Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-13-2007 01:05 PM:

A Modest Bag, But Where From?

Hi, all

Not wanting to be too parasitic on Turkotek's experts, I tried hard to make my own identification of this bag's area of origin. With no success. None of the hundreds of pieces I've viewed show this spare type of design.

I thought that the internal 'spearhead' borders resembled those on a couple of Baluch bags that featured in Turkotek Discussion Number 6, but Steve Price tells me that this 'mechadyl' design is very widespread in western and central Asia.

The central gul(?) may provide clues.

As you can see from the back, the 'white' was presumably a synthetic fugitive violet.

The bag is about two feet square. Colours are rich, abrashed red, and warm oatmeal brown, all the black borders being in flatweave, which accentuates the thick, lustrous knotted areas.

Knot structure is AsL and count per inch is approx 6 wide and about 12 high (the wefts are too tightly packed for my untrained eye to make an accurate reckoning).

Any info much appreciated


Windsor Chorlton

Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 06-13-2007 02:08 PM:

Empty space

Bonjour Windsor

Your bag makes me to think to the designs we can encounter in flat weaves of the Kurds of azerbaijan, in the Seneh and Bidjar area (see Tanavoli, Persian Flat weaves). In those flat weaves we can find the same use of the empty space magnifyed by the frame (a kind of window opened on the empty universe of the sky or of the desert) and by the use of a single object floating in the empty space. I think this design can have a mystic signification linked with the infinity of the desert and of the sky. We find it also in Caucasian design like Talish (the blue field can be also undertstood as water pond in a "paradise" garden).
There are also good Seneh rugs with wide field and sophisticated floating medalions (often the color of the field is a sand beige made with special undyed wool). I don't know if the ASL knot can be consistent with this attribution.

Amicales salutations à tous

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-13-2007 02:23 PM:

back and Kelim


Can't tell from the pictures...the flatweave back doesn't look as if it belongs with the front. Is that orangish-brownish and oatmeal back sewn to the flatweave remains of the front portion? or is the back actually an integral part of the warps of the whole bag?


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-13-2007 03:33 PM:

Bonjour Louis. Hi Gene

Louis' fascinating response transported me into a dreamlike state -- 'window opened on the empty universe', 'a single object floating in the empty space'. I'll follow up the references, but in the meantime, Louis, Je vous remercie beaucoup pour renseignements tres interessant.

Gene, glad to exchange words again. I take your point about the apparent mismatch between front and back, but having looked closer at the piece, I can say that the two halves are integral, sharing the same warps. A useful lesson in looking, and thanks for it.



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-13-2007 06:14 PM:

Another question


I'd love to see a close up of the back...the area where the holes are..the separation zone between oatmeal and orange-brown with a picture of the joining warps.

Also, you said the black borders are flatweave. Both of them on the face? Does this include the "crenilated battlement" black inside borders? Are they flat weave too? Is there corrosion in the black dye?

Why do you say the violet is synthetic? Somehow I got it into my head synthetic violet had to be much more stable than natural purple.


Posted by Steve Price on 06-13-2007 09:00 PM:

Hi Gene

Fuchsine is an early synthetic violet that is extremely light sensitive; was in use in parts of western Asia from about 1875 to about 1925. Other early synthetic violets were similarly unstable. Later dyes - say, from 1950 on - are much more resistant to fading from light.


Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-14-2007 04:18 PM:

Hi Gene

Steve has already answered your query about light-sensitive violets (aniline dyes used from the last half of the 19th century).
You couldn't produce this delicate hue using natural, tried and tested, and reasonably permanent dyes.

You asked about the black borders and outlining, mentioning corrosion, a phenomenon I've read about, but not actually seen -- until now. I should have looked harder before leaping. On the right side of the face, all the blacks do appear do be done in flatweave, the outer border looking like an extension of the selvedge.

But go to upper left and, oh dear, the border outside the crenellated design still retains some pile. And a few other parts show evidence of knotting. Which means that all the blacks must originally have been knotted, and what we are seeing is a textbook illustration of corrosion, where ferrous compounds havey eaten away the pile. (But why haven't they damaged the underlying structure ????)

I feel I'm on firmer ground when I say that the bag is all of a piece, the warps common to piled and flatweave halves.

The image of the bag's interior shows a more harmonious transition than is seen on the faded face/back.

All this is detail. We still haven't established where the bag came from or the weaving tradition it represents. Surely, someone must have come across a piece that's broadly similar.



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-14-2007 05:01 PM:

I donno

Thanks Windsor,

And I must say that is one very beautiful and interesting and unique bag. The rust colored red is magnificent and recalls the color in the best Jan Beg borders with to me a faint turkman cast. My overwhelming irrational feeling for some reason is that it's connected to my beloved Baluch, possibly from Khurrasan...Jan Beg.for no particular reason other than color. David Black has a very large textile picture in his "Rugs of the Wandering Baluch" used for dining apparently, which has pile on the border..flatweave in the center, and which has a similar minimalist design if I recall but with a "mina khani" or "Jan Beg" type border (I don't have my books with me). And the Baluch did use a corrosive black called "mak" made with iron fillings..JA even said they'd use it deliberately to create a 3D effect in 25 years (and I can affirm that it takes only 25 years for the iron to eat away the pile).

But on the other hand, on the bag there are no Baluch designs in the flatweave where you'd expect them..etc.

There are several Baluch commentators on the site whom I trust...James and Richard Larkin and Michael and Horst and Chuck and Jack (from time to time) and..and come to think of it a number of others (I think turkotek is approaching critical mass...Baluchotek is definitely the wave of the future). Maybe they could quantify my gut feelings.


PS. Dyes are not my specality. but purple of any shade in Baluch, from my experience, synthetic or natural, is very furtive....just about any Taimani will be an illustration. I'm not splitting hairs or anything. Its just that I'm not sure purple or violet is stable under just about any conditions...natural of fuscine. And when you get to purple silk...well, another question entirely. You certainly know dyes so I'll let the experts elucidate.. "I am never chastised, only educated"

PPS. Why call the "spearpoint" Baluch border a "Crenilated Battlement"? Well a few years ago Jack sent me a picture of several Mogul era forts in the Punjab which used that kind of cross design as the design for their battlements. so I assumed they were used by Timurid Turks across the region from Delhi to Samarkand...voila..ecco..there you go...a more logical explanation for a border..walls or whatever rather than "spearpoints." Maybe he can find the photo.

ppps: 17 years ago I bought my wife a ruby in New Delhi...It was big..beautiful...but tended more towards the purplish cocchinal..still red but vaguely sapphire like. Actually, I was looking for that exact red-orangish color and couldn't find it except in a stone too small for my (her) taste find a stone with that color...with carats behind it!!!

Posted by Steve Price on 06-14-2007 10:00 PM:

Hi Gene

If you've seen purples in Belouch rugs that are severely faded in areas that were exposed to light, you can be virtually positive that they weren't natural nor were they post-World War II synthetics. It's common to refer to them as fuchsine, but there are other fugitive violets dating to roughly the same time.


Steve Price

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-14-2007 11:33 PM:

Purple vs violet

Gentlemen, Gentlemen...please! Purple and violet are two different things entirely!

Windsor, this is a fine and beautiful bag-khodjoin. Don't worry about the adds to the beauty over time. I'll add a picture of one of my best (my opinion) Baluch rugs with a lot of corrosion. You'll see it the effect isn't of consequence, indeed it adds a 3D effect which is striking in the wool.

The warp and weft of your rug did not corrode probably because they were not dyed with Mak. One reason I think the pile corrodes is that the dye embrittles the wool. This makes it unable to withstand stress in the engineering sense...such as produced by walking on it.

Black is not the only color...some "blues"...usually with some black in them... and a lot of browns will also corrode. I've heard that certain mordants will accelerate the process, but do not know that for a fact.

I look for corrosion, but don't sweat it too much. Gene will tell you that the wool will just corrode by itself and point to some of his carpets that have been in a trunk for 30 years. I still think you have to have the Mak and some physical stress before the wool dies from dyes (heh heh).

I am fairly certain the purple faded to light cream is indeed probably fuchine. However, this dates your bag probably to around the turn of the 19th-20th C. (if Baluch). that time fuchsine was pretty expensive and usually used sparingly for accent, often with silk. Silk is a different thing entirely when it comes to dye fastness. I recommend taking a look at the pile that is fuchsine on the back and see if it is silk. If so, WOW!!! [Add: the entire little flower may be silk... with two reds and the violet-fuchine]

Now...Gentlemen...a gentle remonstration. There is a difference between “violet” and “purple.” Violet is a color in its own right with a place at the wheel. But purple is a shade of red with some blue. You may think this is splitting wool yarn, but it isn’t. Purple will usually be a somewhat naturally fugitive to light because of the red component. But…violet is another story…and believe me, a very long and complicated one. I suggest a quick visit to wikipodia and a check on the differences between the two.

Remaining question…what is this bag? I would lean toward something Caucasian-eastern Turkish but the type knot would be a problem. Perhaps knot though...

Regards, Jack Williams

ps: Notice how the structure goes from fairly depressed warps in the pile section instantly to flat structure in the flat weave. you would think this to change the dimensions of the rug...but it doesn't. I have a rug where this happens within the pile...depressed warps, then a 5 inch section of undepressed warps...returning to depressed warps.

Posted by James Blanchard on 06-15-2007 01:57 AM:

Hi all,

The women of my family would call the colour on the back of Windsor's bag "fuschia". Females tend to have a wider range of vocabulary for colours.

I have a couple of Baluch pieces with that colour on the back, that have fortunately faded to cream on the front.

I would be surprised if either of them are as early as early 19th century, but maybe pre-WWII.

By the way, I agree that the bag looks "Baluch", but it is an unusual one if that.


Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-15-2007 05:31 AM:

Hi everyone,

I would like to have two information about this bag:
The nature of the warp (I have a feeling it's cotton), that of the weft if possible and the nature of the red that seems too saturated and could be synthetic but this could also just be a screen brightness effect.

While most of you are thinking East, I'd rather go West and suggest a possible Feraghan (/Malayer) attribution mainly for three reasons:

1- Knot structure.

2- Use of early synthetic dyes.

3- The use of empty botders which was a rather common feature in the guards in that region especially that these were either red or camel color.

Windsor, did you test the red colour if it runs or you are sure it is natural?



Posted by Steve Price on 06-15-2007 05:53 AM:

Hi Jack

You're right, purple and violet are different things. But you can't distinguish those colors by eye. I haven't chased down the absorption spectra of fuchsine or its relatives, but I'm pretty sure they produce violets.

The fugitive dye on Windsor's piece, like many rugs in which similar dyes were used, has faded essentially to white. If it was purple (dyed consecutively with a fugitive red and with indigo), it would be blue on the front, purple on the back. So, it is almost certainly a fugitive violet.

I inserted the image into your last post.


Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-15-2007 10:46 AM:

Burning Cotton and Fuchsine Fog

Hi all, and thanks for your kind responses

I'll start with Camille's questions, since my answers might have some bearing on attribution. Camille, in rug matters I'm an unreliable witness, but in this case I'm sure that both warp and weft are cotton (the singed threads smelled of burning paper).

I can't be so certain about the saturated red, which appears brighter on the screen than it does in real life (Gene's description 'rust-red' is close, but the colour varies greatly according to the angle of the light). I'd say that the abrash points to a natural dye, as does the fact that when I washed the piece a couple of years ago, not a hint of redness transferred to that bleached white foundation.

I hope that might prove useful.

James, I assume you meant early 20th century. You said that the women in your family would call the violet colour 'fuschia' -- not 'fuchsia'. A lot of people do that, including me when I'm talking about fuschia -- I mean fuchsia -- flowers. Maybe the correct pronunciation sounds like an obscenity. '

Here's a fuchsine fact. Victorian London's notorious fogs were sometimes coloured. Fuchsine smog was sometimes produced by chemical reactions in the coal-tar emissions from millions of domestic fires. Claude Monet was a great admirer of London's colourful fogs -- really; he much preferred London winters to London summers. So when he painted a magenta sky, he wasn't being impressionistic; he was painting direct from nature, only other painters didn't know that and thought 'wow, a violet sky; I' must try that myself.' And that's how Impressionism was born.

Remember, you read it here first. (Smilie here)

On a more serious note, I was surprised to read in Max Doerner's 'The Materials of the Artist' that neither pale madder, nor cochineal, nor indigo were considered to be permanent colours. Certainly, they weren't included in the palette of most Old Masters -- but then paint and dye aren't the same thing.

Gene, you've been so positive in your estimation of the bag that I'd be sorry if the cotton foundation ruled it out as one of your beloved Baluchs. Swap it for your wife's ruby? What's a Jan Beg border? Jack, your stamina is amazing; after your Afshar odyssey I thought you'd be lying down in a darkened room.

You both talk about the black and corrosion. Gene, I'm not sure I buy that story about weavers deliberately using iron compounds to create a 3D effect 30 years down the line -- just doesn't seem to fit the mindset of practical tribal people. Jack, I think you're right about the black dye embrittling the wool, rather than eating it away. I checked the violet areas for silk, but it's wool, so no added Wow! factor there.

I'm still following up some of the other comments, so I'll call a halt for now.



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-15-2007 01:03 PM:

Jan Beg


For me the Jan Beg border is the Baluch version of mina Khani...take a look at Jack's rug above which is one version of it..the border has inevitably 3 flowers in it.

As for cotton, if warp and weft are cotton..It would be hard to imagine its Baluch...maybe a Pak copy but not from what we think of as Baluch. Afshar??

I was thinking if I had any fuschine violet in any Baluch I own. The only one I could think of is this Farah province Taimani (I think thats what we all finally agreed it was last summer in a long line) which does have some vaguely fading violet (fuschine?) in the small "endless knot" medallions in the field.


Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-15-2007 03:15 PM:

Hi Gene,

Have you ever seen fuchsine color in an old (semi-antique) Afshar weaving?
I never did.



Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-15-2007 04:01 PM:


Thanks for showing me that handsome bag. ( I forgot to thank Jack, too, for posting the image of one of his favourite rugs, showing corrosion. To be honest, I'm such a beginner that I find it hard to process the input that I myself have asked for. Forgive me if I don't always acknowledge your responses as fully as they deserve).

The medallion does appear to include pale violet. Is it fuchsine, though ? Only if the piece is first quarterish 20th century or earlier and has been stored in a dark environment. Fuchsine is very, very fugitive and, as Steve says, was abandoned early in the 20th century. For evidence of its tendency to fade, you need only go as far as the National Museum of American History (, where they have the gown worn by the wife of President James Garfield on the occasion of the 1881 inaugural ball. Originally fuchsine -- 'fuschine' in the website caption -- the gown is now 'oyster white'.

As Camille suggested, I headed west and checked out the possible Fereghan/ Malayer attribution. Let's be clear. My rug library consists of three volumes, one of which is due back at the local library. That one lumps the aforementioned districts into the Hamadan area, and says that 'almost all examples from the last century [20th] have cotton [foundations]'. It also says that many early examples have 'a camel-coloured field.' Great! Except that the same brief description describes Hamadan area village rugs as symmetrically knotted, whereas Camille based his tentative attribution partly on the AsL knot structure.




Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-15-2007 04:25 PM:

Hi Windsor,

You are right for the Hamadan region, as for Feraghan both knots are used.

Anyway, if the red is natural -and I guess it is as it did not bleed- you've got a really nice piece in spite of what was first violet and that was probably imtemded to ward off the evil eye or so.

Personally, I have seldom seen bags with such a silent design.




Posted by Gene Williams on 06-15-2007 05:18 PM:

Farah Province prayer carpet


That prayer carpet provoked a 100 comments last summer. Some like it..most thought it strange or garish or odd or crude or one fellew even said it was "common" (I guess he'd seen dozens or something). Its very loosely knotted...maybe 25-30 KPSI.

Jerry Anderson wanted it for his never published book. Lad Duane suggested Farah province Taimanis...there are a few Taimanis there, Some around Shewan village in Bala Balok district..big opium growing place carpets being made there at all..its not economic. I've posted several observations about the Taimani and the Chahar Aimaq and we had a thread started by Danny Mira on Taimani..maybe someone has saved it.

Jerry attributed the prayer rug..I threw all of them away, fool that I am. I showed photos of the rug to the eldest rug dealer left in Herat in February this year. He said...Farah province...80-90 years old. Who am I to quibble.

There is violet in the rug...and you can still see traces of the violet in the kind of curly-que designs. it hasn't gone all white...and actually I think the front and back colors remain pretty consistent (I'm overseaqs and don't have access to the rug). It was bought in 1976 in Karachi. Its been stored in a trunk or hung on the wall of a usually darkened room since. Actually the violet may not be fuschine...I'm not a dye guy...and I'm not at all sure the Taimani would have bought dyes anyway. My feeling is that the Taimani, while extremely intelligent (everywhere conceded in Afghanistan), were so poor they couldn't afford diddly when it came to buying anything to make a rugs. Up until very recently, if they could get $25 for a carpet..they'd doubled their family income for the year. So, I don't know if its fuschine....the carpet remains something of an enigma.

And...that aside..That bag of yours is quite interesting and striking as Camille pointed out. Mais, je vais penser un peu... Je quois que peut-etre nous pouvions trouver l'origin...nous verrons.


PS. by the way, I visited some country houses around 7 Oaks south of London 20 years ago. one huge mansion rambling structure of a palace had a "silk room" with trappings and bed made for a visit of some British king...(one of of the Stuarts maybe..I've forgotten). Its kept totally can look at it for 30 seconds.for a pound...they're so afraid of the colors fading.. Same with some of the Frescos in Rome in Santa Maria sopra Minerva by Fra Angelico or Fra Lippo Lippi (I think). I guess light and color don't mix.. If they do..its synthetic.

And Camille, in my imperfect understanding of dyes, if red runs...doesn't necessarily mean its systhetic

Posted by Steve Price on 06-15-2007 05:42 PM:

Hi Gene

I guess light and color don't mix.. If they do..its synthetic

Every dye is photolabile to some extent. The thing that makes them dyes is that they absorb light at some wavelengths in the visible range. Light has a surprising amount of energy, and absorbed light = absorbed energy. Energy absorbed by a molecule makes things happen. Small amounts of energy (infra-red is the low energy end of the spectrum) just makes atoms jiggle around. Shorter wavelengths (from red to ultraviolet on the spectrum) cause more interesting things to happen, and absorbing high energy light, especially if the source is intense, can cause chemical reactions in the absorbing molecule. When a dye molecule undergoes a reaction, the odds are good that the product will no longer have color. That's why dyes are photolabile.

The natural dyes used in antique rugs are relatively stable to light. They fade slowly. They were probably selected, in part, for that property. Early synthetics are very photolabile, an aggressive orange being a well known exception. In a palette of faded colors, it looks garish.

By World War II, most synthetic dyes were quite resistant to light-induced fading, and that is still true of most contemporary synthetic dyes.


Steve Price

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-15-2007 06:06 PM:



That is a elegant and very precise explanation. Thanks. Comng from a family of engineers and professors (one sister is the black-sheep..wound up teaching law - come to think of it, Law kind of deals with different shades of grey right?)...where can I sign up for your chemistry class?..are you doing anything on-line?


Posted by Steve Price on 06-15-2007 06:54 PM:

Hi Gene

I took a fling at teaching on line. Found it unsatisfying, so I stopped doing it. Turkotek is on line, of course, but I see my role in it more as an aggressive student and sometimes referee than as an instructor.

But, thanks for your very flattering remarks.


Steve Price

PS - I had a strong interest in photobiology (vision, photosynthesis, and bioluminescence) once upon a time, which required learning a bit of photochemistry, and included it in a cell physiology course that I taught for years. I even have one or two outrageous photochemistry jokes. I'll spare you that.

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-16-2007 04:21 AM:

Hi Gene

The house you visited near Sevenoaks must have been Knole, originally the home of the Sackville family, known among other things for its connections with Vita Sackville-West and her lover, Virginia Woolf. The 17th century tapestries are still there, still viewable by the public, but only in strictly controlled conditions.
Some museums go even further in protecting precious works from light and contaminents. At London's V&A, I remember leaning to take a closer look at a 16th century miniature portrait -- only for the glass to cloud over and black out -- making me wonder if I'd brushed my teeth that morning.



Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-16-2007 05:29 AM:

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your valuable explanation on dyes and as this thraed was unplied, I would like to ask a side question.

I know that natural dyes never run -with water- but sometimes they fade away and so we talk about light absorbing colors, like for instance for certain yellows.
During ICOC XI I met professor Bohmer and as we exchanged a few ideas, some of which were of course dyes, I told him about the good results I obtained by dying with red onion skin as it yielded a very nice orange color. He quickly commented:"It will not resist to light!". I said:" But I used tin mordant". He said:" It encloses ..... (I don't remember the technical term) and you have to put the yarn under the sun and test it."

Don't you think the mordant affects the fastnes of a color?



Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 06-16-2007 12:37 PM:

Hi Windsor,

It looks like the empty space is full of natural camel hair.

Do you notice any difference, by eye and by feel, in material used for the field with the material used for the colored parts?


Posted by Jack Williams on 06-16-2007 12:48 PM:

the evergreen (or red, or blue..) topic of dyes

Good afternoon all.

I am quite curious about this khorjin. The cotton is a clue but the As3 knot is part of the mystery. If we…

1. Assume As3 knot places item into area where such knot is traditional.
2. Assume cotton weft-warp is a traditional use in such an item.
3. Assume the fact that it is a khorjin tends to indicate it is an item woven for use… more likely to be “tribal-nomadic.”

If all the above are correct, we might focus on Persian “nomadics” including Lurs-Bachtiari, Kamseh, Afshar, Shahsevan (maybe…knot could be a problem) ... or the Central Asian eastern groups….. Uzbek, Kirghiz, Karakalpak, Turkman.

Camille, dye fastness to water generally has less to do with the use of natural or artificial dyes then you may think. VERY early in the artificial dye era, some dyes did run when wetted. But this was often because of incorrect dying technique. But the same fault absolutely holds true for “natural” dyes, with cochineal especially having a reputation for being capable to “bleed like a slaughtered hog" (Edwards).

Improper dye amounts, failure to use proper amount and type of mordent, wool preparation, post-dye washing, etc., is usually blamed. The most common artificial dye encountered is red. But in the “chemical dye era,” after the production of some initial poor dyes, by the early 1890s or so the reds used were virtually chemically identical to one of the components of madder, alizarin.

Above is an excellent article about the effect of various energy types on wool and how they affect dyes..this is article is “color-change 101.”

I don’t want to divert yet another line onto dyes and colors. But above is a really deep site dedicated to art…specifically painting. Painting of course requires “paints” which of course are derived from “pigments” of different “colors”

What is especially interesting is how colors and products are judged to be stable. A painting’s colors are judged to be stable on a different time scale than rug colors. I think color in a utilitarian item such as rugs is “good” if it last the life of the rug…usually pretty short. The assumed life of paint colors is on a longer scale. Actually, for paint purposes most of the natural dye materials used in rugs, including madder and cochineal, are judged unacceptably fugitive for paints.

Of interest is how colors and paints-pigments are scientifically measured using a set of wool pieces dyed with indigo and exposed to light (see "Blue wool test" in section bookmarked immediately above). The pigment-paint fastness is expressed on a scale by comparing the fading of the paint to the rate of fading of the indigo-dyed wool. In our world, indigo is assumed to be "fast." So much for conventional wisdom...again.

Regards, Jack

Posted by richard tomlinson on 06-16-2007 01:14 PM:

hi windsor

the more i look at this piece the more i like it. i have no idea where it's from - i will leave that to the experts, but i love these minimalist design pieces.

i would guess that rob v.w is correct in assuming the field is camel hair. as for colours, i would assume too that they are natural and not synthetic (except for the faded purple) . i would also guess it's early 20c ....doesn't have that 'old' feel to it.

it kind of reminds me of a piece wendel swan posted a while back. it was a prayer rug with a 'ghost' mihrab. that piece also had a camel field and was minimalist in design. i can't recall the attribution but possibly NW persian???

given that this piece works only with 4 colours, it's a wonderful change from the busy, multi-bordered, filler motif pieces we sometimes see.

richard tomlinson

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-16-2007 01:36 PM:

the nose of the camel


Windsor may have relatively recently found this board and may not have read some of the topics that have come before. Therefore, I'll respectfully amend other's above comments so that the wrong impression is not given.

This does not affect the interest in Windsor's khordjin...but...

It is impossible to tell true "camel wool" from sheep's wool without a microscope. Even with the piece in hand, unless the examiner is extremely experienced in camel wool he cannot tell, and this includes almost all dealers even those with a life time of experience.

Furthermore, Edwards, Eiland et. al. have noted the rareness of use of true camel wool in the pile of carpet items Eiland goes so far as to note that every time he has examined a carpet supposedly using camel wool, it has proved to be regular sheep. Camel wool apparently does not lend itself to either weaving pile type items or to longevity.

As we have discussed several times before, I personally am very skeptical about the the use of camel wool in a carpetry item. If it has occurred, it is rare.


Posted by Gene Williams on 06-16-2007 01:55 PM:

Camel wool on a carpet


Hand on wallet when camel wool is mentioned, espcially on a working bag with holes in it. The central field wool looks somewhat different from the border..true. But, my understanding of camel wool comes from the 2 humped camel..not the one humped dromedary.

There are 2 humpers in the Turkoman areas of central far West as far east as Samarkand, Bokhara, Tashkent, Fergana as far south as maybe the Amu Darya basin area of Afghanistan (I haven't been there) (edit..ok ok I've been relatively recently to Tashkent..I almost made a comment relating to the thread and mini-skirts..Its not appropriate)....And, Fraser in 1821 noted that "fabric of camel wool" was being made by Turkoman tribes in that area. He did not say it was being used in carpets. He implied it was an expensive fabric (I assume used for garments).

In Herat, Afghanistan for 8 months in Fall, Winter, Spring 2006-07 I increasingly confronted a couple carpet dealers selling to Americans who advertised their wares as "camel wool." I asked them to show me the camels, the sheering implements, the carders, the spinning wheels, etc. There is actally a whole street in Herat where all the dyers are at work. These two guys finally took me aside and said it wasn't "camel wool," but rather fine sheep's wool. They asked me not to say anything to the others. The dyers on the street in Herat rolled their eyes when asked about "camel wool."

Anyway, Camel wool on a presentation or wedding piece I could theoretically believe in (but would have to look for proof) and would have it tested. On a working with holes in it...It'd hold the mustard please. (And I, unlike brother Jack, have occasionally been wrong, something I freely admit, as most humans (non-aliens) would).

Windsor, on your fascinating bag, are you absolutely sure the warp and weft of your Kordjin is cotton? Not a white wool?

PS. another thought...might it be Fergana..Uzbekistan..Babur's birthplace....East Turkistan?

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-16-2007 05:44 PM:

Hi, all

I went off to mow the paddock and came back to find lots of interesting comments, suggestions and queries. I can't address any of them with confidence, but here goes.

Rob raises the possibility that the field is camel hair. Eye and hand tell me that the material in the field and border are the same. I think it's sheep wool. Remember that Camille talked about 'camel colour', not camel wool. So did the book I consulted when following up the Feraghan attribution -- a primer for beginners like myself, by Murray Eiland III. I think Jack and Gene are correct when they say that the use of camel hair in weaving is very rare -- and I would guess that this bag is not one of those rare exceptions.

Jack also talked about something that I touched on in passing -- the fact that some colours that are considered 'fast' in weavings -- madder, cochineal -- are classed as impermanent when used as painting materials.

Gene asks if I'm absolutely sure the warps and wefts are cotton. Gene, when I took a close look in response to Camille's query, even my uneducated eye said 'cotton', but to make sure, I applied a blowtorch to some frayed warps and got the telltale smell of burning paper. However, I'm beginning to learn that accuracy is really essential when discussing rugs -- especially in cyberspace --so I humbly admit that I didn't apply the burn test to the wefts. Look at the images, though, and you should be able to see white wefts that are of the same material as the frayed warps. With a magnifying glass, I also compared the foundation with white cotton highlighting on a Tekke (?) flatweave chuval -- same matt surface and soft and slightly fuzzy texture. The knotted areas are definitely not cotton.

Richard posits an early-ish 20th century date, and I wouldn't disagree. I'm so glad that the spare design and ecomomic use of colour have given pleasure to Richard and other correspondents.

Jack, Gene and Richard point to many possible places of origin. Gentlemen, I'd need an hour with an atlas just to establish where all of them are, only to find that we'd narrowed the search area to a chunk of the landmass between the Pamirs and the Bosphorus.

My feeling is that Camille's Feraghan attribution -- not stated as fact, but suggested on the basis of the bag's structureand field colour -- is the soundest put forward so far. That's where my research is concentrated -- unless or until someone comes up with a more compelling alternative.



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-17-2007 05:27 PM:

E. Turkistan?


I been thinking about your bag a bit more…I know it has that Crenilated border and that closure mechanism with the flatweave which looks Baluch or one of the tribes leading from Azerbaijan down to the Seistan basin. But I keep thinking about the cotton structure and the minimalist design with central medallion with its slightly odd design and the asymmetric open left construction.

Take a look further at the Uzbeks in Ferghana valley or over the mountains into Sinjiang Province…the E. Turkistan group Yarkhand, Khotan and Kashgar. They have cotton warps and wefts and can have a minimalist tradition. There is the problem of the “battlement border” but the rest seems to fit with E. Turkistan...and they did weave traditional Turkish emblems as well as others.

Here is a Bag from ORR to illustrate the point:

Donkey Bag_The two panels are from a double donkey bag. The pattern seems to be a pictorial of a vase with two flowers and leaves.
Size: 1'8"x3'2"_
Beg. End: 2" kilim with 3/4" slits
Fin. End: Same
Colors: ORANGE, ivory, yellow, brown, pink (faded), green (faded)
Knot: Persian, left; 7 h. x 7 v. = 49 p.s.i.
Warp: Z3, S, cotton, white
Weft: Z4,S, cotton, white, three shoots
Edge: Woven strips, sewn on

Here is the article from ORR:

at least the structure seems close...


Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 06-18-2007 07:19 AM:


Hello everybody

I have find pictures of an Afshar sofreh with empty field and same serrated bordure enclosing it.

I'll send the picture when I come back home.



Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-18-2007 10:11 AM:

Hi Gene and Louis

Louis, that's great! I very much look forward to seeing the piece.

Gene, thanks for taking time to continue your researches. I would never have guessed that they would lead so far east. I read the article that you kindly put up. Some of the technicalities were beyond me, but I got the gist -- namely:

that several areas of East Turkestan used an all-cotton foundation (more so from the late 19th century)

that they used AsL knotting

that they were early converts to synthetic dyes (including 'lavender ') -- so much so that by 1906 the use of vegetal dyes had been all but abandoned

and that they borrowed designs from both east and west.

One bit caught my attention -- where an early 20th century writer talked of the 'strikingly warm, deep glowing red' produced by a natural madder and indigo dye used by the Khotan. I've been a little worried that I'd jigged the images too much, but yesterday, sitting in a dimly lit room with dusk falling, I looked across at the bag hanging over a chair and, damn me, the red was glowing like that ruby you were searching for all those years ago.

I have to say, though, that -- apart from colour, possibly -- I couldn't make any connections with the pieces illustrated in the article -- including the donkey bag. The design says 'Chinese' to me. So, while your suggestion has quite a bit going for it, we need to find at least one specimen that matches my bag in design terms.

I've been dabbling in the field of cotton, trying to find out how many other areas used all-cotton foundations. More than I'd imagined, it seems. In fact I've found three hand-knotted examples at home. Two of them are old Caucasians (I think); the third is a Tibetan rug made in 1981. One of the things that sets the bag apart from these pieces is its stiffness. Whereas you can fold the other pieces flat across the warps without flinching, you get the feeling that if you pressed too hard on the bag, you'd break something.

So...Feraghan, East Turkestan, Afshar? Isn't Jack an Afshar enthusiast?



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-18-2007 03:23 PM:



When it comes to feeling a carpet, I trust Richard (Larkin)'s opinion on handle. (nobody will admit to being an expert here...Richard seems to have felt more carpets with a sensitive hand than the rest of us and can explain it better). From the books, the leathery hard handle would indicate indeed Feraghan. but darned if I can reconcile that tribal look to Feraghan unless some Afshar groups were living in the area.

I'd still like to think that that red border color is not happenstance..once you see a real blood-red ruby (not the saphirre-like cocchinal purplish red stones whch in modern day are now permitted to be called rubies), you'd understand why real blood-red rubies are still the most expensive gems in the world...and imho from the screen...I think that border mirrors the small stones I saw in New Delhi. Where can you find those stones? India...which had long-standing trading routes running up into the Sinjiang Basin. And those Central Asian Oaises are Turk - think Mogul-Timur connections... really...which would explain the crenilated border. and indeed I was thinking Khotan..though there is precious little information on what differentiates a carpet amongst the city designs along the N. edge of the Tibetan Plateau....then again, this isn't a city design. (train of thought of course).

Anyway, whatever, its a unique bag and quite an intellectual challenge. Already in my imagination I'm traveling the silk route..a romance which is pretty much to me what the hobby is all about. I want to see Louis' Afshar...and if I was home, I'd post that David Black Baluch Baluch dining fabric as well for good measure.


PS. I sure you're right about the country house near Sevenoaks (I understand there's only one left right?..oak not house)..."Sackville" sticks in the mind after all these years..for a strange and very unsophisticated reason. Because some hairy foot created from an Englishman's imagination seemed to have had a cousin related to him who tried to take over his Bag-Ends hole when he retired...reread "Fellowship of the Ring" and "Return of the King" re the Sackville-Baggins'. There are Canneletto's on the wall near the billard room right?

PPS. Upon second though, I wonder how many of us actually have an E. Turkistan carpet from the turn of the century. They weren't imported into America much (per someone..Edwards or somebody)..they weren't much to american tastes. But they were to India..and in 1988 in New Delhi i bought one..oh it dates to about's pretty much gone in the pile with some reweave. It has lots of purple and classic Chinese like E-turkistan borders with a cotton warp and weft and a very stiff handle..Jack has seen it. It has no glowing red like Windsor's bag..and it definitely has a much more purplish synthetic dye, city-like patina...but the feel is what hit feels like it will crack if you bend it.

PPS. I keep thinking of something else to say...Your glowing red in the English light at 9:00 PM. That is a purplishish feeling hour which is oddly elvinishly addictive..I'm thinking of walking across Regent's Park at twilight...maybe the lions roared..I don't remember... it felt strangely like Kenya. But I do remember its a light like nowhere else..oh maybe Belgium but without the drearyness. (you guys who don't know N. Europe and especially Britain laugh...bring your stuff you bought in the Med or C.Asia..paintings or carpets..and lets see how the look in British light. Light mattrers.)!

( By the way, if you get a chance take a look at the Marian North House in Quai - Key .. (jehosephat .. how in the world to you spell "Key Gardens" British)...

Posted by Steve Price on 06-18-2007 09:43 PM:

Hi Gene

Joy Richards sent me an email saying that you're probably referring to Marianne North Gallery, in Kew Gardens.

Regards, and thanks, Joy.

Steve Price

Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 06-19-2007 08:11 AM:

Camel wool


Looking at these pictures is fully at your own risk!
It could be hazardous for those with rigid views.
Views formed by following to many others important noses, about the impossibility of detecting camel wool in rugs, instead of following their own.

Best regards,


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-19-2007 09:18 AM:

Hi all

Rob, I assume that you're saying your images do indeed show genuine camel hair. It certainly looks like what I'd expect camel hair to look like. Tell us more about the piece. How does the look/texture/feel compare with sheep's wool?

Gene, thanks for doing your bit for English tourism (though comparisons with Belgium won't bring the visitors flocking). Can't remember a Canaletto at Knole House, but since the place has as many rooms as there are days in the year, it's easy to miss the odd masterpiece or three. At 2 pm on this English midsummer day, the sky's turned black and thunder has begun to roll. I'd better post post now before the power grid fails.



Posted by Jack Williams on 06-19-2007 10:41 AM:

I'd walk a mile...for real camel wool.

Good morning all:

Windsor, this line has lurched into a familiar abyss...and I’ve made the points below before. Perhaps it is useful to review them again.

Rob, that is one beautiful Baluch. I for one would love to see a full shot of the whole rug. It looks to be Jahan Begi. If so the camel ground field would be especially cool, if it is old or antique which I guess it could be (the fuzzy back might be of some minor concern). The selvedge warps and to a lesser extent the camel-colored ground have some characteristics usually popularly attribued to camel wool, but so does burlap. Unfortunately, I've been rudely disabused of my illusions.

[add: Odd how the selvedge warps are so completely different from the rug warps, so odd it doesn't look natural. Were these selvedges added later?]

About a year-+ ago, I contacted the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufactures Institute, (see website, and posed the question of identification of camel wool in rugs. I received a reply from Mr. Karl Spilhaus, President, CCMI (text of his reply is included below). The key point he makes he sums up by quoting Emily Dickinson verse, with minor phrasing liberties...

“Faith is a fine invention when gentlemen can see,
but microscopes are prudent in an emergency”.

His points are:
(a) The fragility of camel hair makes it a questionable material for use in a rug unless the wool uses the guard hairs of the camel;
(b) Only microscopic or DNA testing can confirm camel wool...the identification of camel from purely sensory evidence is either impossible or that ability is confined to experts who have extensive experience with camel wool.

Cecil Edwards, in The Persian Carpet, p.25 writes, "There are only three of importance: [materials used in weaver's craft] silk, wool and cotton...Some commentators appear to have taken it for granted that the characteristic brown Hamadan rugs were woven with camel-hair yarn. Actually, it was very rarely used in the past; and it is never used today..." Characteristically polite, he later expresses skepticism regarding a tale about camel wool in Baluch rugs. Dr. Murray Eiland’s microscopic evaluation findings decades later [never once confirmed camel wool] seem to back up Mr. Edwards’.

Some time ago I hesitantly concluded the following:
(1) True camel wool is a rare item in rugs;
(2) Absent microscopic or DNA testing, a claim of camel wool should be suspect;
(3) For both geographic (possibly) and economic reasons, the use of camel in rugs made by Turkish, Kurdish, various Caucasian, or other western groups is probably rare, and if used at all would possibly be in limited amounts because of the cost. Baluch use of camel may also be suspect because of their predominent use of the dromedary camel.
(4) Dr. Eiland’s note that he has never confirmed a claim of camel wool after microscopic analysis could be applicable across the board.
(5) Absent specialized expertise in camel wool, even dealers with extensive rug experience probably cannot identify camel wool using sensory perceptions.

And my deductions from conclusions: *Camel wool in rugs is possibly mostly mythical. *The claim of camel wool has possibly always been a marketing tactic because of the high regard held for camel wool as a fabric. *This myth has been perpetuated for so long it has come to be accepted fact by many in the industry-hobby without scientific proof. (note: if camel wool were actually used, I would think it might be in small personal bags not subject to foot traffic, but that is speculation.)

I have seen some rugs items I thought were "camel,” especially one particular Caucasian carpet from an exhibit (I’ll look for the picture). But Sue noted once that sheep's wool has 36 (or some such) different qualities and characteristics, depending on shear, animal, time of shear, part of animal, etc., not counting combinations, goat hair, etc. so whatever characteristics camel wool has, it probably has a sheep's wool twin.

I suspect that knowledgeable dealers, especially at the high-end auction houses, know the difficulty with camel wool, hence the spread of the use of the term “camel ground” which can simply be a reference to color, not wool composition.

I'm open to rebuttals

Regards, Jack Williams

Text of email from Mr. Karl Spilhaus, President, CCMI, to Jack Williams:

Dear Mr. Williams:

Our organizations involvement with camel hair extends only to apparel uses. The camel hair which is used for apparel is from the Bactrian camel of central Asia, Mongolia and China. It is a soft fibre distinguishable from sheep’s wool by the normal microscopic methods as well as DNA extraction.

I do not know the carpet trade but, like you, have always been lead to believe that camel hair was often used. I also do not know the physical characteristics of the hair of the Dromedary or typical Arabian camel. My thought is that to be used in a carpet you would want a higher micron than that which is typically used for the fine garments from the hair of the Bactrian camel. It is possible, however, that they use the guard hair from either type of camel and that would be significantly higher micron, unsuitable for garments but suited for other textile uses including carpets.

While I do not have first hand knowledge of the Dromedary I am reasonably certain that that hair could be distinguished from sheep’s wool by any qualified microscopist or by the extraction of DNA. You might want to contact one of the laboratories listed on our website.

I would agree that sensory clues such as touch, smell and appearance would not be a reliable indicator of the fiber except unless you were dealing with a real expert in the field. It brings to mind a quote from Emily Dickerson, which I am not sure I have precisely verbatim:

'Faith is a fine invention when gentlemen can see,
but microscopes are prudent in an emergency."

Karl Spilhaus
President, CCMI

Add ed: Hopes for camel wool springs eternal for people such as moi, ie: rigid person that I am who just follows passively what others tell me. Here is a picture of an "Arab-Baluch" I recently purchased. Here's hoping it proves a nice value (if not, hit the road). It was adertised to have "camel wool field." It hasn't arrived yet, but I doubt the "camel wool" to the point that I won't bother to get it checked at a lab. They want too much material anyway. What we need is a post showing what to look for under a microscope, complete with a lot of examples.

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-19-2007 10:44 AM:

One hump or two?

G'day Windsor and Rob,

Hey Rob, if 'tis, does it have a dryly cottonish softness? Thats how I always remember what it feels like, and it really appears its as rare as platypus in carpets...


Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-19-2007 11:13 AM:

Camel hair

Hi all,

As already mentioned in this thread, camel hair is not widely used in pile weavings but also not as scarce as was stated.

Relying on my own experience (and please don’t quote me for I’m not a fiber specialist), the touch of camel hair is soft and particularly dense –regardless of the texture- hence hardwearing, and usually stays higher than wool with age. It is also more vulnerable to moth attack than dyed wool.
Still, male and female camel hair should have a different as is true for sheep wool. Color range is also quite important going from ivory (close to wool) to dark brown.

Rugs where camel hair occur and can be compared to wool are antique Chondzoresk: Most of the time you will find that the camel-colored cloud-bands in the medallions have a different touch than the rest of the wool.

Nevertheless, I guess it is difficult to recognize and/or to remember from just one touch.



Ps: I had just finished to write my note when Jack sent his afar more valuable post. One can consider mine for as much as it is worth.

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-19-2007 11:19 AM:

Camel Wool

Sorry all, I should have stated in my post above the only experience of the wool on/from camels comes from feeling the 'wild' wool on one humpers belong to friends which browsed around my camp, and the wonderful feel of a camel wool coat which was bought in the Middle East in 1955.

There are speculative areas on several of my own carpets that I wonder at, but I am as sceptical as most here.


Martin R. Grove

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-19-2007 12:56 PM:

The Finer Points of Wool

Hi again

A bit of Googling yielded the following info.

Fine woollen garments use wool thinner than 25 microns. Merinos are one of the sheep breeds that produces wool of this fineness.

Wool thicker than about 35 microns is used for outer garments and rugs. Most crossbreeds, including the majority of Asian pastoralists' flocks, yield wool with this degree of coarseness.

According to the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the winter coat of the Bactrian camel is from 18 to 26 microns-- that is, it produces very fine wool suitable for fine garments but not for your common or garden rug. Presumably, if it was used in a rug, it would be fairly easy to identify by feel alone.

This is more or less the same as what Karl Spilhouse told Jack. He mentioned the possible use of coarser guard hairs, but I don't know how easy or worthwhile it would be to harvest them.

That said, I'd be surprised if camel- herding pastoralists didn't use every last bit of their woolly resources (although in a report on the decline of camels (dromedary) in Rajastan, I couldn't find any mention of wool as an economic by-product).



Posted by Marty Grove on 06-19-2007 01:32 PM:


G'day Windsor,

Speaking of Rajasthan, and your finding in a Report no mention of utilisation of camel wool as a percentage of economic consideration, surprises me a little.

I have a couple of coarse heavy kilim type Rajasthan pieces in which a jute type fibre has been used as the weft element on what very much appears to be camel warps.

Saying that seems a bit hypocritical, considering my stated scepticism about much camelid fibre constituted in weavings in general. But I join you in believing that people living with camels in a rural environment would not waste an available resource.


Martin R. Grove

Posted by richard tomlinson on 06-20-2007 12:17 AM:


according to the experts who try to define what is and is not a shahsavan piled rug, these experts often cite the use of camel wool in the pile as a particular defining characteristic of shahsavan piled pieces.

i guess they must all have microscopes, or are they pulling the wool over our eyes???

richard tomlinson

Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 06-20-2007 05:37 AM:

Hi All,

About feel and texture of the camel wool in the Baluch, it is exactly as Marty has put it : "dryly cottonish softness" and I can add to it that, compared to the sheep wool, it holds the plying not as good, it lacks the shiny lustre, it is more messy at the back of the rug and seems to be better resistant to surface wear as any of the colored sheep wool surounding it.

Jack, thanks for liking the rug ( could have been yours, it was on ebay for a week, without one bid..! ) and the selvedges are original.
I'm not very impressed however by your arguments. I do not realy want to go in extensive debates about the issue; I prefer the pictures to speak for themselves. But nevertheless here are some comments.

Of course the tendency in the trade is to proclaim every brown color instantly as: Holy Camel Wool...but it doesn't exclude the tale to be actually true now and then.

First: Was camel wool actually used in rugs?
Edwards opinion, which I do not consider very decisive ( his main interest was the modern ( 1950's ) carpet weaving industry ), is : "rarely used in the past", so the answer should be : Yes. ( whatever "rarely" and "the past" is ment by him ).
Mr.Spilhaus doesn't exclude the possible use in rugs either.

Second: Is camel wool detectable in rugs without the use of a microscope?
You concluded, on several occasions, that : " unless the examiner is extremely experienced in camel wool" , it wouldn't be possible.
This isn't what Mr. Spilhaus wrote. The exact quote is : "unless you were dealing with a real expert in the field".
So the answer to the posed question should be Yes again.
( whatever "expert" and "field" is ment by him ).

And last there is Murray Eiland, of whom you stated that : "he never confirmed a claim of camel wool after microscopic analysis".
This seems to be a strong argument.
Could you give some more info about this statement? Where is this to find? Was he actually looking for camel wool? What kind of rugs were his object of examination and what time frame did he choose?

Best regards,


Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 06-20-2007 07:11 AM:

afshar hypothesis

Bonjour à tous

I have found in a little exhibition catalog about Sofreh, two ex of afshar sofrehs that feature design quite near of the bag face.

The first have a field border of the same type (but coarsly executed in a kilim technic) with a monochromatic empty field with a cen tral simple device.

The second has also a central medalion device floating on an empty deep blue sky field.

The two ex are said to be afshar.

This is especially the design style and the general idea we can compare with the bag, the technic being very different.



Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-20-2007 09:42 AM:

Simple Sofrehs

Bonjour Louis

Many thanks for posting those images. Sofrehs are new to me -- I understand that they're dining cloths, so presumably don't take the form of a bag -- but I have no difficulty recognizing the stylistic similarities between these two pieces and my bag. Substitute the two central motifs, and item one could easily be regarded as a naive version of the pile bag.

Having been introduced to sofrehs, I did some searching and found enough examples to show that this spare treatment is common. I also learned that knotted pieces aren't that rare. Louis, you're probably aware that while we've been waiting for your posting, we've been sidetracked by the topic of camel hair. Bringing the two together, here's something I read on a commercial site,, which is something of a sofreh specialist.

Speaking of Baluch sofrehs, the author says: 'Some parts, like margins and some of middle motives, are pile woven and the latter group is much more interesting. Ground of Baluch sofreh is soil-coloured, woven of camel wool with fine and ornamental margins.'


Thanks again



Posted by Jack Williams on 06-20-2007 12:37 PM:

healthy questioning

Good Morning all:

Rob and Richard, thanks for the camel wool replies. It is always an interesting subject. I don’t want to hijack Windsor’s line just as progress is being made.

Windsor, that second sofra especially seems to have the elements of your bag. Louis you have added a lot to this with that post. Though I am a Baluch and Afshar admirer, I might caution to perhaps search a bit longer.

The structure, cotton-cotton-As3 knot concerns me a bit with an Afshar attribution...especially as I think Windsor's bag might be older than WWII (no particular reason, just aethetic hope). Unlike rugs, I don’t have a sense for the frequency of cotton structure used in Afshar personal items such as bags, nor do I have a feel for structural changes in time in those items.

The drawing and weaving on Windsor's bag is very precise. The central flower and borders are meticulously done, which is often not the case on minimalist designs. I have a memory of a item posted on this board some time ago. Perhaps it is the same item that Richard Tomlinson is refering to. However, Louis’ Afshar sofras are a good directional analog and could be arrow pointing to the attribution.

Windsor, I will caution that in my opinion, regardless of the source most declarations about camel wool are heresay, unless proof is offered. This is true even within a respected published reference.

Regards, Jack

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-20-2007 01:08 PM:

Murrey Eiland carries a microscope in his pocket

Good Morning again: Re: camel wool in rugs, or... Murrey Eiland carries a microscope

Rob, here are two Jehan Begi carpets perhaps similar in design to yours. These were subjects of discussion by Jerry Anderson in that great interview with Hali-Tom Cole (see:

I don’t know if your rug reaches these rarified heights. Treading carefully around Turkotek rules, how/why I overlooked it, if I did, is a mystery, unless I thought I already owned an equivalent example.

Camel wool is one of our reoccurring themes, but ever without a definitive answer. Here is some more hard data:

From Oriental Rugs, Murrey Eiland, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1981, p. 48, “Camel wool is made up of extremely fine fibers, and it is distinguished from sheep’s wool mainly by a characteristic scale pattern and by the distribution of pigment granules. Many of the cloaks worn by the mullahs in Iran are of camel hair, and these fabrics are extremely soft....

“...Nevertheless, when I have examined microscopically the camel-colored areas of certain nineteenth-century Hamadan and Kurdish rugs, which are often described in the rug trade as camel hair, they have always proved to be the same sheep’s wool as that in the rest of the carpet.”

[Ibid, p. 87], “…One is assured by dealers that these rugs…are of camel hair, but I have never been able to verify this. Camel hair provides a soft, luxuriant cloth, both in the natural color and dyed black….Its suitability as a carpet material is less clear. Microscopic examination of many ‘camel hair’ Hamadans reveals that sheep’s wool was used throughout…”

As previously mentioned, Edwards was notably skeptical. However, he left the door slightly ajar about is a quote from his book.

"Camel hair is seldom used. I was informed, however, that the centres of prayer rugs, or rugs made for priests or Sayyids are sometimes woven with it; the reason being that the camel is regarded as a sacred animal because the Prophet rode on one. The story is picuresque, however doubtful. Camel hair is also [my comment: here I think he intended to insert the word “claimed” given his other comments] used in the finest quality Balists.... Camel hair is also sometimes used in the jahizi or Dowry rug which the bride-to-be weaves as part of her dowry. These pieces are regarded as the best among the Baluchi rugs and are not easy to acquire."

Decades ago, Jerry a statement given in person to my brother Gene, though he did not rule out the possibility of Baluch use of camel wool, expressed the opinion that most Baluch items labeled camel wool were actually dyed sheep’s wool.

I don’t disagree with much of what Rob has posted and that rug might indeed contain camel wool, or at least some camel hair in the structure. But we had a hash of this subject 1.5 years ago started by pictorial rugs with camel ground fields. If I correctly recall, that line fortunately included posts by several technical weaving people including Marla Mallet and Sue Zimmerman.

We have since revisited the subject several times. Our previous lines have included pictures of many items believed to be camel wool.

Our discussions have often been fairly scientific, with a bit of heat. As I said, the "proofs" of camel wool were close-up photos and the discussions have featured a LOT of knowledgeable people absolutely convinced they have a camel wool rug. Yet when asked about proof, these same experienced, cynical, and jaded collectors acted like wide-eyed children, universally defaulting to one or all of the following:

(1) “well the dealer, who I trust told me...,” i.e.: default to "Appeal To Authority" (or "Anonymous Authority" or "False Authority") argument.

(2) “I’ve heard that camel wool looks like...” i.e.: default to folk lore and myth about what camel hair looks like and feels like...and the possible myth that camel hair has a consistent and unique look and feel,

(3) “I know my rug has...” i.e.: default to strong fact-less personal beliefs, and

(4) “This wool is different from the rest of the rug, therefore...” i.e.: "Non Sequitur Argument," default to unrelated facts presented as proof ignoring alternative explanation...(for instance the possibility of jufti knots, effect of dyes on wool “feel,” etc).

In all these discussion, not a single rug could be proven to be actual camel wooll...and without a data base of proven analogs, identification of camel using sensory data is logically unreliable. And this is irrespective of the natural inherent difficulties in sensory identification mentioned by every expert in the camel wool field (consider: there IS a reason Eiland carries a microscope with him).

When first confronted by this reality, I was amazed at the lack of facts about the use of camel wool. Subsequently, I collected a healthy data base and communicated with a lot of people outside of rugdom. I was further disheartened to realize that even if an "expert" were to show examples of how to id camel vs sheep, without proof that his "camel" examples were indeed "camel," and or proof of his credentials, it would be just more heresay and circular reasoning (i.e.: "I think that is camel wool because it looks like what I think camel wool looks like'). This is where my conclusions about camel on rugs were formed.

This does NOT mean the camel wool has never been used. But...for me, absent proof (and fabric industry experts invariably say that the average collector must have microscopic evidence...this is the reason for the existence of the test for counterfeit camel and cashmere) I will assume a claim of camel wool to be purely a marketing tactic...why?...because the weight of evidence has shown that to be true in most if not all cases.

I hope to one day be able to develop a data base and publish examples of microscopic data, thus enabling the average Joe to examine his own rug with confidence. This is on my list of things to do...right after....[fill in the blank].

Regards, Jack

add ed: I do recall one post that stated a dealer in Istanbul (I think) had the ability to judge using a jeweler's loup or glass, and had declared several items to contain camel wool. I don't think it was followed up because I was very interested to know what spedifically he looked for.

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-20-2007 02:21 PM:


Hi all

Jack, no need to worry about diverting attention from Louis' sofrehs. They're there for all to see, and I'm sure that if anyone has anything to say, they'll say it.

When Louis' eagerly awaited message came through, I was doing a bit more digging into the camel hair question. No earth-shattering revelations, but for the sake of completeness, here are some more jottings. (Skip them if you're here for rug aesthetics).

They come from 'Harvesting of Textile Animal Fibres', a bulletin published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

It confirms that camel hair is largely obtained from the Bactrian, with China the largest producer (1800 tonnes in 1987, of which more than 50% came from Inner Mongolia). The camel moults over a six-week period, the neck hair falling off first, then the mane, and finally the body hair. Harvesting is by combing, by shearing, and by collecting the clumps of shed hair.

The publication states that, like cashmere, ONLY the soft, fine underwool is used for the production of yarn. The long outer hair, which has a diameter of 20 to 120 microns, is used to make felt for the Mongolian yurts, for the herdsmen's winter coats, and for carpet backing.

The dromedary is barely mentioned in the bulletin (a very comprehensive publication that even covers the weasel). It sems that the one-humped species doesn't qualify as an important economic resource. But...I would have thought that, at the local level, in a subsistence economy, its wool would be utilised down to the last hair. We have two sheep (used as lawnmowers) that need to be sheared each year. The wool, though reasonably fine, has no monetary value; you can't give it away. Each year it goes onto the compost heap, but if there was a weaver in the family, you can bet that I'd have a new pair of woolly gloves each winter.

Now I'm going back to sofrehs



Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 06-21-2007 05:38 AM:

To conclude

Hi Jack,

So what looked to be a strong argument from Murrey Eiland, based on examination a broad range of different rugs, appears to be one based on examination only Hamadans and Kurdish rugs, of which the trade claimed they contained camel wool.
Rather thin ground for a conclusion like : "he never confirmed a claim of camel wool". This could be true as such of course, but it suggested much more then there is.

To stay with other good reason for the tales around camel wool in rugs is the simple explanation that the word "camel" has double meaning: the animal and the color.

As I already thought and as shows in many posts here: the direction to point a microscope at ( if you insist ..) should be the Baluchi's.



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-21-2007 07:49 AM:

Baluch and camel wool


The point about Baluch carpets and camel wool...having been up into Baluchistan and along the Afghan border from Seistan to there aren't any two humped Bactrian camels there to my knowledge. That was my problem with the Herat rug dealers this last winter.

Now, Boucher donated his rug collection to the Indianopolis museum. I met Boucher and McCoy-Jones as I've recounted in 1978-79. Boucher claimed camel woool in several of the Baluch carpets in his collection..see his book "Baluch Woven Treasures." I doubted it in 1979 (but didn't have the guts to speak up..he was a former colonel with a dominating manner..we talked mostly of Jerry Anderson)....and I still doubt much so that I'll send an e-mail to the museum and ask if they've ever had the wool in the carpets he claimed was camel analysed.

And Jerry did mention Camel Wool in a Baluch carpet in his interview with Tom Cole (see "from the horse's mouth")...even saying that camel wool was dyed in Seistan...not what he told me directly in my three years of contact with him...but I could be wrong ... or he mispoke with Tom.

Still, the idea of getting a good picture to post on Turkotek of Camel Wool under the microscope compared to sheep's very appealing.


PS. Windsor, in that JA interview, he mentions Ferdows "Baluch" rugs being woven on a carpet foundation. That starts me wondering again about your bag...Ferdows Baluch would fit from what I know of them.

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-21-2007 08:38 AM:

Hello all.

Marty, Rob and I have the same approach to recognizing camel-hair... Would that be a pure coincidence?

Not wanting to talk for others but I guess we all believe in scientific facts, BUT!…If we agree on a pile fiber bearing a definite description that is different from dyed wool in a same given rug and that is neither wool nor camel hair, I wonder then what this strange camel-color fiber could well be…

As for the sofreh that are similar to the bag, one could count half a dozen sofreh provenances that are equally similar. But would the pile weavings of those be technically similar to the bag? Would the colors fit as well (including the fuchsine that we nearly forgot about)?



Posted by Steve Price on 06-21-2007 08:50 AM:

Hi Camille

Marty, Rob and I have the same approach to recognizing camel-hair... Would that be a pure coincidence?
Unlikely to be a coincidence, but the fact that you all learned the same thing only means that what you learned can probably be traced to a common source. Certainly, either all three of you are right or all three of you are mistaken.

If we agree on a pile fiber bearing a definite description that is different from dyed wool in a same given rug and that is neither wool nor camel hair, I wonder then what this strange camel-color fiber could well be…
Not all sheep wool is identical, even from the same sheep. Spring and fall shearings, effects of dying, for example. You don't really KNOW that the camel colored stuff isn't wool, only that it seems different from most of the wool in the same rug.

I don't know how to recognize camel wool or how common or rare it is in textiles made at different times and places. But in the absence of definitive evidence (testimony of someone who has handled lots of sheep wool and wool that is unquestionably camel wool would do), I'm skeptical about whether anyone here has yet presented trustworthy criteria for identifying it.


Steve Price

Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 06-21-2007 10:48 AM:

Hi Steve,

Quote :
" ..'Marty, Rob and I have the same approach to recognizing camel-hair... Would that be a pure coincidence?'
Unlikely to be a coincidence, but the fact that you all learned the same thing only means that what you learned can probably be traced to a common source. Certainly, either all three of you are right or all three of you are mistaken."

Marty's source for his information was: Handling a camel in the flesh. ( sounds a bit odd...).
Ergo: what he learned was correct--> ergo: all three of us are correct, following from your statement.

Well, that was an easy one, Steve.



Posted by Steve Price on 06-21-2007 11:07 AM:

Hi Rob

I must have missed Marty's having handled camel hair while it was still attached to a camel. That's plenty good enough to convince me that it was camel hair, and to persuade me that all three of you have it right.


Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-21-2007 01:02 PM:

Hi all

I pat my dog, stroke my cat, and from time to time have run my fingers through a woman's hair. But I don't think I'd know which hair was which if they were woven into textiles.



PS Don't tell my wife I said that.

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-21-2007 01:36 PM:



Unless I'm mistaken, Marty "handled" a one humper. One hump dromadaries do live in the Baluch speaking areas and all the way over to Iraq. ..heck..all the way over to Morrocco. So, I've concluded that if there is camel wool in those carpets then someone is using wool from dromadaries.

That might be both a problem and a solution since we've focused on high end, small micron camel hair as used in sports coats which comes from Bactrian camels-two humps. Still, before I'll reach a conclusion that wool from dramdaries are used in Baluch carpets...I need some scientific proof.

Its not that I distrust Marty and his sense of feel...or for that matter you...its just at this point I have conflicting information. On one side is you, Boucher and a large number of other "oh it must be camel hair" Baluch owners; in the other corner is Eiland and Edwards and the camel hair institute.

If anyone can show that dromadary wool is being used..then we are closer to convincing me to believing in camel wool in carpets. And I asked this question in Herat...noone could tell me where the supposed "camel wool" they were advertising in their carpets...some was "dyed"... was collected, carded or just sort of "appeared."

I'm still going to contact the Indianopolis museum and see what they say about Boucher's collection. Perhaps someone with connections could talk to the Textile Museum in Washington DC about the subject as well (I'd do it but am overseas; John Howe though goes there from time to time)...maybe we can get some tests run for free?

In the meantime, Rob you believe that that Khorrasan Jan Beg you exhibited above has camel hair in the selvedges. There should be enough wool strands there to test without destroying pile...why not do it?


Posted by Marty_Grove on 06-21-2007 02:01 PM:

G'day all,

While its true that I have handled (tremulously) camels and their coat a bit, they are of the one humped variety which is pretty conclusively stated in many writings NOT to be of the type which is useful/used in the making of carpets.

On the dromedarys belonging to my friend Gordon there are several distinct types of hair/wool, and this is also dependent on whether its winter or summer. Also the colours vary considerably.

I would LIKE to believe that I have weavings which contain camel wool, if only for the 'romantic' sensation this gives me, however as said before, I am as sceptical as the next person if only because having read so much in the negative about useage of camelid wool in carpets.

The only POSITIVE woven camel hair/wool use I have experienced in my hands is a now old 1955 camel hair coat of remarkable softness which is as I described as 'dryly cottonish soft' - and which also applies to certain areas of wool on the dromedary camels I have touched.

Its the range of colours carried by the camels AND woven stuff I think MAY be camel which leaves me wondering - none of mine have that classic 'camel' colour shown in the old Baluch rugs.

Its as bewildering to me now after years of contemplation as it was originally, this conumdrum about camel in carpets, but just as entertaining


Posted by Gene Williams on 06-21-2007 02:01 PM:

Arab Baluch

Thanks Marty...I think we narrowed down the problem and maybe even can find a solution to the camel wool question.

In the meantime, coming back to Jerry Anderson's notation that "Arab-Baluch" around Ferdows make "cotton based" carpets...if this is true...Then I can readily believe that Windsor's bag is Arab-Baluch. It looks like a baluch, has the colors of a Baluch...Its just that darned cotton base. And heck, if its Ferdows...there are plenty of Afshar connections there as well,. I'll post here what Jerry had to say about it.

Here is Tom Cole's interview:

And here is what he had to say.

.... "HALI: And no.2 in the HALI Baluch poll article?
.... "JA: Arab, just like he says, but from Firdows (26). I’m sure it is woven on a cotton foundation. It’s more Baluch than most rugs from Firdows. As I said before, they are usually a Persian type of rug."

Here is the description:

26. Arab Baluch carpet, Firdows area, Khorasan, 19th century. 1.42 x 2.54m (4'8" x 8'4"). Warp: Z3S, white cotton, on one level; weft: mostly white cotton, some grey, 2 shoots, loosely packed; knot: 2-3Z, wool, AS open right, 9H x 10V = 90/in2 (1,395/dm2); sides: 1 cord of 2 3-4Z(Z3S) cotton warps overwrapped and secured to sides with wefts around the outer cord in figure-8, covered with simple overcast of goat hair; ends: top – balanced cotton plainweave with 2 shoots of indigo wool flanking remants of weft substitution zig-zag meander. ‘Baluch Perspectives’, HALI 59, p.114, attributed to “Qain or Torbat-e-Heydariyeh, late 18th century”, subsequently reattributed as “Arab or possibly Afshar, Birjand district, late 19th century”. Anne Halley Collection, courtesy Adraskand Inc., San Anselmo, California.

The important point for me relating to Windsor's bag is not the design of the above carpet...which does look Afshar doesn't it?... but rather the cotton structure. Can anyone confirm that cotton based pile rugs and bags are made around Ferdows?


PS. Check out the crenilated battlement inner border and the ground color on the outer border.

Posted by Louis Dubreuil on 06-21-2007 02:58 PM:

camel hair

Here is a picture of camel hair


Posted by Jack Williams on 06-21-2007 03:43 PM:

I respectfully recall the great Red Baron, always a dogfight with a Sopworth Camel

Gentlemen...Louis, as usual you have offered up some facts not opinions...thanks.

I respect the knowledge and experience of those who regularly participate here, and those in the business. And I always enjoy these type of exchanges, because often I am driven to learn something new. I even think that somewhere, sometime, someone used some camel wool in something other than a some garmet, perhaps even in some type of rug.


- The head of the CCMI says you need microscopy to identify camel wool...and says sensory perception will not suffice...

- The CCMI relies on lab tests to confirm or deny camel wool, not someone's sensory opinion...

- Murrey Eiland carries a microscope and checks behind dealers...invariably finding sheeps wool, not camel... and does not claim to be able to tell camel by sensory perception, hence his use of a microscope...

- Cecil Edwards says "camel wool was rarely used in the past and never in the present [about 1950],"

- It is shown that classic camel wool comes from the Bactrian, and that the Dromadary is the camel primarily used by the Baluch, for transport, meat and milk, and it produces less than one-fifth of the shed of a Bactrian...and none of the fine hair...

- It is testified that true Bactrian inner coat "camel wool" in a fabric sense is expensive, thin, fragile, soft, difficult to dye, and slippery and is thought to be unsuitable for use where walked upon...[throw a camel wool coat on the floor and see how long it lasts].

- References in the literature to use of the guard hairs of the Bactrian camel separately from the inner fleese are generally is evidence of how it is woven into rugs, etc.

- For over a year, the subject of camel wool has filled gigabits of band width on this board with hundreds of posts from numerous experience hobbiests and dealers, most of whom declare that "their particular rug is camel wool, regardless of facts." Yet no one has shown a single example of a proven camel wool rug to illustate to others what the material allegedly looks like, or even if it has a distinguishable "look"...

Despite the above, yet again people I respect for their insights and knowledge about rugdom swear that they are different from the rest of the world...they know what camel wool in a rug looks like and can tell it on sight, unlike the CCMI, Murrey Eiland, Cecil Edwards, et. al. And yet again not one example of proven, real camel wool is presented, nor a resume of experience with camel wool.

[My mate Marty at least said he owns an old camel wool jacket and has actually seen and touched a Dromadary camel...which is so impeccably honest and guilless that I am truly impressed] [add ed: that was written before Louis' post, which just goes to show even moi can be hasty]...

I sincerely hope someone, someday, will share a data base of proven examples of camel wool used in rugs. So far, no such luck...just more of what everyone has one opinion. And sometimes I think that if the information exists, why should someone share it? All that will happen is that people will swear that the published characteristics are incomplete because they exclude their personal rug, which they KNOW has camel wool...

So, I'll simply re-post something I previously wrote and return to searching for the holy grail of Windsor's khordjin...

...Yet when asked about proof, these same experienced, cynical, and jaded collectors acted like wide-eyed children, universally defaulting to one or all of the following:

(1) “well the dealer, who I trust told me...,” i.e.: default to "Appeal To Authority" (or "Anonymous Authority" or "False Authority") argument.

(2) “I’ve heard that camel wool looks like...” i.e.: default to folk lore and myth about what camel hair looks like and feels like, without even knowing if camel hair has a consistent and unique look and feel,

(3) “I know my rug has camel wool...” i.e.: default to strong factless faith-based personal beliefs, and

(4) “This wool is different from the rest of the rug, therefore...” i.e.: A "Non Sequitur Argument," default to unrelated facts presented as proof ignoring alternative explanation...(for instance the possibility of jufti knots, effect of dyes on wool “feel,” different combinations of carded wool, etc).


Jack Williams
New Orleans,
"proud to crawl home"

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-21-2007 04:44 PM:

$ late & L= short (no symbol for pound)


We-Nous (Louis et moi) already solved it. Windor's bag is an Afshar-Arab-Baluch from the Ferdows area. Should be close enough.


(There you were getting side-tracked as usual on peripheral issues..and forgetting the first point in Clauswitz's principles from "On War"...i.e. Objective.)

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-21-2007 06:39 PM:

Crenilated battlement vs. spear point

Hi all,

I've referred to the Baluch "spear point" border as a crenilated battlement..I mean "spear point" seems vaguely stone age. Here are two images illustrating my point..the first from the mosque in Lahore and the second from the famous Mogul fort at Attock (the battlement there is not what I was looking for - there are other forts which have that cross design on the battlements..I've been in several..I just don't have access to my library) ...both from the Mogul period ...imported from Central Asia by Babur (the Timurid turk/mongol) and/or from Iran via his son Humayun (who took refuge there with his Kizilbash cousins..though Shi'i). (you'll recall Babur's last attempt on Samarkand failed about 1520 because he was using in large part a Persian Kizilbash turkman-presumably including Afshar - JA says it should be spelled Afsar who are related to the Ersari - Shi'i army which outraged the locals.) What do you think? Logical?

Besides..."battlement border" has a certain ring.


Posted by Rob van Wieringen on 06-21-2007 07:23 PM:

Hi Gene,

"In the meantime, Rob you believe that that Khorrasan Jan Beg you exhibited above has camel hair in the selvedges. There should be enough wool strands there to test without destroying pile...why not do it?"

Yes, why not. Good idea.
Enough selvedges there to settle this down once and for all.
Any volunteers ( with knowledge and a microscope ) to send a sample to?



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-21-2007 08:33 PM:



Do you have a photo of sheep wool with which to compare the camel hair?
I have a small 60-100x hand-held microscope with an integral light, about $10 at Radio Shack, that shows the wool in my "camel hair" gabbeh that looks like the photo you showed. The areas of camel hair show finer, thinner strands than the adjacent wool areas, too.
But the minute differences are not easy to discern without a picture of sheep wool for comarison.

Thanks for the picture!

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-21-2007 09:53 PM:

Hey gang,

I'm jumping into this thread very late, and in truth have only skimmed all the entries. Please forgive superfluous or redundant comments.

I thought we had killed this camel wool in rugs issue, but it comes back. I was voting for "yes," based chiefly on having seen a "different" type of fiber for the camel color in many Baluch rugs, a la Rob's example. I'll hold out for that proposition in the face of all the microscopes in Afghanistan (or San Francisco). However, assuming the truth of my assertion, it doesn't necessarily prove camel hair. It could just as easily reflect a variant grade of sheep's wool, turning up in that particular color for some plausible reason.

About Windsor's bag. It doesn't seem Baluch to me, especially if the red is the shade my monitor is providing. The incidental decoration and finish doesn't suggest Baluch either. Neither do I see Feraghan or the greater Sultanabad area, except that it is Persian knotted. It could really be from anywhere and anybody. It's different.

[Aside to Gene: I really appreciate you putting me up there in lights, but if I have pretended to some special talent or expertise in the "handle" of rugs, I hereby confess it was fraudulent. I have no doubt that at least half plus one of all the TurkoTekkers out there could at a minimum handle rugs with me, grab for grab. My chief point about handling rugs is, in the cases of some of these ambiguous "mystery" rugs that seem to be pretending to be several different types (ubiquitous on TurkoTek), one would like the chance to handle them to narrow the possibilities.]

Rich Larkin

Posted by richard tomlinson on 06-22-2007 03:53 AM:


i think we SHOULD pursue this by microscopic verification of as MANY samples as possible (from as wide a variety of weaving groups as possible)

i therefore urge anyone who thinks they have camel wool in a piece they own to forward a sample to whoever is to undertake the testing.

let's see for once and for all...

richard tomlinson

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-22-2007 05:51 AM:

Hi all

It's not difficult to find microscope images of sheep's wool on the internet, but for a meaningful comparison with camel hair, you'd have to subject selected samples to the same analytic techniques (Apologies for stating the obvious). My impression is that 'ordinary' sheep's wool (not superfine merino or similar), is pretty distinctive, being much scalier and more crimped than the camel fibres image posted by Louis.

Gene, thanks for showing us the inspiration for those 'battlement' borders. The problem, as Steve told me even before the thread opened, is that the border pattern is used in many different weaving areas.

Can it really be that the bag is unique? Unique not good. Unique bad.

More later.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-22-2007 06:14 AM:


Unique good. Trite bad.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Steve Price on 06-22-2007 06:50 AM:

Originally posted by Windsor Chorlton
Can it really be that the bag is unique? Unique not good. Unique bad.

Hi Windsor

No question about it, the bag is unusual. In my experience, all you have to do is say "one of a kind" ("unique") out loud, and a dozen more just like it appear out of nowhere. So, I'm reluctant to say "unique" about any rug.

Is unique bad? Unique is frustrating because collectors like to pin labels on their stuff, and that's generally easiest with the commonplace, most difficult with the rare. Other than that, I think most collectors enjoy the unusual and are attracted to pieces that are out of the ordinary.


Steve Price

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-22-2007 10:03 AM:

Hi Richard,

If someone had seen a similar signed bag or one that had comparable features + a trait that would point to a specific attribution, I guess the thread would have stopped long ago.

Hence, while we are trying to narrow the target, I believe, without being 100% sure, that the closest attribution is the Feraghan area. And until someone comes up with a new "convincing" provenance, I retain Feraghan.

You said:

[Neither do I see Feraghan or the greater Sultanabad area, except that it is Persian knotted]

Can you please explain why (all of us believing that it has an unusual design)?



Posted by Marty Grove on 06-22-2007 10:09 AM:

Testing Testing

G'day all,

With regards to Wiltons bag; it certainly has something which interests and even piques a few of us for the difference it exhibits. The cotton foundation has been considered fairly unusual in this type of weaving although we dont really know its origin.

The red border dye has attracted the ultimate description, akin to ruby (best mogok red Gene?) and it has what could be called elegant simplicity with a very minimalist field design of only one small medallion.

I like the 'crenellated' border which may literally be a rememberance of castles from ages past.

Steve has put it nicely in reply to what could be called a certain uniqueness in saying that most of us like the unusual and out of ordinary pieces we may encounter.

This can also be applied to Robs rug with the possible use of camel selvege cords and field wool. Perhaps we would really like to confirm if camel wool is in our rugs because we know it is unusual to find it, and the camel still conjours a romantic past.

As for the testing of camel wool, Im up for it from a couple of my rugs - I would dearly love to know for certain because I honestly do believe that frugal people utilise everything which they can, and if they live with camels then the wool from them would be used, somehow.

Hopefully someone with enough interest and resources in 'is it or aint it camel' will put their hand up to organise a testing of a bunch of hairs from a not too large number of Turkotekkers

In anticipation,

Posted by Steve Price on 06-22-2007 10:23 AM:

Hi Marty

Microscopic inspection of fibers isn't very labor intensive. Pat Weiler has a microscope at his disposal; I do too, and I volunteer my services along with Pat's. The most time consuming element will probably be the record keeping - matching the samples to particular rugs. If this isn't done, it's a waste of time.

Another aspect, though, is that whoever does the examination has to be pretty sure he knows the differences between camel wool and sheep wool, in all their variations. Neither the sheep nor the camels in western and central Asia are clones - there are bound to be lots of variations in each. Consider the variability in hair type among humans (even in my own family - my wife's hair is fine, mine is coarse, my son's is kinky - he's African American).

Sheep wool samples from rugs of different times and places are readily available (it only takes a few fibers to do a microscopic examination), so that isn't a problem. Pat and I (and anyone else doing it) can probably train ourselves to recognize the variations in sheep wool pretty easily. Maybe there are good published microscopic photos of various kinds of camel wool - that would help a lot.


Steve Price

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-22-2007 10:26 AM:


Thanks Jack, I dont know about being guileless but I have been called 'gormless' which is English for 'not having much of a clue' which term more than adequately describes my certain knowledge about the things which we (or more properly 'moi') discuss on these pages.

'En chuckle',

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-22-2007 10:34 AM:

About how

G'day Steve,

Thanks, I agree entirely, and as a furtherment to doing the testings, what about we photograph the rug we are testing the wool from with also a closeup of/from the area where the wool was taken, attach the wool somehow without contaminating it with glue or such and whistle it off to whosoever of you has email the address or post box to which we might send it.

Crikey, technology strikes me again - dont remind me, having to get one of those newfangled digi cameras ugh! Im still using my Minolta XE...(and only recently having given away my Box Brownie)


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-22-2007 11:55 AM:

A Word from Wilton

Hi all

I was being tongue-in-cheek about the bag being unique. I doubt very, very much that it is. I think it was Gene who used the term; others have described the bag as 'unusual', 'out of the ordinary', 'a puzzle', etc, all of which are indisputable on the basis of the evidence so far.

'Is unique bad?' Steve asks. In the marketplace, the answer is 'Yes, possibly.' if by 'unique' we mean a piece that doesn't fit the known pattern. Most collectors are conservative. They chase those scarce items that are clearly classified, categorized and catalogued. They want to be able to display a piece that's undisputably Feraghan, or Baluch or Kazak or whatever, not one that could have come from any of these areas or none. As for the truly unique object, it presents a peculiar problem because it is so rare that, unless it has rock-solid provenance as well as aesthetic appeal, there is no established market for it and therefore no way of estimating market value (As soon as it's sold, the price paid is the value).

I lean towards a city connection with this bag -- woven in a village for sale in an urban centre. I have an image of the bag slapping up and down on the flanks of a prosperous merchant's mule. See what flights of fancy this rug business bring on.

I chuckled at being called Wilton. Marty, not everything in this world is rug-connected.


Windsor (somewhere near Axminster)

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-22-2007 12:24 PM:

Its true

G'day Windsor, humble apols,

Talk about freudean When I was writing of being called gormless, an english word probably unknown to the Americans, my own englishness was prominent and with rugs also, it was a slip twixt the cup etc etc - thats my story and sticking to it...


Posted by Jack Williams on 06-22-2007 12:35 PM:

"MOM, do I have to do everything?"

RE: Camel wool testing. See:

("Mom...why do I have to do everything?...")

RE: Testing methods. I wonder if the CCMI would be interested in a project. If so, it would be nice to experiment with some high-end items that are thought by a concensus to have camel wool. If the CCMI were interested at all, and Steve did not want to do the dirty work, I wonder if someone like Dr. Eiland (or Tom Cole, or Richard Wright) would be interested in lending their expertise, expert emeritus or some such... especially if the results proved to be publishable.

RE: "Unique-1." I opine that Windsor's (a.k.a. "Winston," 'Wilton," "William," "Wilheim," et. al.) bag is unique as the term is popularly that I havn't seen anything quite like it, especially the careful weaving of a minimalist design. It is generally assumed a "Khorjin" is used on an animal. But actually, many seem to be just carried over the human shoulder as a shopping or tote bag...hence the narrow connection between be bag (I have pictures showing this...I'll add them later).

RE: "Unique-2" Windsor, regarding collector's attitudes, I'll be happy to evaluate your khorjin for you. Please forward it to me with a stamped return box. Add extra postage because I may need to keep it on my wall for a while to get the feel of it and postage rates will probably rise considerably during that time.

RE: "Unique-3" Rob's rug also has a very unique feature. I have never seen such selvedges on a rug. If original, weaving would have required some careful pre-planning for using the radically different size and material yarn when threading the warps.

The odd warp knotting at the ends of his rug may just be a recent attempt to minimize further end damage, or just less than stellar original work. But the radically different selvedge warps look so different that it may affect the way the rug is regarded pictorially. I would love to hear some weaving expertise opine about this... Hey Sue! (ground control to major Sue...) how about returning to Earth and giving us the benefit of your expertise?

Regards. Jack

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-22-2007 01:33 PM:

Iconic expertise

Thanks Jack,

Your terrific suggestion has just dropped me out of it I dont HAVE any high end stuff (never paid more than a grand Au for any) so will only be able to read of it, not participate - what a bummer...

I really love how you pull everything together - makes for an easy read. And I generally agree - must be something Baluchiphile which created your gung ho acquisitive and successful inquisitive self, or maybe just being second string timewise to bro Gene.

Chortlin' Marty.

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-22-2007 03:36 PM:

must agree

that..and possibly being an alien...and me being the handsome one.

I mean, who would choose to live below sea level...(humm..all you dutch offense, you don't have hurricanes...except in 1953...I'm talking about the latest lake in N. America)

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-22-2007 09:35 PM:

Hi Camille,

About why I'm not persuaded towards the Feraghan area. As I see that group of rugs: there are the classic old Feraghans, characterized by Persianate designs rendered in asymmetrical knots on cotton foundations (warp and weft), slightly to moderately depressed warps, wefts quite visible at the back of the rug (this is important), a generally precise and regular weave, a lighter color tonality [featuring a particular soft green and (on some) a soft yellow], and a somewhat light (in weight) weave; there are Mahals, which are similar to the Feraghans as noted above, but coarser, more brightly colored and often not so regular in the weave; there are the old Sarouk types, showing fully depressed warps in a Persian fancy workshop style of weave; and the "American Sarouk" types, a studied kind of commercial production also exhibiting fully depressed warps, with a rather rigidly consistent pallette and design.

As I look at Windsor's bag, the only aspect of it that suggests the Feraghan area is the Persian knotting with cotton foundations and slightly depressed warps. However, I don't see this combination of features to be so distinctive as to beg the Feraghan attribution. On the other hand, it lacks the distinctive Feraghan "look" in the weave, which is characterized mostly by the look of the wefts. If you have the Neff and Maggs book, which talked about "weave patterns," there is a good example in it. The coloring of Windsor's is decidedly un-Feraghan-like, as well as the pattern. Finally, I'm not aware of any quasi tribal or rustic production from that area that would make me say "Feraghan."

Rich Larkin

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-23-2007 06:11 AM:

Hello Richard,

You are talking about a precise weaving style of the Feraghan that occurred in the second half of the 19th c. of which the Maggs/Neff example is a typical one.

I would like to emphasize on two points:

1 – Feraghan is a region and not a city and there are many villages involved in knotted rug manufacture and I guess their number progressed between let’s say 1870 and 1920 (being the approximate date of manufacture of the bag). And while a typical 19th c. Feraghan was well described by you and so can we describe a typical 19th c. Saruq or a 19th c. Malayer (or Mishin-) or a Mir rug of the same period. But while we advance in time towards the 1920s a lot of combinations appear like Feraghan-Malayer or Saruq-Malayer etc… and this is due in my opinion to the progressive number of villages in the region that started knotting rugs and combined features of different villages.

2 – We should also bear in mind that technique of weaving and especially material specificities change with time: An 1880 Mohtashem has nearly nothing to do with a 1930 Kashan knowing that both cane from the same city… I am not only referring to the wool quality or to the design or palette but for instance to the way the threads (warp, weft or pile) were spun: thinner/ thicker, even/coarse, hand/machine.

You also mentioned the colors of a typical 19th c. Feraghan but you missed to mention the camel color that is often used in empty border-guards, a feature that is typical of the Malayer/Feraghan region and that is seldom seen in pile weavings of other rural areas. This is a hint that can also be retained for that possible attribution.

Furthermore, a saddle-bag that could have well been woven for personal use does not have to follow very accurate aesthetic characteristics that are typical for a given production and that the market is used to.
Besides, to be fair, "quasi tribal" or "rustic" are not adjectives I would attribute to a rather fine piece with a well-centered "medallion" and a relatively fine workmanship.
We all agree on the unusual design of the piece and if you have another -or a more accurate- attribution, I guess all would be pleased to discuss it.



Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-23-2007 09:41 AM:

What's this?

... Hey Sue! (ground control to major Sue...) how about returning to Earth and giving us the benefit of your expertise? ...

Jack, If little slave kids could do it so can you. Enter the REAL learning curve. You don't have to be a chicken. Go for it. Sue

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-23-2007 10:39 AM:

Hi Camille,

I agree with everything you say. I focused on the "classic" 19th century Feraghan and Mahal types because they had some features in common with Windsor's bag as to weaving: cotton foundations, asymmetric knots and slightly depressed warps. I felt those resemblances were superficial, however, and that Windsor's fabric did not seem (from look on my screen) to belong with them for the reasons I mentioned. Your reference to subtle differences among weavings as to matters such as weight of materials, their processing, etc., is well taken, as it is these circumstances that lend to various weavings their special character. I would be surprised if the subject bag matched up with old Feraghans when compared at this level.

As to the broader range of products from the region (which are not, in my opinion, very much elucidated by combination labels like "Malayer-Sarouk", "Feraghan-Sarouk," etc.), there is little to suggest kinship with this piece in my opinion, any more than other weaving regions over there. One can just as plausibly place the piece farther to the Northwest, or the Southeast, and say that the anomaly is the asymmetric knotting. I am at a loss to place the piece myself. I just don't see any special likelihood in the Feraghan area. As you noted, if the origins were obvious, the thread would have stopped already.

Your point about the camel color used in some Malayer work is a good one, but I disagree that it is seldom used as a plain field color elsewhere. Kurdish rugs, Serabs, Baluch, old Hamadans, etc., are all known for this use of camel dyed wool. By the way, I don't consider the terms "quasi tribal" and "rustic" to be denigrations of Windsor's bag. Some of my favorite rugs are quasi tribal and rustic looking. I think this piece is of the character we are referring to as we commonly apply those terms.

One last point, a question for Windsor. Forgive me if it's already been mentioned in this thread. The little dots of strong pink in the central device that faded to white on the surface look like they could be an alternate material to wool, such as cotton or silk. Is this possible? I also harbored the thought that, from the look of the image on the screen, the knotting might be symmetric. But I guess not.

Best regards!

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-23-2007 11:26 AM:

Hey folks,

Oops! I see that Windsor has already addressed the question of the material of the pink knots.

What really bums me out is arguments over points that don't mean a g. d. ("gol darned") thing. So let's get into one. I'm referring, of course, to "violet" vs. "purple." My sweetie, Martha, the last word in all matters of color, says that "violet" is the technical name for the color on the wheel. "Purple" is a lay person's casual term for the same color and nearby shades of the color. Y'all got it? (Martha's from Mississippi.)

Rich Larkin

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-23-2007 11:29 AM:

Silk and Knotting

Hi Richard, Hi Camille

I followed your exchanges with interest, but I've got a long way to go before I understand the nuances.

Under a magnifying glass, I couldn't find any trace of silk in the medallion -- the material is the same throughout -- a shiny, stiffish but not coarse wool.

I got a nasty sinking sensation when you asked me to confirm my asymmetric knot aim. I know what As knots are, but have never examined them at the macro level. My claim was based on general appearance and 'feel' -- the fact that the pile 'leans' towards the left and that there is much more resistance when rubbing the pile from left to right. Also, I compared the feel with a couple of Kazak Caucasians, which I understand always use the symmetric knot. I sure hope I haven't been misleading you guys all along.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-23-2007 11:55 AM:


My comment about the knot description was based on the thought that, sometimes, the pile will lay to one side and mislead one into thinking "Persian" (i. e., asymmetrical) when the reality is "Turkish." This is especially apt to happen when the warps are slightly depressed, as in yours, causing the pile to lean.

The fail-safe examination is to look at the base of the knot where the yarn wraps around the vertical element of itself. In asymmetrical knots, one end of the pile is wrapped by the collar, and the other protrudes from between the collars. In the symmetrical version, both ends of the pile yarn are wrapped by the collar, and there is no pile end protruding between the collars. In many pieces with the Asymmetrical knot, you can fold the rug along vertical lines to expose the pile, and the line of pile strands between the collars will stand out prominently.

Kabish? (My best guess, looking at the images, is you were right the first time.)

Rich Larkin

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-23-2007 12:49 PM:

Hi Richard,

Thank you for the comment but as Frenchmen say with an "if" Paris would fit in a bottle.

As for the camel color, I'm afraid you missunderstood what I meant.
I was refering to the empty border and not to an open field (or empty camel-color field), and that this feature (empty border) is essentially found in old (rather antique) Malayer border guards and that it is usually of camel color.

Anyway, when I first mentioned Feraghan at page 1, I added Malayer- between brackets.
I also noted that the use of an early sythetic dye also points -beside the other features- to that region.

Regards and nice week-end to all.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-23-2007 01:04 PM:


I take your point about the open border area, but surely, that usage is not limited to old Malayer work, right? By the way, my slight disapproval of the terminology ("Malayer-Sarouk," etc.) was not aimed at your using the terms, but rather, the rug study fraternity/sorority. We have to use the terms given to us. Anyway, my concern isn't that great.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-23-2007 05:29 PM:

Sue's expertise


I think Jack meant the following. Of all the people on Turkotek, you're the only one that I know of who actually cards, spins and dyes in a traditional manner. (I still intend to get you your spindles, etc. out in W. Afghanistan...I'm just not there right now). That's more important now than design interpretation.

So the question is...have you ever carded, spun and dyed camel wool? If so, where do you get it? How does it feel? Does camel wool stick together like sheeps wool...i.e. is it "scaley," or is it more "slippery"..non stickable? does take dyes?


ps. If I once again (in a long line stretching back 60+ years) have misunderstood Jack...I humbly apologize.

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-23-2007 06:09 PM:

Hey Gene,

I think Jack was also inviting Sue to return to earth, as in, from outer space. Steve would be able to explain it. The idea is, it is sometimes hard to get what Sue is trying to tell us. Too much stream of consciousness, unsignalled turns and missing links in the chain. It tends to get under Steve's skin. For my part, I often think there's something really there if I were clever enough to follow the rationale. But we love Sue, and I'm with you, Gene, as to she could tell us a lot on this one.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-23-2007 07:01 PM:

Because you're dyeing to know...

Hello all.

Above is a collage of Islamic-Indian battlements. I like Gene’s coin of the phrase “battlement border” though strictly speaking it should be “crenellated battlement.” A battlement is just a protective wall while a crenellated battlement has gaps to shoot through.

But the source for these borders could also be funerary monuments (but I guess they could be copies of fortrifications). Below are a couple of tombs in Khotan and Yarkand. Also below is proof that wool camel (as opposed to camel wool) do appear in rugs.

I went through six or seven hundred pictures of bags, mafrashes, khorjins, chuvals, torbas, hajavs, jimkz, buggmqts, krtsxziays, whtchamkllzats, and jiginsitazhitianains, etc. I also went through about 1-200 Khotan, Kashgar, Yarkand rugs. No Windsor-bag analog soup. I doubt E. Turkistan as a source because I can’t find any bags.

Rich, I know you were just kidding about violet and purple. You are so funny…I cannot resist giving you yet more information that I know you are dyeing (sic) to know.

The colors produced at near infra-red and near ultra-violet ranges, opposite ends of the visual spectrum, may appear to be very close (violet and purple), but they reflect wave lengths that are completely different, therefore absorb wavelenghts that are completely different. The question was what causes changes in certain colors of “purple.” The size, type bonds, overall charge, and complexity of the dye/pigment molecule is important, but also the energy of the photon wave length impacting the molecule has a lot to do with color change.

I just knew you were hungry for the information, and were kidding about the other stuff.

I also knew you were an exceptional Bostonian. You have the incredible good sense to locate a Mississippi honey. Next to Alabama and Baluchistan, Mississippi is the homeland of the most beautiful, complex, home-rural products, with lustrous sheen, perfect dyes that appear totally natural, symmetrical but with quirkiness that adds life to the composition..., and the people are terrific too. Did you show her my little 'southern cartoon, previously posted ?

Regards, Jack

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-23-2007 08:13 PM:


Yes I did show her that cartoon. Not only did she get it, she was in it!!!

Rich Larkin

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-24-2007 08:07 AM:

Monet's Fuchsine Fo

Hi all

Jack, I appreciate your picture research efforts. Thanks to everyone for trying to pin down this bag. It's given us a good run. hasn't it?

Jack's return to the violet dye topic gives me a chance to show a painting of a 'fuchsine fog' in London. Early on I mentioned the phenomenon of coloured fogs created by the coal-tar emissions from millions of domestic fires. I came across the subject in 'The Chromatic Effects of Late Nineteenth-Century London Fog' --

Claude Monet drew inspiration from these atmospheric effects, describing 'one [coloured] marvel after another, each lasting less than five minutes'. In 1903 Monet painted this view of Charing Cross Bridge, with the Houses of Parliament at right.

Still on the topic of fuchsine, I came across an article by our own Steve Price on fuchsine and other dyes as aids to dating Caucasian weavings ('Dyes and Dating Caucasian Weavings', Oriental Rug Review, Vol 15/4

Steve says that fuchsine became commercially available to Caucasian weavers around 1875-1880, but its use was discontinued by 1900. The inference I draw from this is that it took about a generation for weavers to recognise the instability of the dye.



Posted by Steve Price on 06-24-2007 11:00 AM:

Hi Windsor

I'd make one small correction to my earlier statements about fuchsine - it's use probably wasn't discontinued in rugs until around 1925.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-24-2007 11:19 AM:

Hey folks,

Just so we understand one another, there's not a drop of science in my views on dyes in general, or "fuchsine" in particular. But I have a purple or violet color in my head that I think of as one of the earliest, if not the earliest, synthetic colors. I think I've seen it in rugs that I consider old (third quarter 19th, more or less), and it's the only synthetic color. It is fully faded on the surface. For what it's worth, it isn't the color on the back of Windsor's bag, as I view it on my screen, where his color is much more a variation of pink. The color I'm thinking of is much closer to the Monet fog picture he just posted, but even that's too pink.

Without a shred of evidence (see comment above), I'd call his synthetic color a later one. While we're on the subject, I echo Camille's earlier note that the red might trouble me, too.

In case there's somebody who hasn't had enough speculation about Windsor's bag's birthplace, I note that the look of the back from his image reminds me of certain early mid 20th century Chinese workshop rugs, where Persian knots are heavily hammered into cotton wefts. The result is the dense look on the back, with cotton bits showing themselves randomly in a crushed context. I don't think the piece is Chinese or Eastern Turkestan, and I think the resemblance I see on the screen would disappear in person due to the proportions. My real point here is that I think the high imbalance of wefts to warps per inch is important. However, I don't know where that points. If I had to choose a place from among unlikely candidates, it would be some sort of Turkoman related provenance. But I don't find that convincing, either.

BTW, didn't we have a knowledgeable commentator recently on TurkoTek who observed that the customary use of the term "fuchsine" for various reddish or purplish synthetic dyes was altogether too broad?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Steve Price on 06-24-2007 12:08 PM:

Hi Rich

The first synthetic dye was fuchsine (synthesized in 1858, and in pretty wide use within 10 or 15 years). As the 19th century progressed, other fugitive violets were synthesized as well. It became customary to refer to fugitive violets as though they were all fuchsine. In fact, some are, some aren't.


Steve Price

Posted by James Blanchard on 06-24-2007 02:23 PM:

What the Fuchsine?

Hi all,

Paul Mushak, in an article in the Oriental Rug Review (15/5), which can be found here, mentions that there are at least six chemically different dyes that are called "fuchsin". One variety, which is referred to as "New Fuchsine" was apparently invented around 1890 and used well into the first half of the 20th century. Mushak notes that chemical analysis is required to distinguish the "New Fuchsin" from others.


Posted by Steve Price on 06-24-2007 02:31 PM:

Hi Folks

Prompted by a message from our ever vigilant (and always wrong) fan, JACK cASSin, I rechecked the history of synthetic dyes. I was mistaken - fuchsine isn't the first synthetic dye, it's the second. The first was mauve (or mauveine), synthesized in 1856 and never used much. Fuchsine was synthesized in 1858 and was widely adopted soon thereafter.

And JACK cASSin, for your information (not for your education, since you are ineducable), indigo-sulphonic is not considered to be a synthetic dye, it's the sulfonate of our old friend indigo, made by dissolving indigo in sulfuric acid.

Steve Price

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-24-2007 03:40 PM:


Hi all,

I suppose there must be someting complimentary about this guy's obsession with Turkotek. I for one certainly don't need him and don't want his opinion about anything. But apparently he needs Turkotek and insists on imposing himself on simple hobbiests who enjoy this site..

Well..I don't want to hear about him..see his face, I don't even want to know he's around (still) ...I guess by nature I have a hard time putting up with someone who harrasses me or my family...its almost as if we're dealing with a voyeur..a peeping tom of some makes me want to take a shower. Pls..Ignore the troll...Imho he's a sad sad loser.


ps. Maybe he'll take a hint and get off his fat cASSin and come out to Afghanistan to do something for his country rather than sniping at everybody and anything.

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-24-2007 03:57 PM:



About 1986 I bought a 1880's painting in Belgium done by a minor Belgian painter...don't have the name with me..oh sort of the usual landscape stuff...canal, ducks, forest, small cottage on the left bank with chickens..slanting afternoon light from the left..shadows across the canal..done in a quasi-impressionist manner. Really all in all very pleasant. Its still on the living room wall now.

The key question-color in the painting, however, was the use of violet to illuminate the deepest shades of the background forest. I remember the charming lady in Petit Sablon who sold it to us commented that use of that color was regarded as "very daring" in that time. Well, actually, checking out her assertion, as I remember in the woods in Belgium (thinking of the Forest which runs into the middle of Brussels..Foret de Soignes?) there is a very distinct violet hue at mid-day. I've never seen it anywhere else.

So the question I'm asking, was Monet painting a literal color, influenced by fuscine which colored the fogs of London...or a figurative color? edit: Whistler painted the same violet. (I can accept all sorts of stuff in Brussels you tend to measure a winter by the number of pneumonia attacks you have...and legend has it that it's because all the beer breweries are open to the atmospher and the fogs are full of beer yeast. Don't know if that..or the fuscine fogs..actuallly have a basis in fact.)


Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-24-2007 03:58 PM:

Hey Gene:

Is the ineffable Jack an Afghani? That's a surprise.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-24-2007 04:01 PM:

Hi Steve:

Do you have a confident sense of the particular hue imparted by the first widely popular fuchsine dye?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-24-2007 04:02 PM:



What do you think about the Ferdows area being the source of Windor's bag? It seems to have everything. Cotton base; baluch borders; Afshar influences; Arabs; Reds and undyed fields; Persian city influences; How about we just declare that we won the war?


Posted by Steve Price on 06-24-2007 04:15 PM:

Hi Gene

We do generally ignore JACK cASSin, who submits an average of one or two posts most days. They usually have no content beyond expressions of disrespect for just about everyone here, and I doubt that anyone (here or elsewhere) much cares what he thinks of them. Today there have been four messages so far. Since the fourth one included some misinformation that may be transmitted to others through various routes, I took a moment to correct it. And, while I was at it, took a shot at JACK cASSin, too, for his ridiculous habit of making statements with an air of total certainty about things of which he is ignorant (which is most things).

Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-24-2007 05:18 PM:

Hi Gene,

I'm hardly the oracle on "anything and everything Baluch," let's be clear about that. But I just don't see Windsor's bag falling within the Baluch range.

As we keep learning, there's a large variety of groups that produced and are producing the "Baluch" fabric, and there are many weaving types in that range that vary quite a bit among themselves, keeping nevertheless the Baluch feel. My idea of the Ferdows type of rug is one on the coarser, looser side than most Baluch; also with slightly longer, slightly shaggier pile. No doubt there are other types from that region. For example, I don't think of the Ferdows area producing cottton foundation rugs in the older pieces. So maybe I'm not well enough informed on Ferdows. In any case, the characteristics I've mentioned don't seem to echo Windsor's piece.

In an earlier post in this thread, someone (I think it was you) commented on the outsstanding Jan Beg red in Windsor's rug. I thought at the time I knew the red, but Windsor's rug didn't seem to me to have it; and it occurred to me that what was going on there was variation in color appearance from one monitor to another.

Windsor's piece is really baffling and intriguing. There are several rug types that suggest themselves, but some feature of the piece tends to knock that diagnosis out. I have come up with no convincing one. Baluch of any kind doesn't do it for me. Sorry I can't be more cooperative.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-24-2007 05:31 PM:

baluch vs Ferdows


I agree with you totally. But my question is are the carpets woven around Ferdows actually "Baluch" or even "Arab-Baluch"? Jerry Anderson said they weren't. The carpets from that region quite often seemed to draw from Afshar and Baluch designs. But they also used Persian city designs and often a cotton base. JA said "real" "Arab-Baluch" actually came from another place...(see T.Cole's interview). He said Ferdows were city carpets in effet.

I guess what I'm asking is...if its cotton based..and has some Baluch and Afshari elements..color or composition or something...and yet it seems vaguely "city" in struture and dyes...but lacks some things (the designs in the flat weave, etc.)...where else to put it?


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-24-2007 05:49 PM:

Impressions of Violet

Hi Gene

Picked you out as a familiar face in this late flurry of posts. I believe that violet was a new and fashionable colour in the late 19th century. As I understand it, Monet was indeed representing -- in a heightened way -- what he actually saw when he painted turn-of the-century London. Hence my earlier joke about Impressionism being anything but. Must be the way I tell it. In my experience, violets -- even modern permanent violets -- are not strong colours. They may have prismic brightness, but they're overwhelmed by just about any other colour on the palette.

I've tracked down another Monet 'fuchsine' London painting -- of the Houses of Parliament -- but most of his foggy atmospheres are yellowish or blueish. Although that link I posted about the chromatic effects of London fog has no obvious connection with rugs, it's worth looking at -- Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Jack the Ripper, as well as synthetic dyes.

Richard, everything's relative, especially when viewed in a compressed computer image. To me, the highlights on the back of the bag are violet -- not pink, not purple, but violet. I was impressed by your speculations about the back of the bag face. I, too, have had uneasy thoughts about the structure, which doesn't match that of any other tribal or village piece I can compare it with. Yet the rustic flatweave section resembles those of Turkmen pieces I'd place in the same age bracket -- 1900-1930. Having raised the question, you then back off; I wonder if it's worth following up a little further.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-24-2007 06:13 PM:

Hi Gene:

I see your points, but in answer to your question, "...where else to put it," I'd say, "Someplace else." As far as what's Ferdows, what's Arab, and on and on, it's way beyond me. I'll tell you this, though, I envy the hell out of you for your having had the experience of hobnobing all that time with Jerry Anderson. Someday, you, I, and your brother, Jack, will sit down (with the necessary refreshments at hand, but not too much for me) and sort all this out.

Hi Windsor:

1. Did you ever go back and give the hard eye to the rows of pile to confirm that the piece is, after all, asymmetrically knotted?

2. I would love to get the chance to hold that piece, as a grab is worth a thousand words in this field. Subject to the right to take everything back if I ever get that chance, my working proposition is that the piece is some kind of Turkoman spinoff, perhaps from Afghanistan; but hardly typical, and I don't proffer that though with much confidence. The features I consider most important for diagnostic purposes are the asymmetric knots tightly compressed vertically along the warps, the particular red color, and the choice of the device in the center field. I just can't juggle them into a convincing label. I don't make too much of what particular shade those little violetish parts are. The bag is almost certainly earlier in the 20th century, and that color is that color. Note that there is precious little of it in the piece. I read with interest your comment that those strands seem to be of the same ilk as the rest. It wouldn't have been a surprise to have heard that those knots were something different.

As you say, it's been a fun run.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-24-2007 10:50 PM:

Hey folks,

I swear I didn't set this up. Martha's son left the dog for an overnight so he could attend a party. This gave rise to the need for something soft and faintly gamey with which to line the dog crate. A quick trip to the attic, and what fell to hand but this Anatolian prayer rug. I thought fate had sent it my way, between the plain ground border surrounding the field (cf. Windsor's bag) and the topicality of ICOC IX. Granted, there is a sawtooth border around the very outside, but what is that among friends.

I emphasize the following:

1. I had no intention of soliciting an offer on the piece from John, well knowing the rule against commercialism.

2. I steadfastly refrain from drawing any parallel to the Baluch tree-of-life prayer rug motif in the field.

3. I similarly refrain from any discussion of "running reds" by reason of the red soaked foundations in the center. In fact, I believe that to be the vestige of an attempt at the "magic marker" method of restoration. Judging from the color and the degree of fading, I would say it was done in the seventh quarter of the 19th century.

Rich Larkin

Posted by James Blanchard on 06-24-2007 11:37 PM:

Roses are red, violets are new...

Hi all,

There has been some discussion about "fading violets" and the age of a weaving. Some have suggested that fading violets were fuchsine, which probably dated these pieces to the early 20th century.

I have a couple of small Baluch pieces that have a "violet" or "fuchsine" colour which has completely faded on the front (thank goodness). My inclination would be to date both of these pieces are rather recent, perhaps not more than 50 years old.

Here is one of those "mats". It has some nice blues, including a good blue-green, and was very inexpensive. The orange is a bit off-putting, though not excessively. It has a lot of "wheat" coloured wool that was originally dyed with a violet. Had the violet not faded, this would have been a very different piece today.



P.S. Rich, it is nice to hear that you are hosting an overnight party for dogs. I never know what to serve at these dog parties...

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-24-2007 11:38 PM:

weighing in...

Good evening all, I'm weighing in...again...

It is interesting how this is all unfolding. We all went charging out to find an analogy in whatever geographic direction seemed to fit the sum of the attributes of Windsor's carpet, only to admit, we haven't yet suceeded. Now we applying general principles.

First, I'm with Rich in that I too think this has a Turkmen source, but what Turkmen? Afterall, Seljuks to Qajars to Salors to Uzbeks are Turkmen. It might be that this is MAD-Ersari?

But...I do not think it is (a) urban, (b) commercial, (c) recent. here is why... You rarely find truly innovative and unique commercial weavings because the weaver could not know if it would sell or not. Also, this is not just different, it is a different...bag...not rug...again questionable for commercial purpose.

I doubt this has an urban source, again because it is a bag, not rug. Most bags are utiltarian when made and even if they are used in an urban setting they are more likely to be used by rube-come-to-town. I'll post a couple of pictures of how these are used in Afganistan later.

I don't think this is recent (post WWII) because in addition to being intended to be used, and with a unique design, it was probably woven by a very experienced and accomplished weaver...probably an older woman with confidence enough to do something different, and do it with skill.

As luck would have it, a new rug came into my house this weekend. It is an "Arab-baluch" that I took a chance on. It is far and away many grades better than what I thought it would be. The 3D effect of the corrosion is so compeling that you would almost be forced to conclude that corrosion was anticipated and intentional. The red of the border is of a unique tone, orange-ish seen down-pile, more glowing red into the pile. the first border are flowers that seem to recall the blossum in Windor's field. Below is a temporary bad picture, previously posted.

My camera needs a battery so it will be tomorrow before I can take some good closeups that show the color and detail of the blossoms. And I need time to check out the structure...though I'm pretty sure the warps are cotton, wefts possbly grey wool. The weave is unexpectedly first guess possibly at least 80-90 kpi. Though the look is what we think of as Arab-Baluch, I think it has a Turkmen root. More later. Oh...if I believed in camel wool, the field of this rug has such a deep rich camel color and such a different look and feel and...that... I need a microscope and a lesson.


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 06-25-2007 01:20 AM:

The picture of Richard’s prayer rug has been inserted in his post.


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-25-2007 07:32 AM:

Tied in Knots

Hi Richard

I've put up some new images. Obviously, they don't show knot type, but they might just give you more of a handle on handle. The colours are as they came off the camera -- no jiggery-pokery or gamma interference. The pics were taken indoors in natural light, with rain sluicing down outside. Well, it is the first day of Wimbledon.

I tried your test for knotting structure, failed, and hoped you wouldn't mention it again. But you have, so I made another effort. I wouldn't go to the stake in defence of my 'findings' but...the base of the pile on the right side of the warps shows loops at close and regular intervals. These loops are not apparent on the left side of the warps. This less-than-elegant descriptions seems to me to be consistent with an asymmetric knot structure, but I'm ready to accept humiliation.



PS In our household, that prayer rug would still be in use as a floor covering. Over here, auction houses describe well-worn pieces as 'in country house condition'. What's the euphemism for 'wrecked' on your side of the pond?

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-25-2007 09:00 AM:

Euphemism or Euthanasia


One euphemism that is seen regularly is, "Jack Williams, please take notice" or "here doggy doggy, nice doggy!"

In truth though, what I see a lot of is "New England shabby chic."

Incidentally, I had a recently-acquired khorjin in my car and tossed it onto an outdoor seat at a coffee shop Sunday morning to use as a cushin. The slobbering Labrador retriever tied up next to me got an obligatory pet..then he first sniffed, then licked, then joyfully grabbed the bag in his teeth and shook it, precipitating a general scene.

One should get mule/camel-smelling items washed, no matter how faint the odor, before being used.

Regards, Jack

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-25-2007 09:02 AM:

Hello Richard,

I am a beginner at Turkotek and I wonder whether you often face such “adventurous” cases… But I personally find it quite exciting and enriching.

The prayer rug you posted has a design called “Medjidi” referring to the latest Ottoman sultan Abd el Majid. Rugs with this style mostly come from Central Anatolia but also Western Towns such as Ghiordes were also involved in this style featuring large outer or inner (niche contour) empty borders. Also sometimes a colorful bouquet in the gol Farang style is represented in the center. The knot should be symmetric of course and the cotton for the foundation is not rare but I do not recall having seen a Medjidi-style rug with either camel color field or border. Besides, the medakheel (teeth in the bag style) border seldom occur in Turkish rugs, however I guess saddle-bags could have been made in the Medjidi style.

You were mentioning on our latest discussion that this style of open border occurs in Hamadans and Serabs but then it is not inscribed between two lines or two other borders while in the Malayer it is and that’s one of the reasons why I retained this possibility.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-25-2007 10:19 AM:

Hi Chorlton,

Your red looks much better to me in these images. The images in which the pile stands out discretely look a lot like symmetrical knotting to me. If so, there's nothing to be humiliated about. Every person posting to this site went through the learning curve, excepting possibly the odd Saryk who came over to study at UCLA. Anyway, we're glad to have you and your rugs.

Hi Camille,

The warp and weft in my prayer rug are wool. The color on the monitor is less intense than the real rug. What appears "camel" (e. g., the "s" border surrounding the prayer field) is a somewhat faded and dingy yellow, altogether very Anatolian looking in the color. I know what you mean about the cotton warped Medjidi style rugs, often exhibiting the "gul Farang" motif. I have one of those, in roughly the same condition, but no holes (one advantage to a stout cotton base) in the storeroom. Plenty of turquoise blue (sulphonic?) and cochineal.

On those Malayers, aren't they apt to be single wefted and symmetrically knotted?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-25-2007 10:25 AM:

Hi James:

That Baluch of yours looks very nice on my screen. It wouldn't had the purple held firm. Funny, isn't it? Of course, we are applying our own aesthetic to all this. Take another look at the fashion statements being made by the ladies fetching water in John's thread. Their great great grandmothers wove those fantastic Anatolian carpets. I wonder what their real preferences are in colors.

Hi Jack:

I'm not so detailed in my analysis of who did what and why, but I agree with your take on the functional place of Chorlton's bag. Allowing for the Murray Eiland axiom that all rugs are commercial to some extent, it doesn't strike me as a commercial piece.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-25-2007 01:09 PM:

Oh, I wish


Symmetric/Turkish knot? Really? Richard is not usually wrong but before diving in again...I'll wait until it can be confirmed...whatever I like the most recent set of pictures even better. Even if it were new, I'd have purchased it.

****(For those French and Italian linguists...notice the English language subjunctive in that sentence...if I WERE you...Oh I wish I WERE in the Land of Cotton. Did I suffer dealing with the French and Italian versions...revenge is sweet!!!)****

And James, somehow that prayer carpet looks more purple than violet. In fact the purple looks very "Taimani," the type that fades to brown...David Black has one in his book..don't have it here..we had a Taimani line which had several bags though with the purple and the fading. Is this possible? Yours didn't look Taimani initially..but then again has that kind of four cornered endless knot which is also in my Farah Province Taimani prayer rug posted previously....and the strong simple geometric designs in the field. What's the knot count?


Posted by James Blanchard on 06-25-2007 01:17 PM:

Hi Gene,

I think mine could be Taimani, but I don't think it is a prayer rug. It is more like a balisht in size. It is very coursely woven, which I suppose would fit with a Taimani attribution.

I'm not sure whether to call the colour purple, violet, pink or "fuchsine". Whatever it is, the weaver liked it a lot and it is fortunate that it faded so completely.


Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-25-2007 01:24 PM:

Purple Haze

Hi all

James showed us a faded violet rug. Here's another -- an unidentified threadbare piece that's currently half covered by two filing cabinets. The violet is most conspicuous in the bottom corners of the field, but you'd hardly know it until you turned the rug over.

The first two pics were taken with flash, which flatters the piece, the third by natural light. In a few places some violet -- faded to a greyish hue -- remains visible on the surface. Where it has been shielded from light, the colour looks similar to the 'fuchsine' on the bag (the warps and wefts seem to be of pale brown wool, which must make some difference to tone).

I included the detail of the animals because I like them. I like the borders, too.



Posted by Jack Williams on 06-25-2007 01:40 PM:

"Bag'um Dano!" (uhhh..Hawai 5-Oh?)

Attached are two pictures of khorjins being used in the Turkmen populated portion of Afghanistan, circa about 1975. The site is interesting with a plethora of pictures.

I’ve tried to make Windsor's Khorjin NW Persian or Azerbaijani. But, am leaning Turkmen...and I think Gene’s proposal of “Arab-Baluch,” which has more recently been interpreted as "Kizil-bash Turkmen” Baluch [I cannot bring myself to say "Afshar"] from Ferdous, may have merit.

Regards, Jack

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-25-2007 01:45 PM:


Next time in Herat I'll take modern day versions of the above....Khurdjin's now are mostly used in the city on motorcycles and bicycles.

The problem of cotton warps and wefts though can you all postulate a Turkoman origin with all the cotton in the weave...unless you get into E.Turkistan..which is Turkoman too?? Now there is a Turkoman tribe around Ferdows...mainly called "Afshar." I'll leave it at that.


Windsor...that rug which is almost gone fascinates me..could you start a separate thread? otherwise we'll be here till the cows come home.

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-25-2007 01:57 PM:

Muddying the Waters

Hi Gene

You're right. Steve tells me that a thread isn't cut until nobody's tried to unravel it for ten days -- which means we could be here until next Christmas.

I'll get my coat.



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-25-2007 04:07 PM:

Dragons and Dogs

Nah..we're not through with the bag yet.. But I'd like to get some idea of where that fantastic...almost finished off..coat-of-arms-like dragons-and-dogs-rug came from. Why not just start a new thread with it?

We'll find the solution to the blood-red-ruby-bordered-bag in a few more posts..I'm sure.. Especially since Richard's objection to Afshar-Ferdows seemed to have had to do with cotton warps and wefts in Ferdows weavings...that we can handle.


ps. Windsor, your mention of "Purple Haze" just hit me. I (and Jack) actually were at the Atlanta Pop on 04 July 1970 and saw Jimmie Hendricks play "Star Spangled Banner" at midnight...that kind of explains some of these carpets and the interpretations thereof.

pps. That's an enigma as much as your kids think it was super "cool" that I was there 37 years after the fact ...well..I saw Louis Armstrong in concert in 1958..37 after his hey-day..can't say that I thought my Dad was "super cool" because he had grown up with Dixieland and big-band sounds. Is rock and roll - even the psychodelic versions of it - the Turkoman carpeteria of music?

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-25-2007 09:53 PM:

A khorjin (not cajun) gumbo...

Good Evening all, and a propitious one it may be….

Perhaps we will be able to somehow link Windsor's bag, the Baluch, and the Afshars all in one big New Orleans khorjin gumbo. (You suspected this was coming didn't you....?)

Below are 5 pictures of a certain “Arab-Baluch-Afshar” whatever, possibly from Ferdous, that arrived this weekend. In it you may see a resemblance of a border blossom perhaps analogous to the one on Windsor’s bag. While at it, notice some pictures showing the 3-D effect of corrosive dyes on black outlining…and how it would be reasonable to suppose it was either anticipated, or done on purpose.

The picture of the back has the best approximation of the red...which in the wool is more red than orange, especially against the grain. There is not a lot of red in this rug, and the red flowers are backgrounded against camel and corroded black, whidh cause them to seem to "glow." Color of back and front are approximate, front perhaps a little lighter color, not much.

I am no closer to solving Windsor’s bag (is anyone?). But I do enjoy the incredible colors, with that red butting up against the black outlining giving way to camel. Also the precision of the weave and the wool, etc. is even more pronounced in the newest pictures.

It is a high quality item…and so much more…er… intellectual than some of the textile odds and ends that seem to wash ashore on this site (Baluchotek) from strange places visited by members in abstentia, kind of like flotsam from the Mississippi River thrown onto the New Orleans batture (Just kidding John, I really like some of Sometimes it is good to see what an incredible amount available just in case I develop dementia.)

I just wish you could find some happiness and finally settle down, curl up with a nice Baluch rug or two, and give up that gadding about in the textile wilds.

Regards, Jack

Add PS: ...ahhhh, at last!... I just got word that two fine lynchpin Timuri Baluchi rugs will reside with me for a while...what a night, wait to you see these rugs...

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-26-2007 08:41 AM:


G'day Jack and all,

The effect of the corroded blacks on your most recent, Jack, is really quite astonishing...

We have all read of how the iron rich blacks of the past did corrode, however, personally I havent seen anything quite like the effect you show.

My modern Melas runner has clipped blacks which somewhat approximates the effect of yours in a minor way, but poorly done. And yours hasnt been 'done', its a natural phenomenen. Another I have, a not very old Ersari has a red ground which is disappearing beneath the surrounding colours, but far too slowly for me now, if the ultimate appearance is anything close to yours.

The reduced wool surrounding the ornaments really looks beautiful, and can only say what a pity that the light cords of the foundation show thru - maybe you can color them in!?

Sorry, had to say that, but anyway, it really is quite spectacular. Thanks for the look.


Posted by richard tomlinson on 06-26-2007 08:55 AM:

hi all

jack - i really cannot believe that weavers anticipated corrosive dyes, or deliberately set out to create a 3-D effect.

you say it is 'reasonable to suppose'? could you possibly elaborate?

richard tomlinson

Posted by Steve Price on 06-26-2007 09:03 AM:

Hi People

Like most, I think the embossed effect that corroded blacks give a rug is aesthetically pleasing. This is probably a common preference among ruggies and non-ruggies alike, since many commercially contracted rugs are clipped to give the same effect.

The notion that corrosive blacks were used intentionally because the weavers knew that the rug would become more attractive later comes up from time to time, and although it's interesting, I don't think there's much truth to it. They certainly knew that the corrosion would occur, but probably accepted it as an unavoidable problem of using black. It was abandoned soon after non-corrosive synthetic blacks hit the scene.

For one thing, it takes awhile for the wool to corrode, so it wouldn't make the rug more attractive when new, only after perhaps, 10 years (or more). Besides that, it created areas that would wear much faster than the rest. This must have been as undesirable to them as it is to us, and is probably the reason that it was seldom used in large blocks.


Steve Price

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-26-2007 11:07 AM:


Hi All,

Jack probably mentioned Baluch deliberately using corrosion as an art effect because I mentioned it to him. Jerry Anderson actually was the source...he said it to me back in karachi in the mid-1970's. I don't know whether he was serious...he said a lot of things...some questionable. I was pretty wide-eyed and innocent in those days. Still, I wouldn't underestimate art and matter how primitive.


Ill be starting a line pretty soon on Bahlul Baluch...with a carpet with corroded black the age of which i can document.

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-26-2007 11:29 AM:


Good Morning Richard.

Early (page 1) the subject of corroded black pile surfaced regarding the black outlining in Windsor's bag. As per Gene Williams, Jerry Anderson [and others] speculated that the Baluch group weavers purposefully used corrosion in designs, and that subject has surfaced occasionally on this board, always getting a rise out of Steve.

I posted this rug to propose a Windsor's-khorjin attribution for consideration. But as it is a particularly good example, I wanted to illustrate the spectacular effects corrosion can have. Given the intricate use of black outlining and the overall corrosion effect in this rug, it is easy to believe that the corrosive effect was anticipated when the rug was woven.

I doubt they deliberately put corrosive dyes into the rugs (but no one knows). Like Steve, I too would guess they knew the wool would corrode, and sometimes took that into account in the design. There is a philosophical difference between accommodating corrosion, and purposefully causing that corrosion.

But...more than the black dye, "Mak," corrodes. Brown wool will often corrode rapidly in Baluch rugs as will occasionally some blues. Marty mentioned red in one of his rugs.
On this board we have seen some old rugs that have several different levels of pile depending on color. Obviously there is a little more going on affecting corrosion, and the rate of corrosion, than simply acidic dye from oak trees or iron filings.

To date there doesn’t seem to be much scientific information about the corrosion cause (chemical) and how it proceeds. Most rug literature sources pretty much repeat the same mantra about Mak and its acidic nature. In the case of some rugs, there seems to be a true acidic corrosion with loss occurring with the rug unused in a trunk. Other cases seem to be related to an im-brittlement of the wool, needing the addition of stress to cause pile loss.

Jack Williams

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-26-2007 12:30 PM:

Hi all,

Although, as Monsieur tout le monde, I like the effect engendered by the corrosive black, I join you in saying that in was not intended otherwise it would have occurred much more frequently in workshop production… which is not the case (at least during the 19th c.). Hence the outline of motifs in these rugs is often done with indigo color instead which is, on the contrary, the most durable among all.

But again a question could be asked: Why these same workshops produced the so-called embossed rugs (pile/flat-weave) especially famous in Kashan, and the so-called “warjesteh” (high and low clipped pile) in Iran that one can encounter in some Tabriz, Saruq or Malayer rugs? Was that a question of fashion? Did it happen when the people started to appreciate corrosion effect. When did the tradition start in China? Etc… many questions that would probably deserve to be better studied.



Posted by James Blanchard on 06-26-2007 12:39 PM:

Hi all,

I would say that I am a bit undecided about corrosion and intended effect on rugs. On the one hand, I agree with Steve that weaving a rug in such a way as to achieve an aesthetic result in a few or several decades seems a bit farfetched. On the other hand, it seems very unlikely that weavers were unaware of corrosive dyes and their effect on a rug's aesthetics and durability. Most weavers must have seen enough old examples and were probably aware of which dyes caused this effect. Regardless, I agree that if the corrosion is not excessive, it can add much to the aesthetic quality of a rug.

I have a "Yaqub Khan" rug, which I think dates to the first half of the 20th century and not earlier, which has some nice effects due to corrosion. Interestingly, the first 1/4 of the rug had a non-corrosive brown, which tended to muddy the appearance of the adjacent colours, whereas the later 3/4 of the rug had a corrosive brown that not only created some relief, it also allowed the other colours to stand out more. Here are a couple of close-ups of the area with corroded brown.

By the way, I think this rug has some nice purple and perhaps even a violet? colour.



Posted by Steve Price on 06-26-2007 12:55 PM:

Hi James

It's hard to imagine that the weavers wouldn't have been aware of the corrosive effects of their black (and a few other) dyes. I'm sure that this is the reason that they used it mostly in outlines and in narrow strips - you won't find a large field of corroded black in many rugs. I saw one Caucasian prayer rug in a Skinner's auction many years ago that had a corroded black field that had virtually disappeared. That's the only example that I can ever recall seeing or hearing about.


Steve Price

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-26-2007 01:08 PM:

just for info

Hi Steve,

There was a rug production between Syria and Lebanon that featured only two colors: black and red or black and cochineal-crimson, and often, especially for the spandrels, the background was corrosive black.



Posted by James Blanchard on 06-26-2007 01:08 PM:

Hi Steve,

I think I tend to agree with you, that weavers were aware of the corrosive effects of dyes, and tended to minimize its use as a result. The result has therefore been mostly positive. Whether they deliberately tried to create this effect seems a less obvious conclusion, because the effect would take such a long time to occur. I would also think that if they were going for the corrosive effect, they would probably have favoured dark warps and wefts, which would not show through the corroded areas. A good red or brown weft has preserved the overall look of many old and worn rugs, with no marker pens required. I wonder if that was intentional. Otherwise, why use more expensive dyed wool for the base of a rug?

Jack, nice Ferdows rug. I like this type, and the corrosion on yours gives it additional appeal as you have noted. I also tend to like the ones of the this type that have a rich pink in some of the floral elements. I think it looks great with a mid-blue and camel palette.


Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-26-2007 01:29 PM:

Hi James,

I appreciated your thought of the colored wefts, I would like to know whether you read that somewhere or it is your own?
Following the same idea, I have a small old black-wefted sort-of-yastik where undyed (white) wefts only pass under the white end-borders!

I too liked Jack’s piece but all of you who are talking about the corrosion effects, did you notice the (up-side down in the pic.) tea-pot figure?..



Posted by Gene Williams on 06-26-2007 01:34 PM:



Nice purplish Baluch rug and I've seen that type of outline. ...and again that rug or bag and the purple in it looks very Taimani. The designs, the color... Is the knot count around 50-60?


ps. Camille, I didn't notice the "tea pot" but do now. Looks like a Caucasian dragon....Jerry after several Red Lables (we drank cheap in those days) might have said it was a Viking (Swedish Viking..i.e. Vanagrian...Kiev) dragon ship. (Lets not go there...been there once on Turkotek..remember the Kazak tribe which had converted to Judaism, was defeated by the Vanagrians about the 10th century and fled East....).

pps. and as for corrosion, in Karachi I got hold of a couple of Mushwani cradles and a camel ground prayer rug. They had corrosion which strikingly outlined the internal designs. I gave two to a "repairer" who promptly replaced the corroded areas...the result was HORRIBLE. I really think those weavers knew what they were doing...they'd only used those dyes for hundreds of years.

Posted by James Blanchard on 06-26-2007 02:01 PM:

Camille, I haven't read anything about the use of coloured wefts to preserve the appearance of worn rugs. It is just an observation I have made; worn rugs look better with wefts that match the field in some way.

Jack, it is more finely knotted than I would expect from a Taimani, about 90 kpsi. It has a typical Yaqub Khan design.


Posted by Gene Williams on 06-26-2007 02:13 PM:



That knot count puts it out of Taimani range and back into Yakub Khani...which as I understand things is Timuri..right? Anyway, any chance of seeing the whole rug?

And James, what's your latest take on Windsor's khurdjin? Any new thoughts? (I guess we're all waiting for Windsor to confirm its AsL or as Richard has postulated...turkish knotted (somehow this evening I can't spell symmettricalll).


Posted by James Blanchard on 06-26-2007 03:57 PM:

Hi Jack,

I've shown it before, so I apologize for re-posting it.

I think you can see how the lower 1/4 or so looks a bit less colourful than the upper 3/4. That is because the brown wool has not corroded in the lower segment.

I have included a picture of the back to show the structure, and the purple.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-26-2007 09:59 PM:

Hey folks,

Yes, that embossed effect resulting from corrosion of the black is one of the many charms of the Baluch rug. It happened elsewhere, too, but one thinks first of the Baluch in that regard.

As to whether the weavers intended it, I am emboldened to offer an opinion because, frankly, I have no doubt that my rank speculations are ever so much more acute than any of yours.

I agree with those who opine that the weavers must have been well aware of the effect, by and large. Since there are born artists and creative souls everywhere, I am sure there were weavers who took the factor into account in the weaving of their rugs. At the same time, I doubt there was any institutionalized use of the phenomenon as a weaving practice or tool. I agree with Steve that knowledge of the phenomenon probably had a moderating effect on the amount of open black (brown) space most of the weavers would incorporate in their work.

I do have an old Kurd rug with great big boteh (I'm always looking for the dovetail topic) on a black corroded field. If I can get it photographed, I may post it, as the corrosion played a funny role in the acquisition. It is in almost as good condition as the Anatolian prayer rug I posted on the other thread, demonstrating once again that John isn't the only TurkoTekker who approaches the subject with a good dose of leniency.

Jack, I like your Ferdous rug, but I don't see it as even a third cousin to Windsor's bag, whatever the knots turn out to be. Nice rug, though.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-26-2007 10:03 PM:

P. S.: Although I love a good "embossed effect" Baluch, or what have you, and I can also appreciate a nice Persian city rug, those slick embossed jobs Camille referred to, Kashan and Tabriz, etc., leave me quite cold. I think the fault is mine, somehow.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-26-2007 10:49 PM:

lasting corrosion


I agree on some points. But...certainly if a rug had been made with large amounts of black corrosive dye, the rug was probably kaput quickly. I.E.: rugs with lots of black might have been made, they are just not around anymore. Opinion Alert...I think most weavers were aware of the corrosion...some took it into account, usually the artistic ones, a lot couldn't visualize it or just didn't...because rugs really don't last that long. But, wouldn't you agree that my rug below (sorry, repeat post) seems to have a goodly percentage of corrosive dye...though the weaver may not have known it.

I would dearly like to make Windsor's bag into something Azerbaijan...I don't know why. But, consider... the cotton-cotton, use of the camel ground field, the crenelated border, sparing use of just a few knots of fuchine dyed wool for accent (and it looks like the weaver ran out of yarn), the disciplined weave and design, and even the appearence of the what remains of the center connection between the bags (is this correct?).... When the totality of what we know is piled up, don't you think it might just as well be Central Asia-East Persian/Turkmen?

I don't know where else to go.


PS I have a two room-size floor coverings, a commercial Heriz, probably about 70 years old, and an older worn Mahal with a pretty cool border. I have no problem with commercial Persian rugs. I don't care for chinese, modern art deco, incised-embrodered, Elvis painted on silk or velvet, shag, checkerboard, or custom made rugs.

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-26-2007 11:16 PM:

Hi Jack,

Regarding your Afghan bags a few posts ago, take that:

...and THAT (by the way, this type is generally attributed to the Hazara, not the Turkoman):

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-27-2007 12:43 AM:

Awesome Chuck, you de man. And you covered both bases pretty darn well. Finding that mixed technique, camel ground Ersari was an especially good piece of work. Yours? Nice, both of them.

Actually the photographer spent unusual amount of ink discussing those bags, including comments on age, etc. I suspect he may be afflicted with the illiness. any chance is that you in the 1975 picture with the hazara bag, perhaps cleverly disquised, on some collecting mission?

Regards, Jack

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-27-2007 07:50 AM:

Hi Chuck,

Is that pile along the bottom edges of the first image? Nice bags.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-27-2007 07:59 AM:

Hi Jack,

I'm inclined to agree with your geographical assignment. If the knots turn out to be symmetrical, there are other possibilities. When in doubt, the Kurds, as they say. Crennelated borders are ubiquitous, aren't they?

About your Ferdous Baluch. If you're suggesting that maybe the weaver wouldn't have spread out the black that much, had she envisioned the corrosion to come, perhaps so. I have a "Mina Khani" variant model with similar nice effects, but with one or two spots just a little too "sculpted." Marty suggested coloring those places in. We can't do that, of course.

James's thought about weavers choosing foundation colors that would provide a margin of forgiveness of wear is interesting. I'd never looked at it that way.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-27-2007 11:35 AM:



I like the attempt to blame the bag on the Kurds..There's a bunch of them in khurrasan too...right near Afshars, Baluch and Turkomen tribes. I think they used cotton in warps and wefts too. If its Turkish we declare victory?


Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-27-2007 12:45 PM:


Sounds pretty good to me. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"

Rich Larkin

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-27-2007 03:54 PM:

Don't rush

Hi all,

If the piece is symmetrically knotted, there are many possibilities and the most expected should be Hamadan and especially Serab but some of you are already racing before the rules are out…


I guess you must be kind of tired of our debate.
One final inquiry: Is it possible for you to take a close-up (macro) picture of the bottom of the pile after completely folding the front horizontally between 2 rows of knots, or vertically between 2 knots?

Regards to all


Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-27-2007 09:06 PM:

Hi Jack,

Yes, these are mine. I have quite a bit of Afghan and Uzbek stuff, most of which was acquired while living (for a long time) in Saudi. The both bags have some nice color, in detail. And you're right - in twenty years I probably saw 3 or 4 mixed technique khorjins from Afghanistan, and I own two of them.

Rich, yes it is pile. Closeups available if anyone is actually that interested. Here is another one, made by a member of the Really Rough Looking Khorjin Weavers Guild of Northeastern Afghanistan (whose skills exceed my own by a long, long way...):

Also, Windsor, a clear very close closeup image of the back of the piled area on your bag would be really helpful.

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-27-2007 09:54 PM:

Hey Chuck,

When and where did you live in Saudi Arabia? I lived in Riyadh in 66-68, when I contracted rug fever. It's parasitic, as you know, and although it can subside for years, it is apt to erupt when least expected.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-27-2007 10:05 PM:


Fantastic. Good or bad weave those are some unusual bags. I had noticed the mixed technique bag in the had the photographer. He commented on it in his writeup, which was unusual. It didn't occur to me that someone on the board would have an analagous example.

That last khorjin you posted shows one of the reasons I think maybe Windsor's bag is from eastern Persia, Afganistan, and could be Turkmen origin, or perhaps Ferdous, or Chahar Amiq. In your piece, I notice the connecting weave between the top of the two bags is quite narrow, and characteristically squared. I suspect this khorjin was designed to be carried by man, not animal, because of that narrow connection piece.

Windsor's bag has a similar narrow squared addition at the top. Though the second bag of his khorjin is missing, for some reason I have had the impression that it too was connected directly to that narrow squared piece, making it similar in construction to yours.

Regards, Jack

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-27-2007 10:55 PM:

Jack, et all,

Yes, his bag is clearly enigmatic, at least amongst the Turkotekateers. I've stayed on the side because I don't know what to think, or say.

I can't put my finger on it, but it has a "northwestern Afghanistan" character to me, but not Turkoman. I want to see a better closeup of the back. The existing one implies that there is quite a bit of warp depression, which is rather unusual for Baluchi pieces. It's a little coarse as well, although well within Baluchi range.

The selvage-like black areas look like Afghan work, but the pile (to me) looks thick and dense, more like refugee work than nomadic goods. But the kilim back looks like typical back-country weaving.

Anyway, I'm strongly indecisive on this one.

Regarding the over-the-shoulder khorjins, don't forget that donkeys are pretty common in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, and they have skinny, bony, narrow backs that would easliy accomodate a bag with a relatively narrow median strip.

FYI, mine has been stitched together and may have been broader in better days. I'll send an image tomorrow.

Rich - Dhahran.


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-27-2007 10:56 PM:

Ch Ch Ch Changes


There are examples of old Anatolian rugs with the weft color changing from one area to another so they would match the pile color. The red field of a Mudjur prayer rug, for example, would have red wefts and the rest would be white.
And, for what it is worth, my take on the original bag in this thread was that it looks Khamseh to me......


Patrick Weiler

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-27-2007 11:53 PM:

Connect the squares (?) not dots...

Good evening Chuck, Patrick, et. al. Chuck, while this discussion meanders, I would love to see some details of your Khorjin, especially the mixed weaves.

Here are two pictures comparing the bags "connection" in the khorjins of Chuck and Windsor. I had noticed this earlier in a Baluch khorjin of mine, but wasn't sure if this was common in just this region. I'll chance looking foolish (again) and note the resemblance. (add note later: The above is probably not germane being common in lots of rugdom places. I now see how it is all conneted, a "squared piece" sewn to each bag, then connected to a center piece, see Shahsevan bag, )

Also, the fine, "reciprocating, crenelated border" of Windsor's bag might not be totally ubiquitous, though the kurds seem to use the motif. It does occur regularly in Baluch, Charar Aimq, Arab-Baluch, sometimes Turkmen. In those rugs, that border frequently seems like Windsor's, the narrow, "spear-point with hole" form seen on top of the two tombs in Khotan and Yarkand I posted earlier. The border even occurs in some internal devices of the Timuri (?) et. al. see below.

Patrick, Khamseh weaving (I assume you refer to the S.Persian khamseh confederation, not Khamseh village) might fit structurally, but I have some doubts about design and color. I've not seen this very simple type designs, even from the Turkmen portions of that "tribe," except maybe in sofrasor sleeping rugs. I don't recall many camel grounds on rugs from Fars Province, except maybe Luri. (That statement will guarrentee a flood of such examples, I'm sure).

I recall one of Tom Cole's sayings about Baluch, "palette is provenance." Of course there isn't a lot of "palette" in Windsor's khorjin, but what there is has a look more of Khurrisan to upper Amu Darya than South Persia, at least to me. In the rug weaving world, camel ground bags seem to be most prolific in that area. Heck, you can't move without tripping over a camel ground balisht or something.

Chuck, I could be wrong, but I don't see Windsor's khorjin as post WWII, or refugee camp work. It seems too "un-commercial" in its simplicity...yet very well woven. It is in remarkably good condition however, except for the black corrosion which has almost run it's course.

Regards, Jack

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-28-2007 05:11 AM:

Back again

Hi all

Camille and Chuck, I'll try to post the images you asked for, but my camera doesn't take good close-ups.

Patrick, were you being serious with the Khamseh attribution? I have a Khamseh bird rug, and that piece has a completely different 'handle' -- characteristically floppy, whereas the bag's structure is stiff and tight. Doesn't one of your bags -- shown on this forum in a discussion with Tom Cole some years ago -- have a similar crenellated border and closing loops?



Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-28-2007 10:45 AM:

Bag by Popular Demand


I take my hat off to you for sheer determination and bloodymindedness.

Chuck asked for some closeups of the piled back. These are as close as I can get.

While looking at the back, I noticed something I'm nervous about mentioning. Ages ago I was asked if the camel-coloured yarn was different from the red. I looked only at the front and said 'no'. There is a slight difference in texture, but nothing that couldn't be accounted for by the use of different dyes. On the back, though, the brown field shows lots of fine, loose hairs which you might be able to make out for yourselves. I squinted along the length of the bag, and these hairs don't appear in the red areas. Remember how someone -- sorry, my memory doesn't stretch to a name -- said that the back of his camel-hair bag had fine loose ends...?

No, let's not go there again.

Camille, again, this is the best I can do with images of the piled area.

If they don't show the knot type, I'll just have to take the bag to a dealer for an opinion. (Now why didn't I think of that before?)



Posted by Steve Price on 06-28-2007 11:05 AM:

Hi Windsor

I probably reduced the size of your photos too much to show all the detail they had when you sent them to me. The file sizes were enormous and they had to be reduced to some degree. I think I overdid it, and I apologize for that.

The first one with the pile bent back to show the knot heads is clear enough to identify the knots as symmetric, though.

It's hard to conclude anything about the difference between the red and the camel color as seen on the back, except that there's a difference. The camel color might be undyed wool from sheep of that color, or there might be something else that makes the fibers different - wool sources, dying process, etc.


Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-28-2007 11:29 AM:


Hi Steve

Thanks for settling that. And sorry to everyone for misleading you from the start (actually, several of you were rightly dubious about my asymmetric claim).

I suppose that could see the quarry bolting in a different direction.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-28-2007 11:32 AM:

Hey Folks,

Good gawd!!! The monitor at my office shows these images very dark, so I could be wrong, and I hope I am. But it looks to me as though the first image is symmetrically knotted, yet the others look asymmetrical. If so, it must be a conspiracy to make us crazy, and j'accuse Windsor of being a conscious agent of this conspiracy. Either that, or the bag was started by a small group of Kizil Ajaks who were overrun by Azerbaijani Afshars, who (among other things) took over the weaving.

The second and following images are the darkest. What say you all?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Steve Price on 06-28-2007 11:41 AM:

Hi Rich

I think the first image of the series with the piece folded is folded along the warps. The other three appear to be folded along the wefts, so only half of each knot head is visible.

And, yeah, the third and fourth are darker than the first two. Unlike the loss of detail, that's not my doing.

Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-28-2007 11:57 AM:


Hi Steve and Richard

The first image you're referring to shows the bag folded from side to side -- across the warps. The three that follow show the bag folded from top to bottom -- along the warps.



Posted by Steve Price on 06-28-2007 12:03 PM:

Hi Windsor

Yup - my choice of words was bad. I was trying to say that warps were folded in the first one, the wefts were folded in the other three.

Thanks for clarifying.

Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-28-2007 12:35 PM:

Hi guys,

Yup, that's it. I should have got the point on the folding axis, as the first image of that orientation shows the flatwoven closure tabs to the left. So I withdraw the accusation against Windsor relative to the conspiracy.

Now that we're clear on the knots, I hereby withdraw from the allocation task force, as I still don't know who wove it. It just isn't a big bafflement now. All I can say is, anybody who wants to get my vote has to adequately account for the squashed wefts.

About the camel colored wool. The piece is a pretty good example of the sort of thing that leads one to think that wool is different from the other colors, what with the fuzz and the mottling of the color at close view. However, I'm also impressed by the testimonials from those who say camel wool is of a different quality from what we seem to be seeing here. Steve's idea that it could be some other wool, such as undyed sheep's wool, sounds like a good line of inquiry to me.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-28-2007 01:00 PM:


Thanks Windsor for your fruitful efforts.

The first picture shows well a symmetric knot and for me the piece could be Malayer but I am more tempted to say Serab because of the slight depression showing at back.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-28-2007 01:39 PM:

Hi Camille:

Is there a tradition of weaving this kind of utilitarian item among weavers from the Malayer area? Although I take your point about the occurrence of plain edges among old pieces from that area, I think of the design repertoire there as being much more Persianate. What do you say about that? Also, I think of Malayer as a single weft town. I get the impression this piece is double wefted. Maybe I'm wrong about that.

In addition, I think of both Serab and Malayer fabrics to be relatively much more "flexible" than what Windsor describes this one to be. I attribute the stiff handle to the fact that the knots were hammered into the warps very hard, resulting in the fact that the wefts are mostly hidden. The Serabs of my experience tend to show much more weft at the back, and to be pliable. I do agree that you find this sort of partial depression of warps in Serab pieces.


Rich Larkin

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 06-28-2007 02:02 PM:

Hi Rich,
THAT wool yarn looks just like undyed first clip Karakul, of the color the Russians call "Rue". Sue

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-28-2007 04:00 PM:

"The Carpet of Belshazzar"

Good evening all.

I have loved every moment of this exploration, and I am truly taken with Windsor’s khorjin. It would please me greatly if the field were actually found to be camel wool.

For evening enjoyment, here is something for everyone, ”The Carpet of Belshazzar” by Robert Chambers. A quote from it recalls one aside within this discussion, “...the violet tinted April dusk...”

“Ten thousand thousand stars shine down on Babylon
the desert well reflects but one...”

Jack Williams

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-28-2007 05:16 PM:

"The Carpet of Belshabijar?"

Another short story featuring Windsor's bag. "The Carpet of Belsha-Bijar."

Near Bijar are groups of Kurdish and supposedly ex-Kizilbash Turkmen (Afshari if you will). Use of camel ground in rugs is known in the Bijar area and also production of bags and utility items. And, Bijar area rugs are known to have some cotton foundations, and for packed down wefts, and the Kurds use that border. Could it be Kurdish-Bijar? Or do we just concede the field to a mystical origin?


Posted by Steve Price on 06-28-2007 05:35 PM:

Hi Jack

If you hold your ear against that camel color field, you'll hear the sound of a sandstorm if it's really camel wool.

Or, so I've been led to believe.

Steve Price

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-28-2007 05:49 PM:

Hi Richard,

I too believe the bag is double-wefted and I don't think any depression can occur if it was single knowing that in this case the tension of the weft should always be the same at each shoot and then sinusoidal.

As for the attribution, Malayer for the border style much more than for the technique although I don’t know how rigid and acurate this attribution should be especially when combined to another name to point towards a village in the area, and I don’t think until today someone undertook researches and published a serious reference on that district.

One should take into consideration that the piece is a bag and for the pile to remain in this condition I doubt it was used on a floor, because walking on it would have somewhat affected the height of the pile as well as the firmness of the texture..
Another point related to that is the question of humidity that the piece could have absorbed 30 years ago and hardened the texture for ever.

Town or village saddle-bags were never produced in same numbers as in tribes (that often produced them for the trade) of course but they existed and many have been published: Philip Bamborough, Homer’s “Truly tribal”, Reinich’s “Bags”, Benardout’s “small pieces” are a few examples and I am often surprised to discover in Iran village saddle-bags I had never seen before.



Posted by Jack Williams on 06-28-2007 06:11 PM:

How to be POSITIVE it is camel wool


The best way to be sure that something is camel wool is simply to purchase it. Pre-purchase it was sheep, post purchase, definitely camel.


Posted by Gene Williams on 06-28-2007 06:19 PM:

Opinion coming:

Hi all,

Sue's comment on the clip resonates...and for me It still sings Khurresan...


PS. by the way for Chuck and Jack: I have a mixed technique flatweave/pile Baluch bag at'll have to wait a couple of months.

PPS. by the way, Chuck and Jack, I looked at a lot of working donkeys in Afghanistan Khorrasan..and those small saddle bags aren't used on them as far as I can tell...horses, bycycles, motorcycles, mules... yes ...donkeys no. Working donkey bags look remarkably like size and design. I've seem them being used to carry soil from digs, concrete block, seed, whatever...but they are very large, made like saddlebags in pairs and are the length of the side of a donkey. I know Juwals are called sometimes "camel bags"..from what I've seen..I'd say they were used on donkeys, not camels.

PPS. 0200 here and I keep forgetting what I wanted to say...I bought some of John's Islay. Here's a couple of more observations for better or worse: The corrosion in the bag means to me that the black has to be at least 40-50 years old. I base this on a carpet bought new in 1975..with similar black crenelated battlements borders which has similar corrosion but with a much shorter clipped pile. That's assuming the bag wasn't packed carpet..which I'll post at some point..was used regularly on the floor for 20 years..was packed away for 12..So it was walked on if that makes a difference as Jack maintains (although I always assumed the iron just sort of ate its way into the carpet like rust on my 1986 CJ-7 Jeep fenders). The pile of the bag looks in good shape...thicker than Baluch..again bringing to mind Kurd...(Rich, is the knotting too fine for Kurd?). The bag had to be used though...holes in the back...separated from its pair...unless that were done deliberately...

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-28-2007 06:27 PM:

Hi Camille,

Of course, you're right about the need for at least one extra weft to get the warp depression. Not to harp on one issue, but I find it hard to attribute the thing to Malayer on the strength of a plain border and perhaps camel colored wool when little else suggests that provenance. Both of those characteristics are not very rare elsewhere. I do agree with you that there is probably a much greater variety of bag formats out there from small village settings than is commonly suspected.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-28-2007 06:46 PM:

Hi Richard,

...and what about Serab, the first generation:

- Cotton foundation.
- Double-wefted.
- Camel color.
- Knot nature and depression.
- Fuchsine.
- Teeth (medakheel) border.
- Open large border.

All are features that can be observed in an early 20th century piece.

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-28-2007 07:23 PM:


Serab is more plausible. My sense of the weight and feel of Windsor's bag, and the (narrow) range of colors puts me off Serab, but it is as good a proposal as any. I agree that the bag is probably earlier in the 20th century, not older.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 06-28-2007 08:59 PM:

Just the Design

The only reason I mentioned Khamseh is because the endless knot-type design feature in the centor of Windsor's bag is common on Khamseh bags. Here are a few:

On this last piece, the knot arms are entirely gone and only the interstitial diamonds remain.

There was a sixth photo of a Khamseh rug with this endless knot in the middle, but it did not appear when the link was inserted, so I suppose it is lost in cyberspace somewhere.
The construction of village pieces in the first third of the 20th century was perhaps evolved from the style of the nomadic predecessors, so cotton foundations may have replaced wool, and a more simple design could have been used rather than the quite busy type favored by the nomads.
Serab is a reasonable suggestion, but I am not familiar with a Serab tribal bagface tradition. Kurdish rural, perhaps.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-29-2007 05:49 AM:

Hello Patrick,

I liked your bags especially the first that seems to be a small chanteh: Well framed with nice design proportions.
The central position of the motif in Windsor's bag and its resemblance to the infinite knot let one think of it but finally it is the same.
I guess never cotton occurred in Khamseh pile weavings not even in the 2nd third of the 20th c.

I am not familiar with a Serab tribal bagface tradition.

Neither am I Patrick, even with non-tribal-, but a saddle-bag or any bag doesn't necessarily have to be tribal. We are often inclined to give a tribal attribution to bags with wool foundation while these could well be the work of sedentary villagers who have no link to any tribal constitution (numerous examples from Turkey and the Caucasus).

The village saddle-bags that I still remember having seen are for instance from Feraghan, Malayer, Bakhtiar (pile on cotton), Mazlaghan, Meshkin, Alamdar (Hamadan district), Karadja and many others, but I still say these are not easy to find as they were all produced in small numbers and for personal use like is mostly the case of Windsor's.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-29-2007 07:34 AM:

Hi Camille,

Now I'm getting in step with you. There are lots of possibilities as to where Windsor's bag could have been produced that aren't particularly well known for this type of weaving. It is probably one of them. When I find these odd bags, I usually call them "Kurdish." I'm probably wrong much of the time.

Gene, I just picked up your question whether I think the knotting was too fine for Kurds. I don't, but then, I am no expert on Kurds. I use most of these terms bluntly, derivatively, and from a great distance. They sound impressive when I say them, though.

Patrick, I love your Khamseh bags. I don't see them anywhere near Windsor's item, though.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 06-29-2007 08:14 AM:

Hi Richard,

I still retain my suggestion about Serab (or Malayer/Feraghan).
The names I stated are the rural areas from where I already observed saddle-bags and I am sure there are others I don't recall, just to confirm that they existed in Iran.



Posted by Marty Grove on 06-29-2007 09:50 AM:


G'day Windsor and all,

It has been quoted here recently that 'colour is provenance'. Perhaps that is far too broad a statement, however we have reached almost an impasse by dissection so to speak, not having been able to reach a conclusion even after combining/analysing all the specifics known to hand about this piece.

Maybe all we are left with is being able to come up with the people, district or dyer who knows, has seen, or has an example of the specific red which glows from the border of it. Gene likened it to a very real gemstone best ruby colour which I thought could be named 'mogok' for the famed best pidgeons blood rubies from Burmah. Surely this colour red is so different that it could be remarkable, meaning someone in the greater weaving world has seen/and or remarked on this colour red and just possibly might, might know where it originates. Calling all colourists, calling all colourists ...

The field colour resembles the wool in the minor borders of a hamadan type (suggestive of Kolyai) which belongs to me, that I have always wanted to be camel - regardless, undyed handspun karakul sheeps wool (with minor kemp) named 'rue' (thanks for that appellation) is a more likely explanation for it. Mine also has a very different appearance and with lots of fine fibre scraggles all over it, nothing like the wool beside it, looking at it on the back. The two types of wool, in Windsor's bag and my hammy kolyai in my estimation come from the same animal - just what, I shrug my shoulders

My offering,

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-29-2007 09:53 AM:


PS. Jack, thanks for the story 'The Carpet ..etc) which will give me a lot of pleasure during the next hour or so.

With anticipation,

Posted by Martin Grove on 06-29-2007 10:32 AM:

G'day Patrick and all,

Referring to the uppermost of your last set of bags, the one which has a different central component for each of the two bags. Perhaps it really has nothing to do with the bag we are determining but there is something about it that struck me, which is - the field centre has a design very reminiscent of the field element in an old Turkman Zahir Shahi prayer rug I have shown here on Turkotek.

Is this an indication of the age of the bag you show Patrick, or is it a fairly common 'turkman' element which has been usurped and utilised by many of the weaving groups over the last hundred years or so?

Sorry if this is at cross purposes to Windsor's thread, but the similarity struck me so forcefully that I had to ask before I forgot.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-29-2007 10:39 AM:

Hi Marty,

You've seen it too, I mean that different kind of camel-brown wool. But the institute of textile something or other won't let us have our camel wool. It must come off some kind of beastie. I know that I've eyeballed several (one-humped) camels that looked like just the sort that would shed that kind of wool. No doubt, things change when you get into the lab. Anyway, enjoy your piece, whatever critter it was that sacrificed to make it possible.


Rich Larkin

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-29-2007 10:56 AM:

Thanks Richard - While its true that I often sniff my rugs, it cant be said to date that I LISTEN to them also, regardless of Steves indicator toward positivety re camel wool although I do admit when in the deepest bush I may sit around the campfire, smoke in one hand and large Barrier Reef shell to ear in the other, just refreshing and reminding myself that there is a different, oceanic environment from the hot and dry distant place currently (then) being experienced...

And also, yes I agree with you that amoungst the one humpers, the variety of hues la camel - from browns to lightest beige is very evident. Determining whether the wool which we so desperately might wish to be, really is the fascinating and romantic wool from Allah's chosen animal, the camel, is a difficult quest


Posted by Jack Williams on 06-29-2007 11:11 AM:

bizarre bazaar bijars...handle firmly

Hello all.

Marty, your note about that color is a good one. Camille and all, thanks for sharing your obviously deep knowledge about Persian carpets in the Azerbaijan region. I am not confident of my familiarity with the intricacies of weaving in that area.

However, I'm not sure the Hamadan-Sarouk-Serab-Fereghan argument takes into account the handle of this piece. Windsor has said that it is so weft packed it is difficult to bend..and vice grips were apparently employed to open the warp and weft. Also, the pile seems unusually long for the above areas.

To me that could indicate Bijar area. A quick look at Bijars indicates they commonly have a lot of the characteristics of this bag...village origin (rather than workshop) and with both Kurd and Turkmen weaving roots. That border might indicate one or the other.

Here is what one source said about "Bijar" weaves, see:

"...Texture: A very dense hard pile, cut medium to high, though old and antique finely woven pieces tend to be clipped lower....

"Foundation: Warp is of cotton or, less frequently, goat's wool. Weft is cotton and both warp and weft yarn is tightly spun. In old and antique pieces, warp and weft are of wool...

"Knots: The majority of BIJAR rugs have Turkish knots. However, Persian knotted pieces are also found...

"Although the small Kurdish town of BIJAR in the province of Kermanshah has hardly ten thousand inhabitants....a clear distinction...[is]... made between the products of the BIJAR town workshops and the Tekab-BIJAR, which are woven by an Afshari tribe that settled in the area...

"BIJAR rugs have a very unique weave that uses the symmetrical Turkish knot and double weft compacted very tightly, thus making them heavy and durable rugs....

"...Most BIJAR rugs are woven by Kurd and Afshar weavers of the Gerus region around the town of BIJAR in western IRAN. Bijar carpets are divided into the following formats:
• Traditional Bijars (Bijars with rose motifs)
• Halvai and Tahjavi-Bijars
• Afshar Bijars..."

The use of symmetrical knot opened up a lot of other possibilities including up into the Cacausus Mts. Despite all the above, I havn't quite abandoned the Kurrisan region. Marty's note about the unique, fiery red is a good one. In my opinion, the best reds are from much further east than Bijar, and as I said before, that area seems to be the "home" of camel ground bags.

Regards, Jack

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-29-2007 01:06 PM:

G'day Jack,

Thanks, your Bihar entrant is a winner if looked at from the description just shown and if Windsor's bag carries all those characteristics...Those plastic pliers were a bit dramatic an illustration of just how hard some Bihar's are, what they call 'iron rugs', so I have read.

But I didnt think my ruby comment warranted so expressive a 'bold' font when after all, really it was your brother Gene's.


Posted by Steve Price on 06-29-2007 01:17 PM:

Hi Marty

I don't know whether it's true, but I learned that Bijar rugs were called "iron rugs" because of their durability - they reputedly "wore like iron".

Only ten more posts until this thread reaches the coveted 200 post landmark.

Steve Price

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-29-2007 01:28 PM:

G'day Steve and all,

Would that I had an iron hard Bihar then for my porch. The dogs camp rug in the entry is too soft for a wipe rug, when durability is necessary.

Besides, Ive always have been afraid that surely someone would swipe any oriental rug which we had thoughtfully left outside the house...

As for 2000 Steve, no trouble with there; miles of interest in the thread because it holds so many things which endlessly fascinates carpet lovers.

The things make us smile!


Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-29-2007 01:57 PM:


Somewhere in here, I said it could have come from anywhere, so I can't very well say it can't be Bijar. And Jack's references suggest there are different kinds of Bijars. But most Bijars, to me, include a heavy weft thread, contributing to that stiff iron handle. This one seems a little different.

BTW, I used to think of the Afshar as a shy little obscure tribe that learned a lot from the neighboring Khamseh and wove a few rugs. Turns out they're weaving everything in sight. Afshar Bijars! Really!?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Marty Grove on 06-29-2007 02:07 PM:


G'day all,

What I think that Jack's latest corrosponding discovery has given us, is the idea that tribal weavers were employing their craft from isolated pockets throughout the breadth of their borders, the people cast asunder from a myriad of horrific circumstances in their ancient world.

Some of the remnants of the large tribal groups such as Afshars might band together as the Muslim people today do, sharing customs etc, wherever they came to succour, and readily take on the useful characteristics of the people they were living amoungst, and keeping certain other identifiable elements which we discover today.

Why not a characteristic Bihar type, modified by the Afshar, such people being a blend of resettled Afshar from whatever era, encompassing the Bihar mold?


Posted by Gene Williams on 06-29-2007 04:52 PM:

Polyglot cross polination

Hi all,

First...Marty on your comment on Jack's "discovery" of pigeon-blood red.... Well...all you guys are out buying carpets, obsessing about them...I'd dare say there are not too many of us who actually bought their spouse/gf a ruby... Hey...From experience, buying a pigeon-blood ruby works better than a carpet!!

Second, Afghanstan is an absoultely wonderful test laboratory for the fracturing of tribal identity while retaining same.. You can have Taimanis living in the same village with Sarbani pashtoons and Tadjiks, and Timuris and Charhar Aimaqs (If you don't accept the Taimanis being part of the latter). The Caucausus is absolutely the same. So why not Iran. We've already seen an example of this in N. Khurrasan..N. of Mashhad..where the Turkoman (sunni) slaving raids for 400 years forced full scale reorgnization of the structure of the country..with strong Shah's moving:
-- Turkoman tribes, both "Kizilbash" and Suni
-- Kurds moved in to protect to border (1580..some say earlier)
-- Baktiari moved in likewise (1740)
-- Baluch moved in likewise (1740)
-- "Els" (black tent users) of all types, Turkoman slavers, whatever.
-- Timuri moving all over the place
-- Baluch raiding

I'd expect the rest of Persia to be pretty much the same for 400 years in the to speak...especially around Kerman...except in certain particular areas..overwhelmingly of one tribe and relatively remote. I mean, the shahsevan is a totally fabricated new "Turkoman" tribe by Shah Abbas along the order of "Come to Daddy..I'll pay you and then you don't have to deal with tha cASSin who is chief of your tribe"!!

Take a look at Jerry's interview...something he always tried to say to us (and we made fun of him over it at the time)..when confronted by a design he wasn't comfortable with he'd say something like.."Yakub Khani girl married off to an Arab Baluch..." or some such....laugh..we certainly did..but in hindsight at least he tried to explain the interrelationships of the tribes in some rational manner...

For me opinion on Windsor's bag now seems to be whittled down to these major groups (post sk -symmetric knot - revelation thanks to Richard for the most part):
-- Camille: Serab? (or Malayer/Feraghan)? the end Turkish (turkoman) from Azaibaijan area?
-- Jack1: Bijar...maybe by an Afshar tribe living in the Bijar area...maybe a Bijar girl married to an Afshar or vice versa?. Possibly Martian...Men-in-Black known to operate in the area.
-- Richard: Have to deal with the hammered wefts before convincing him..but until he can feel the fabric...default to "blame it on the Kurds."
-- Patrick: Khamseh?..I mean Kamseh is Turkoman Shi'i..Kizilbash..tribal...related to qashkai and afshar right?
-- Chuck: WWII?
-- Gene: Khurrasan. an amaglamation of Turkoman, Kurd, baluch...since its got Turkish knots..Kurd is as good as any...(ok ok..I love the ruby color..postulated E Turkistan in its assymetric mode...I like sword and sorcery fantasy and Great Game lit too.)
-- Marty: Khurrasan-Central Asia...but possibly other Turkoman tribals..from someone who has seen a really good ruby and likes one hump dromadaries.
-- James: Dunno..looks vaguely Baluch but is not Baluch.
-- Jack2: Mystical related to the 1994 video game "Prince of Persia."
-- Steve: I'm above it all..but
..............Bijar is hard,
..............violet is fugitive,
..............I am a bard
..............but the bag is undoubtative (tba)

Apologies to you all if I've trivialized the postulations. '' '' '' '' ''

My point: Khurrasan has it with India, Kurds, Baluch, cross fertilization with turkoman, trade routes to Russia, a tradition of tribal bags stretching for 100's of miles up/down the Afghan border and over to the Caspian and across the Salt desear to Kerman... Cotton warps and wefts...whatever in the hammered area. it even has the possibility of Two humper camel wool...It is documented that camel wool was being woven in fabric in and around Samarkhand by Turkoman tribes in 1823..the yarn had to come from somewhere...probably E.Turkistan..but then getting up into the Tashkent're getting into the world of the two-humpers too.


ps. humm, re "two humpers too," it reminds me of that famous English language conundrum designed to confuse French and Italian speakers. i.e.:

"Maria and Francine went to the station at 1358 hrs to buy a ticket and left at 1402 hrs.
...-- Maria was at the station from two to two to two two.
...-- Francine was at the station from two to two to two two too. ''

one thing. Hey you all..I was trying to be witty which came out, upon my rereading this, fairly obsidianly no means did I intend it to be that way or to impune your expertise..I've a great respect for the hobbiests on ths board...If I've about a beer down in old-town Alexandria?

Posted by Don Ruyle on 06-29-2007 06:46 PM:

Hello All:

When I first saw this thread, I wanted to reply but didn't have time. The discussion quickly became bogged down in a discussion of camel, which to me, is a non-starter. I commited the time to read the intire discussion to make sure my thoughts had not been covered.

The most recent pics provided by Windsor seem to confirm my original suspicions that it was originally a much different rug from what you see here. I see traces of red in the "camel" field, leading me to believe that it was originally a "red" rug probably dyed with one (or more) of the very early dyes that were so light sensitive (mauvine or fuchine or whatever). With this in mind, I can also picture the field being almost blue-purple, giving credance to a Bijar attribution. My first thought when I saw it was how much it calls to mind Seneh rugs.

I have a rug that is now several shades of brown with accents of dark brown and white. Most of the white is tinted with red and was probably originally dyed red as was most of the area that is now brown. I can see some evidance of red in the brown, much like what I see from the back of Windsor's bag and the red wefts fade to ivory where they have been broken and frayed.The differing shades of brown tells me that by carefully sorting the brown wool by color before dying the wool, the maker was able to get at least three shades of red from the same dye batch. Add to that the ivory wool and one comes up with The color scheme of turkman rugs.

Although it doesn't exactly match what most think of as Turkman, it has much in comon with Turkman rugs and I think it to be so. It a pretty shabby, but will submit pics if desired.


Don Ruyle

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-29-2007 07:11 PM:

Hi all,

Gene : Punt ? Not really - west Afghanistan ? Still OK by me. That said, once I saw the cotton (I must have missed Windsor's alluding to cotton earlier) I am now happy with moving over the border to NW Iran. A lot of post-WWII Persian Baluchi work is done on cotton warps. I don't buy the Bijar attribution at all - wrong everything, including, if you can bend it open without breaking it, it ain't a Bijar. To me, the very long pile yarn is a message as well, and actually, could make me move it to Pakistan.

Jack: Here's the khorjin closeups - first the rough one. By the way, I was wrong, it hasn't been cut & sewn back together. I finally looked closely and noticed the stitching seen from the back is for closure loops that replace the originals.

The center panel, from the back:

Closeup of same - no cut:

Closeup of pile from back:

Edge treatment, such as it is, and the pile:

Now, the nicely done one. From a distance, it almost looks like zilli technique on the center panel:

The pile at the bottom:

Nice pale yellow in this one:

Last, one shot of the Hazara bag; note color changes in the "teeth":

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-30-2007 03:25 AM:

Khorjin, Kurrison, Kamel, and Koachinal

Hello All:

Chuck, that "Ersari" mixed technique is an outstanding find. Congratulations...and you are right, the center connection is a very neat piece of work. But so is the pile on the bottom.

I also like the other bag and the Hazara. Amazing how they surfaced in this discussion. Amazing how you managed to replicate both of the khorjins in those offhand pictures. I begin to suspect you have a lot of ammo stored away.

Question...when you said "happy with moving over the border to NW Iran," did you mean "NE Persia?" i.e.: into Khurrison from Herat? We could be slowly developing some consensus because though I proposed Bijar, my heart still thinks Khurrison.

Don, I’ve blown up the pictures of Windsor’s khorjin to the max, and I just cannot see what I would interpret as red remnants within the camel ground field. I suspect the central blossom medallion had two different reds, but not the camel ground. I think if a slight pinkish tinge is detectable, it may be some computer color aberrant derived from the tan wool. The same tinge can possibly be seen in this carpet, yet it has no red, just camel colored wool...even the warps are grey, not red.

Given the residual “purple” on the back of the “fuschine” dyed parts of the blossom, if the camel ground was originally dyed, wouldn’t it be pretty obvious from the back?

Jack Williams

Posted by Jack Williams on 06-30-2007 03:38 AM:

The Carpet of Bel-Ferdous

Good morning all:

My thoughts have further evolved (some would say, “twisted”) over the past few days, and unless someone drives nails into a case, I’ll probably hold to this opinion.

Though I proposed the idea mostly to account for structure, I question whether Windsor’s khorjin “feels” of Bijar. I think I will withdraw that nomination. Just for information though, we know Bijar rugs are from a Kurdish region, and are defined pretty much only by their distinctive structure…the classic “iron rugs.” But, west of Bijar village proper, the Kurds weave a looser fabric, and they have been known to use a camel ground field. Kurdish is my second choice for origin of Windsor's bag.

The Afshari elements in Tekab, 50 KM from Bijar, also weave a looser fabric, though they weave some of the finest rugs. (I was aware of the presence of Afshar near Bijar, and another group next to Lake Urmina when we were into our Afshar discussion. Actually, knowledge of their presence helped spawn that discussion). Here is what is supposedly a “Bijar Afshar” khorjin, at least that was how it was advertised. It does have a fairly significant pile length, and uses symmetric knots, but…who knows...

Also, here is an ethnographic map of the NW Iran region. It is based on a CIA map, modified by moi.

If not Bijar, what is my vote? I propose Bahluli weave, from Khorrison. This could bring the ubiquitous camel ground bags, the symmetric knot, the remarkable red color, the “battlement” border, and the overall feeling of Baluchness together. Basically, back to a modified “Ferdous” theory, simply moving east from Ferdous to the Gurrian valley Afgan-Iran border area (see ethnographic map).

To add ethnographic geography, here is an ethnographic map of the Khorrison region, and a double ended prayer rug of mine that I think is Bahluli because of the symmetric knots. Also included is a bunch of Ferdous rugs which though AS4, may be woven by kizil bash related to the Bahluli.

Ethnograpic map of Khorrison area, modified from CIA map.

Possible Bahluli double ended prayer rug, symmetric knots.

Collage of Ferdous rugs.

The only other region that we have considered, (if we nix E. Turkistan-Khotan) is South Persia. To make a set, here is an ethnographic map of that region…but I just don’t think that is the answer, Afshar or no Afshar.

Ethnograpic map of South Persia, modified from CIA map.

Anyway, I hope the maps and thoughts will at least provide a geographic basis for the discussion.


Jack Williams
New Orleans, ”the Louisiana Lake”

PS: Did anyone read the 14 page short story, "the Carpet of Balshazzar"? It is echoing like a song in my mind, a beautiful example of turn of 19th C. fiction.

”…We were in the gallery as usual, Geraldine and I – the gallery where the carpets of the East were hung along the shadowy walls. For lately it was my pleasure to acquire rare rugs, and it was my profession to furnish expert opinion upon the age and origin of Oriental carpets, and to read and interpret the histories of forgotten emperors and the mysteries of long-forgotten gods from the colors and intricate flowery labyrinths tied in silk or wool to the warps of some dead sultan’s lustrous tapestry…”

PPS: Camille noticed the coffee pot in the "Ferdous" I used as an example previously. I thought I would close that loop by showing that part of the carpet, featuring one of man-kind's most important and greatest inventions.

Posted by Steve Price on 06-30-2007 08:57 AM:

Hi Jack

If you sent those image files to me, they never got here. Filiberto is away until July 16, so if you sent them to him, they'll probably not get seen until then, and it would be best to send them to me.


Steve Price

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 06-30-2007 09:40 AM:

Dyslexic Ditigs


Yes, NE Persia.


Chuck Wagner

Posted by Richard Larkin on 06-30-2007 12:47 PM:

Hi Don:

Are you suggesting the piece was originally dyed fugitive red over that brown wool, which faded out to leave what we see? Wow!! I don't think so. I have doubts about the principal red (or reds?), and I'd have to have the piece to settle my own opinion, but I see no possibility of the field having been red. Unless somebody plucked every knot and reinserted new wool.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-30-2007 01:56 PM:

Completely Irrelevant

Hi Jack

I'm a base type of fellow, and that beautiful line ' Ten thousand stars shine down on Babylon...' made me remember -- for some disconnected and wholly shameful reason -- the following floor-covering-related doggerel, which now I can't get out of my head:

Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
To err with her
On some other fur?

Elinor Glyn (1864-1945) was an English writer of racy novels who coined the use of 'it' -- as in 'it girls' -- for sex appeal.

Sorry about that. Look forward to seeing the images that haven't yet appeared in your last post.



Posted by Steve Price on 06-30-2007 02:25 PM:

Hi Windsor

We did a doggerel Salon for an April Fool thing a few years back It's in our archive, a Google search of Turkotek for doggerel will find it. Wish you had been with us then. I'd say we'll do it again, but it nearly triggered a revolt last time.

Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 06-30-2007 04:15 PM:

Tenuous connection

Hi Steve

I'm not sure if that was gentle rebuke or gentle encouragement. In fact, there is a very dim and distant connection between Ms Glyn and regions that have become more and more interesting to rug enthusiasts. Gene Williams clearly knows the history of these regions, and perhaps he's the one who made my neurones misfire by referring to the 'Great Game' -- the 19th-century jockeying for power in Central Asia between Britain and Russia. Elinor Glyn was the mistress of Lord Curzon, the Indian Viceroy who gave the go-ahead to the Younghusband Expedition into Tibet in 1903 -- the last play in that imperial adventure.

A lot of pieces, including, I suspect, that Kizil Ayak chuval of fond memory, are part of the legacy of that era.

Back on earth, I'm trying to sift through the conflicting claims about the origins of that bag, as helpfully summarised by Gene



Posted by Steve Price on 06-30-2007 05:12 PM:

Hi Windsor

That wasn't a rebuke. If you read the salon, you'll discover that it was my doing. Limericks and doggerel are among my favorite things.


Steve Price

Posted by Gene Williams on 06-30-2007 06:08 PM:


Hi Chuck.

I reviewed the posts and realised you never punted.. even though it was "4th and 10.". (we need a dictionary - "punt," "gormless," "Wilton"-never explained) So you are in the Khurrisan camp for the moment for W.Afghanistan or more likely NE persia? At least there's a focus..

As for the polls per the latest "Rug Times," for Khurrasan there's now me, you, Jack (very mecurial-I did not use the term wishy-washy), Marty (lots of huge big-jawed dogs in the area too), James (really middle of the road non-commental..but good enough for government work), Possibly Rich (though he won't commit until he can feel something)... gradually the force of numbers will tell...the "big battalions" of Napoleon.

I noticed your uplifted eyebrow on a possible Pakistan provinance. You'll note that I mentioned Paks early on..but the symmetric weave, the least 40-50 years??...would eliminate that option I'd think...


There was a Baluch from Ferdows
with a bag all would suppose
with red in the border
and camel field ordered
but whose order, sortof, confosed

(W.E. Lear I'm not)

Posted by James Blanchard on 07-02-2007 01:54 PM:

Hi Jack,

You're right, I don't feel qualified to offer more than a general opinion about the attribution of this rug. I now have a hard time making it Baluch, unless perhaps Ferdows, because of the symmetric knotting and cotton base materials. If it is a somewhat more recent weaving, then my tendency is to say "all bets are off".

My reticence in offering a firm opinion is due more to being conscious of my lack of knowledge than to my general demeanor.



Posted by Gene Williams on 07-02-2007 04:08 PM:



I very much value your reticence and your opinion. In fact I don't know anything either in depth..but neither do the Herat carpet merchants or the traders in Karachi, and I doubt the High-end sellers-advertisers-auctioneers-con men in London. The best we can do is say that, at the limit of our knowledge this is where "x" would seem plausible.

In the end I really trust your observations...Rich's too...maybe Rich more than most because he's looked at carpets in a way I haven't..and Chuck because of his travels..and all of you guys on Turkotek, precisely because of the humbleness (ok ego-accentuated..but I-still-have-an-opinion type of .know-your-limits restraint. None of us is a JACK cASSin.. and all of us know our strengths. None shirk an arguement..that would be too much fun to avoid. But somehow working on such an enigma as Windsor's Kurdjin we become greater than the sum of our parts... or at least.. it becomes more if I were going back to my youth..and we were drinking a good scotch together (which by the way I have been) and looking at rugs at midnight in Karachi in Jerry Anderson's house, with a circle of friends..with the shadows, and camel tassels and falcons on their I did so many times.


PS. that's pretty saccarin isn't it..come to think of it I think I made a similar speech in Afghanistan to...

pps. Windsor, Lord Curzon? Didn't Sergeant paint a portrait of him?..Lantern jawed..tiger skin inthe background>

Posted by Don Ruyle on 07-03-2007 01:29 AM:

faded reds

Hello Richard:

Yes. And I have and have had a few old dogs (I call them "learner rugs".) that give testimony to the notion. All came from estates and at least a few had some degree of provenance. They are all very much faded and none now show the original intention of the weaver. I imagine most contributors to this forum have or have had similars and are not too much interested in discussing rugs with fugative dyes, but I tend to think that the discussion, if it hasn't been done, might help pin down the dates that such dyes were used in specific areas.


Don Ruyle

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 07-03-2007 12:14 PM:

Is it convincing?

Hi everyone,

Here are some pictures for those who are not much satisfied with words although these might not be convincing enough.

This is a South-Caucasian khorjin that I dug out of my picture stock. I guess one doesn’t have to comment much for comparing its “wide lines” to Windsor’s bag. It could have been a source of inspiration to a Serab weaver same as many Caucasian designs are for other N-W Persian villages.

And here are two pictures showing details of Serab rugs taken from the homonym article by Raoul Tschebull in Hali #79.


The above pictures are to compare color hues if the original ones (especially the red) are faithfull enough.

Regarding the texture:
The latest pictures posted by Windsor show that it was easier to foldthe warps than the wefts which means that:

1- It is not as heavilly packed as one can think.
2- As it was harder to fold the wefts AND that -part of- these did not undergo a full tension means that the bag most probably suffered humidity problems that engendered its hard texture. The wefts were more affected as they seem to be thinner and are more exposed than the warps.
I wonder whether it's too

For those who are thinking cotton foundation Arab-Afshar-Balouch, these rugs have a totally different apeal at back and have a dry wool of inferior quality to the usual Baluch. ; While Windsor's bag appears to have -and he confirms it- a rather shining good quality wool.



Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 07-03-2007 02:14 PM:

Texture and Colour

Hi Camille

Those images you posted are very interesting. That's the first pile bag -- as opposed to soffreh -- I've seen that even begins to approximate the spare design of the piece under discussion. And a very attractive bag it is, too.

The reds on the Serab rugs do appear to be in the same sort of colour range as the red on the bag, but it's very difficult to be sure. Depending on the light, the red on the bag can appear to vary from warm brick-red to the ruby that Gene so much admires. Although I do think the colour is unusual, I suspect that the dye used is natural. Why? Well, a synthetic red this good would be pretty expensive -- not the sort of dye to be squandered on a utilitarian weaving. Note how the identifiable synthetic -- the fuchsine, fairly costly in its day -- was used only for highlights. To me, the apparent presence of fuchsine suggests an early 20th-century origin -- pre-dating the general availability of reliable chrome dyes. Also, this bag was acquired before 1970 by someone who had no time for 'new'; unless a piece had the appearance of reasonable age, it would never have been allowed into the house. If the dye is natural, the most likely source is madder, which contains up to 19 different dyestuffs and which, depending on mordant, pH, temperature and other variables, can produce colours ranging from pink to brown-purple.

Camille, although the pics may suggest otherwise, I'm not sure if the warps are easier to fold than the wefts. When I first tried, it seemed to me that that the opposite was true -- folding the bag from side to side made me worried about breaking the wefts. Repeating the exercise now, I find that folding in either direction produces similar resistance. It's been raining here for a week, and since I live in an old farmhouse, internal humidity is high, possibly affecting the 'give' of the piece. Just to complicate matters, the red areas are noticeably stiffer than the camel-coloured field.

Gene, just to tie up some loose ends.

'Wilton' in Wiltsire was one of the main English carpet-manufacturing towns in the 19th century.

'Gormless', probably north-country dialect, means foolish or simple-minded.

If (John Singer) Sargent didn't paint Lord Curzon, I'd be surprised. This American society portraitist painted anyone who was anyone.



Posted by Camille Khairallah on 07-03-2007 04:16 PM:

Hello Windsor,

The bag I posted is woven in weft-faced, but I relied on the model, not on the technique knowing that bread sofrehs do not seem to be known in that part of the Orient (N-W Iran/Caucasus)0.
But pre 1900 Serab are wellknown for their large outer open border (usually of camel colour). So if it happens to be Serab, it should belong to the end of the 19th c. (circa 1890-1900).

Concerning the colours and the hues:
The appeal of a colour is directly affected by the wool quality.
The same dye would have a different appeal if applied on merino than on a dead dry wool.
Furthermore, the colour hue depends on the light and of course on the direction of the wool vis-a-vis the viewer: Under the sun and from the upper side of the weave you'll see the brighter and lighter hue, while at home under a white light and from the lower side you'll probably discover Gene's ruby hue.

The dye quality is doubtless a good one (whether madder or maybe an "over-dye" added), but the support is not to be neglected.

I guess air humidity cannot affect a texture that quickly (in one week), but if the piece was never -or rarely- exposed -at back- to the sun once or twice a year, the texture would get harder.



Posted by Jack Williams on 07-04-2007 10:22 AM:

Madman loose, or "running Aimaq"

Good Morning all.

Above are some selected Baluch-group, Aimaq-Bahluli weavings. Note the Afshari-ephedra border of the J. Blackmon owned item at lower left

Camille, I understand your thoughts attributing the origin of Windsor’s bag to Azerbaijan village weavers. However, I feel a certain confidence about the Khurrisan attribution, even though the cotton structure still must be rationalized to some extent. The source of that surety is the symmetric knots.

Because of those knots, I not sure now that Windsor's bag is a true “Arab-Baluch” from the Ferdous region. The term “Arab-Baluch” may be a little outdated anyway. Considerable mention has been given to a Kizil Bash–Afshar connection for many of those “Arab-Baluch” rugs (see Afshar series). One argument for that Afshar attribution of the Arab-Baluch is their use of As2-4 (asymmetric open right) knotting. Other arguments lie in the A-B designs.

So, it may be that the use of symmetric knotting in Windsor’s khorjin reduces the likelihood of a direct Ferdous connection. But it may lend considerable weight to just moving the source east about 50-100 Km while maintaining the ethonological connection.

In Khurrisan symmetric knots generally mean either Kurd from the Quchon area, or Aimaq/Bahluli/Taimuri-Baluch group. In my mind, a Kurdish origin (east or west) for Windsor’s bag is the most likely alternative to the Aimaq/Bahluli/Baluch group because the Kurds are the people who seem to use that “battlement border,” and camel ground wool most often, next to the Baluch. But really, has anyone seen a Kurd weaving that is as simple as Windsor’s? Or that has a similar colorization or aura?

Many writers from Edwards to Wegner, to Jerry Anderson, to Eiland, have credited the Bahluli from the Gurion - Astrakand valley area along the Afghan-Iranian border with weaving the Baluch rugs with a symmetric knot. Here are a couple of examples, and I've collected some rugs and lots of pictures ... many with camel ground fields and a the look of a "Ferdous."

However, I've noticed that lately other subgroups of the Aimaq peoples are also being credited with use of symmetric knotting. For one thing of note, from a quick look into the literature, the Chahar Aimaq are academically frequently identified as a sub set of the Aimaq, which has some 20 tribes in Khurrisan, many quite obscure and of widely varying numbers.

I speculate the Aimaq-Bhaluli-Baluch group uses that [i]”battlement border”
in …oh… maybe 25 percent of their rugs. Also, I would bet that up to 40 percent of all the Aimaq/Bhaluli/ Baluch-group bags, balischts, khorjin’s, pushtis, etc., from NW Afganistan-Khurrison use camel ground fields. It wouldn't surprise me if up to 75 percent of all of the camel ground weavings in the entire world originate in Khurrisan.

Eiland and others estimated that use of symmetric knot occurs in about 5 percent of Baluch group rugs, But, in camel ground weavings, I’ve notice that apparently the percentage of symmetric knotting goes up quite a bit.

I recommend looking at Mark Hopkins’ collection on the NERS site. His collection is beautiful and especially interesting in its apparent main focus…an unusually large percent of his collection is dedicated to items with camel ground fields…about 20 out of 30 pieces. Of those, seven, or almost 25 percent of the collection uses symmetric knots. See his collection at:

Here are several of his pieces that are symmetrically knotted. See if the connection to Windsor’s bag doesn’t begin to make sense.

NOTE above: the balischt on the left purports to have 'camel hair' in the upper one-third of the field, and sheep's wool in the rest. (if anyone knows Mark personnally, perhaps they could ask him how the different wools were identified. Hopefully a microscope was used...if so this may be a bag face with camel wool right next to sheep or goat wool.)

Now, if someone could just do a little research, rationalizing the cotton structure…..

Regards, Jack

PS: In Mark's NERS exhibition, in addition to the claim of some camel in #22 (see above), in #19 (not shown) this comment is in the notes: “It is also quite unusual to see what appears to be camel wool used for portions of the warp structure." This may imply a simple (and unreliable) sensory approach to identification.

Posted by Chuck Wagner on 07-04-2007 01:24 PM:

Hi Jack,

OK, so, one point does not make a trend. That said, here's a closeup of the back of an early 20th century Ferdows figural rug with a cotton foundation. Observe several things: 1) asymmetrical open right knots, 2) the weft cotton is dirty brownish gray, and 3) lots of weft visible between the knots.

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by Gene Williams on 07-04-2007 05:23 PM:

Aimaq, Bahlul and cotton

Hi all,

Jack has found a new area to play with. Actually I was going to post a Bahlul ...identified as such by JA...a relatively modern weaving to start discussing them...but will wait till I get home. My problem with Bahlul is...who are they and where are they and if they're Baluch which they supposedly are..real Baluch speakers.., why cotton? And my problem with Aimaq is again cotton but also turkish knots.

Here is a recent thread in which we discussed Cahar Aimaq's:

Depending on who you talk to over the last 180 years.. The Chahar Aimaq are 5 named tribes in an arc running from Baghdis province..upper Merghab ..down to Farah province - middle Farah Rud. They usually include the Jamshedi, Ferozkhani, Hazara (the ones around Qala ye Nau), Taimani; ok that's 4. sometimes the Timuri are put into the grouip; and supposedly the Zuri (Suri) originally were in it.

The tribal group which as I understand it is/was located along the Afghan-Persian border and spilled over far into Persia was Timuri...and they can be broken up into numerous sometimes mutually-warring fact some are Sunni, some Shi'i. I had a pretty good list of these Timuri sub-tribes...left it out in Afghanistan. I'll retrieve it.

I've decided I don't agree that Timuri are Aimaq...too much literature speaking about both Cahar Aimaq and Timuris in the same sentence as different. But one this is pretty clear: All are Turk or Turk-Mongol who now speak Dari. Most weave with AsL. Again I posted a lot of Taimani bags...we had a good discussion...the thread is lost unless someone saved it.

On Windsor's bag, I still favor the Khurresan Kurds...the long pile (though Timuri sometimes have long pile) does it for me...Have to defer to the Kurd guys.


PS. Thanks Chuck. I postulated Ferdows when we were still in AsL mode. The wefts you posted don't look like Windsor's wefts...I start to understand what Rich means by "hammered wefts."

Posted by Jack Williams on 07-04-2007 10:09 PM:

King Arthur's Excaliber sword was Kurdish

Gene, hate to gainsay my older bro, but…

This long post will include the definition of two topics. I. source of the word Aimaq and its relationship to the Chahar Aimaq, see excellent summary here:
and II. a possible (speculative) relationship of the “Jamshedi” and the Shia Kizil Bash to the sect of the angels, Kurdish Alevism, and Zoroastrianism, see this great site:

I. Aimaq

It is important for this discussion not to confuse the term “Aimaq” with the “Chahar Aimaq.” One is a political sub-set of the other. Details below.

On the issue of symmetric knot and longer pile, the “Arab-Baluch,” which term seems to be slowly evolving to “Afshar-Baluch,” were known for longer pile. And there are quite a few symmetric knotted rugs that have a distinct Timuri look.

I think that the Timuri, the Chahar Aimaq, and many of the other “Aimaqs” are often somehow related to descendents of Kizil Bash elements originally Turkmen (or Kurdish) from Azerbaijan. I have a lot of references to symmetric knots in Baluch-group rugs. Quite a few seem to be Timuri, if the Timuri still exist in numbers in Afghanistan, which may be somewhat problimatical. See same site as above,

Quotes from this site are below.

”…In western Afghanistan and far eastern Iran, "Aimaq" means "tribal people," which distinguishes the Aimaq from the nontribal population in the area, the Persians (Fariswan) and Tajiks. Most of the population of 800,000 (1980) live in Afghanistan. In 1984, 120,000 Aimaq lived in Iran. They are "considered" [my emphasis] to be Hanafi Sunni Muslims. [my note: this might be misleading, at least historically. Doctrinally it is ok to fib about being shia to avoid a pogram.]

"Linguistically, the Aimaq differ little from the majority of Persians surrounding them. The local dialects of the Aimaq tribes are very close either to eastern Khorasan Farsi or to Dari, the Herati dialect of Farsi."

'The Char Aimaq (chahar, four), an administrative grouping of four seminomadic tribes, is the largest of twenty Aimaq groups. There are six other seminomadic or nomadic Aimaq groups in western Afghanistan, including the Timuri, Tahiri, Zuri, Maleki, and Mishmast...."

[my note: I like this last named group...the "mishmash." In Southern American language, a "mishmash" is an ad hoc, odd mixture just thrown together, often into the stew or moonshine pot]

"...Other sedentary groups that may be considered Aimaq are the Kipchak, Chenghizi, Chagatai, Mobari, Ghuri, Kakeri, Damanrigi, and Khamidi. Geographically, the Char Aimaq live within an area stretching from the central hills of Bâdghis north and northeast of Herat to the mountains of Ghor in the west of central Afghanistan.

"The four tribes of the Char Aimaq are the Jamshidi, the Aimaq-Hazara, the Firuzkuhi, and the Taimani. The tribes of Char Aimaq date to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the groups were unified by chiefs coming from outside the area. Descendants of these founders are still influential in tribal affairs, although they have lost their traditional power.

"During the second half of the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century, the Jamshidi were forced to lead a nomadic life. All of the tribe or greater parts of it had been exiled in Persia, in Khiva, and in northeastern Afghanistan. Thousands of Taimani and Tajiks of Ghor were forcibly transplanted to the north of Herat, and the largest of the other Aimaq tribes, the Timuri, was nearly exterminated…” [I think this all was related to the anti-shia pogrom of the time...which makes one question the Sunnism of the Jamshedis].

I. Alevism, Kurds, Kizil Bash, Jamshedis

The “Jamshedi” is a name steeped in Kurdish history of the Alawites. Here is a great site discussing the Kurds, Alevism, the non-Islamic nature of Alevism. Also here is found a possible source of the name “Jamshedi” which could be rooted in the history of the Kizil Bash Turkmen and Kurds in Syria, eastern Anatolia, and Zoroastrianism. How this would relate to the Turko-mongol verbal history of the tribe is unknown. See:

”…Dimili Alevism bears closer links to ancient Aryan cults than does Yarsanism. Its rites include daily bowing to the rising sun and moon and the incantation of hymns for the occasion. The communal ritual gathering of Jamkhana is observed by these Dimili Alev as the Ayini Jam, "the Tradition of Jam." The major Jam, or the grand annual communal gathering, coincides with the great Muslim Feast of Abraham that concludes the Ha pilgrimage to Mecca and includes the sacrifice of a lamb.

"Jam (known as Jamshid in Zoroastrianism and Yamd in the Veda) was the great Aryan hero in the tradition of the Zoroastrians to whom is ascribed the creation of the feast of New Ruz-the Kurdish and Iranic new year. The myth holds that Jam was sacrificed at the end of his own days to the rising sun by none else than Azhi Dahak. In fact, in the renowned Iranic national epic, the Shahnama of Firdawsi, Jamshid is depicted as "the worshipper of the Sun and Moon" (chapter on the Advent of Zoroaster, line 71), as are the Alevis…” More…

Alevism. A majority of the Dimila Kurds of Anatolia and some of their Kurmanji speaking neighbors are followers of another denomination of the Cult of Angels. These have been called collectively the Alawis ("the Followers of Ali"), the Alevis ("the People of Fire," implying fire-worship or Zoroastrianism, from alev, "fire"), the Qizilbash ("the red heads," from their red head gear; see Costumes & lewelry), and the Nusayri (which can be interpreted as the "Nazarenes," implying Christianity, [my note: I wonder about those cruciforms in Afshari weavings]or as the "followers of Narseh,' the early medieval Kurdish revolutionary of the Khurrami movement who settled with his followers in Anatolia).

”…Despite the importance of Ali in the religion and its modern communal appellation Alevism remains a thoroughly non-Islamic religion, and a part of the Cult of Angels. Like, other branches of the Cult, the fundamental theology of Alevism sharply contradicts the letter and spirit of the Koran in every important manner, as any independent, non Semitic religion might…”

Lots of good stuff. And later, since it seems to me that I have to do everything, as usual, I will try to illustrate the range of symmetric knots in Baluch group weavings, and why that may be a marker that allows some pretty tight geographic identifications. But in the meantime, in my current opinion...the Timuri Turkmen descendents are "Aimaq," (though not "Chahar Aimaq") and possibly "Kizil Bash," who are probably originally of "Alevism Shia," and who probably orginated in the 7 Turkmen tribes of Azerbaijan converted into the major military force of Ismael by a Kurdish idiology. Hence the symmetric knot. is also interesting that the myth of the "sword in the rock" of Arthurian fame orginated with offshoots of the Alewites and the Jamshedis of Syria and Anatolia.

Exhausted, Jack (who DOES know "Jack"...)

Posted by Gene Williams on 07-05-2007 03:16 PM:

Cahar Aimaq and cotton

Well, Jack,

Actually you can gain from what I say. (very excellent pics of Baluch rugs by the way..outstanding..-no more than outstanding - jealously producing, applause stimulating....The Mark Hopkins rug is particularly evocotive and similar to Windor's design...all are compelling...I spent a lot of time just staring at them).

But.I did a lot of reserach from primary sources dating from 1821 on to 1990's on Cahar Aimaq and Timuri, some of this in the field around Herat...I talked to Jamshedi Maliks and a Ferozkhoi Malik...and to Hazara..and sort of subliminally observed the plowing under of a Timuri Malik's opium fields.

And I also in Herat had access to a number of historical records and old Great Game Lit and encyclopedic compilations which the Brits specialized in, which made me wonder about the Timuri and Aimaq. There is a host of conflicting information on who are the Aimaqs and who are the Timuris and what are their various sub-tribes. IMHO The link Jack put up from that just one more opinion...and decidedly NOT the final word on the subject. I'll repeat what I previously posted on the subject below).

And as for massacres and forced movement of peoples and strong-arm tactics used against recalcitrant tribesmen he mentioned, Abdur Rahman...Leader of Afghanistan after the 2nd Afghan War...was a tough was he who moved a lot of the Pushtoons into NW and N. Afghanistan...

But, my point is...the Aimaq's don't weave on cotton base that I know of..none of them. We all see the Baluch and Afshar and Kurressan overtones of Windsor's bag..the vague feeling that it belongs in Korressan is overwhelming to me....but it doesn't have the Baluch embroidery on the flat weave (as I pointed out on the first page) (uhh. except for the red and blue band which receives the closure loops) and its "hammered" cotton wefts are something I've never actually seen from the area (as Rich pointed out ages ago and as I...about as competent in structure as with computers...can only aptly note after the fact from looking at the bag and Chuck's Ferdows rug.) (but I hope Kurrassan Kurds will vindicate us).

And if Bahlul..well they are a real Baluch sub-tribe...though there is a dispute about who they are, where they are found and what they weave/wove and when...I've seen conflicting reports on this..I'll address this at a future time. I have a "Bahlul" rug with the minimal colors and wide open spaces similar to Windsor's design. But, the Bahlul don't weave in cotton to my knowledge.

Finally, on the Allawite question (Watch the "w"'s and "v"' Dari you use a "w," in Farsi a "v" so Allavite becomes Allawite, etc...its Indo-European..think "Volkswagan")...Allawites are splinter of Shi'a...I think they split off in the latter stages of 12ver Shi'a development....lets see Ismail's split after the 6th Imam..the Druze split off from them about the 10th century.

I think the Allawites split from from 12ver Shia at the 10th Imam Ali Al Hadi...I can't say exactly why from memory. Deceased Syrian Dictator Hafiz al-Assad and his son running Syria...are Allawites...judged to be almost "Ghulat" even the Shi'a themselves. From memory only, the Allawite believs do seem to contain a lot of Christianity and Zoroastrianism. I've not heard of Allawites stretching into any modern the violent hatred and unremitting conflict in Kurrassan from the time of Timur on between Shi'a and Sunni, if there were Allawites up there there they must have been ground out of existance.

The Kurds did indeed have their own Shi'a subsect ..twelver for the most part....but this was the Turkish side of the Kurds..the Ahl-i Haqq, Bektashi...etc. (disclaimer: I spent some time looking into Shi'i Islam and the various offshoots of utterly fascinating topic...but the above is from memory...I do not have my books with me..if I'm wrong..I'll correct it when I get back home.) ... (Camille: do you know anything about Kurdish Shi'i sects?) (a lot seem to have the name "Naqshabandi"..a Sufi name really..right?)


Here is my previous post...following a misunderstanding of sorts with JBOC Barry O'Connell..: Now I'd caution all to take stories coming from out in that area with a grain of salt..Jerry Anderson has his own take on the Feruzkhoi name...and I'm sure you can find a dozen variations...i just happen to have respect for this particular tribal elder.

To all,

I've put together this for you reading pleasure:


I’m basing most of this on old British Sources…all of which mention weaving without saying what they wove. I put it into first person…but the most recent of the sources is dated 1939..most are 19th century when I expect the rugs you guys are interested in were woven. These are three I have on my desk:
-- Historical and Political Gazateer of Afghanistan, 6 vols, Adamec...1990's
-- Topography, Ethnology, Resources and History of Afghanistan. Calcutta, 1872
-- Military Report; Afghanistan; New Delhi. Gov of India Press, 1925
And there are more..Olaf Caroe’s book The Pathans, etc.

Aimak is an E.Turkic and Mongolic word, originally meaning “tribe.” Chahar or Char is of course Persian/Dari/Urdu/Hindi for 4.

They are a conglomeration generally considered to have four main branches (though a couple of others will be mentioned):
-- Jamshedi
-- Firozkohi
-- Taimani
-- Timuri (var: Taimuri)

They all speak Farsi/Dari. One souce claims they speak an “ancient form” of Persian. They were (19th Century to WWII) nomadic pastoralists – high pastures in the summer and low winter quarters in yurts. They wandered from the Kabul River to Mashhad. One source (1887) claims that “the Uzbeks and Afghans are ‘civilized people’ compared to the Aimaqs.” They inhabited the Western end of the Hindu Kush, Generally the headwaters and upper valleys of the following rivers (Counterclockwise from the North) generally known as the Hazarajat with the center of gravity being Badghis province (province just east of Heart):
-- Murghab (river which ends in the Merv oasis),
-- Kushk (river which flows past Turghondi into the Murghab),
-- Hari Rud (river which flows past Herat, forms the Iran/Afghan then the Iran/Turkmenistan borders and disappears into the desert.
-- Farah Rud (river which flows SW into the Seistan area)

They all speak Persian/Dari with some Turkish words; all are Sunni (Hanafi) (except perhaps some Timuri in Iran). They generally inhabit the Mountains of Herat, Ghowr, Badghis, Farah provinces and Maimana. Roughly N-S they are distributed as follows: Taimani in Ghowr and Shaharak; Timuri Diffused in lower parts of Heart province along the Hari Rud, Gurian, Gulran district and into Kushk district and in Iran from Kaf towards Mashhad; Firozkohi in Chaghcharan (capitol of Ghowr Province) and neighboring areas towards Obeh, Qala-ye-Nau and Maimana; Jamshedi now confined to the Kushk area of Badghis; and the Qala-ye-Nau Hazara only in a small area around the city.

1. Jamshedis: They probably came from Seistan and now live in Badghis. They are pastoralists and excellent equestrians. They are Sunni and speak a dialect of Persian. Traditionally they were divided into 24 administered groups called “mohalla pukhta” and further sub-divided into a “mohalla Kham,” each Kham equaling 500 head. They were believed “probably” to be pure Tatar or Mongolian origin. They were “free from the truculent swagger of the Pathan” and were noted to be of good physique, had considerable intelligence, were active, fairly courageous, simple and comparatively honest. They inhabited the Mountains NE of Heart and were bounded on the North by the Salor Turkomans. They called their country the Bala Murghab..headwaters of the Murghab.

2. Firozkohis: Gujars and Mongols by descent. They live between Sar-e-Pul, Obeh and Daulatyar. They are Sunni and speak Persian. District of Kadis is the Westernmost of the Firozkohi known as the Mahmudi. They are pure Tatar and Mongolian and are the descendents of the Mongols who dwelt near a mountain called Firoz Koh (Victory Mountain) near Samnan, Persia. They are more distinctively Mongolian in appearance than the Jamshedis. They are bold, good physique. They intermarry with the Dai Zangai Hazaras. They fought Timerlame bravely and generally are influenced by Herat.

3. Taimanis: Shepards and cultivators. They are Mongolian origin but are connected with the Kakar Pathans of N. Baluchistan. They live in the upper Farah Rud Valley or Ghorat and extend to the Hari Rud Valley and Farsi district of Herat Province. They are Sunni and speak Persian. Even though Mongolian, they have Pathan blood and are traditionally allied to the Kakars. They have a finer physique than the Jamshedis and are reported to be less courageous than the Firozkohis. They are the only Chahar Aimak tribe living in the Helmand basin south of the central watershed. (down into Farah Province). They wander all over Afghanistan (as of 1925)

4. Taimuris: One source says they are of pure Tatar or Mongolian origin; another lists the origin as “not clear,” another as possibly of Arab descent. They live half in Persia, half in Afghanistan. They were originally Shia but those in Afghanistan have become Sunni. They appear to have first organized into a tribe along the N. side of the Oxus, then moved into Badghis then into E.Persia. There are colonies all over Afghanistan and as far as Mashhad in Iran. A number of families lived for a couple of hundred years near the headwaters of the Kabul River.

With these 4, there are mentioned two others, sometimes as part of the Char Aimaq, or sometimes in the same breath:

5. Zuri: this was reported by one source as one of the 4 original tribes of the Aimaq. The source speculates that it might be the “Suris” found in Ghowr Province. They speak Persian/Dari mixed with Turkish words, are Sunni (Hanafi).

6. Qala-ye-Nau Hazaras: They are centered around Qala-ye-Nau (Capitol of Badghis) and are Sunni. They are reportedly bigger, bonier and more intelligent than other Hazaras, less Mongolian in appearance due to intermarriage and physical separation from the rest of the Hazara. They are descendents of Mughal Tatars who entered Afghanistan under Ghengis Khan and settled at Kala-e-Nao. As of late 19th century they had lost their independence and were reduced to being peasants. They Jamshedis and Firozkohis regarded them as ‘stupid louts” (the Aggies or Auburn tigers of central Badghis?) They lived in yurts in the winter.

Ok that’s about it for now. I’ll leave it to you all to figure out who wove what. I have at least a pretty good idea of what Taimani weavings look like; Timuri designs also register. As for the Timuri - Yacub Khani connections…I’m still working through these sources. The interesting bit is the fact that some Timuri are or were Shia. This might explain why some allied themselves with Persians. Hope above might need a map.

Second post from the past-------------

Hi all,

I've just finished talking to a Jamshedi Malik from Khushk District about the Jamshedi and the Aimaq. He made a couple of comments which may modify the above:

He said the Firozhoe are actually named after a mountain near Chaghcharan (capitol of Ghowr province, Afghanistan, near the headwaters of the Hari Rud...not in Iran). On this mountain is a type of flower called Fieroz. The Firozkhoe, though change the meaning to "Firoz" (victory) because they didn't like being named after a flower.

As for the Timuri, he was adamant that they were not/not part of the Char Aimaq. (The literature on the subject goes back and fourth on this point). He said they came into the area with Timurlame (timurlang)'s troops. They are moghul-Turkic but are directly connected to the Timurid Turks.

He did include the Kala-ye Nau Hazaras as part of the Aimaq.

He added that the Aimaq are also Turkic origin. He said they originated North of the Oxus (Amu Darya). However he said there is a massive amount of Pashtun blood in them (they really do look Indo-European least he does). He added that further east towards Mazar-e-Sharif, there are Jamshedi groups who speak Pashtun.

On the subject of Timuri, in Farah Province recently I was told of a Farsi speaking tribe which lives in Farah and Western Herat provinces along the border with Iran. This is almost certainly the Timuri and the various ethnic maps I've got confirm it. They do indeed stretch into Iran...and the two sides of the tribe are involved in, of course, smuggling stuff (including lots of "agricultural cash crop products") across the border. Maybe I can get out there.

That's about it for now.


Posted by Gene Williams on 07-05-2007 03:34 PM:

Lord Curzon and

For an interesting topic raised by is Sargant's portrait of Lord Curzon...sometimes known as the "last Mogul"...certainly a different Breed, born and bred in utter self assurance, reinforced by an interlocking tribal protective society (and helped by 10% suffrage at the time) and backed by implaccable power and self-concious individual bravery and courage in the face of adversity, a committment to personal, ethical, and national "honor," and a reputation for incorruptability..true or not; I suppose a lot of it is now all past..not the bravery but the self-assurance, the committment, the mystique of command, and the power, k.o'd by WWI if you read "The Wasteland"...and, if you believe all the Indian and Pakistani officers I talked to who went through the Malaya campaign and the hell of Japanese prison camps...WWII; I have English friends though who have the other qualities mentioned above; those are innate:

And here is is Elinor Glyn, reportedly a fascinating individual whether on a piled rug or tiger skin..actually she was an extroadinary woman as any trip to google will reveal.

This is for those who are interested in the Raj...known in India as the Sirkar...

From my limited view point...which is only 9 years on the sub continent from 1975 on...Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, there seems to be a schizophrenic view of the Raj...A huge number of common people look back on the Raj with fondness..and not a few of the intellectuals and businessmen..not that you could recreate it, it was what it was..but rather as some sort of idyllic past (and they sometimes have a racial chip on the shoulder because of it). The Sub-continent historians, thought, are mostly Marxists or Nationalists and can't decide what the heck they're talking about...reading about the attempts to relieve the Chitral fort in 1893, for instance,...half the time the Pak or Indian historians are taking the part of Umrah Khan..half the time the Sikh and Indian army soldiers climbing those passes...

America hectored Britain unmerciably about its "imperialism" in India from 1900 on...don't think it stood us in good stead..we got lumped with..well.... we got lumped with the Turkish knotted carpets!!


PS. I reread the above today...I'm trying to figure out where to put Harry Flashman in the (maybe idealistic) picture I painted...working on it.

(a phrase keeps coming back "Perfect Albion".??..or something close to that...) '' There was some French phrase my French wife keeps using..don't quite understand it although its from the 13th century (I guess at the time the English Crown owned half of France)

"L'Angleterre, ah, la perfide Angleterre, que le rempart de ses mers rendait inaccessible aux Romains, la foi du Sauveur y est abordee."

Posted by Marty Grove on 07-06-2007 10:05 AM:

Sorry Windsor, but...

G'day Gene,

Not a bad place to be actually - with the Turkish rugs - the English have always had a fondness for those... Hence Gene's reading from his English friends and historical documentation characterising their belief systems by which they operate innately.

Neville's book (thanks Gene, its excellent) "Campaigns... interestingly writes of the Chitral Fort episode, leaving one to see just where the India and Pakistan commentators, long after the event, cant make up their minds who to barrack for!

The lip,

Posted by Unregistered on 07-07-2007 11:55 PM:

Hey Windsor,

Just for the record, I just got a new monitor for the PC. It makes me feel much better about the red in your bag. On previous monitors, I thought it looked a bit too bright. I know this one gives a truer rendition because I can judge it based on the accuracy of the tapped out Turkish prayer rug I posted awhile back.

Posted by Steve Price on 07-08-2007 05:43 AM:


Please overwrite the word unregistered (in the user name field)with your name when you post.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 07-08-2007 10:04 AM:

Hi Steve and Chorlton,

Me again, coming in from the cold and buying the red in that bag.


Rich Larkin

Posted by Timothy Simmons on 07-08-2007 10:37 AM:

Purple and camel wool.

Hello as you may know I am new here. This is a long and interesting topic, so I would like to join in. Pictures are never the same as seeing in real light. I have a modest budget and tend to buy in junk shop and markets. This is my best piece there is some corrosion in the dark areas otherwise the codition for the type is really rather good.

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 07-08-2007 04:46 PM:

Trying to Stay in Touch

Hi Timothy

Haven't a clue about the origin of your piece, but there are knowledgeable contributors to the forum who can either nail it or lead you in interesting directions. 'Purple' and 'Camel' were your definers, but you don't expand on these qualities. The yellow highlights looks brighter than I would expect in an older weaving. If I say any more, I'll just expose my ignorance.



Posted by Richard Larkin on 07-08-2007 05:32 PM:

Hi Timothy,

A veddy veddy interesting Baluch prayer rug. Interesting for a number of reasons. I'll take a few deep breaths and get back to you.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Richard Larkin on 07-08-2007 07:14 PM:

Hi Timothy,

You have introduced yourself as "new," but I don't know how new you are to the rugs. Forgive me if I'm telling you things you already know.

Your rug falls into the greater Baluch category. There are numerous people in Afghanistan and Iran, on either side of the North/South border between the countries, who consider themselves Baluchi. Many of them are weavers of pile and other fabrics. In addition, there are many other ethnic and/or tribal groups in these areas who weave as well. Traditionally, the production from these many peoples tended to be called "Baluchi," though much of it was woven by others. Of recent years, there has been much work and commentary aimed at distinguishing and identifying the actual weavers of the goods. The tribal structures among both the Baluchi and the other tribes tend to be very complex. Many contributors to TurkoTek are far more knowledgeable than I about the details in these regards, and I will leave the details to them. (There are also Baluchi people more southerly of this region, in the area of Baluchistan proper, but they weave few pile rugs.)

Regarding your rug in particular, an interesting feature is the double step of the mihrab creating the arch that identifies the item as a prayer rug. I don't recall having seen many with such a design layout. The camel colored field is typical, and there are dozens out here who think that wool will prove to have a different quality from the other wool in the rug, proving that it CAME DIRECTLY FROM A CAMEL! Others will shout, "Nonsense!" That's the way things go on TurkoTek.

Some of the colors look like possible low grade synthetics from the look on my monitor. I'm not accusing them of that status, just pointing out that some of them have that look on the surface. I'm referring to the kinds of dyes that change color on the surface of the pile, but have a very different look on the back, or if one folds the pile back and looks into the knots. These include the grayed looking pile in the middle border (where the purple and yellow appear...those colors don't bother me, BTW), and the red where it changed in the two other borders at about the midline of the rug and below. Whatever those dyes are, I like the rug. It exemplifies what the greater Baluch do all the time, which is process and reprocess their design repertoire in interesting ways.

If you are of a mind to provide additional information, I would like to know whether the warps are wool or cotton. I would expect wool in a rug with this look, but the picture on the screen suggests cotton. What are the dimensions of the rug?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 07-08-2007 07:15 PM:

new Thread


Its Baluch of course, and the Baluch crowd...the usual suspects..., me too, will be baying at it..and its not full moon yet..but the triple step mirhab is interesting in its own right. But really to give it its due, it doesn't have much to do with Windor's bag.. So, why not start a new Thread? Just repaste everything under the "New Thread "button.


PS. Windsor..we're still waiting for your "Dragons and Dogs" rug to appear likewise...I am very curious about it.

PPS. the "nonsense" post above...I say: "LESS FILLING!!' ..And the response is?? (This a generational ..and probably a national..marker)

Posted by Richard Larkin on 07-08-2007 07:50 PM:

Yep, Gene, you've landed on my favorite argument, "Tastes great," to which the answer is, "Less filling." No kudos intended to any national beers. I'm fortunate to have it as a favorite argument, as it can be found playing itself out just about everywhere.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Timothy Simmons on 07-09-2007 02:03 AM:

I will start a new thread

Thanks everybody. The picture is not very good. The ends are wool. The "greying" is in real space a green/brown. Latter today I will take some close ups and send them to Steve. It is really nice to find such alot of carpet people.

Posted by Jack Williams on 07-09-2007 02:04 AM:

Do you favor design or structure for attribution?

Good morning.

I suspect that we will have to choose...accept an attribution that favors design or one that favors structure. Try as I might I just cannot make this into a Kurd weaving...nothing known Kurdish that I've found looks even remotely like Windsor's khorjin.

Steve will add a couple of pictures when he has a moment in the morning, but I'll go ahead and make this post now because I'll be incommunicado later. Here are another batch of unusual camel ground rugs...assigned to Aimaqa, Timuri's, etc.

As said previously, I think it may be important to note the remarkable percentabe of "camel ground" rugs, bags, etc. in the world that are attributed to the Baluch in general...and to the Aimaq or Charhar Aimaq, or Arab-Baluch-Afshar in particular.

A goggle search for "camel ground rugs," or somesuch, produces a huge percent as Baluch group. Furthermore, when dealing strictly with camel ground Baluch rugs, the symmetric knot seems to be used in a larger percent than it is in Baluch group as a whole.

Searching for that ruby red color, I have looked at some pretty intense Tibetan carpets with reds that look similar to Windsor's, thinking about that mythical Tibetan red dye. is a Tibetan rug with a remarkable red. Trouble is, Tom Cole says the dye is madder . From:

”Figure 20. Door Rug, Tibet, 19th century, 0.94m x 1.63m (3'1" x 5'4"). All wool foundation. The red is madder dyed. The obvious similarity in format and function between such rugs and Turkmen ensi has often been noted in the literature, and represents a common Central Asian tribal heritage. Private Collection

Finally, re-reading the interview with Jerry Anderson, he discusses the Aimaqs, Chahar Aimaqs, Bhalulis, "Arab-Baluch," etc. and interestingly assigns so-called Arab Baluch rugs not to Ferdous (who’s “Arabs” he says weave city designs) but to "Arabs in the Quain.” This area should be a lot closer to the area populated by the Timuris, Aimaqs, and the Bahluli than is Ferdous.

In the end, I think we may have to make a choice....(1) accept an unusual cotton structure for tribe whose work looks like it could encompass the design of the khorjin, or (2) assign Windsor's bag to a group that uses a lot of cotton on the structure but doesn't weave many camel ground designs like that Khorjin.

I think I will prefer to favor the design-attribution and try to explain the structure-attribution as an anomaly.

Regards, Jack

PS I think a good forum on "Arab-Baluch-Afshar" and the relationship to Aimaq, Timuris, etc. might be an interesting follow-up to this discussion.

Posted by Richard Larkin on 07-09-2007 01:26 PM:

Hey Jack, my friend, my man, my mentor:

That bag isn't Baluch, or any of their fellow travelers, or Tibetan. There, I said it. I don't know what it is, and I know "Kurd" is a cop-out, and I threw wet towels all over Camille's suggestions, so I should shut up. But I think the reason we aren't pegging it is because it doesn't match up with any of the usual suspects very well.

Aside to Windsor: I see I called you "Chorlton" in a post back a while. Sorry. I don't know where that came from. A brain cramp. I'm not British ("Holmes?" "Yes, Watson." Etc.), so no excuse for it. No unfriendliness intended.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 07-09-2007 03:33 PM:

No Offence Taken

Hi Richard

When you used my surname, I thought that's how some Americans customarily addressed each other -- like members of a gentleman's club c.1900 (or how some of my schoolteachers wearily claimed my attention much later in the century). I share your doubts about Jack's suggested attributions while, at the same time, genuinely admiring his indefatigable researches, which have led me into areas that I'd never have entered under my own steam.

I thought this bag would elicit 20-30 responses-- at most. The remarkable thing is that thousands of people have now seen it, but no-one has come up with a comparable piece. In design terms, Louis' sofreh and Camille's flatweave bag show clear similarities, but there seems to be no cross-over between those pieces and the similarly utilitarian but knotted and apparently up-market bag that seems to have taken up squatter's rights on this forum.


I wanted to respond to that extraordinary Tibetan red, but I haven't yet been able to post an image for comparison (contrast).


I haven't forgotten your request to see more of the 'Dragons and Dogs' Rug. I don't want to curb your lust for dragon-slaying, but I don't think the design represents fire-breathing monsters. I now have an idea where it comes from, and I'll put the piece up for discussion once I haul the filing cabinets off it.



Posted by Camille Khairallah on 07-09-2007 06:29 PM:

Not trying to hammer the cube into the cylindar gap..

Hi Gene,

Sorry for that late answer, but I had not received post links to my personal e-mail for many days while the thread was going on.

Today I called an Iranian friend established in Beirut but born in the vicinity of Mianeh (Azerbaijan) and asked him about the existence of Shi’a Kurds, he answered with a positive “yes”. But, to be on the safe side, I reviewed the best reference I’ve got on Kurdish rugs and other weavings (1988) and it stays on page 12: “Further south beyond Sanandaj the Kurds themselves are for the most part shia…”

Hi Richard,

Please let the towel be dry because the bag seems to be humid enough! .
Someone suggested during that thread that the most reliable suggestion would be from knowledgeable people from the country were it was made. As I am nearly sure the bag was woven either in Serab or to a less extent in the Feraghan/Malayer area, I’ll try to send the picture to Tehran and have some valuable -and hopefully more accurate- opinions.

Regards to all,


Posted by Jack Williams on 07-09-2007 07:29 PM:

blsiuit=knojkniu andinbo fiiiuujkxi sizniii

Gentlemen, I’m desperate. Without a sense of solution, I may have to turn to drink, something I gave up long ago in a foolishly sober moment, rare in New Orleans society. Camille...I hope your idea pays off.

The mystery of Windsor’s khorjin attribution might forever remain uncertain, if for no other reason than there just doesn’t seem to be an analog...anywhere...and I’ve looked at about 10,000 pictures, I kid you knot (pun intended).

I've offered Khorrison becaue of lots of camel grounds, reds, battlement borders, even symmetric knots. However, I am open minded enough to appreciate other alternatives, including ...oh... that Windsor's khorjin originated with visitors from outer space or something.

Ok...Ok...Ok...If you must look elsewhere than Khorrisan (which at least has all the individual elemental factors, design, color, structure), below are example rugs pointing two possible alternatives....(a) “Bijar-Kurd-Afshar”, and (b) “Afshar-Kerman.”

Also because I may be losing it, I’ve included two more pictures, one (above upper right) being a portion of a Baluch bird-dog-animal rug to provide company for Windsor's dragon-dog rug and Marty's duck-pond and dog-pound rugs. Separately below is the other picture of a fragment of a very, very early "animal Baluch" that might indicate a Northeast Asian origin.

And last, to add to the general data base, here are some pictures of a caravan of Kuchies on the move. I looked at the camels, then the donkeys for evidence of khorjins. I couldn’t find any. Since these Kuchies might presumably be moving through Khorrisan, perhaps all Khorrisan khorjins, including Windsor's, are actually figments of our imagination.


Jack Williams,
Proud, colorblind, Turkotekster, ATP*
New Orleans, "The Lousiana Lake"

*Allowed To Post

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-09-2007 09:41 PM:

A PLAIN piece


As all other avenues have been exhausted, (some,- I won't mention names - ahem Baluch, - exhaustively exhausted) it is time to venture another direction. Windsor's bag has a very PLAIN design. Therefore, it must have come from the Varamin PLAIN.
As proof, I offer these pieces from the Tanavoli book Varamin:

This first one is a bit more elaborate, but has the "camel" field and a simple, no - PLAIN - , design repertoire.

Here is a similar, but more PLAIN version.

This piece, with a very PLAIN field and minimalist central motif (not outlined as is common) is quite striking.

And here is a Kurdish piece from Varamin. "Camel" field and somewhat more complex design.

Lastly, a Varamin piece of mine with a "camel" field and single field motif. The motif is placed right about where the mihrab of a prayer rug might be - sort of a minimalist prayer rug.

There you have it, proof positive.
You are very welcome, Windsor.

Patrick -the Plain- (or is it Pain?) Weiler

Posted by Jack Williams on 07-10-2007 12:05 AM:

lots of Cs...

Good Evening, Patrick and all,

Patrick, No fair…I just read section 2-K.301 subclause 2B line 14-206.1D of the rules, and sofras are not allowed as analogs. Despite the rules,..I really like your Kurdish thing. How can something so simple be so interesting, huge wild selvedges and all? What the heck is it..with those cool end finishes and burlap looking flat weave?, ummm, ehhh... cheating? That Kurd khorjin you posted looks to be attributed the Kurds of Khorrisan, wool structure and all,... at least according to the small print beneath the picture (I learned to read small print from a great distance while being a professional college student after Vietnam). Also, I know you are jus' funnin' us-uns down South hyar, but before we close a case, wouldn't it be nice to see some stuff that looks just a little like red dye, corrosive black, battlement borders, fairly fine KPSI, depressed warps, double cotton wefts, etc.?

I am more than willing to cede the field. Above is a picture (I like pictures) that shows just what we don’t even know about the structure of Windsor's khorjin. For instance, I’ve estimated the knot density at about 60 kpsi, 3:5 ratio…is it correct? I’ve shown what I think is the origin of that border (see the funeral tomb decoration in Yarkand and Kashgar). I’ve gotten the impression that border isn’t used much in …say…Quashquai, Kamseh, the Caucasus, Anatolia, and most of Persia, except with certain groups, mostly Kurds (and the Baluch, Aimaqs of course).

If we are going to go somewhere other than khorrisan, it would be nice to cover “why.” Windsor, your khorjin deserves the attention because its mystery allows us to opine on just about anything, and it is cool and very unusual. I think we all would like to have that bag...nice nice..., oh yeah.

Regards, Jack Williams,

…who a crude klutz comically characterized as the charismatic colorblind king commentator creating chaos concerning Kurrisan camel-colored khorjins.

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 07-10-2007 06:32 AM:

Distracted by Reds

Hi Jack and All

Any technical opinions that I offer should be taken with a pinch of salt. I make knot count 6 x 12 = 72 KPSI. The wefts are tightly packed, but I've made out two shoots in a few places. I couldn't say if the cotton is hand- or machine-spun; it's certainly very white.

When Jack showed that striking Tibetan red, I remembered that
I'd taken a pic (by flash) designed to provide a reference for the red on the bag.

The rug is a (dated) late-19th century Caucasian, Kazak by my guess, which I'd like to show once this thread has finished. The rug red is brighter (pinker) than the bag red, but where the bag has worn near the flatweave loops, the colours look pretty similar.

Camille, it would be very interesting to get an opinion from Tehran. I've viewed quite a few Serab pieces and can see stylistic correspondences with the bag.



Posted by Jack Williams on 07-13-2007 08:54 AM:

About Windsor's medallion, something okKurd to me.

Good morning all.

I was monitoring the Jaf Kurd line and a reference was made to Mark Hopkins’ article, Diamonds in the Pile on Tom Cole’s site. (see - ). I revisited that article and found these border flowers on one of the Jaf Kurd bags pictured.

We have periodically speculated about a Kurd connection to Windsor’s khorjin, whether in Khurrison, near Bijar, or up near Hamadan. These Jaf border flowers are similar in design to the medallion flower in Windsor’s field.

One might think that medallion flower to be relatively simple with variants aplenty, therefore would not be unique to Kurds. Actually, I've looked for that flower in 10,000 items and this is the first example that really looks similar...for whatever it's worth.

Perhaps Camille will find it useful for reference if he is able to reach his contacts in Iran.

Regards, Jack

Oh course this this bag from the Hopkins' article might actually be baluch...

Posted by Camille Khairallah on 07-13-2007 03:12 PM:

Hi Jack,

I alresdy e-mailed the pictures with just technical information and no personal evaluation. I am waiting for the answers in these two days.



Posted by Camille Khairallah on 07-16-2007 10:31 AM:

News from Tehran

Hi all,

A few days ago I sent the pictures to a friend in Tehran, Mr. Freydoun Youssefi who is my Iranian connection and who knows a great deal of antique rug dealers there.

He showed these to three(I wish it was more but cannot ask too much) reliable dealers established in the “Bazaar Bozorg” of Tehran, to where new and old carpets (usually the best) from all over Iran find their way.
One dealer is from Bakhshayesh (Azerbaijan), the second from Isfahan (Central West) and the third from Shiraz (South-Western city).

All three claimed Persian Azerbaijan. The second gave a possible settled-Shahsavan village provenance.

As this will be my last post on this subject, I would like to thank all 15 enthusiast persons who achieved lovely brocade with this moving thread.
My special thanks go to Windsor for starting the thread and for his technical support and patience, Williams brothers: Gene for his valuable and always interesting historical information and Jack for his efforts, nice and well-chosen posted pictures, Richard for his experienced eye and rather objective ideas, and of course Steve for… just everything.



NB: I just wish I was a little better in English just to be able to take part to the cooking of your most appreciated spiritual Anglo-Saxon delicatessen.

Posted by Steve Price on 07-16-2007 10:43 AM:

Hi Camille

Thank you for your very kind words. I have no trouble at all understanding what you write in English, and I doubt that anyone else does, either.


Steve Price

Posted by Windsor Chorlton on 07-16-2007 12:09 PM:

A Thousand Thanks

Bravo, Camille!

There isn't a smilie on the board that can express the extent of my pleasure and gratitude to you for solving the mystery. Like you, I'd also like to thank all the other participants for sticking so bravely and enthusiastically to the task, and for giving me crash courses in so many different aspects (not to mention geographical areas) of rug-lore. I, too, will now draw a line under the subject and retire chuckling with embarrassment at being credited with offering 'technical support'.

Best regards to everyone


Posted by Richard Larkin on 07-16-2007 05:29 PM:

Hi Camille,

I join the others in thanking you for taking the trouble to seek out this opinion from your colleague in Teheran. Persian Azerbaijan sounds very plausible.

I would add a point. Everyone has an opinion about what TurkoTek should be about. I believe one of its great functions is to provide a forum for just this sort of inquiry. The review and consideration of a rug item that a good number of experienced people, covering many years of experience collectively, and many thousands of rugs seen and handled, cannot quite place. It was fun, stimulating and informative. Cheers to those who make it possible.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Gene Williams on 07-16-2007 05:46 PM:



Based on your comments on the thread, I've finally been dragged kicking and screaming into a convert to struture. And Azerbaijan seems to work...(and who is in Azerbaijan...Kizilbash Turks...Shashavan being among other things Afshar right?)..

But abject surrender?...I mean it was loaded dice...Camille had the thesis, then went off and consulted his friends to confirm it and declared victory! ''

Camille I'm just kidding of course..nice work. But..just checking..I'll run it past the Herat merchants this Fall. Second opinion always helps.


PS. and Camille, if we all could write French as well as you do English..we could make this a bi-lingual board.

PPS. And by the way..Jack posted pics of a Jaf Kurd bag border as illustrative of that central gul. I think its virtually identical to a classic "peach blossem" Jahan Baig gul...Now... a proposition and a story if anyone wants to hear:

PPPS. Jerry Anderson once was consulted by a young archeologist meaning to interpret the writing of the Mohandarro civilization (pre-Aryan invasion of the Indus valley). Jerry talked a lot to him..finally said he had to figure out where the bed of the Indus lay in 2000 BC..that was where the old villages, the archeological sites he needed to excavate, would be (he also gave advice on what to wear, etc.). My point being...Somehow we need to trace the historcal movements of these peoples to understand the interrelatioship of the design motifs. From my understanding..the Baluch as Indo European speakers with a language very closely related to Kurd, started their migrations from the Azerbaijan area about 1000 AD...and wound up in Seistan, then the Indus valley by 1500 AD. That might explain something but needs to be taken further. And I'm not at all convinced that there were Baluch up around Mashhad in 1700..I do know they were there by 1745...they were forcibly transported...