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PLATE ELEVEN
Size: 18 x 13.5 cm


From what little can be deduced from this snippet of knotted-pile, it appears to have come from the field of small carpet with an all-over pattern of animals and stars(19). These animals were positioned in pairs facing each other as they flank two different sized six-sided polygons. The larger one of these contains a single large eight-pointed star and although the other is too fragmented for an exact reading, Lamm’s reconstruction shows he thought it also was filled with an eight-pointed star. As is the case with some of the others, this fragment has ‘S’ ply or right-hand twisted warps and not the left hand twist listed by Lamm.

The place of manufacture for this carpet was likely to have been Anatolia and this regions long standing tradition of weaving animal carpets dates at least to the 14th century as an Italian fresco from that time period shows a carpet with an animal of this type(19a). There are a number of other animal carpets depicted in Italian paintings of the 14th/15th centuries and. These representations almost always features animals in medallions, usually rondels, but sometimes octagons or other polygonal shapes were used and all of them also appear to have also been woven in Anatolia.
Fig. 36

Carpets scholars first noted these comparisons were a means of dating such rugs more than 50 years ago. At that time the source for this design, pairs of facing animals or single ones placed in medallions, were believed to have been copied from earlier Byzantine silk brocaded textiles(fig.36). Manufactured in court workshops and utilizing similar designs they appear to be related, however, connecting the dots between these two very different and in all other ways totally unrelated weaving cultures remains pure speculation and unsubstantiated.

It is much more likely both of these weavings share a common ancestry with an even earlier cult tradition that is demonstrated by the group of pre-historic statues, like figure 33. The numerous appearance and long period of their use provides a far more reliable source for this design and figure 34 or its contemporaries should be seen as the archetype weaving these weavings have been modeled after.

Figure 33 , as well as the others like it dating from the Neolithic and later periods, was made of fired clay, this type of imagery first appearing in the archaeological record as early circa 6,500 BC. At this nascent time of human history females deities were almost exclusively depicted and it was not until circa 1500 BC that male ones began to outnumber them. This archaic icon’s expression in a number of different mediums evidences its preservation by a number of diverse traditions and the common source they share.

As is mentioned in the introduction, Lamm originally published these fragments as part of his effort to place the Marby Rug(fig.37) in its proper perspective. I have my doubts about how old this carpet is and, though
Fig. 37
Lamm and other experts believe it to be 15th century, suffice it to say I don’t. The more simplistic rendering of the animals shares some parallels with this Plate, particularly the long horns and shape of the animal heads. But the rest of the iconography and some of its physical details don’t appear to place the Marby rug within any of the early groups of these animal rugs and surely do not imply and deeper connection to these fragments.


Footnotes:

19. This knotted-pile carpet fragment is illustrated as number 13 in the “Carpet Fragments” catalog
19a. “Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets”; Erdmann; pg. 19



Bibliography

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