Friday, April 11, 2008

Color and Authenicity in Oriental Rugs

Harold Keshishian always used to tell me that the three most important things about a rug is color, color, and color. No doubt color is king but with ethnographic textiles context is important as well. I am reminded of this by the mafrash to the left and it brought to mind another piece. Wertime has an unusual piece; Rare Shahsavan Band in the John Wertime Collection. It is an intact 22 foot band which in itself a little longer than average for a pack band. The unusual part is the detail combined with pristine condition. The Shahsavan like the Turkmen both use trellised domed tent. Not surprising since the Shahsavan are primarily Northern Azeri which is a branch of the same ethno-linguistic group as the Turkmen of Turkmenistan. Tent bands are typically around 45 feet since the average trellised domed tent or yurt is 45 foot in circumference and 12 foot across. Pack bands are typically 12 to 20 feet so this one is slightly longer than average but not nearly long enough to be a tent band. I was struck by this mafrash from John Wertime as I looked at it again. The color is superb, the structure is less common (weft-float brocade) it dates to the second half 19th century and it is an intact mafrash. All these things make it very special. Karabagh Mafrash Complete Bedding Bag Weft Float Brocade from John Wertime
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