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A Egyptian portrait : what else is there to say. The human head
placed within a central red square records a style of portraiture and coiffeur popular during the pre-Christian period in Egypt3.
Its somewhat saintly vision is far different from the previous example’s almost sinister and foreboding impression, which conveys that mysterious quality inherent in many Anatolian artifacts.
A comparison of their technical characteristics reveals exactly what should be expected. This example demonstrates an Egyptian style - ‘S’ spin and ‘Z’ ply- while Plate Two exhibits
the Anatolian style – ‘Z’ spin and ‘S’ ply. Surprisingly, both weavers have used the same number of warps and weft counts – 12 foundation warps and 28 pattern weft per inch. Technically,
there are some subtle differences; for instance here weft joining is done by dove-tailing (using the same warp thread for color joins) rather than Plate Two’s absence of weft joins and use of
color changes done on alternate warp threads, which is typical slit-tapestry. Also the color palettes are very different but aside from these two differences their weaving styles are rather similar.
The question of exact provenance must await further scientific testing but some possibilities are suggested by the evidence at hand. One is the existence of weaving centers where weavers
from different areas, or weaving materials that were fabricated in different areas, were employed. The different iconographic references but similar weaving characteristics 4 support this idea.
Other possibilities require a bit more faith. The head of the rather supernatural looking human depicted in Plate Two shares many stylistic details with a well-known group of of clay or
metal male statuettes from eastern Anatolia that have been recovered from a number of archaeological sites. One particular example from Kultepe, a late Bronze Age site, bears particular
mention, as its description of “…beetle-browed protruding eyes, aquiline nose, plump cheeks, large mouth…”5 perfectly
describes this woven version. Also, the “Pointed hat on (its) head…”6 has most probably been the source of Plate Two’s
exaggerated pointed head. Directly below the mirror-imaged hooked design, is a motif some people might call an elebelinde.7
But it is most likely not that but the “…sickle-shaped sword…” 8 this Hittite God is often associated with and almost always shown holding.
3. pg. 47 “Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries”
4. Both have 12 warps and 28 wefts per inch but Plate Two has ‘Z’ plied
warps and Plate Three has an ‘S’ ply.
5. pg 207, plate A537 “Anatolian Civilizations”
6. ibid. pg. 207
7. Directly under this rather misproportioned bust appears a typical motif found
in many much later Anatolian kelims – the elebinde symbol. It has been interpreted as a representation of the goddess with hands on hip or cupped under her breast.
8. Op. Cit. “Anatolian Civilizations” pg. 207