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An old-time vaudeville preformer once quipped: Start your act with a good move, end it with your best and we could not agree more. In that vein the following photo of an ancient textile should seal our position.

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This knotted-pile carpet fragment is believed to be from Egypt and is dated by the present owner, the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece, to be 8th-10th century AD. Its U-shaped loop-pile technique is somewhat similar to the knotted-pile technique used by the Turkmen but the so-called banner gol it displays is almost an exact replica of s Turkmen one.

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The Benaki fragment was only recently was published and it is a key piece in the puzzle. We know of no other early textile, let alone one made in pile, that displays such an exact representation of a Turkmen gol.

The uniqueness of this weaving raises significant questions concerning its exact place of production and age, as Egyptian textiles tend to exist in groups with hardly any truly unique examples. Granted those woven in loop-pile are the rarest type but even they are rather easily grouped.

Regardless of exactly where or when the Benaki example was produced it is undoubtedly a weaving capable of showing the ancient historic roots of the Turkmen gol dominated iconography.

 

     
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