TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer
Date  :  09-05-1999 on 10:48 a.m.
Thanks to Steve Price and R. John Howe who helped me to edit this salon and its summary Thanks to all the participants for their interesting participation.
This unusual rug has been presented in the first part of my "salon". Citing Georges O'Bannon : " it appears to me that this rug is the oldest of the published examples and the only one with the idiosyncrasies associated with spontaneous village and tribal weaving. The border patterns change vertical to horizontal, no reconciled corners, and color usage is not regular although balanced"
Warps: fine 2 ply white wool Z2S. very slight depression of alternated warps (10°) Wefts: fine 2 ply white wool Z2S, 2 shots. Colors: natural Pile : 5 - 8 mm handle floppy Viewing a closely related picture in Wright and Wertime book, "Caucasian Carpets and Covers" (p. 72 - Zakgorstorg lithograph 1928),a Baku district pile rug, Chaili village one of the topic raised was : Except for Wright and Wertime, I found no authors who attribute examples related to my rug to Chaili. The lithograph referenced in that book, the design of hooked medallion in the tradition of Chaili products, as well as the structure are consistent with this attribution. Did this type preceded the well known three medallion textbook Chaili rugs. George O'Bannon commented this rug as follow: This rug presents several interesting questions and problems for not only the new but experienced rug collector because it is not a common Caucasian type and the name you use, Chaily, is not the most common spelling if one starts searching in the literature. 1. Chaily as given in Wright/Wertime is correct by direct translation from Russian to English. It is the spelling given in Kerimov's Azerbaijan Carpet II (1983), p. 226 and III (1983), pp. 102 and 135. The most common spelling of this name is Chajli or even Chagli in English publications. The newcomer might assume these are different words, but a common problem in rug terminology spelling is transliteration from, as in this case, Azeri Turkish to Russian to German (from when the term enters English) to English. 2. In Kerimov III, he illustrates a rug (plate 74, 2/3 of rug) like yours on p. 102 with two large medallions and smaller ones between. The caption calls it "Fyndygan carpet, Baku group, XIX century." The text about this rug is not translated into English. However, to me it has all of the hallmarks of a Kustar product with reconciled corners, identically drawn motifs, and perfect balance between paired motifs. On page 135 is a section of a more typical Chaily rug with large octagon medallions, plate 92, described in the caption as "Demirchilyar carpet (first variant), Kazakh group, XVIII century, Kirovabad town, Bagbanlar Mosque." Plate 93 is a similar rug described as "Demirchilyar carpet (first variant) Kazakh group, made in 1332 (1913)." The date is clearly visible in the illustration. Although the 18th c. date is questionable, 92 is certainly a generation earlier than 93 based on the photos. These are the type of rugs commonly called Chajli in rug books. 3. In all of the 100s of illustrations in Kerimov's two volumes, no Chaily rug, as such, is illustrated. In his diagramatic sketch of the weaving villages by region, Chaily is listed under Gyanja/Genje. Fyndygan is under Baku and Demichilyar is under Kazakh. Gyanja/Kazakh is considered as a unit with two subdivisions. 4. In Kerimov's Azerbaijan Carpet, 1985, plate 67 is called "Fyndygan, Baku group, 19th c." It has three large medallions, no small medallions, small stars instead of rosettes around the edge, and 10 borders. No Chailys are illustrated. The translated text has Fyndygan under the Baku group which is divided into two subgroups, Apsheron Peninsula and Khizy. Under Khizy "we may mark in this district such carpets as Fyndygan and Gaadi as well as Zili, which are manufactured here in big quantities. In spite of similar technology in these three groups (Kuba, Shirvan, Baku) ornamental designs as very different." One finds Chaily listed again under Gyanja/Kazakh with Chaily under "Kasum-Izmailovo: Chaily, Shadly and Fakhraly." The illustration in this volume again has a very Kustar look to it with a precision, end finish, and some border patterns I associate with Chi-Chi rugs. 5. The book of Kerimov's most readers may have is Rugs and Carpets from the Caucasus, The Russian Collections, 1984. One can read here, p. 19, the term Chaily and see Kerimov's rug divisions but no Chaily or Fyndygan rugs are illustrated. 6. Chaily rugs because of Schurmann's Caucasian Rugs are usually placed in the Shirvan group. These are the type with two or more large octagonal medallions. Stone, Rugs of the Caucasus: Structure and Design, 1984, on pp. 149-54 presents some technical/design information (based on only 5 rugs) that shows how varied technical features can be in these. 7. In considering names for Caucasian rugs, one needs to remember that this area, perhaps more than any other, is one where Western names differ very much from the Russian literature and their experts terms. Our terms are derived from Schurmann, who was accused by a European dealer, from whom he gained much of his "Kerimov" terminology, of having 'jumped the gun' and published these terms before he had learned them properly. One only has to compare the terms in Kerimov's Rug and Carpets with Schurmann to see this difference. However, we are probably stuck with Schurmann's errors because these design names have become so ingrained in usage by dealers and collectors that it simply cannot be changed. 8. To return to your rug and the Wright/Wertime example. The Chaily term fits with Kerimov and their footnoted source is his heir as head of the Caucasus Kustar weaving. This illustration may even be a cartoon not an actual rug. This type of rug is totally different from Schurmann's Chajli type, that we "know". 9. According to Kerimov your rug is a Fyndygan, Baku District. Chaily or Chajli does not conform with usual western terminology. Structurally your rug has more in common with the Gyanga/Kazakh group or even Kuba than with the Baku. In closing could a rug like yours have been the model the Kustar industry used and later promoted it among the weavers in the Baku region? References: all having a post Kustar period look Mac Mullan, Islamic Carpets, NY, 1965 Plate 52. HALI 44, April, '89 O’Bannon, "Oriental Rugs", #36, picture from Peter Pap). Kerimov III, he illustrates a rug (plate 74, 2/3 of rug) like yours on p. 102 Wright and Wertime - "Caucasian Carpets and Covers" p. 72
The third rug in this salon was an unusual runner (440 cm x 140 cm - 14'5" x 4'7") with a freely executed Caucasian design.
Technical analysis: Pile : medium to long 2 ply wool , knots symmetrical. Warps: 2 ply (Z2S), natural ivory wool, no warp displacement Wefts: thick singles, natural light brown or red dyed wool, 2 to 6 shots Selvages: 4 units of three twisted 2 ply white wool reinforced by the ground wefts interlacing and overcast by thick brown or red yarns of four singles interlacing the 4 units. Ends: weft faced plain weave plied and sewn at the back at the top of the rug. Handle: very floppy The spontaneity and the strong character of this Caucasian-like design (some might see faulty execution), full of stylized animals and geometric flowers, led Daniel Deschuyteneer, the salon host, to think it was woven by Kurds. “The zigzag meandering design (even if not specific) of the borders points to the Kurds of Khorassan as does the color palette, especially the tomato red, gold yellow, blue and white. Finally, the structure is consistent with this attribution.” Deschuytneer: “This attribution may be correct but after this salon I do not feel really comfortable it and it was suggested, as the salon proceeded, that it is also possible that this rug comes from a variety of other areas as Eastern Anatolia or South-Caucasus.” The discussion of this rug began with an exchange between R. John Howe, Steve Price and Wendel Swan. Howe said that he was puzzled about the point of most analysis of rug design tradition and asked where does the description of patterns, pattern similarities and possible pattern evolutions take us? Are these things being noticed and are they to be enjoyed as ends in and of themselves? Or is there something more going one here? Steve Price replied: “We talk about rugs at a number of levels and with a number of aims. One is aesthetics, then there's attributions, geographic and temporal and third is, more or less, the history of designs and motifs on rugs. Wendel Swan spoke of the character of his own interest, saying “Over the last decade or so, I have become increasingly fascinated by the continuity and repetition of certain designs over vast territories and times. Like anyone else, I may use designs to make an attribution, but I am just as interested in how those designs evolve as I am with who employed them. Design motifs are but aspect of rug and textile enjoyment. Color, tactile quality, wool, craftsmanship, etc. are equally important.” Swan, continued: “Some of these qualities are particularly difficult to assess through one's monitor. What's important is to view an object in a broader cultural context than whether it was made on one side or the other of an amorphous political boundary. And how people living in relative proximity may choose to play variations of the same tune.”
The salon discussion next focused on the central medallion design in this piece. Michael Wendorf said that he believes that “this basic medallion became ingrained and adapted into several weaving traditions, among them Kurdish and Kazak. Though each group adapted the medallion in their own way, there is remarkable consistency within each group's adaptation as well as in all of the different adaptive groups.” Messrs. Wendorf and Swan agreed that the basic drawing of the medallion and its interior elements suggest that it is a possible variant in the design continuum of a rare group of Kazak rugs of the Yohe/Rudnick line. Wendorf: In 1971, Mike Tschebull first illustrated a great example of this type in his … book "KAZAK"… plate 40.
That carefully executed rug with ivory and mixed brown warps and rose red wefts, 2-3, mostly 2, loosely piled, featured a ivory ground center medallion with six memling guls divided into two vertical rows above and below the medallion. This rug was recently sold (Sotheby's New York, lot 177, sale 7191, October1, 1998) with an estimated date circa 1875. Numerous other examples with this format have later appeared including: Hermann E, Seltene Orientteppische IV, Hermann E Kaukasische Teppichkunst picture 45 page 61, Sotheby's London April 1993, lot 16, Christies London April 1993 lot 357, Rippon Boswell May 1997 lot 106, Rudnick " Through the collector's eye" plate 20, Hali 69, Gans Ruedin plate 118, Bennett Caucasian plate 66, Hali 82 page 140 labelled Shirvan. “In this Shirvan rug, however, the central medallion is an eight pointed star rather than a six-sided device as is found in the Yohe/Rudnick. This medallion may be derived from 17/18th century west Anatolian star medallions. “ Wendel Swan responded: “The Shirvan example in Hali tracks closer to the Ushak models, but the Yohe/Rudnick rug group does not differ significantly - except for having six sides to the medallion rather than eight. This may be due to no more than interpretation or evolution of the design, for the internal elements are nearly identical. Michael Wendorf, took the conversation in a slightly different direction: “Quite apart from this group is a distinctive group of Kurdish rugs with a related central medallion usually on a aubergine-purplish/red ground and usually attributed to around Kagizman. These sometimes have blue wefts and all have long glossy wool with a floppy handle. On this group the medallion is again six pointed, usually red, with straight sides as with the medallions on the group above and the runner format illustrated in your rug. The Kurdish group has a distinctive border and lacks the field arrangement of the Kazaks where memling guls are employed. Instead a 2-1-2 format is utilized. Yetkin published an example of this type in Early Caucasian Carpets in Turkey, Volume 1 as plate 98 from the Carpet Museum of Vakliflar. Inv. No. 100(52). Warps there are reported as white and brown twisted together Z2S with wefts as Z2S w, 2 shoots and fine short pile. I have recently examined a distressed example on a red field with purple wefts, see Hali 68 page 173 where other examples are listed. Daniel Deschuyteneer, illustrated a similar one in poor condition showing exactly the same pattern and the distinctive main border. These rugs are sometimes labeled Kurdish Karatchov.
Wendorf: “I think that identifying these two distinguished groups may help to place this rug in context. It has some elements of the Kazak medallion but simplified with only the elements that may be palmettes drawn above and to the sides. Some of the field like elements comprising the 2-1-2 orientation of the Kurdish group are compressed into the medallions which are then multiplied. Wendorf continued: “One unusual characteristic that distinguishes the Kagizman group from all the Kazaks is that the top vertical point is often jagged, suggesting a mountain or hill perhaps while all the other lines or points are straight diagonals. The coloration is also completely different. The Kagizman group has a distinctive and unique main border system. I believe the Kagizman group is a separate and uniquely Kurdish interpretation of the same or related design source. And I do not see them or the design as market driven. Many of the examples, in fact most that I have seen, remain in wonderful condition with signs of hanging and being shown great care by their previous owners, and with dark, deeply saturated colors not normally associated with more commercially oriented rugs. Wendorf concluded: “I do not know where this rug was woven, if it was Khorasan by Kurds this would have interesting implications for relatively early design transference and independent degeneration since those Kurds were displaced relatively early. It may also be that the Kazak, Kurdish and Khorasan designs groups evolved out of a single source independently and that the similarities suggested are mere coincidence. It may also be that this rug is a Caucasian rug woven from a simplified and repetitive cartoon of these earlier rugs. What may relate the two groups is the six sided medallion and the interior elements found in the medallion. On both groups the medallion is powerful and fairly consistent over the different examples. Wendel added: “While we can only speculate on how designs evolve, I believe these groups as well as the Karachov Kazaks trace their lineage back to (and well beyond) the Holbein carpets and Ushaks. The Kagizmans are one version of the 2-1-2 and the Karachovs are another. For the most part, there is little fundamental deviation within each of the groups (as Wendorf has pointed out) and yet they remain distinct from the other. Like certain other designs, it is plausible that these two design groups developed rapidly in the second half of the 19th Century (possibly due to increased market demands). I cannot recall seeing either a Karachov or a Kagizman (as we are here applying those terms) that I thought was significantly older than the others in the group were. However they may have separated on the evolutionary chain, their common Holbein 2-1-2 heritage is evident. While the Holbein 2-1-2 format is at least centuries old, during the 19th Century there can be seen a profusion of interpretations of this format which do not seem to change radically. We'll probably never know why the Kagizmans and the Karachovs so resemble one another in the fields and yet differ so significantly in other ways. I have always seen the Karachovs as simply another design in the Kustar repertoire, however stunning and attractive they may be. The much rarer Kagizman version of the 2-1-2 may well have been adapted as a result of the commercial explosion, but that is not to say that they were woven for commercial purposes. Wendorf and Swan provided this final exchange, concluding the discussion: Wendorf: “You can take all the Kagizman Kurd examples known, I am personally aware of at least ten, and see not just the identical unique border. You will also note consistencies in the outlining of the medallion, the juxtaposition of colors, the interior elements and overall format within this adaptive group of rugs woven by Kurdish weavers. Likewise, you can take all the known Kazak examples and see yet another distinct adaptive group. They all share certain qualities such as colors, drawing and shared design elements. Certainly the number of these rugs extant is sufficient to call them a group. In fact, I believe we have sufficient samples to accept that these are each adaptive groups. I think that each of these adaptive groups in turn arose not out of coincidence but because tribal or village weavers were exposed to and influenced by similar models or traditions, here the Holbein tradition, and adapted or expressed that tradition into something that each of these distinctive groups thought beautiful. I also think that these adaptive groups then may have given rise to the spate of later rugs woven with multiple medallions such as the rug presented in this salon which do not appear to be as old or careful in their drawing or creation (as measured by among other criteria the quality of wool and range of color). Of course, one could articulate an argument that rugs such as this one are themselves an adaptive group separate from influence of the other groups I mentioned or that they all arose uniquely in a specific time and place and any design continuity is coincidence.” Swan responded: “The rug illustrated here, on the other hand, may be much later and/or created in a different weaving culture. I think it may be Eastern Anatolian, although Southern Caucasus is possible. The design ancestors of all of them can be seen in old Islamic architecture (12th - 15th Centuries). There are other examples of the adaptation of designs by different groups that parallel what may have happened with Kagizmans and Karachovs. The Lesghi star is found in Caucasian rugs and Shahsavan sumak bags (plus in a few Turkish rugs) but not elsewhere. The cruciform medallion is also found in Shahsavan sumak bags and in some Turkish pile rugs, but not elsewhere. All of these are within the broad Turkic tradition that traces back to the Holbein carpets and beyond, but each pairing seems to have surfaced almost simultaneously and yet with very distinctive characteristics.”
The fourth portion of this salon examined and discussed a pair of unusual bag faces, only one being reproduced here.
Dimensions: H 52 cm V 62 cm (1'9" x 2'1") Knots: symmetrical, 36v x 32h per 10 cm (72 knots/square inch),pile height : 3mm Warps: three ply hand spun cotton (Z3S) no warp displacement. Wefts: two different wefts between two rows of knots. One is a two or three ply hand spun cotton (it varies from place), the second is a very thin sinuous single of brown wool. Selvage: round, interlaced by the ground wefts and overcast by an additional selvage yarn. 2 cords units (1,1), of three ply hand spun cotton (Z3S) reinforced by interlacing of the ground wefts. In the other selvage there is an extra ground warp (error of weaving). The additional selvage yarn is a thick single of wool encircling the selvage without interlacing. The wefts are interlocked at the selvage In their examination of these bag faces, salon participants discussed related design examples, Turkmen design residues and the question of where this piece was woven. In his Oriental Rugs from Pacific Collection, page 195, plate 205, Murray Eiland presents a piece with a similar design. He says, "While this intriguing piece is here categorized as Caucasian, some have felt it to be Anatolian, and it does not neatly fit into either category. The cotton weft, however, would be unusual, but not unprecedented, in a 19th century Anatolian village rug." In his Caucasian Rugs volume, page 215, plate 75, Ulrich Schurmann presents a long rug with a similar central medallion, which he labels “South Shirvan.” Notice that the main borders of this rug which are quite common in North West Persian rugs. Michael Wendorf pointed out that other pieces with related designs have appeared recently on the market, all of them being marketed as Shasavan. For example, at the most recent ACOR in Denver, Mark Santos, the Portland, Oregon dealer, offered a similar piece with a “Shahsavan.” label. The German dealer Frauenknecht also advertised a bag face fairly recently and the late Michael Andrews marketed yet another about three years ago". Wendorf said that in his view the Shahsavan label never fit these pieces well, quite aside from any debate about whether the Shahsavan wove in pile. Some salon participant saw evidence of Turkmen design residues in these bag faces. Daniel Deschuyteneer, the salon host said in his initial comments, “These bag faces have a central medallion which is widely used among "Turkic tribes" and must therefore have an old "Oguz Turkmen" ancestry " Mike Tschebull seemed to agree, saying, "The octagonal medallions in your bag faces, and the similar bag medallions you illustrate (Murray Eiland and Schurman pieces), look like “Holbein” medallions, and the Eiland piece, in fact, has vestiges of the “endless knot” or “turret” design around its periphery (transTurkic design - see “Salor” guls for another comparison) as evidence of the common design source." Wendel Swan concurred, observing: "The connection between these bag faces and the Turkic tradition is unmistakable. The shape of the perimeter of the medallion in the Rothberg example illustrated is quite similar to the 2-1-2 small pattern Holbein rugs. Wendorf dissented slightly from part of Tschebull’s comment, saying “the interior design element contained in the medallions seems somewhat less like an endless knot than some I have seen and more as if it is derived from a leaf like floral element found routinely on the Afshan pattern rugs that are common throughout North West Persia and Azerbaijan over a lengthy historical period commencing, at the latest, in the 18th century. Villagers seem to have been very adept at isolating design elements out of more classical patterns and interpreting them in their own way. Michael Wendorf. The salon also considered who might have woven these bag faces. Mr. Deschuyteneer suggested that the candidates included, at least, Southeastern-Caucasian, Shasavan, Anatolian or NorthWest Persian weavers. He then opted for a North West Persian or Transcaucasian origin for these pieces because “we know that Turkmen settled in Northwest Persia after their migrations at the end of the 12th century and as the main border design often used in this area and the structure seems to fit this attribution. " Mike Tschebull offered a more accurate and different opinion and a detailed rationale. "This octagonal red medallion, but with a serrated ivory or yellow surround, representing the “turrets”, is a usual motif in old (19th cent.) Qarajeh kennereh, and is reproduced almost exactly in one early bag face that I know. The pile-woven kennereh from Qarajeh have the same colors, color use, and border conventions as your pieces, although the older kennereh almost always have all-wool foundations. “Another design for pile bag faces from the same area - also red on dark blue - is an eight-lobed medallion (See Hali 54, p 183). The small triangles at the edge of the red field in your medallions probably represent omitted elements. “The weaver was probably a Turkicized Kurd, living in Qarajeh or another closely village in eastern Azarbayjan, probably at the end of the last century. Cotton warps are a tip-off for dating small pieces from that area. A more complex piece of the same type, with a slightly higher knot count, has wool warps and cotton wefts. A pair of later bagfaces using the same field motif was sold in Skinner last spring. In general, Azarbayjani pile khorjin are not common, and seem to derive their (single) medallions from kennereh, nomad sumakh bags (rarely), and carpet motives. It is not surprising that the bag motif would show up on a Caucasian rug.” Michael Wendorf rejoined the discussion, saying, "Qarajeh seems to fit nicely based on structure and handle though I do not understand why Mike believes by Turkicized Kurd hands. Nothing about the weavings speak to me as of Kurdish manufacture though Kurds doubtless inhabited and wove in the area and though they also adopted Holbein like medallions with vestiges of the endless knot, albeit much more freely and loosely. William Eagleton joined the discussion from the African desert, observing, “The cotton structure does not point to as Kurdish provenance. Karadagh is a convenient label for such pieces, but Northwest Iran is perhaps safer. Continuing this discussion of ethnicity, Mr. Deschuyteneer, quoted Wertime’s Sumak Bags of Northwest Persian & Transcaucasia at page 109, " Qaradagh also known as Qarajeh Dagh, was inhabited by six Turkic speaking tribes and five of them are of probable Kurdish origin. Their presence in Qaradagh goes back to the Safavid period when they were moved there by the government . The sixth tribe, the Haji Alilu, is composite of diverse elements from Transcaucasia that entered the area after 1828 ". "Our knowledge of the weavings of the Qaradaghi tribes is woefully lacking Generally speaking, their material culture is very close to that of the Shasavans “ Tschebull: Incidentally, the village name, transliterated from Turki to English, on paper, looks like "Garajeh" to me, but the more commonly, if less logically used version is "Qarajeh". What you're using is the old German version, not appropriate for English speakers. "Karadja' appears on no Iranian map. “There isn't really an issue of ethnicity here - the locals don't consider themselves Kurds. I'm told that after the Afghan wars in the 18th century, Azarbayjan was depopulated and Kurds from the south moved - or where moved - into the area. As material evidence of Kurdish in-migration, there are several designs in east Azarbayjani kennereh that are like those in west Azarbayjani (Kurdish) pile weaving as well designs and color use that are very like Kurdish weaving from Hamadan province. For more on this issue, see my article plus end notes on Sarabs in Hali. Incidentally, I think attribution for Daniel's bags can be accepted as very specific. Just do the comparisons with the pile rugs, which I can definitely localize. There is no question in my mind that such weaving is village work, I only wonder why it is relatively uncommon. The answer: villagers probably did use many more flatwoven (warp-faced and weft-faced) bags than pile bags, which were used up and are hard to attribute.” At one point Jim Allen joined the discussion to add, “Daniel there is a Turkoman influence in the design of your piece and I think you got the area of origin correct as well. There are shahsavan weavings from this area and karajah is a possible place of manufacture of your bag. It would have been done there by relatively nomadic people. Wendel Swan enters the conversation to say “The interior drawing is virtually identical to the center of a Karadja rug illustrated by Peter Saunders in Tribal Visions (plate 31). The secondary border of the Saunders rug is also identical. The "Karadja" rugs, however, share their outlines with the Ushak medallions. Several years ago, the Washington Textile group exhibited what may have been a mafrash side panel with two of these "Ushak" medallions, but much more articulately drawn than either the Frauenknecht or Saunders pieces. I seem to recall that it had cotton warps. “ “In my view, a Shasavan attribution is one made incorrectly and only by default - much as the Kurdish attribution commonly is. These bags are not Shahsavan and almost certainly not Kurdish. An attribution of Northwest Persian or Azerbaijan village is probably as specific as one is likely to get, given the widespread use of these motifs.” “I have seen several bags from this group and I have never felt that any of them were what we would call, in the broadest sense, tribal or nomadic. These have a bit more filler than others.” Daniel Deschuyteneer and all the participants.

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