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Plate Two
1 foot 11 inches x 1 foot 5 inches
59 cm. by 53 cm.

This equally fragmented embroidery is actually one of the corners from a much larger cloth. Its iconographic content provides what this writer feels is a glimpse at a pre-Islamic/Christian design form. Perhaps, as has been previously suggested, the halved medallion might represent a calendar or an astrological reference device. Whatever its original meaning, the icons displayed here are different than any others and it remains a unique example of weaving from this geographic area.

There are two major groups of these embroideries, which are identified by technical differences of ground fabrics and sewing stitches. This example has been embroidered on a natural linen ground cloth using a long stitch that is then couched, while Plate One has a blue silk netting and simple cross-stitch. The silk-net and cross-stitch type is far more common than the linen ground long stitch type but in any case, no other known examples of either type can compare with these two enigmatic, early fragments.

While they are technically much different than the other flat-weaves shown in this exhibit, they have been included because the potent iconography's they display are at times capable of providing a frame of reference for the rest of the exhibition. An underlying, common design vocabulary existed and was utilized by these weavers even though the use of exotic materials, like cotton and silk, implies contact with outside trade routes which were generally unavailable to the far more geographically, economically and culturally isolated weavers of the soumak bags and larger kelims.


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