Posted by Wendel Swan on 03-24-2003 05:38 PM:

Attribution of the prayer rugs

Dear Bertram,

Thanks for the provocative but insightful salon.

As you probably know, my time right now wonít permit me to engage in what for me may be the most interesting salon ever on Turkotek.

Iíll raise the difficult issue of the attribution of the two pile prayer rugs you illustrate. While each has some elements that could be found in Shahsavan sumak bags, the overall designs are of rugs that we generically call Caucasian and can be found throughout various districts of the Caucasus.

These two pieces share a border that is not typically Caucasian, but I donít recognize it from other Shahsavan weaving either.

So what makes them Shahsavan? Is your opinion based on structure? If so, how?

The last illustrated piece is something that I could easily be persuaded is Shahsavan. It looks like Shahsavan sumak pieces.


Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 03-25-2003 02:39 AM:

Hello Wendel, hello everybody,
the rug with the gul-like symbols is full of designs you can find on soumacs. The other one is part of a group usually attributed to southern Shirvan. Most of the early ones are dated. The oldest I believe around 1790. (Hermann published one and gave an overview of the others) In 1790 this area was clearly Shahsevan country. We have to differentiate between those S. nomads that are relics of the Meshkin group and the many others that are spread all over.
It is probably not so easy to understand for Americans who mostly lost their feeling for a background as many of you have ancestors from everywhere. But look into Europe. A Basque is French or Spanish, but always a Basque. A Breton is French but a Breton. A Scot is a Scot but holds a British passport. And here in Germany the same. The traditions were kept in high esteem.
We don't know how things developped in the Caucasus, but at the end of the 19th c. people still had their tribal identity.
I bet that most of it got lost during more than eighty years of brain-wash.
There are a lot of Russians here now and when I have a chance I ask them about their background. There is very little.
Structure analysis has to be done to get eventually a better idea
from where a rug is. Take the Turkmen as example. Through the last 30 years more and more groups were defined bv structure and design. Azadi, Thompson, Rautenstengel, just to name a few,
clearly defined groups and gave them names.
With Shahsevan we are only at the beginning.

Posted by Michael_Bischof on 03-30-2003 11:01 AM:

Hallo Bertram,

why do you guess that the "yastik" fragment is from a yastik and not a part from a may be smaller-sized carpet ?

Thanks a lot for this intriguing salon !


Michael Bischof

Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 03-30-2003 09:47 PM:

Hello Michael,
so far nobody had a doubt about this piece being a Yastik. Not even the biggest (selfpronounced) ex-purt of America Mr Cassin.
It has been exhibited a few times and checked by quite a lot of people.

Posted by Steve Price on 03-31-2003 06:02 AM:

Hi Michael,

If the "yastik" is actually a fragment of a small rug and not a yastik, would this change Bertram's argument? It doesn't seem to me that it would, but perhaps I'm missing something.


Steve Price

Posted by Michael_Bischof on 03-31-2003 06:39 PM:

Hi Steve,

no, this would not change the argument. I just wondered ... and if available I would like to know
- the number of knots per 10 cm horizontal
- the " " " " " " vertical
- how many wefts, which colour ?

And, of course, any detail about its provenance! It looks Anatolian to me - but this means not much. Before we take it as
an argument for a thesis ( which I support)one should have a look on how much this argument can carry. As in general yastiks, as all pile weaves, are a habit of Turkmen people after (!) they have settled ...



Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 04-01-2003 02:27 PM:

Hello Michael,
I'll try to get this info from the owner.