cult  kelim plate 4
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This Plate, the previous and the next illustration are border fragments from much larger tapestries that had unknown but possibly similar field patterns. They exhibit the same borders and central box-shaped designs with extended radial arms.  Maybe all three were originally configured like Plate Five, with the small guard border they all share appearing on both sides. The red and blue striped elem or end panel decoration, which has remained attached to this example, has facilitated these conclusions.

Notwithstanding some minor differences, their relationship seems certain. Plates Three and Four share some interesting design similarities, Plate Four and Five have the same technical characteristics and all three have ‘S’ spin and ‘Z’ply.  While the latter were woven with greater density, especially in the weft direction (72 vs 28 per inch), this extrra labor seems unnecessary as these border designs provide no apparent reason for this higher weft count. But if their field patterns are eventually identified, perhaps the rationale behind the higher weft count will be explained.

Presently only an extremely tentative idea of how they actually looked can be drawn from an analysis of Plates Three and Four. The large roundel at the bottom of the latter example provides the most obvious clue and seems to imply an all-over field pattern of similar roundels. However, this might also not have been the case as these designs might only be from an extra border. The use of eccentric borders added between other borders and the field pattern are well known from related but much later slit-tapestry weaving traditions, and this might as well be the explanation for their appearance here.

Excluding this roundel and Plate Three’s Coptic portrait and butterfly designs, these two fragments have additional motifs in common.  The pair of opposed birds with the bar and diamond design that separates them from the boxed portrait are repeated in Plate Four.  There the overt effects of design stylization are apparent and the large graphic birds have become smaller, abstract symbols.  Placing them in opposition to each other would generally imply some sort of design connection.  But the use of the diamond-shaped figure these birds both flank provides a more secure connection. 

Finally the as yet understood geometric ornament, which appears here in the central box, also was used in Plate Three. There it appears in a slightly simpler form and its migration into the central box along with the birds furthers the connection these examples share.

cult kelim plate 1


cult kelim plate 2


cult kelim plate 3


cult kelim plate 4


cult kelim plate 5


cult kelim plate 6


cult kelim plate 7


cult kelim plate 8


cult kelim plate 9



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