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The Logo and the following Plates, except Plate Six, should be considered as a group distinct from Plate One. These eight fragments can be divided into two distinct sub-groups based on
structural and/or iconographic differences. The logo, Plates Two and Eight belong to the first or ‘A’ group and the others belong to the second or ‘E’ group.
Technical differences in warp plying 1 clearly separate the two. The ‘A’ group examples having an S ply (clockwise) and the ‘E’ group a Z ply (counter-clockwise). This refers to the way the two
strands of warp are twisted and though many believe this to be a function only of the weaver’s right or left handedness. Others, including myself, believe this is related to far more significant
reasons as weaving techniques in antiquity, including the direction of fiber spin and ply were exactly proscribed and not left to the whim of the artisan. Strict conventions detailed specific
techniques, colors and designs and these, like many other facets of textile production, have remained active into contemporary times. This reliability has provided today’s researchers with one of
the most valuable means to provenance the locations of cultural movements and their related textile traditions.
During the Roman Empire, the Near East was divided into a
Z-spinning west and a S-spinning east and as linen, the prepared inner fiber of the flax plant was far more common in east and was far more stable when spun in the ‘S’ direction 2, this fact may provide the ultimate source of this geographic division. Plying two or more threads together created a warp with additional strength
and this twisting was always more effective when it was done in the opposite direction to the spinning. Close adherence to this procedure was followed for many millennia and the ‘Z’ ply found
in Anatolian weavings could indicate an earlier Mesopotamian influence. Regardless of the validity this technical characteristic reveals for indigeneous weaving, it does not account for many
known and still unknown instances when highly skilled weavers were imported from other areas or textiles were produced in foreign areas on commissions for others.
After spending considerable time studying these ten fragments, it
seems obvious their provenance can not be accurately determined solely on a technical basis and other means must be used. Their design iconographies are as dissimilar as their warp plying and the
designated letter for each group, ‘A’ and ‘E’ have been chosen to reflect this difference. The three fragments from the ‘A’ group have clear pictorial connections to Anatolian traditions while those
of the ‘E’ group seem more directly related to well-known Egyptian textile styles. Comparing Plate Two with Plate Three should provide ample proof of this and the following descriptions
will explain some important artistic conventions found in each area.
1. The process of combining two or more threads for added structural support is
known as plying. Most Near Eastern weavings have two ply warps.
2. Another possibility could be the natural rotation to the right flax has when drying.