry and the brick red is too “bricky”’.







Regards,

Filiberto
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Old July 22nd, 2018, 01:09 AM   #82
Chuck Wagner
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Hi Joy, et al.,

I have to lead off with a disclaimer: Personal tastes are just that... personal. So, some might find the examples below to be quite interesting or pleasing, and take umbrage at my disparaging comments..

Still, everyone is entitled to their opinion, including me.

Rich mentioned - revolting and dingy - colors earlier.

Both Rich and I (and as I recall, maybe James) spent a fair amount of time in Saudi Arabia and were frequent visitors to the various rug bazaars there. Ditto for Filiberto, except he was in Jordan.

There was a particular ilk of Baluch rug that began to appear (I am told) in the early 1970's and certainly ran through the 1980's and early 1990's, with colors that can only be described as ghastly - if - you are an aficionado of more traditional Baluch work.

There are hundreds of example images available on the web but most are on dealer or market websites, so we cannot make comments about them.

However, some enterprising individual put together a web page of Afghan war rug examples, most of which fit the - ghastly - bill to a T, in my humble opinion.

Note that I am not one to shy away from newer Baluch rugs if they have some endearing characteristics, but ghastly colors are just, well, ghastly.

For example, this classic with a flat muddy blue, an awful pistachio, an even more awful flat grey, a dull flat red, a flat medium bile green, a Day-Glo pink, and the everpresent (and in this circumstance, not so ghastly) brilliant orange:



Here is a link to the page, where you can fill your eyes with examples of colors one would not expect to see very often on Turkotek:

https://io9.gizmodo.com/these-tradit...y-m-1683286534

Here's another, from a different non-market site:



There may be some time in the future when such pieces become treasured collectors items, but I suspect I will be long gone before then...

Regards
Chuck
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Old July 22nd, 2018, 05:55 PM   #83
Rich Larkin
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Hi Chuck,

Thanks for that link. I never paid too much attention to the war rugs, noting only that they were full of tanks and rifles. (Interestingly, I guess, I note that in one of them, several tanks are labeled, "tank." Another tiny insight into the mind of the rug weaver. I suppose the word has migrated whole into several languages in use in Afghanistan, much the pity.) I see, however, that at least several of them (including the very colorful one you featured in your post) come from the same weaving matrix of the one (of mine) I mentioned earlier with the dingy and generally uninspiring palette.

I will post an image of my mat shortly. I originally acquired it from a general antiques dealer who had no knowledge of what it (or any other rug) was, because the price was very low, and I had never seen anything like it before. I thought at the time it was significantly, almost mesmerizingly ugly. Still, I thought it was Baluch right away, and I really don't know why I drew that conclusion. There isn't that much it has in common with 'real' Baluch weaving. (When I came to a rug in the stack of images in that link you provided with a narrow border of eight-pointed stars on a camel background [first two images after the inserted 'commercial' video], I thought it seemed awkwardly out of place!) The drawing and incidental design vocabulary are not obviously similar to more traditional Baluch material. Do you have any insight into which pockets of weavers in Afghanistan produced these weavings, and can you point to published examples of their earlier work?

Rich
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Old July 23rd, 2018, 12:55 AM   #84
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Hi Chuck, et al,

Here is my one example of this apparently later Baluch kind of weaving. I think the somewhat dingy look of the colors is evident, as its connection with many of the pieces in the 'war rug' link, in terms of secondary ornament and such.



It measures about 2' X 4', with maybe an inch extra on each dimension. Assuming it is Baluch, I wonder what the historical background is of this approach to design. I find it somewhat baroque in comparison to earlier Baluch work, understanding that several different discreet groups, some of them possibly not Baluch, were probably responsible for that body of work.

A few of the colors show signs of fading at the tips, including the sparely used green (see far left side of image) and a light mauve that shows beige at the surface, as illustrated in the 'leaves' on this tree. Interestingly, the faded tips look brownish to bronze, or gray, rather than the familiar white, or ecru. I suspect this has something to do with the natural color of the wool going into the dye process.



There are about 75 kpsi, not a very high count for this warp-depressed item, but the weaving is stout, and the piece is heavy for its size. Warps are wool; wefts may be dark gray cotton...the one miniscule strand available for chewing was so far inconclusive on the point.


As I mentioned earlier, I did not pay much attention to the war rugs, or late Baluch weaving in general, over the years; but this style of weaving, both in terms of the aesthetics and the feel and structure, seems to have come out of nowhere as far as I am concerned. Anybody think differently?

BTW, Chuck, were you suggesting that the 'later' style of Baluch, including the war rugs, were appearing in the Saudi Arabian souqs in your time there? I lived in Riyadh from 1966 to 1968. The war rugs, of course, had not appeared by then. But it was also true that the Riyadh rug dealers seemed to have virtually no knowledge or awareness of the international rug market at the time. The main staple there was South Persian tribal weaving, with a few urban Persian pieces. I do remember seeing just three or four ultra-fine Isfahans, and perhaps as many Nains. Also, medium quality red Tabriz rugs in room sizes (9 X 12 to 12 X 15) were ubiquitous in various homes and buildings, though I do not remember seeing that many in the souq. Maybe I wasn't looking for them. Also, there were a few Baluch and Turkoman of the traditional type, not so much ultra-new. The dealers there knew what the rugs were, but not in a way that suggested they followed international markets. In truth, some of the dealers were baffled by the fact that the few westerners there wanted old rugs. In the two plus years I was there (souq every weekend!!), many of them got savvy to the program in that respect.

Rich

Last edited by Rich Larkin; July 23rd, 2018 at 01:07 AM.
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Old July 24th, 2018, 12:24 AM   #85
Dinie Gootjes
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Hi Joy,

Sorry with this late reply, I only came across this thread now. The rug you show in post #71 looked familiar to me, and sure enough, Parsons mentions the type in his book on the carpets of Afghanistan. He calls them Tchitchaktu. He says there was no tradition of rug weaving there, but rugs came to the market in the little town of Tchitchaktu starting in the early seventies. He says that your "bastardised form of the purdah or hatchlu" became very popular during 1978 (pp. 157-160). You are lucky that yours has good wool. We had one with horrible dead wool, something that Parsons also mentions. It seems that one of the reasons people started to weave in that area, was that there were enormous piles of wool shorn from sheep that had died in a terrible drought there. The other reason was the carpet boom of the seventies. It seems there are good quality Tchitchaktus with a supple, velvety feel (like yours ), others have the dry, dead wool (like ours ).
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Old July 24th, 2018, 01:49 AM   #86
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Thank you so much Dinie. The little is rug finally recognized, and with such a charming name. Thankfully, the wool is good and floppy.

I googled 'Tchitchaktu', and up came a 2002 TurkoTek thread http://www.turkotek.com/salon_00082/s82t23.htm which includes mention by Filiberto of a rug he'd received as a gift:

"It was new and they told us it was Afghan. I didn’t like it at first - it is not the sort of colors I like in rugs - but with time I got accustomed to it. Good wool, very fine weaving, very good craftsmanship. In these few years the carpet improved a little, so it is a real one, not a "carpetoid" as Michel Bischof would say. From Parsons’ "The Carpets of Afghanistan" it matches the palette of the Tchitchaktu Production".
According to Parsons, these rugs are (or were - don’t know what is going on now) woven by Pasthun tribes who learned recently to weave knotted piles from the few Turkomans living in the area. The "Tchitchaktu rugs" appeared first in the summer of 1971.
You may not like it, but it shows a great maturity in spite of its lack of tradition. "

I've quoted this for those of us who don't have Parsons' book and I've italicized what I think deserves to be emphasized.

Joy
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Old July 24th, 2018, 04:27 AM   #87
Rich Larkin
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Hi Dinie,

I haven't seen the Parsons book, and my first glimpse of this style of PR was Joy's post here. I find it very interesting that a sort of paradigm rug would spring up lately in Afghanistan, and one person would acquire one with high quality wool pile, while another would get the other end of the spectrum. Was your rug a close match to Joy's, design-wise? Were they being produced from cartoons?

Condolences to you, BTW.

Rich
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Old July 24th, 2018, 07:52 AM   #88
Filiberto Boncompagni
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Hi Joy,
Quote:
Thank you so much Dinie. The little is rug finally recognized, and with such a charming name. Thankfully, the wool is good and floppy.

I googled 'Tchitchaktu', and up came a 2002 TurkoTek thread http://www.turkotek.com/salon_00082/s82t23.htm which includes mention by Filiberto of a rug he'd received as a gift:
But you said before that “The feel is not supple but stiff” and the palette in your photos looks much more on the red side than the Tchitchaktu, so discarded the possibility!

Anyway, I eventually went back to Parsons’ book and guess what:






and this is yours (and I bet its colors are more similar to my scans in real life)



So, it really is a Tchitchaktu, "depicting a stylised purdah design".

Regards,

Filiberto

P.S.: on Thomas Cole’s website you can find several interesting articles on Baluchis
http://www.tcoletribalrugs.com/zBaluchArticle.html

P.P.S.: Thanks Dinie!
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Old July 24th, 2018, 08:13 AM   #89
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Hi Rich,

Perhaps this answers your question. Parsons on “The Tchitchaktu Procuction”:

The reasons for the sudden upsurge of weaving in an area with practically no carpet making traditions are twofold. Firstly, due to the catastrophic droughts of 1971 and 1972, the sheep of this region - as others - were decimated. Mounting stocks of ‘dead’ wools salvaged from the starved carcasses and the shearing of dying sheep assured a source of raw material which the local people, seeking an income, were forced to put up to the most profitable use. They turned to weaving, which craft they learned from neighbouring Turkomans. Secondly, the carpet boom of 1972 and 1973 when both price and demand shot up, could not have been more opportune; rug making as a local industry was estabilished.

Were they being produced from cartoons? Looking at the unresolved border corners, I don’t think so.
Regards,

Filiberto
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Old July 24th, 2018, 01:06 PM   #90
Rich Larkin
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Thanks, Filiberto,

Quote:
Were they being produced from cartoons? Looking at the unresolved border corners, I don’t think so.
Good point. I wonder how they came up with all that.

Rich
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Old July 24th, 2018, 01:59 PM   #91
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"But you said before that “The feel is not supple but stiff” and the palette in your photos looks much more on the red side than the Tchitchaktu, so discarded the possibility!"

Beg pardon, Filiberto, I did. I hadn't checked my earlier post so went back and felt it again and it is stiffish but I have to confess that I don't think I'd know what 'dead wool' feels like. I would imagine it to feel very hard and allowing no floppiness at all. I'm sorry, I know how frustrating this is. But you're also right about the colour. It's more on the orange side in real life than shows in the photo.

Fascinating story behind these rugs, though, and one of the most impressive uses of 'dead' material. Don't know how the rugs might stand up to heavy usage on the floor though.

Joy
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Old July 24th, 2018, 02:29 PM   #92
Filiberto Boncompagni
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Hi Joy,

Stiffness has more to do with the finesse of the weaving than the kind of wool.
My Tchitchaktu (IF it’s a Tchitchaktu) is supple and velvety, with nice wool. Yours should be the same, I guess.

I don’t know how 'dead wool' feels either but I would rather put my money on my rug in post # 81 for that. Which, besides its wool dryness is a very honest and sturdy rug, by the way. So, again, I don't know...

Regards,

Filiberto
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Old July 24th, 2018, 03:07 PM   #93
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Hi Joy,
Quote:
Fascinating story behind these rugs, though, and one of the most impressive uses of 'dead' material. Don't know how the rugs might stand up to heavy usage on the floor though.
Heinrich Jacoby, a German who spent his life in the first half of the 20th century in the rug trade, much of it in Iran, wrote that there is a term (presumably Farsi) for wool removed from the carcasses of sheep at the tannery by the use of lime: tabachi. He says it does not wear well, and that it is something to avoid in one's rugs if possible.

As I mentioned, it's a jungle out there.

Rich
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Old July 24th, 2018, 04:44 PM   #94
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Hi

Along with "dead wool", another source of a feeling of dryness and stiffness to wool is kemp, which is a hair-like fiber that doesn't absorb dye or lanolin very well, and which is difficult to separate with most short-fleeced sheep.

The best wool, in terms of softness and sheen, is merino wool; merino sheep have little kemp and it's usually around the head and legs, which makes it pretty simple to exclude. In Central Asia they call it "Beljiqi", presumably because it is imported from Belgium. It is used in recent Afghan production, like the Khal Mohammadi rugs.

Also, Rich, I got to KSA in the early 80's; by then the rug dealers in the Eastern Province, Jiddah, and Riyadh were well established. In the 60's many people just got on a plane and went to Iran or Afghanistan; things changed in the late 70's because of political upheaval in Iran and Afghanistan - and many of the traders moved their operations to Dubai and Bahrain.

It was that disruption, I think, that was contemporary with the onset of ghastly Baluch and Afghan rugs. Dick Parsons was there for the last of the "good times" (such as they were) and discusses some of the effects of the upheaval in his book.

I had forgot about Tchitchaktu rugs; I guess I'll have to thumb through the book again.

Regards
Chuck
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Old July 24th, 2018, 05:07 PM   #95
Filiberto Boncompagni
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Hi Chuck,
From your post # 82:
Quote:
Ditto for Filiberto, except he was in Jordan
To be precise, also in Lebanon and Egypt… with some trips to Syria.
Regards,
Filiberto
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Old July 24th, 2018, 05:19 PM   #96
Dinie Gootjes
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Hi Joy,

I went through most of the rugs, and I cannot find the "dead" rug to take a picture. I think we sold it at some point, good riddance. The rug was fairly supply woven, but the feel of the wool was dry and hard, the surface was irregular, a bit as if moths had take a superficial bite out of it here and there, and it was utterly lacking in gloss and sheen. The colours were brown, hard orange and white. It was bought new in the early eighties in Holland. My husband loved the design. It had birds and as far as I remember it had also one or two of those hatchlu type mihrabs, but I am not sure. I never made a study of it. It was one of the very few rugs about which we could not see eye to eye ;-).
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Old July 24th, 2018, 06:32 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinie Gootjes View Post

I went through most of the rugs, and I cannot find the "dead" rug to take a picture. I think we sold it at some point, good riddance. The rug was fairly supply woven, but the feel of the wool was dry and hard, the surface was irregular, a bit as if moths had take a superficial bite out of it here and there, and it was utterly lacking in gloss and sheen. The colours were brown, hard orange and white. It was bought new in the early eighties in Holland. My husband loved the design. It had birds and as far as I remember it had also one or two of those hatchlu type mihrabs, but I am not sure. I never made a study of it. It was one of the very few rugs about which we could not see eye to eye ;-).
Dinie,

Very well described so I tried again and yes, the wool is 'dry and hard' but the surface is regular. It lacks gloss and sheen and the colours are just as you describe them. Very faded in comparison with the back. But the design is so elegant, it's so well woven, and, as I mentioned way back, it's in a dark hallway. But time to get the Parsons. I've seen from the archived material how much fun these Baluchi tribes have given you all!

Joy
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Old July 24th, 2018, 07:07 PM   #98
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“the design is so elegant”
Exactly what my husband said ;-).
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