Posted by Sue Zimerman on 08-29-2002 06:47 PM:

As Above So Below

Hi Everyone,
I am very much enjoying this salon on such a mysteriously elusive subject. Although I know very little yet about Oriental rugs I feel compelled to contribute my analysis of Marvin Amstey's Ensi. I think I have a somewhat unique vantage point in deciphering it's meaning and significance.
My vantage point is that for the past 30 years I have been lucky enough to live on the top of a wooded hill directly under a major migration route in the Midwestern US. I have observed the nuances of sixty migrations in my own backyard.
Although the particulars vary from migration to migration and from species there are certain immutable underlying patterns. For instance: there is a time, usually about a week in duration, in which birds noisily congregate into huge groups in the surrounding trees. There comes a moment then of total silence before they take off, enmasse, and I can hear them swoop in a gigantic circle, (maybe two miles), before they return. These migrational "practice sessions" are so well attended that there is there is always a standing room only crowd. Each garden stake has a bird atop it.
The bird migrations sync up pretty well nicely with the butterfly migrations, which is understandable.
For what it's worth, here is what I think is going on in Marvin Amstey's Ensi which is shown on the Candles In The Garden thread of this Salon.

Editor's Note: I have added the image to this message, for convenience to the reader. Steve Price

I don't have a problem with the "bird on a pole" explanation except that I think it only describes one idea of the many which are simultaneously represented in the design.
If you imagine that you are above the image, looking down on it from the sky, the "bird heads" can quite easily be viewed as the antenna of certain species of butterflies. The bird wings would appear not as those of two birds but as a pair belonging to one bird, mid-flight, below you.
Now, the position of the bird could be closer to you than the butterfly or visa versa. My guess, based on my observations, would be that the butterfly is within the bird.
The inner and outer vertical borders on the Ensi could represent other birds of the flock or other species on the same migration path. In any case, the designs in these borders are directional and are heading the same way. As they are smaller, from this overhead view, they would appear to be closer to the ground.
The repeating pattern in the field, also directional and going the same way, could represent other birds, even further away, maybe in a valley. In this way the observer's eyes are lead to adjust to what is visible on the ground.
What is thought of as the "pole" the "birdhead" is perched on can now be the migration path/road lined on either side by the yurts of the nomads observing the birds.
Perhaps the designs on the horizontal band in the middle of the Ensi represents a "Star Path," which, we are told, birds navigate by. The Milky Way?
The three "pole birds" under the lowest horizontal border are separated by designs which have upper appendages that rise purposely, at a different angle than the surrounding angles. (Offset knots?) These in-between patterns look, to me like dragonflies -- some of which also migrate. Why, is it just me or are those white knots their bulging little insect eyes?
The bottom-most portion of the Ensi is darker than the rest, and so, visually recedes from the main plane, or field, of the Ensi as if to represent yet another spatial plane. The designs woven in this area, again as if viewed form above, are directional. As these birds are flying in the opposite direction of all the other directional images I take them to represent the migration previous to the one portrayed on the rest of the Ensi.
When the Ensi is hung, from ... whatever, the portion of it that I see as the previous migration would point to the ground under the feet of the nomad who wove it -- exactly where THEIR last migration ended.
I hope my words are clear enough to follow. I think of this Ensi as a profound and poetic "Migration Map." Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 08-29-2002 10:48 PM:

Wow, Marvin. Did you take all that in?

It's clearly going to require more than a "one-liner" response.

Thanks, Ms. Zimerman. We have some folks in the rug world who exhibit similar sorts of imagination, but unfortunately it's often coupled with dogmatism, as your suggestions here are not.


R. John Howe

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 08-30-2002 01:30 PM:

That's a pretty imaginative hypothesis. I find one flaw, however. The nomad out in the field, tending HIS flock and watching the sky may see the flight of birds, etc. The weaver is to busy doing HER chores: weaving, sewing, washing, cooking and caring for 10 kids. Not likely she has time to look up at the sky.

Posted by Steve Price on 08-30-2002 01:59 PM:

Hi Marvin,

I don't know if Sue's explanation is right or not, but it isn't a bit like any I've seen or heard before, and I like it for that reason. It's good to look in new places when you're trying to find something and having trouble doing so.

I know the Turkmen women are busy, but I'll bet they find a moment now and then to look at the sky, especially when a bird migration is passing overhead. That can be a pretty impressive sight, accompanied by loud sounds.


Steve Price

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 08-30-2002 02:14 PM:

I agree, but I would bet that it's there men folk who are looking up to see what they can shoot down.

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 08-30-2002 07:44 PM:

Dear Marvin
I am glad to hear that you have found only one flaw. Does this mean that my words were clear enough for you to see the images from above as I described them? If my description wasn't clear enough I will try harder to more carefully describe what I see. I realize that it is a pain to follow other people's explanations and I don't expect anyone to try to follow mine if they don't feel like it. I don't want to put anybody out. There are plenty of things I am not interested in getting to the bottom of so I understand completely if no one cares about the things I am interested in. I would feel really bad, though, if someone was interested and couldn't follow what I was saying. Please let me know if this happens.

I have no personal experience but I would imagine that a nomad woman would need to be very organized to get everything she has to get done done. Ten kids, yikes! In her circumstances it would be important to have a little advanced notice when it was time to start packing, finish up any "luggage" still on the loom, etc., for the migration.
Around here, at least, when the birds start gathering for migration southward is it because they know, somehow, that cold foodless weather is coming. I, for one, believe them because I stay behind and know they are right.
With all those animals the nomads must feed I would think that the few days notice that other creature's preparations to migrate provide would be a good thing to know and to pass down through the generations -- for the men, too.
You are right, if the women had no time to look up their husbands would. It would be very much in the menfolks best interest to tell their wives when to start packing with as much notice as possible. T-E-N kids. An informed unrushed woman makes a better traveling companion. No?
If a nomad woman were to find herself with such a fool for a husband she would see the birds for herself as she rolled her eyes up toward the heavens and begged her God for deliverance when she saw her husband returning home from his chores every day. Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 08-31-2002 05:22 AM:

Dear Steve,
I very much appreciate that you did not summarily dismiss my explanation of the Ensi because it is a new way of looking at it. I think I am on to something but I don't know what yet.
While I was looking up which direction the Milky Way runs, as seen from the earth, (can't see it from here), I came up with some info that set me back a bit.
The Maya called the Milky Way the "World Tree". The star clouds of which it is composed were seen as the Tree of Life. On top of the World Tree is a bird.
In the northern hemisphere the Milky Way appears from NE to SW. In the winter it appears from NW to SE. In the southern hemisphere -- visa versa. The Maya combined them into a cross form as their symbol of the Tree of Life.
So. I'm wondering now if the "candelabras" in some Ensi's could be branches of the "Tree of Life" and if the "birdheads" atop them, facing in opposite directions, represent the Milky Way in it's two appearances. Another way to record a migration cycle? Onward through the fog, Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-03-2002 05:37 AM:

Dear Everyone,
I have been doing research to see if all engsis may have something to do with migration and thus be a special occasion weaving rather than made for general purpose usage.
All of the Hatchli versions I have seen in which the horizontal and vertical cross bands meet, the horizontal band always goes over the vertical one. If the bands represent the two phases of how the Milky Way would appear in the sky in a year, which is the hunch I am following, (for now), the vertical band would represent the previous Milky Way position/migration as it has been 'crossed.' The horizontal band must then represent the eminent migration. If this is so which migration would it symbolize and why?
I revisiting all of the engsis in this salon and in my books and have convinced myself that if the cross is representative of the phases of the Milky Way and symbolizes, for nomads, migration times, the migration the engsi was woven for must be the autumnal one.
Just in case what I am thinking of as "candelabras" differs from what others do, the most accessible example is in the close up of Daniel Deschuyteneer's Saryk engsi. What I am referring to as candelabras are in the center panel. They are located, in the big picture, within the second vertical border on each side, and elsewhere, too. I have seen this symbol in many engsis and in all of the Saryk ones.
If you put on your x-ray vision glasses you can see through the candelabras. Now you can see them as old fashioned, pre-digital scales.
The scales, used as a symbol and recorded in stone in dynastic Egypt, and probably of much earlier origin, was used to symbolize the constellation Libra. Libra follows the constellation Virgo. Virgo is symbolized by a virgin, arms filled with sheaves of harvested grain, and corresponds with harvest time as it appears overhead, (in the northern hemisphere), at harvest time, down here, on earth.
When the harvest is in and the scales of Libra appear overhead in the heavenly vault/mihrab of the night sky it is a good time to migrate -- at least the birds and the insects and the four legged creatures think so.
Why do some engsis have a Mihrab? I don't know but I can imagine.
If you find yourself on migration you may have to travel through some possibly hostile Islamic territory. You have your whole family tree of life with you to protect. You might want to have handy, to hang off your camel or donkey, an "Islamic" prayer rug as a little insurance for a safe passage. This is something, between migrations, you might want to keep at the back of your head/mind.
If you don't have such worries, and can leave the mihrab off your weaving, you can still use your engsi, temporarily tied with a slip knot, (in case you want to quickly move it to another position, or remove it), by it's integral ropes, to notify fellow travelers who you are. Something like ships do at sea with their flags.
An engsi is not a bad thing to have around while not migrating, too. It can be pulled out at a moments notice to display if strangers come into camp. It can also be used to signal someone out in the field to return home, etc.
It is a long migration, however long it is, for your ten children strapped atop their camel or donkey. Out of frustration and boredom they will probably kick the sides of their ride, damaging the top edge of your engsi, no matter how carefully you have tied it to avoid this.
Just as symbols can be overlaid on other symbols seamlessly so can words. Words are just symbols. too. They can be read forward and backward in time or efficiently stacked. For example; ensi, engsi, ensign, insignia.
It is possible that the larger engsi's were woven to hang on camels and the smaller ones were made for donkeys. Anybody have some of those around to measure? Sue

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 09-03-2002 09:42 AM:

Hi Sue,
Your hypothesis is still quite imaginative, fresh, and consistent (I like consistency). The part about looking up at the night sky fo various constellations is a little hard to swallow since I sincerely doubt that these nomads knew anything about Greek virgins. However, here is a Makri rug with a mirhab filled with a dark blue color and various small yellow and red ornaments that appears to be a picture through a window of the night sky. I can't discern any specific constellation.

Posted by Steve Price on 09-03-2002 11:21 AM:

Hi Sue and Marvin,

First, to Sue. The notion that the nomads used the sky and migrations of birds to signal seasonal changes in advance makes sense, so your interpretation of the layout of the ensi is, at least, plausible. But I doubt that the arch represents a mihrab. An arch is a pretty simple form, after all, and could represent anything from an arrowhead to a mountaintop, with everything imaginable (including any number of obscene images) in between. The Turkmen probably didn't live in fear of raids from the folks in villages - they were the terror of the silk road themselves.

To Marvin: While the constellations probably didn't look any more like a virgin, an archer or a bull to the Turkmen than they do to me, the arrangements of the stars might have had significance without those names, since they do change position seasonally.

Are you sure you don't see any constellations in that rug? I don't, but I hardly ever recognize them in the sky, anyway.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-05-2002 01:49 AM:

Dear Steve and Marvin,

Marvin, everything left unquestioned that we are taught somehow enters into our unconscious, swallowed whole, as a fact. Most of the people I know were taught that the naming of the constellations was a Greek invention. Apparently you were taught this, too.
I mentioned Dynastic Egypt as the earliest place, that I was aware of, that the symbols of the various signs were depicted. In your reply it is evident that your memory "GREEK virgin/Virgo" was overlaid in your mind so strongly that you thought that that is what I had actually said. That is how you probably read it.
We all do this, all the time. It can be very subtle and is most often missed. It is a good example of how it is almost impossible to "see" beyond our beliefs. It also points to the fact of what a powerful, powerful tool overlaying one culture's symbols with another culture's meanings can be. I think this is an important concept to "Engsi"/keep at the back of our heads/minds, when we try to analyze what we are really seeing when we look at rugs. For example, in Steve's response about Mirhabs he mentioned that an arch could be taken as meaning many things. This is so, and must be addressed on a case by case basis, I believe. On the other hand if someone posts, as someone did, an Engsi with a Mirhab type form with several pictures of it and alludes to it being a penis it will be almost impossible to see this image in any other way. If I were to try to use his posted Engsi to try to show something new I see in it, or any other Engsi that resembled the one he posted for that matter, his overlay of meaning could, and probably would, stop people from seeing anything further. This, too, is probably why so many people hate and fear clowns. Sometimes, along with our weavers, I feel the presence of the evil eye upon me.
As I am visually oriented, (I think in pictures), rather than cerebrally oriented, (thinking in words), I was surprised to find that many experts believe that the meaning of symbols is lost in time. I realize that this belief would probably subconsciously, or otherwise, find it's way into the minds of more cerebral people. They would be more inclined than I to read a lot of expert opinions and explanations in the pursuit of knowledge than I have been. So far I am just mostly still looking at the pictures of rugs in my books.
I have no dogma. I am just trying very hard to translate and convey what I am seeing into words so that others can see what I am seeing. I don't really see myself as hypothesizing, I see myself as playing with ideas and offering them to others for testing and judging and help. My only hypothesis, really, is that there are things to see that haven't been seen yet and that their meaning may hold the missing link in a subject that seems to have stalled out the progress toward further understanding. I am still stumbling around trying to learn this new language of symbols. I haven't put together any big picture but I think there is a big picture to be discovered in the imagery.

Steve, thank you for your comments. I found it necessary to do a little reading up on history before I responded. I have found some things I think may be pertinent, and more. This information is from Sheila R. Canby, Curator in the Department of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum. The book I found it in is "The Golden Age of Persian Art 1501-1722. It was printed in 2000.

"Western Iran and the area around Diyar Bakr and Musul in northern Mesopotamia were under the domain of the Aqqoyunlu (White Sheep) turkmans, who's leader Uzun Hasan made his capital at Tabriz"
She goes on to speak of Uzun Hasan's garden palace, Hasht Bihist. She states that the blue Mosque in Tabriz, built in 1465, is Turkman. I am sorry, I don't have a scanner. I would send a photo if I could, especially since it has a Mirhab. She goes on to speak of the great wealth of the Turkman rulers and of Uzun Hasan regularly having 400 people over for dinner, and what they ate.
She says "Turkman ruler Ya'Qub Beg ... depended for a large part on Casbian - Mediterranean silk trade" and that carpets from Bursa at the court of Uzan Hasan had the star and cross pattern in the field borders of the pseudo-Kufic Holbein type 1.
She says that in 1495 Turkmans plundered Ardabil before the Ottomans conquered the Turkman.
She says that The Royal Library of the Turkmans was taken in 1501 and that the spirit of their art influenced early Safavid architecture and that some of their manuscripts still exist in Istanbul. She didn't say where.
She says "Turkman artists mitigate geometry with motion, the cool with the hot, and incorporate different climates and even times of day in the same composition"
She says most of the Turkman's library was erased from historical record.

This, I'm thinking, Steve, is where Ensi's come into the picture as of, perhaps, great importance. I think I know what has to be done and how to go about trying to do it. I have also made some further discoveries in a few of the Engsi's in this salon which I believe deserve close inspection -- as in knot by knot. I have begun this inspection process and hopefully will be able to post something new in a few days. I have to take many breaks because it is very hard on my eyes.

Marvin, I can also say a few sidebar things about your latest posted rug, which I will include with my next posting. Right now, thanks, in part, to Sheila A. Canby, my head is consistently spinning like a Turkman gul. Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-05-2002 06:37 AM:

Ms. Zimerman -

The author you have found talks about a "Turkman library." Conventional wisdom nowadays indicates that the Turkmen had no written language of their own until fairly recently in history, perhaps even into the 19th century. This is one reason, why it is held that we have little information about Turkmen history. What we have seems unavoidably to have been written either by non-Turkmen or by Turkmen using languages not their own. A "Turkmen library," of the period you mention, would be possible, but it seems likely to have been composed of books not written in the language the Turkmen spoke.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 09-05-2002 06:41 AM:

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the information. I wasn't aware of the Turkmen role in classical Persian art and culture. But notwithstanding that, ensis are very obviously not from the same artistic tradition as 15th and 16th century Persian, so I suspect that the Turkmen who were in those areas were distinct and separate from those who remained nomadic in west Turkestan. Most people who have studied the cultural history of the nomadic Turkmen agree that they were essentially shamanistic, not Moslem, through most of the 19th century. Note added: Lest there be any misinterpretation, I emphasize that I am not one of the people who have studied the cultural history of nomadic Turkmen.

As for arches being mihrabs, even in Moslem artifacts there are many arches that have nothing to do with mihrabs. All mihrabs are arches, but few arches are mihrabs.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-08-2002 06:54 PM:

Dear Everyone,

At the risk of attracting the attention of evil eyes or feeling the boot of an expert on my neck, I've got something to say about Hatchli Engsis and, by God, (used as a figurative expression), I am going to say it. It is going to be a little weird reading but so what, if there is a payoff, and there is, if I can make myself clear. Judge for yourself.
It may be helpful to read my previous postings on this thread. I don't know. I will try to make it a smooth ride but I'm not promising anything other than I will try to be consistent.

It is a crisp cool evening. You are on migration. There is conventional wisdom in you tribe. You know it is true. You know to get up when the sun rises and to sleep when it sets. You don't have artificial lighting, and that is the schedule your flocks are on. You don't have fences. They haven't been invented yet.
The position of the moon in the night sky, and it's phases have been noted by your tribe. You think they may be useful to your tribe's conventional wisdom, but you don't know yet.
It has been a good season. You have plenty of food for your journey. You know this because you have made this journey at this time every year. You are lucky. Other tribes have had a good season, too. There is plenty for all so it is a peaceful trip. You have time to look up in the night sky and ponder the thought "What does it all mean?"
While you are zoning out an unusual thought pops into your head. "Where did that come from," you wonder because it seems foreign, not like your other thoughts at all. "Where do all thoughts come from," you wonder, too.
The thought is "Why does that band of foggy stars always cross the sky in that direction in the autumn and cross the other way in the spring?" Then you have an idea.
The idea is "If the sun in the day sky has significance in my life, and the moon at night might, then maybe the foggy stars in the band do too. Maybe all the lights in the sky mean something. If they do what is it? How could it benefit my life to know?"
The next day you tell the tribe your thoughts and ideas. Nobody laughs at them because nobody knows. There are no experts yet or religions or science.
The tribal decision is made that the members who are good at measuring and counting should measure and count the lights in the sky. The members who have good memories are given the task of remembering the countings and measurings. You, and other members of the tribe who get thoughts and ideas, will tell what they are.
The counters and measurers say some lights move fast and some move slow and that the foggy band of them moves very slow. You know this is true because the new thought and idea that you had were what led to the counting and measuring.
You wonder. That is your job. "If I am standing here on this spot of the earth and all of the lights have their own place and speed and path maybe, once their movements are known, we can use them as we use landmarks to find our way on migration. Maybe we can use them to find our way back to camp if we want to explore unknown lands, too",
You tell the tribe your thoughts and ideas. The decision is made to count and measure the fastest moving lights first so they can be "worked around." You don't want to rely on moving "landmarks" for travel. The decision is made, too, that the whole tribe must be on the lookout for the slowest moving lights. These, you say, will be the best "landmarks."
The North star is discovered. Now what, you wonder and wonder, but no thoughts or ideas come to your head.
You have a dream. Where did this dream come from, you wonder. It is not like any other dream you have had. Where do any dreams come from, you wonder, too.
In this dream you are sitting in a dark yurt lit only be the foggy band of stars. It is so small and hanging there in front of you. You reach out your finger and stir it to see what it will do. The lights spin around like herbs floating in a stew pot, in eddies and swirls. You wake up.
You have so many new thoughts and ideas that you are overwhelmed. Your head is filled with them like a whirlpool or whirlwind. You have stirred the heavens in your dream and now they are stirring you upon awakening. What to do? How can you catch them? "Stop," you say to them, "Stop so I can see you." They stop. You can see them all, and then you have an epiphany. Where does this epiphany come from, you wonder.
Your epiphany is ...

(to be continued tonight when I get back from a hospital visit) Sue

Posted by Sophia Gates on 09-08-2002 08:07 PM:

Starfields and Butterflies

Wow! Sue has mentioned all sorts of concepts in her posts, including the possibility of a Turkmen library and the existence of universal symbolism. I'd like to offer some support, from my reading in history and culture.

I think the library idea is very possible - Turkmen wisdom need not have been written in conventional books for there to have been a repository of their ideas. And with respect - to see the Turkmen influence in Persian classical art is as simple as looking at old miniatures - with their carefully rendered carpets, showing repetitive "endless repeat" medallion designs. After all, Turkic people were very much present in central and Western Asia for hundreds of years before those miniatures were even dreamed of. I can't imagine that Mughal and Safavid artists weren't aware of their existence - and wasn't the Mughal empire founded by a person of Central Asian descent? Indeed, Persian art - like Greek art - another "classical" form - was influenced as much by outside forces as it influenced them!

Now: on to trees and tree mythology, plus some astonomy: The "world tree" imagery is not only Mayan, it is also Celtic, Nordic and appears in the Tarot; it shows up as the Tree of Life; it is virtually universal with variations in detail. And, I think there's very little to contradict the notion that early nomad people were the first astonomers. They, along with people who travelled the seas, had to be able to navigate and they navigated, as do birds, by concentrating on the stars.

Similarly, there is remarkable universality in the way people all over the globe have noticed the constellations. They might not have called them "Leo" or "Pisces", but they definitely noticed - with hemispherical variations of course, when the sun, moon and planets occurred within the bodies of the constellations. This became a way of telling seasonal time as well as giving birth to the art of astrology. And, it is possible - no - PROBABLE - that mysterious creations from Stonehenge to the Mayan pyramids, to the great Pyramids of Egypt, were reflecting both an awareness of these stellar patterns plus, possibly, a way of predicting such complex occurrences as eclipses.

Next: patterns of seasonal migration, both of animals and of transhumanants, would absolutely be linked. Survival of flocks and people would depend upon it. The notion that "women would be too busy to look up" is, forgive me, Marvin, silly. Likewise, so is the idea that only men would be interested in shooting down the flying birds. There is ample historical and legendary data to offer as proof that women in charge of flocks were also trained as hunters and warriors and Turkmen women were adept at riding and I understand that other Mongol women were fierce warriors. Shamans of both sexes exist in Asia as well as the Americas. The strictly limited roles enforced upon women by Islam and other cultures were not necessarily strictly followed even in the heart of, for example, Islamic terrority. And the implied suggestion that women, weaving, couldn't and wouldn't be moved and influenced by natural phenemena I find laughable as well as sad.

I think Sue has presented some brilliant ideas, which deserve thought. She's shown us a way to link the ensis and probably other Turkmen designs with nature, which I think hasn't been explored enough, if at all. On the contrary, scholars have been busy trying to find the origins of these designs in other designs, for example Chinese silk rank badges, etc - just as rug scholars have tried to link eagle Caucasians and dragon rugs to Persian classical art when in fact they appear to me to have exploded into their own powerful and unique statements - probably also influenced by nature AND by myth. Yet, people consistently try to find these highly creative rural and tribal designs to be "degenerations" from some I expect totally imaginary classical ideal.

In my opinion it's high time we started looking at tribal and rural rugs with some new eyes, and Sue has given us some provocative and interesting directions to consider.

Thank you, Sue!

Finally, since the word comes up all the time, I think people interested in the religions of Central Asia need to study shamanism. I thought I knew what it meant until I started reading! It's possible that some of the rug motifs do reflect shamanist ideas also, although the very heart of shamanist art is process and most of it is strictly temporary: the art of the shaman is in her voyages to other worlds or if you will, planes of consciousness; and the art created within the healing ceremony, such as sandpaintings or body art, are of necessity destroyed. Corrolaries to this idea are the Buddhist rice paintings, which can take years to create and moments to destroy: a lesson with a lesson. . .

On the other hand, masks, drums, prayer sticks, amulets, etc., are permanent and passed along through generations of healers - so why not rugs? Certainly, if any rugs LOOK like they might have shamanistic significance, it has to be the ensi/engsis.

Best to all!

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-09-2002 04:29 AM:

Dear Sophia,
Thank you, and you are very welcome!
The specifics and elaborations of which you speak are very interesting. Their relevance to what I am attempting to say may serve, once I have said what I will say, to support what I am going to say. You, and others, have offered grist for my mill, which is always good, if you are me. I welcome news of how history is manifested. It is an interesting subject.
You have made some statements based on some assumption I would like to pick bones with you over. I am sure it will be fun, fruitful, and that the opportunity will arise in this wonderful Turkotek Salon forum.
Right now I am pretty busy dragging the world and the heavens around getting them to Hatchli Engsis, which is what I am writing about now, and haven't gotten to yet. Once I get this baby delivered I will have questions I am certain you will have answers to, and I can relax a little.
Your knowledge of so many things will be good for bouncing some of the things I am going to say off of. It will be a good learning experience, for me, at least.
What I will be trying to show will be much more abstract, though, than what it appears you think I am going be saying. I believe it is called epistemology. If I am wrong about that, I'm sure someone will let me know, and why. In any case, I could not agree with your last sentence more!
This has been a very hard long day for me, (off topic stuff). I know what I am going to say but I have to write it down yet and check it. I don't want to post it before I think it is very clear, not long winded, and won't give headaches to readers. I have been told that my grammar is atrocious. It must be irritating to the educated, so I want to make the rest of the stuff worth the read.
This reply is all I can deal with tonight so I must postpone my conclusion. Hopefully tomorrow. Cashed. Sue

Posted by Sophia Gates on 09-09-2002 10:51 AM:

Good Luck With The Baby

Dear Sue,

This salon must be blessed - a new baby right in the middle! So - first things first, yes?

Meanwhile, I'm going to look up "epistomology" in the dictionary.

All the best,

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-10-2002 03:38 PM:

Dear Everyone,
Just checking in to say very soon now I will be posting what I have promised to post. Sorry for the delay. I forgot to take in to consideration that babies choose their own time to be born. This is my first. Sue

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 09-10-2002 06:49 PM:

As the groups resident OBG doc, allow me to wish you well. The other OBG connection here is Steve's wife.
Good luck,

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-11-2002 05:50 AM:

Dear everyone,

This posting is the promised continuation of the one I posted that ended, ..."and you epiphany was ...

...sixfold, at least, these are the elements of it you remember.

(1) Ponderings lead to thoughts and ideas. Thoughts and ideas lead to unconscious mental assimilation and gestation, a plateau. Unconscious assimilation and gestation lead to epiphanies, growth spurts. Epiphanies lead to new knowledge, applicable to what you have been pondering on. This new knowledge, when added to your original ponderings, lead to new thoughts and ideas and etc. through all the steps again. At the end of each cycle when new knowledge is added you get bumped up to a new level of understanding, maybe endlessly, as far as you wish to go, as far as you care to see.

(2) Analytic thought and innate knowledge each have their own language. They appear to take place in different areas, and at different places internally. (Innate knowledge, for example, migrations and the Milky Way have something to do with each other without you yet understanding why, or how you know this.) A bridge must be formed, perhaps a third language, for them to be in communication with each other efficiently.

(3) You don't have to know where thoughts, ideas, dreams, and epiphanies come from for them to come. Maybe it is knowable, maybe not. Something for somebody else to ponder, or maybe you can later, when you are not busy. For now you can consider it an Absolute.

(4) The last migration was in the past. The next one is in the future. You are right here, right now. Now can't be measured, it can't be counted. Right now is not in time. It is eternal. It is where you see ideas stop, and when they do, you see that now is where the ideas and thoughts are assimilated and gestation occurs, to become transformed into epiphanies. This is probably where Tiger Woods spend a lot of, well, time. (Time, in this example, is a word used as a figure of speech.) But Tiger Woods hasn't been born yet.

(5)When you stirred the cosmos in your dream and you were internally stirred back, seemingly by it, you could see that what was in the sky affected you internally, on the ground. Your innate knowledge tells you that you affected the cosmos, too. Bears looking into, you think, as you take note of the position in the sky and the phase of the moon. That bright light, too, the one the measurers and the counters say moves very quickly and doesn't blink is taken note of.

(6) Somehow the visible external world, the cosmos, is helping you see the invisible world within yourself and also helping you see the invisible inner workings of things that are not you. As without so within. You must ponder on this, and figure out which gestures mean what internal states and the internal qualities expressed in other beings must mean something, too. You know some things along these lines about the animals you hunt. You make a note to more closely observe what the outer is saying about the inner working worlds of creatures.

Back home at the camp the counters and measures and memorizers say they will let you know when the moon and the bright, fast moving light once again are in the same position they now are so if you can see what happens next time -- if there is any correlation, of sorts, concerning epiphanies.
Everybody joins in and practices pondering and thinking. Everybody wants an epiphany. Everybody gets thoughts and dreams and epiphanies.
You ponder how this new knowledge your tribe is accumulating can be stored for remembering and for your children's children to learn. Like a book. Books haven't been invented yet, and besides they are too heavy.
Everyone in your tribe brainstorms about this problem around the campfire.
Logical scientific analysis cannot work, it is decided. Science can take things apart and examine them and group them into categories. It can calculate averages and statistics for groups but it can't understand or convey individual qualities and states of the living. It must kill things to know them. The qualities and states you need to convey are from the now. Science cannot see the now. It is too simple. It is hidden in plain sight from the consciousness of science.
An idlewheel, (not a literal idlewheel), is needed to translate the language of innate knowledge, who's cogwheel spins one way, (not literally), and analytic scientific discovery, who's cogwheel spins another, (not literally), if the new knowledge is to be recorded and preserved.
The answer to the problem is symbols, the tribe decides. Symbols can see the simple and convey the complex. Everyone ponders and gets thoughts and ideas and epiphanies and the particulars of the symbols are hashed out and decided upon. The weavers weave them up into engsis so all can see them and learn from them and grow from having had contact with them, as I have.

Symbols appear to be simple. They are not. Think, for examples, of some of the symbols from our civilization. Pi and E, =, M, c, 2. Not being a scientist, to me they would mean nothing if it were not for their being within my culture. They are not aesthetically pleasing so I wouldn't look twice. It can be appreciated, in our culture the tremendous effort, and the vast amount of thought that went into their creation. The same should be seen as true for engsis.
Engsis embody a living history of Philosophy revealed in states and qualities. They are more than that, too. They are a tools that can be learned to be used to gain knowledge, even today. Timeless knowledge, knowledge which can never become obsolete.
To understand engsis, to learn from them, one must learn to see them with "Stoneage eyes." They are straight out of the Eternal now, still alive, timeless. I have learned a lot from them. Gotten a few epiphanies, too. So can you. It will be fun.

So. You have done some fine thinking, if I don't say so myself. Wanna do some more? I will post some more stuff about engsi symbols in a few days. I will be show and telling about my thoughts on trees of life, family trees inside of yurts, artificial lighting, moveable knots, doors, windows, gardens, birds on sticks, and other stuff that hangs within engsis. I have also found a few surprises that you might find interesting.

Dear Sophia and Marvin,

Thank you so much for your wishes sent my way! I need all I can get. I will do my best, in the future, to show when I am not speaking literally. This posting is the baby I had to deliver.
There is some weird Synchronicity to the miscommunication. My hospital visit was to the dog hospital. My dog almost died, and is in very bad shape from a GYN problem and complications. Her name is Sophie.
The stuff in this posting is my only baby. It is delivered. Not a very auspicious birthday, cultural overlays and all. Oh well.
Babies sure do take up a lot of your time. They hurt, too. I am too old for this. I am giving it up for adoption. I call it Seena the barbarian, after Sophia's post. You can call it anything you want. Here it is, tribe Turkotek, presented for your judgment.

Dear Steve, and wife of Steve, I send you my best wishes for a fast, easy birth and a wonderful baby, and a wonderful world for your baby to live in. Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 09-11-2002 06:35 AM:

Hi Sue,

Your post has much to chew on, but before I get too many congratulatory messages on a new baby, let me correct one thing. Jean (my wife) is a physician, and her specialty is obstetrics and gynecology (same as Marvin's is). We are not expecting a baby. Nathan, our 11 year old (you can see him in the Turkotek Portrait Gallery if you missed the past few ACORs), gives us great joy but is also as many kids as a guy of my age and girth can keep up with, and I'm depending on senile dementia to get me through his adolescence when it comes up a few years from now.

But, thanks for the kind thoughts.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-12-2002 04:36 PM:

Dear everyone,

I must pause in this little saga for R. John Howe. He is very busy with this salon and I feel greatly indebted to him for all of his very hard work. In order to understand what I have to say next, what I have said in my last post needs testing and some time to digest. As Steve has said, there is a lot to chew on. John has expressed elsewhere that he would like to know how artists experience the world, or something to that effect. I would like for him to, too. He hasn't probably had time to join us at the table yet. I will wait.
Also, when I am through jawboning, I will list the authors of two books who I am greatly indebted to, Seena's fathers. So if anyone wants to pursue this line of thought, they can. In the meantime I hope everyone is having fun! Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-12-2002 05:45 PM:

Dear Everyone,
Just found this. It shows a picture of last night's sky and the text just blew my mind. I am sorry that I don't know how to do hyperlinks. It is a must see!!! Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-12-2002 06:00 PM:

Dear Everyone,

I don't know about you but I think it is a good time to get in good with the Absolute. I'm praying. Sue

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 09-12-2002 08:14 PM:

That sky does not look like a Turkoman gul. However, it does look like the random things dropped into South Persian rugs to fill up space.

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-13-2002 03:05 AM:

Dear Marvin.

Please look at the scales sideways and read the text. Is anyone else having trouble following? Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 09-13-2002 11:02 AM:

Hi Sue,

I read the text and looked at the image sideways. Be kind to us literal thinkers - what am I supposed to be seeing and thinking? I'm not even an amateur astronomer, and my poor brain is hung up on the names of those two stars. I read, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, and I think, Wow! What cool names! I wonder where they came from and what they mean.

I'm sure that you didn't post the link to have people get sidetracked by that detail.

Oh, as long as I have your attention. In another thread (the one on the Turkmen juval), you posted a one-worder. The word was (still is) AHEMmmm.... Would you clarify the meaning, please?

Thanks, and best regards,

Steve Price

Posted by Ken Thompson on 09-13-2002 03:26 PM:

Meaning of Libra Star names--the Claws of the Scorpion

Dear Steve and Sue,

You wondered what the two names meant. Here is the explanation gotten from a URL which I have now lost:

"ZUBENELGENUBI (Alpha Librae). Dim Libra, which 2000 years ago held the autumnal equinox in its balance pans, is identified chiefly by two stars to the northwest of Scorpius that have delightful names, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi. They harken back to the ancient times when they were considered the outstretched claws of the Scorpion, making the two something of a double constellation. "Zubenelgenubi" derives from an Arabic phrase meaning the "Scorpion's southern claw," while the name of its mate (to which it is not physically related) refers to the northern claw. "

Regards to all,


Posted by R. John Howe on 09-13-2002 11:17 PM:

Dear folks -

Ah, the resources we have on this board.

Thanks, Ken,

R. John Howe

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-14-2002 05:21 AM:

Dear Everyone,

I have no wish to disparage science or it's methods of investigation. I read Scientific American and enjoy the legacy of cool stuff science has provided to our civilization. On rereading what I have written to date I can see how what I say may be perceived by scientists as otherwise. I am not sitting here puffing on a Cohiba with my feet up on my desk. I can see I have failed to communicate successfully. I shall try again and hopefully I won't make things even worse.

My attempt to show how I came to see what I see in engsis was a sincere effort. I thought if I could tell it in a story form, as if it were happening both as it happened to me and as it might to an intellegent member of a previous civilization, I might be able to afford you a way to see where I'm coming from and where I am looking, more clearly than any other method I could think of. I thought that if I could make you, the reader, into the seeker, that it would have more reality for you. I also think it is more fun to discover things for myself and I thought you might like to, too.
As an artist one of the things I do to see with fresh eyes is to role play. If I want to project, visually, a piece that embodies the essence of, say, "freedom and growth," every decision I make along the way must serve that purpose or the piece is a failure, in my eyes, and goes in the dumpster. Oddly enough, my artist peers think about as highly of this and some of my other thoughts on art, as scientists are seeming, to me, to think of my ideas about Turkman images.
One of the things I learned from selling hundreds of pieces and talking to thousands of people at art shows and exhibitions was that most people like and buy artwork that makes them feel the way they want to feel. It is a highly personal matter. Some people want to know a lot and have lots of questions. Some people want to be alone with their own thoughts and feeling. This must be respected.
I find it interesting that the Turkmen, as they are portrayed here, as so free and wild, produce work collected by so many scientists. I always found it curious, too, that so much of my own work went to scientists and fellow artists who thought me to rigid in my views on such things as "happy accidents."

Personally, I don't want to think that the Turkman stuff in this salon is a "degenerate" version of all what is left of a people who's history was erased any more than John Howe does. Nobody wants their bubble burst, their "mythos" shattered. I have to say, though, that the magnificent rugs which David Hunt just posted have got me wondering about a possible connection again. I can see, too, now what David means when he said black and white photos reproduce better. I have had to really struggle to see depth in the color photos. The most striking family resemblance, to me, is the 3D illusion of the vastness of space and the infinite airiness I see once the busy yet exquisitely resolved harmonies are taken in. I will leave it at that for now.
Everyone comes to this salon for their own reasons and from their own perspective. I happen to love symbols and symbolism. That is what attracted me to the Turkmen work. Finding out where they came from and what they mean enriches the experience of the rugs for me. I also miss the vastness of the sky which I don't see much because I live in a woods. I have seen the awful desolate landscapes the tribal people live in in my books. The sky seems the most logical place for them to look for inspiration and knowledge.
I realize what draws me to engsis is probably not the usual. That is why I started this thread instead of speaking elsewhere. I didn't want people who were uninterested to have to scroll fast past what I say on topics of no interest, and worse, to them.

Steve, my improperly spelled one word post on the show and tell thread was a hint that the stuff I was reading and fascinated by may be bursting other peoples bubbles a bit -- that it could be turning off some people just as my stuff turns off some people. I don't think that anybody was trying to do that but as one who, too often, has done it myself, I just saw what was happening. That's all.

What freaked me out, and why I posted the sky map, had to do partially with the Synchronicity involved with my little failed saga. I felt it my duty, as the creator of this attempt, to find out what was happening in the sky as I was writing it, especially as the sky in question, an autumnal migration time sky, is the one I see in the engsis. I wanted it to be as an authentic experience as possible while at the same time looking for supportive evidence. The example of the scales I was trying to show are in my 9/3 posting, starting four paragraphs down. As you can see each of the pans has within it white knots appearing to resemble crescent moons. To the ancients that exact night, the night I was writing my failed saga, is the night illustrated in the engsi. That night to the ancients had significance and significant nights would be the ones to be found in engsis if I am seeing what I am seeing. I made up the tale but I didn't make up or imagine what I am seeing. Do you see that it doesn't matter if our civilization's conventional knowledge that astrology is hogwash? It was significant to a culture who thought it noteworthy. They have noted it in engsis. I will stop here. I am exhausted.
Thank you so much, Kenneth!!! I need all the help I can get! Sue

Posted by Sophia Gates on 09-14-2002 10:38 PM:


Hi Sue & all:

Sue, I understand what you mean by having a virtual baby. I have been having pomegranates this week. Oi.

Anyhow I hope Sophie The Dog is well.

When I look at the the constellation sideways I see a flying pyramid, with Scorpio trailing out behind.

I like symbols too - they can pack so much information into apparently simple bodies - like the Aztec horoscope. And like that beautiful design, they are "merely decorative" until they're understood.

On the subject of "degeneracy" - I hate that word! It's insulting. And in my mind, inappropriate to use when discussing art, which in its essence is a creative act. Art changes, evolves. People, their societies, change and evolve.

I appreciate your efforts to share your insights. When I was dancing I felt that when I spinned, every time my propelling foot struck the earth spinning me around, it was simultaneously striking the earth and helping it spin around. Each act must of necessity influence every other action in the universe. And it seemed to me that a consciously giving, spiritual and joyous act could only be to the good. The corrollary: an evil thought was as dangerous as a knife, thrown, slashing the fabric of the pattern and destroying the balance.

It was also while on stage that I had many an epiphany - concerning of all things, global economics, the balance of power and the flow of resources - this was in the 70's, 80's - and I'd never studied these things. But through the sweat & ritual of the dance somehow my brain had expanded and I began to see and hear.

Your suggestion that engsis and other rugs contain symbols, perhaps full of valuable information, makes sense to me and other writers on the subject. However, in discussing the topic of symbolism in previous salons we've run aground more than once! It seems to be a hot topic on Turkotek; what appears self-evident to visual artists and Jungians, to followers of Campbell and interpreters of poetry, seems to make many of the more scientifically oriented participants nervous.

Steve and I, for example, disagree frequently on the very nature of the empirical universe. Nevertheless, we are in accord about the efficacy of banging recalcitrant electronic devices with a broom

Finally, I know it must seem that I like to gang up on Marvin, but - Marvin! I do not think those little animals and trees, so forth, that abound in South Persian rugs are simply there to "fill up space". I think they meant something to the women who very deliberately wove them there. They exist in those rugs by virtue of a conscious act of will. They are not accidents, like the (apparent) design of Danny Mehra's interesting rug. If I can reflect at all upon my experience as a painter, good artists don't put stuff in without a reason! And women whose lives depended upon the health of their flocks and the goodness of the grass & trees, would have woven them as a kind of prayer.

They weren't, I think, mere decoration.

I'll confess, one of the Turkoteks that got me most upset was an instance when somebody "cleaned up" the design of a Khamseh rug by removing half the little animals & plants! I was shocked. It was as if they'd been murdered!


Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-15-2002 02:12 AM:

Dear Sophia,

Sophie is doing the best she can. How kind of you to ask. Thank you!

I agree with you, that is why I put "degeneracy" in parenthesis. I think a lot of "degenerate" forms are an artistic comment on the forms they are based on -- at least the ones which have little flags hanging off them surrounding the field like a border patrol. Sad.
The winners write the history. The loser's history is woven into their rugs. I call them "Loser Club" rugs, destined to be walked on by the winners.
I hope, for Marvin's sake, that the rug he posted is from a book. They probably come with a curse.
Sometimes there just aint enough blue beads. Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-15-2002 05:46 AM:

Sue, Sophia -

Any culture develops its own curse words and "degeneracy" is one of those that has arisen in the rug world, in fact, likely before that, in the world of art criticism.

As I have said elsewhere on this site, I heard Walter Denny speak wonderfully yesterday on his just-opened exhibition of "Turkish Rugs in the Classical Tradition." In part of his "walk-through" lecture he had a lot of fun with another rug world curse word "derivative."

Read the books, he said, almost nothing can be worse than for a rug design to be "derivative." He then went on to show that it is precisely the "development" of particular designs over time that he has used as a basic organizational motif of his exhibition. He has a wall of Ushak designs, that include several versions of the star variety, starting with the most "classic" type and including a highly abstracted subsequent version that is greatly simplified, looking, almost Caucasian, but which exhibits still great graphic power.

Gayle Garrett, who is associated with the DOBAG effort, and who comes sometimes to speak at the TM, is like both of you, in horror of the term "degenerate." She uses "development," trying to put the stress on its merely sequential aspect. I have suggested to her that this strategy is probably not fully successful either since "development" also has overtones that suggest that later instances are in some sense better than previous ones.

But you are not alone with your concerns about such things.


R. John Howe

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-15-2002 06:57 PM:

Dear John and Everyone,

John, you are an excellent teacher!

Your explanation has allowed me to see how any larger concept which includes the word, (concept), "degeneracy" is impossible to get past for me because my understanding of what the word means changes the whole picture of what someone who uses the word is trying to say. The word "development" is much more neutral to me.

Secondly, you have illuminated for me, to my great delight, exactly why I have failed in communicating. My choice of terms and examples make it impossible for what Steve called "more literal minded people" to get beyond, and thus maybe understand what I have been struggling so hard to show.
What I am trying to show is "colored" by the connotations attached in reader's own understanding when they hear "Libra" or "pictures in the sky" or "astrology" the same way "degeneracy" strikes me -- something I couldn't see beyond.

I shall get to work immediately on a new attempt to communicate what I am trying to say because I think it is very important to be understood.
Please be patient. Words are a second language to me. I think in pictures, not words. I am slow. It will probably be many hours before I can post again.

I didn't understand what Steve meant by "more literal minded people" because I have always considered myself literal minded. I think I understand now that even the term "literal minded" means different things to different people.
I have to take "sky pictures," which connote only a visual memory devise to me, and, I believe, to the ancients, and try to paint a more neutral picture -- The sky as a huge mechanism who's moving parts had significance in the past and was viewed much differently than we view it now.

I thought that if even Sophia, another artist, couldn't understand what I was talking about I was doomed. Now I see that the symbols were getting in her way, too.
Thank you so much, John!

Before I get back to the drawing board, which is literal for me, my notes are written in different colored pencils with circles, lines, arrows, and diagrams everywhere, one more thing.

I have been getting a lot of email saying I have replies to my comments on the show and tell thread. This has been very confusing to me as I can't find the responses. I wonder if something mean is being said about me or if people just want me to see what they have said. I don't quite know what is expected of me but I do know that I broke out in a cold sweat after posting last night because I thought I had used the word parenthesis instead of the word apostrophes. So I'm not going back there until I understand. I don't mean to offend anybody by this. Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-15-2002 09:39 PM:

Sue -

I don't know what the indications you are getting about side messages concerning your posts. If you're not seeing them, I can say that I'm not either.

Although I'm more attracted myself to such things than I probably should be for the central purposes of our discussion here, I would like to take the conversation out of the "meta" level into which it is migrating and talk more directly about the engsi and what we feel that we can say usefully or interestingly about it.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 09-15-2002 09:56 PM:

Hi Sue,

About those e-mail messages you're getting. Most likely, you intentionally or unintentionally "subscribed " to this forum. When you do that, you will get an e-mail message every time someone makes a post to it. I'm not sure, but you may even get a messsage when someone's post enters the moderator queue, before it appears in public.

To get out of this loop, look for the words "unsubscribe to this forum" somewhere near the bottom of the page that has the titles of all the topics in this Salon discussion section. Then click on the words, and this problem should be solved.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-15-2002 10:17 PM:

Dear John,
The side messages are emails sent from the forum mailer. They say "so and so" has replied to your message on "Turkman Juval". I found nothing in the senders postings addressed specifically to me. I was, and still am, getting bombarded with these emails.
I love "Meta" conversations, too, but I am very busy, and very determined to put what I see is migrating into a form which anyone can follow if they so choose.
There is no point for me to get into what I think of meanings and significance of what I see until I can "show the picture." It would be quite simple and self evident in person. I could point and speak at the same time. I could use 3D models as props. This way is hard -- like trying to teach someone how to knit with just words, something a demonstration is a much better tool for.
I will not stop until I am done. I know what I am seeing is real. Thanks again, Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-15-2002 10:39 PM:

Dear Steve,

I am not getting these messages from every posting, that is what puzzled me. It is just a few people so I thought it was purposeful. Since I have gotten two notices saying you had posted a reply, and you haven't sent any, who knows? In any case, I could use a break and will go attempt to unsubscribe.
While I am here, is it possible to have a photo from another thread posted with my next post, as was done with my first post? Should I send you an email of which photo I need after I post it? At the rate I am going it may be 6 AM. Thanks, Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 09-16-2002 05:33 AM:

Hi Sue,

You can send the image to me or to Filiberto, and it will be inserted into your message if you indicate where it should go. Or, you can send the whole message to one of us and we'll post it under your name.


Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-16-2002 05:38 AM:

Sue -

Steve will be rightly aghast at my attempting to instruct someone else on the use of our software but I'm up early and may actually be able to answer your question.

First, a caveat. Our "new" softward is apparently wonderful in a number of respects but also occasionally capricious. For example, it will regularly indicate that I am a complete stranger to this board and require me to re-register. It does that with some others to but mostly not. So you could be experiencing one of its idiosycracies.

Now, to your question about inserting an image from somewhere else on the board into a message you are writing. The answer is that you can always do this and don't really need Steve or Filiberto to do so.

Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Locate the image you want to insert into your post.
2. Place the cursor on it and left click.
3. With the cursor still on it right click (a drop down menu will appear).
4. Select "properties" from the drop down menu.
5. You will get the properties of the image, minus the HTML prefix and suffix needed to make it appear in your message.
6. Highlight the properties of the image you want, and copy them.
7. Go to the place in your post at the place where you want this image to appear and paste the properties line of code you have copied from the image you want, into it.
8. Add "[img]" at the beginning of the line of code you have pasted in and "[/img]" at the end.
9. Make your post (the image will appear).

You can do this with any image anywhere on the turkotek site. You may even be able to do it with images from anywhere on the Internet, but I'll let Steve correct me about that.

We would ordinarily not give these instructions on the board but I thought they might be generally useful for folks to have. And they could potentially and momentarily reduce the administrative tasks that Steve and Filiberto face daily.


R. John Howe

Note: I had to add quotation marks to "[img]" and "[/img]" otherwise the software treats the whole line
between "[img]" and "[/img]"as a link. You have to write them WITHOUT quotation marks, though. Thanks John!


Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-16-2002 05:41 AM:

Hi Steve. Thanks. I'm still hours away from getting this done. I'm seeing double from squinting at the screen. I never want to see another engsi in my life. (Just kidding). I think I'll go to bed finish tomorrow. Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-16-2002 05:50 AM:

Hi John, Thank you. I think I'll do it the easy way this time. The only steps I can deal with now are between me and my bed. Goodnight. Sue

Posted by Marvin_Amstey on 09-16-2002 10:37 AM:

Hi Sue,

I just caught up with the thread and not at my home computer. The two rugs that I posted in this thread are hanging in my home. As far as i know they are not in any book. I guess they are "loser's rugs", but they are not walked upon.



Posted by Sophia Gates on 09-16-2002 04:35 PM:

The Constellations

Sue - am I right in seeing the bird on a pole when looking sideways at the constellation graphic? Like an eagle flying, guiding the moon through the autumn gateway.


PS: With respect, I don't buy the Persian garden design as the mother of these ensis, anymore than I buy the idea that Caucasian art "degenerated" from Persian "classical" art.

But then, I guess y'all probably know that by now

Anyhow, the tree symbol IS practically universal. Jerry's post on symbolism (by Pinner) was thoughtfully written. It is true that symbols require study and that knowledge of individual cultures is required in order to comprehend culture-specific iconography. However, the amazing number of overlapping or universally recognized symbols seems to lend credence to Jung's idea of "collective subconscious".

Indeed, even if you don't buy that idea, relatively recent history is full of examples of the power of old symbols and how they've been adapted and perverted by the priests of new religions. For example, the ram's horns are widely regarded as symbols of fertility and belong to earth gods; they symbolize the fruitfulness of the earth, the fertility of Her creatures. However, in the Christian religion they became associated with the Devil.

Similarly, dragons and serpents are associated with water, lightning, and female power and serpents in particular have been associated with healing and with eternal life. The Judeo-Christian interpretations, however, state that they are evil. As associated with women, one can see how images such as The Fall Of Man due to the nasty serpent & the weak woman, or St. George slaying the dragon, reinforced the idea of a male hierarchy, not to mention the conquering of the old religion by the mounted knights of new.

Another symbol of the Goddess and her various sisters and variants, the crescent moon, now flies on the Islamic flag. Need I point out that many of the people Mohammed battled were followers of the ancient Goddess? And need we discuss further the position of women in much of Islam?

The point I was trying to make about these cresents, dragons and serpent forms as they appeared on Caucasian rugs, in our Spring Salon, was an attempt to suggest that in their original meaning, women were weaving them in quiet rebellion. They also appear on Turkmen weavings.

Finally, the cross, as has been pointed out, is also a universal symbol. It can mean person; star; four directions; The Crucifixion - and so forth. Simply because it springs up on ensis in the general location of Persian garden carpets does NOT mean it is derived therefrom, any more than the Spider Woman crosses on Native American rugs derive from Christian imagery - OR from Oriental rug designs.

Best to all,

PPS: birds are indeed almost universal signs of the flight of the soul. Inuit believe that even houses used to be alive, and could fly. In so many cultures, people speak wistfully of a time when man and animal and god were all one, beating corpuscles of the same red heart.

Well, we still are! But we've put up walls, walls of language and culture, walls of "reason" - and we can't see or hear any longer, we refuse to hear the music of that great beating heart.

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-16-2002 07:41 PM:

Dear Sophia,
Thanks for all the good info! I will go to the spring salon as soon as I'm able. I was reading some stuff last night which you wrote in a dragon thread. Way cool! Loved it! To answer your current posting -- No, yes, warmer, warmer still -- don't worry, I know what I'm seeing and won't stop till I can show it. ?'s later!

Dear Marvin,
I am very glad the rugs are yours! ?'s later. Don't worry about curses, you are a good custodian, blessings come with that, I'm sure. Don't go all small i over the "Loser Club" thing. We here are all there. The winners are busy elsewhere keeping us busy.

Dear John,
Excellent instructions! I can see them now that I'm not seeing double. I will do my best to utilize them. If I can't do it I have only myself to blame. Hope you don't mind that I am going to use your step method of going about explaining engsi symbols and what they mean. It seems the best method I've seen yet to go about it.

Dear everyone,
The [figurative] Seena is now undergoing massive reconstructive surgery, (virtual). I almost inadvertently killed her. I have called in a specialist, Dr. John Howe. This will be my last posting until she is fit for cyberspace travel, tonight or tomorrow. Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-18-2002 06:30 AM:

Dear Everyone,

The symbols I will be showing represent a sequence of events in the sky which is an occurrence taking about two days in real time, a migration of sorts. I will show you where they are and name them for objects which seem neutral to avoid confusion and worse. Then I will tell you what they are showing and what they mean.
I know some things about Egyptian Hieroglyphics which have helped me in reading the symbols of engsis. I will only touch on that knowledge which we will need to know for now. The Egyptians were meticulous observers of nature. They very selectively incorporated abstract ideas into concrete symbols. Don't worry, we will only be looking at the concrete side of things here. The only thing I want to tell you now is that the symbol commonly called "rams horns", among other things, is derived from the Egyptian symbol for "receiving through the air". That symbol represents antenna. You will see how it applies shortly.
We also must know two things about how artists portray space and time on a two dimensional surface. On this engsi we must know that white objects as they are shown in the distance, or receding, will appear to be yellow or orange. This is due to atmospheric conditions. The further away they are the darker they are shown. There will be one object that is normally woven with black knots which is shown as orange on my monitor. This is the only exception, and I will explain why it was done when we get to it. We must also know how to place the images in space and time. This is easy when you have a horizon, but we will be looking at the sky.
We will be viewing the occurrence in space at eye level. It is one of the most interesting problem resolutions I have seen anywhere. It is more complicated to explain or to read than to see. It is worth seeing.

These are the things we will be looking at.
1. the central black vertical line
2. the five large objects skewered on the central black line
3. the white and yellow unskewered objects around the skewered ones

The other objects we can look at some other time. This will be a big enough shish kabob for now.

The central black vertical line is the only abstract item we will be seeing. It is the ecliptic. The ecliptic is the invisible annual path the sun, moon, and planets appear to travel in around the earth. They appear to travel from east to west. The top of the black line points to the East. As we head down it we are heading west.
When we view what will be occurring we will be watching from an "ecliptic eye view". In other words we will be viewing the occurrence at eye level. Our vantage point will be changing as we watch. I will tell you when this happens. I also will tell you from where along the ecliptic line we are looking from and which direction we are looking towards as we go along.
We will be reading the five large skewered items along with their unskewered corollary yellow and white objects from top to bottom, east to west on the ecliptic path.
The first large skewered symbol we will call a balancing scales. For today, we will think of the black triangles in it's pans as simply balancing the pans.
The second large skewered symbol we will call a shrugging Turkotek, because I like it. (Whoever here thought of that one, thanks!)
The yellow and white floating objects are the moon. I would have to drift into the "meta" to explain why the moon is shown as two moons so let's just think of the two moons, horizontally paired, as THE moon. I will be calling it moons, though, so you won't get confused as we go along.
We will be tracking the passage of the moons as they move from east to west from our "ecliptic eye view".
The first large skewered object, the scales, we are seeing from far away. We are to the East (top) and so the moons which are approaching the scales looks golden orange through the dusty atmosphere.
The second skewered object, the shrugging Turkotek, has two red knots for eyes and a white knotted mouth. He is black and so are his black triangle hands. Above his hands are the moons. He is watching the moons as they approach him. We are east of him looking west. The moons are approaching the scales from his view. He sees only the moons, though, because the scales are only a visual memory devise, and his weaver knew that.
Between the first shrugging Turkotek and the second scales we see, very faintly, in the distance, the image of a very far off shrugging Turkotek. He almost blends in with the field of the rug's color. From our "ecliptic eye view" we are very far east, looking west, as we were when we viewed the first skewered scales.
The third skewered object is the scales, again. We are viewing it from the west, looking east. Notice how it's cross beam bends under the additional weight of the moons in it's pans? Notice the half obscured black triangle hands of the shrugging Turkotek as he reaches out to grab the moons. We are viewing the shrugging Turkotek's hands from his own eyes, looking east. He can only see his hands peripherally, he is concentrating on the moons. He can't see his arms at all. of course, because he is only a visual memory devise and his weaver knows that.
The fourth large skewered object is the shrugging Turkotek again. Finally, he can blink. He has caught the moons in his hands. From our "ecliptic eye view" from the east, looking west, we can see that he now has sprouted antenna from his head. He has "received from the air", the moons. Remember, that is what antenna signify and that is what they are for.
Between the fourth and fifth large skewered objects are the disembodied hands of the shrugging Turkotek. We are viewing them from the West looking East. There is something wrong with this picture. If we were seeing the disembodied hands from the shrugging Turkoman's view, he wouldn't see them. He would only see the moons in his hands. If we were seeing the shrugging Turkoman's disembodied hands from further west, well, we wouldn't, because the weaver knows the shrugging Turkoman isn't real. She only weaves him into her engsi to show the passage of the moon. Besides, the hands would be dim and orange like they were portrayed between the second and third large skewed object when he was shown from far, far, away.
OK, I'll tell you what happened. Julius Caesar cut them off to turn the shrugging Turkoman into the scales.
The black lines intersecting the ecliptic black line that look like smiles with four lights attached at their ends were the shrugging Turkotek's eyes. They really lit up when he received the moon in his hands, didn't they?
The fifth large skewered object is a really interesting composite, but without the following skewered objects we will have to leave the rest of the story unread.
By now you have figured out that the scales represent the constellation Libra and that the shrugging Turkoman is really a head on view of the scorpion, representing Scorpio the constellation.
If you want to further prove to yourself what you have seen, do this. Draw a diagram with just the scales and their moons, in sequence, in the picture. Draw another picture of just the shrugging Turkoteks, in sequence, with their moons. That will serve as proof, you'll see.
This little heavenly production was at one time thought highly enough of to put in many engsis. You can see it in many of the engsis in this salon. I can see the vertical ecliptic line bisecting that wonderful garden carpet, too. If you look closely at the top chandelier in the garden carpet you can see the very same handoff of the moon from the scales to the shrugging Turkotek. It should be easier now that you have seen what you have seen here. Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-18-2002 06:59 AM:

Sue -

Wow! What an effort! This gives new and richer meaning to the word "interpretation."

And I suppose that this Egyptian picture of the sky got taken back to Central Asia as a result of the apparent constant traffic between these two areas as the Mamluk empire in Eygpt staffed its governing class with kidnapped, but ultimately, ruling Central Asian kids.

The connections we never suspected.


R. John Howe

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-18-2002 07:37 AM:

Dear John,

I think that the truth is still yet to be discovered. That can only be done if the symbols are taken seriously. They can only be taken seriously if we can have more close ups so we can see them. I would love to see that whole rug posted in close ups. How about you?

That is not an Egyptian sky picture. That's something new to me. I just used what I know from that to decipher it. I think it's really cool. Maybe all the symbol guys hung out together in the "Loser Rug Club Bar" and swapped info.
It really isn't too hard to translate. I've got a lot of symbols worked out. It's the telling it that's hard.

Too bad I don't know what the "properties of link code" means.

Thank you, Filiberto for fixing the mess I sent you. Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-18-2002 08:18 AM:

Sue -

How does one know that what you know about Egyptian symbols applies to Turkmen rugs?

What is your own response to the long comment by Robert Pinner that Jerry Silverman posted? It seems to me that Pinner argues convincingly that we have no real way of knowing any longer what the symbols that the weavers used meant.

You seem to feel not only that we do, but that there is some sort of rather universal (no pun) system being used.


R. John Howe

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-18-2002 09:02 AM:

Dear John,
I have no dogma. I just see what I see. If I can show others what I see effectively then they can judge for themselves. If I am ineffective I have other things to do.
I don't recall reading Robert Pinner's post, I have read so many I can't keep them straight yet. I will read it if it is important, tomorrow. Where is it?
Right now I need some sleep.
What is Robert Pinner's response to what I am saying? I don't like to talk about people behind their back. Bring him out let's see what happens.
By the way, I am wondering if it might be a good idea to put another copy or two of the picture I was explaining into the post. I don't want people to have to keep scrolling up and down. But now, to bed. Goodnight, Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-18-2002 09:48 AM:

Sue -

Robert Pinner is not in our conversation here. In fact, he has wondered out loud to me about the utility of our Turkotek discussions. But neither is he in hiding.

The quote that Jerry Silverman posted of his is currently the last one in the thread on "Shamanism" in this salon.

My general feelings about arguments that restrict themselves to assertions is that they may be interesting but lack the sort of "weight" that would merit serious treatment of them. I'm glad you have no "dogma," but it would be useful if one could take on a bit some of the notions that seem prerequisite to the suggestion that Egyptian symbols can be used to "read" Turkmen rug designs.

For example, Walter Denny, in the Turkish rug exhibition I have been touting, is much taken with the question of "what came before this?" with regard to the designs in such rugs.

In his concluding sequence in this exhibition he puts up one of the most famous Turkish prayer rugs in the world and then shows with five or six subsequent examples how this design "developed" as it came forward in time. He then goes back to the starting rug and asks "but where did this design likely come from? His answer is (based on some columns in the design) is, probably, from Spain. OK, he says how did Spanish architectural forms get into a 15th century Turkish rugs. His answer is they were likely brought by a group of Jews who came from Spain to Turkey a little before this. He concludes this sequence with two "torah" rugs, one woven in Turkey, that have many of the features of the original classical Turkish prayer rug with which he began.

Now this is a virtuoso performance, and one must not be expected to produce something similar, but something suggestive of why we should feel that Egyptian meanings apply to Turkmen designs needs to be offered.

It is not quite kosher to offer such an interpretation and then to respond to questions about it, that you just "tell" them, you don't "explain" them, as you wander wearily off to bed.

You do seem short of sleep a lot. Do catch up. And then tell us a little more.


R. John Howe

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 09-18-2002 10:45 AM:

Hi Sue,

Interesting explanation but it doesn’t convince me…You say This little heavenly production was at one time thought highly enough of to put in many engsis. You can see it in many of the engsis in this salon.
I guess you mean Saryk engsis, because other groups show different devices.
Here you can see details from Jourdan’s plates 21, 22, 23 concerning Saryk’s Engsis:

The scale- like device is present but is not so similar to the one you show above. I don’t see any "shrugging Turkotek" or "disembodied hands" nor white-yellow-orange moons.
How do you explain that?


As Sue requested, here is the detail she showed above for easier comparison

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-18-2002 05:43 PM:

Dear John,

I confess. I have not yet read the shamanism thread. It is just not a subject that is high on my interest list just as learning to read symbols is not high on other's list. That's OK. OK? I suspect that Sophia is right that everything is somehow connected with everything else. I will read it. I am willing, always, to look.

Please understand that I am not claiming to know anything. I am looking. I have never seen an engsi in real life and probably never will. I am certainly not claiming any experthood in any field. I have no letters after my name. I have no sheepskin.

I was thrilled to find the little story in the engsi I have tried to walk people through. I realize that to read it, even if it is clear, requires work that not many will want to do. I have tried hard. It is there now for anybody who is interested to read, unless, of course, it is "erased", as Dr.Canby calls it in her Persian Art book.

I don't consider what I have done a virtuoso performance, if that is what you are saying. Any technical writer could have done a better job, I am sure. I do believe the weaver of the engsi deserves a round of applause, though. I had trouble following what she was trying to say so I can appreciate all the blood sweat and tears which must have gone into her weaving.

I don't know if the weaver was just some unfathomable, to me, genius or if she had the help of tradition or what. I just know I am in awe of her ability to show an action story in such an elegant and sophisticated way. I could never have thought of that. I wanted to share my delight in it's discovery.

As I have said before on this thread one of the things I was expecting might happen if I spoke up was the boot of an expert on my neck. Maybe it is there and I am just too tired to notice it. So far just silence. Weird.

Yes, John, I do suffer from harsh health problems and have difficulty getting enough sleep. I am sorry for complaining, I was trying to explain why I have problems keeping up. My energy level is very low. In the future I will keep my problems to myself and hope no one is offended if I am slow or don't reply to everything people think I should be addressing.

For now I will wait for the signal I am waiting for to proceed, that what I have written has been read and understood so far. Sue

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-18-2002 06:22 PM:

The Book Sue References

Dear folks -

I am not sure, but apparently the book Sue has referenced in this last post is:

Canby, Sheila R. The Golden Age of Persian Art, 1501-1722
Harry N. Abrams, Inc New York (2000) 1st Edition Hardcover Mint, dj Plates & Illustrations 192pp. 10 3/4" x 10". 180 illustrations, including 147 plates in full color. Notes, Bibliography, Glossary, Index. Traces the achievements in art, architecture, and the decorative arts under each successive Safavid shah (1501-1722).

It is described among the "Books received" in Hali, issue 109, page 71 as "A look at the achievements in art, architecture and the decorative arts during two centuries of Safavid rule." Hali indicates that the publication date was 1999.

I didn't previously know of it, but will try to look at what Ms. Canby has to say beyond what Sue has shared here.

Maybe someone else on the board will have seen it. Jerry?

Thanks for the reference, Sue.

Didn't mean to seem to pick on a health problem inadvertently.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 09-18-2002 06:35 PM:

Hi Sue,

Once in a great while someone who could be described as an expert pops in, but that's a rare enough event that I don't think you need fear an attack by one. And, while your thoughts and hypotheses may generate questions about their origin and basis, I don't think you'll find any boots on your neck here. We try very hard to prevent anyone from being derisive about what others have said, and I think we usually succeed.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-18-2002 06:44 PM:

Dear Filiberto,

Thank you so much for the new stories! I appreciate it!! I would especially like to see the rest of the panel I was discussing, with it's horizontal midpanel, too. That particular author seems to be the cream of the crop, so far, to me.

The best reading material will be written by the best writers/weavers. These will be the ones who exhibit the qualities David Hunt has so well put his finger on elsewhere in this salon. Unfortunatly his examples are too small for me to read.

Could you insert the photo in the my first post of the day, the one describing the engsi, again, lower in the text, so people will not have to scroll up and down a lot to follow what I have said?
Thanks again, Sue

Posted by Jerry Silverman on 09-18-2002 06:48 PM:

Nope, John. I don't have this title. One must draw the line somewhere, and I've settled on books, catalogs, and ephemera dealing with rugs and flatweaves of the traditional rug-weaving countries...oh, and a couple of Native American and Pre-Columbian titles for spice. Expanding it to include, say, "middle eastern art history" would be catastrophic for both my wallet and my shelfspace.

Even with this restriction, I've been out of bookcase space for almost a year. Coincidently, two 7'6" x 27" glass-doored bookcases were delivered on Monday. That took me from a paltry 38-1/2 feet of shelves to a robust 65-1/2 feet. That's room for many years of acquisition. (Should anyone need custom-made bookshelves, I have a source. Please contact me privately as TurkoTek rules prohibit commercials.)


Posted by Sophia Gates on 09-18-2002 07:37 PM:

Star Maps

Dear Sue and All:

I applaud Sue for a brilliant effort. I think she is pointing us in a new and possibly very fruitful direction.

Egypt was a culture which lasted for AT LEAST 3,000 years - and that is being conservative. During this time they had contact with other lively and inquisitive people. Tragically, their great libraries in Alexandria were burned by conquerers and we will never know the extent of their wisdom in the fields of medicine, architecture, astronomy - but I think it's probable that they had forgotten more, by the reign of Augustus and the final collapse of independent Egypt, than most cultures will ever learn.

Since the burning of Alexandria and the death of Cleopatra, scholars and curious people have sought the ancient secrets of Egypt, hoping to find traces of their wisdom in the hermetic cults, the mystic Cabbala - the Jewish line of mystical wisdom, and in the practice of astrology and alchemy. Arabian astronomers and mathematicians were no less interested in ancient Egypt and probably at least some of that old knowledge was disseminated throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Like Gantzhorn's assertions concerning Christian iconography in Oriental carpets, Sue's ideas about Egyptian symbolism and astronomical knowledge appearing more than 1900 years after the death of Cleopatra on a Turkmen engsi seem a bit shocking at first, absurb even. But, if you take a moment to think about it, the idea makes some sense. Like the Goddess, Egypt didn't just evaporate. Bits and pieces of her greatness have persisted to this day and the questions about her accomplishments far exceed what we "know".

In modern times, about the date when most of our carpets were woven, there was a great resurgence of interest in ancient hermetic lore. Masons, alchemists, Cabbalists, astrologers, witches and druids had kept the stuff alive, often under pain of death at the hands of Christian priests and kings jealous of their power. However, we are living now in an age of questioning and change, and I think it is appropriate to scratch our heads and take another look at what we think we know.

The appreciation of a work of art can, as I've pointed out in other threads, be analyzed from the purely visual, scientific point of view. However, that's only half the story - or even less. For a rug or painting or sculpture is also visual poetry. It demands to be understood by the heart, by the right brain, by the subconscious. The overwhelming tendency in our day and age is to dismiss anything that doesn't bear the imprimateur of EMPIRICAL REALITY or PROVEN THEORY or SCIENCE, in other words, everything we think we know starts in about the year 1800, and only the "provable" can be true.

I ask you, is this any way to look at art?

Finally, I think people who live in cities, and who probably haven't seen an actual star in years, let alone the Milky Way; and who in all probability have never had to navigate their way out of a paper bag; and who have never been alone on the high plains and tasted the first hint of snow on the Arctic winds, should think twice about dismissing an idea about woven star maps and seasonal clocks.

Frankly I find the idea eminently sensible. People going to interview the remnants of Central Asian tribal people might want to ask questions about these types of ideas, questions about traditional forms of weather prediction and knowledge of bird migration and nighttime navigation, rather than trying to trace the source of engsi design in Persian city rugs. Not only does that lead to an absolute dead end, but it misses the point completely, about the nature and significance of tribal art.

Posted by Steve Price on 09-18-2002 09:36 PM:

Hi Sophia,

I think Sue's ideas are interesting, and I think that asking for "proof" would be unreasonable. On the other hand, supporting evidence would be comforting.

The problem is that her very novel and imaginative proposal is only one of many possible alternatives. It's actually very easy to generate them, just start with any more or less sensible reading of any motif and go from there. It's fun, it's stimulating, and most likely one of the many possibilities will come close to being correct. Then comes the hard question: which one is it?

What's needed is some reason for choosing one interpretation over the others. That means supporting evidence that other people can evaluate. Not "proof" (in the scientific sense, "proof" of anything is a logical impossibility anyway). Just some basis that allows critical evaluation. One person's intuition doesn't constitute evidence for anyone else, nor does stating that the relevant information is too complicated or lengthy to describe.


Steve Price

Posted by Sophia Gates on 09-18-2002 10:34 PM:

Hi Steve and all,

Yes, I understand your point. My point is this: when researchers go into the field to ask questions from the descendants of those weavers, they can try asking questions that focus on phenomena such as annual migrations, advent of the cold season, etc.

It might also be helpful to know if Turkmen had astrological traditions and if so, would they perhaps have woven some record of them?

Briefly, I think we've been going at rug design from the outside in - trying to track down the design origins in terms of other art, instead of looking at the design from the inside out - from the aspect of what the weavers were trying to say.

To find that out, people who speak the languages will have to talk to people. It will be difficult because the gulf between the our time and theirs is vast. The last one hundred years have probably brought more changes to more people than the previous thousand. When you see photos of people going on migration with trucks and tractors, and probably having to avoid being bombed by airplanes -

In any case asking questions about traditional Islam, or the history of this or that war, so forth, might be less productive than trying to find out what the women thought, how they lived, what charms they used, and, yes, about their shamans. I would guess that at least some traditional culture remains. We're fortunate in that we have a still-living culture among the Berber people, although they are under tremendous pressure from Arabization, modernization, and Islam. We can talk to living weavers about their work. They are forthright about the presence of magic and charms, good medicine and bad. Yet, when we try to extrapolate these ideas to Turkmen weavings, which seems reasonable to me, we don't seem to get very far.


Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-19-2002 12:17 AM:

Dear Steve,

It is true that I have a good imagination, but I can't understand how the weaver just stumbled onto the way she portrayed movement by accident. In advertising they use storyboards and in cartoons they stack pictures frame by frame and fan them. Then, of course, we have the way they do it in the funny pages of the newspapers. I haven't seen any hieroglyphic symbols portraying motion like that either. So where did it come from? That's what I would like to know. Somebody had to knew something somewhere.

Thank you for removing my post with the hyperlink to book info. It's weird that it said I had a browser bug. When I took the line off to paste it in here, my former post here went in the line where the http stuff goes! Maybe there ARE experts here watching. Do you know how to take the bug off from there? I think it may have happened when I was trying to transfer a picture from another thread, unless it happened at the bookstore site. Now I have an email from "java debugger" with the message "Darling". I am afraid to open it. Do you know what I should do? I didn't want to send this via email because I was afraid I might send you a bug you don't already have. Sue

Posted by Steve Price on 09-19-2002 05:13 AM:

Hi Sue,

Maybe the weaver was portraying motion, maybe not. If there is a strong argument that she was doing so, the question of why she chose this particular way of doing it becomes an issue. An accidental discovery is possible, of course. At some point back down the line, that almost has to have happened. That is, if the Turkmen didn't discover it that way, some distant predecessor did.

I don't know why the hyperlink went to the page that displayed the browser bug message. It's the first time I've seen that. Your description of what happened sounds like your Clipboard (the place stuff goes when you cut or copy) is or was screwed up.

Your e-mail message sounds a lot like the sort of thing the Klez virus generates. I get, perhaps, 5 messages a day with Klez attached. Don't open the attachment, just delete the whole thing. You can send it to me if you like. Norton Antivirus will intercept the virus if that's what it is. If you don't have an antivirus program in your computer, you should install one. They can save a lot of aggravation.


Steve Price

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-19-2002 09:55 AM:

What did she say?

The design of the engsi could have represented a star map, but none of the weavers of engsi's that still exist to this day probably knew what it meant. They interpreted the design their own way, from tradition, which may explain the many variations in engsi's.

A new monk was copying a text, in the old-fashioned, one letter at a time method, and thought that, since this same text had been copied for centuries, one monk at a time, there may have been a mistake from the original that had been copied wrong all these many years. The Abbott wanted to allay the monk's fears so he went down to the storage room in the dungeon of the Abby to find the original text.
A little while later the new monk came back to visit the abbott and found him sobbing uncontrollably.
"What is the problem Father?" asked the new monk.
The Abbott said, "The word was supposed to be Celebrate".

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-19-2002 04:31 PM:

Dear folks -

Today in the TM library I found the Canby book that Sue referenced above and spent about 40 minutes scanning it closely with the help of its index.

I'm pretty sure now that I misunderstood Sue's reference to it. I thought she might be suggesting that she saw parts of the "reading" she gave us of the engsi designs in Canby's discussion, but am pretty sure now that the reading is Sue's own, perhaps underpinned by her knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

So don't go to this book looking for a version of Sue's reading, cause it's not there.

The book is pretty good, though, I'm not tempted to buy it. Tends to give political history for a time period and then to discuss, concretely but at a surprisingly high level of generality, the art of that period, architecture, painting, ceramics, metalwork, textiles, etc.

It's likely the source of Sue's confusion about the "Turkmen," whose weaving we are discussing in this salon, since it treats, among others, a Turkmen regime that ruled most of Persia and had Tabriz as its capital city.

Just to clear that up.


R. John Howe

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-23-2002 05:23 AM:

Dear Everyone,

What follows is my supporting evidence that I have not hallucinated the moving picture scene I saw and described to you in my 9/19 4 AM post in this thread. I have reviewed the questions posed to me in reference to it and believe it will answer them without having to answer them one by one.

I will skip the deeper meanings. There has been no interest in that and Sophia probably already knows them. I will do my best to keep it at a concrete level. I will keep my further ideas and theories, which have raised further questions in my mind, to myself.

Before I get to others questions I had one of my own to answer. It arose from my previous research which nobody asked about. Maybe everyone but me already knew the answer.

What does Julius Caesar have to do with the constellations and what does it mean that he cut off the scorpions claws?

I could see how it would be a memorable event for people who plan their lives in accordance with nature. They both saw themselves as part of nature and used the information they got from the sky, just as we use artificial contraptions and devises to guide us.

In 46 BC Julius Caesar was in Egypt visiting Cleopatra and studying. While there he met with Sosigenes. Sosigenes, like many Greek philosophers of his time, was in Egypt studying philosophy. He was an initiate. The reason Caesar sought his council was that the Roman calendar had gotten so inaccurate that it was months off. This was a very big problem for someone with a huge empire on his hands to sync up. The Egyptians had worked out their calendar over a period of at least 3,000 years. They had abandoned their lunar one.

For the Egyptians the most important dates to know were those around the annual flooding of the Nile. They found that the heliacal rising in the east of the star Sirus always proceeded the Nile flooding by a few days. They had worked out a system where 36 stars marking 12 months of 30 days to which they then added five days for the neters. This system was identical to the Zoroastrian calendar with the exception of the neter days being called gath days.

Sosigenes told Caesar that the moon was a nice God but he didn't know when things happened. Now the moon, (Cancer/female principle/mother/the Crab), as every woman knows, knows a lot about when womanly things happen. Invertebrates, including crabs, (Cancer/moon/women/the crab), molt on the night of the full moon. If you don't believe me ask a woman and visit a pet store on the morning after a full moon and you can see for yourself.

Caesar returned to Rome and introduced the solar year calendar. He inserted 67 days between November and December. He added three new months to the existing calendar, too. July he named for himself, ( being born on July 17, he himself was born under Cancer). His nephew and very soon to be Emperor, Octavius (previously called Augustus), did some fine tuning on the new calendar, got two months. October and August. The new calendar no longer allowed the eclipses to be fairly predictable.

The new calendar began on 1 January 45 BC. It was 445 days long and was known as "The Year of Confusion".

At the same time, in the heavens a remarkable thing was going on. Due to the procession of the equinoxes it appeared, from the earth, that the two stars which were known at the time to be the claws of the scorpion in the constellation Scorpio "remained behind" in the pans of the scales in the constellation Libra.

This was the bountiful harvest, when the scales "held the Autumnal equinox in it's balancing scales" as Ken Thompson's post says on 9/13 in this thread.

So in the "Year of Confusion" we too have Caesar's harvest -- the new Roman Empire as the age of Aries, ( the ram/ruled by Mars/ signifier of warriors and wars), becoming the age of Pieces (the two bound fish/ruled by Neptune/signifyer of religious emotions and soon to be used to signify the Christian religion).

The changing of an age on land and in the constellations of the heavens, synchronized perfectly.

So the last skewered object I was reading, the one I thought I couldn't read without putting it into context of the one that followed it, I can now read. From the "Ecliptic eye view" we are back once again in the East, looking from Virgo. The pans are bright even though they are far, far away, because they are stars and not moons. The atmosphere does not interfere with our view because they are not themselves in the ecliptic path. The bottom black line, ( to our west), that looks like a smile no longer has the white eyes of the scorpion, even though they are stars, too, because the weaver wanted us to know that there was more space between the constellations now that the equinox had progressed.

It is said that Julius Ceasar was so famous that even illiterate tribes people who barely had heard of Rome knew his name. It is said that the "new" Libra scales became the symbol throughout the Empire of Caesar because he was so "fair and just". You can bet that all star gazing people saw the events in the sky. I was looking for Turkman history and I found, too, my own, which was a surprise. Sue

Posted by Sue Zimerman on 09-23-2002 12:53 PM:

Dear Everyone,

The "new Libra Scales" mentioned in my above post was a symbol dedicated to Julius Caesar. It was used thoughout the Roman Empire. I have found this very symbol in engsis. I see no reason why the word Engsi could not be derived from the Latin word insignia. Sue