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Archaic Group
Size: 8 ft. x 5 ft.
240 cm. x 125 cm.

In contrast to the complexity of the two preceding Plates, the this kelim was created with only simple design and few colors, yet still the weaver was able to produce an extraordinarily powerful vision. A tapestry of movement and motion where figure and ground are interchangeable, their juxtaposition heightened by color placement.

The use of only one iconographically potent image/symbol fig.27, again differs from the first two examples where a number of such icons appear. The earliest references for such a group of designs were painted on cave walls in southern France and northern Spain by unknown artists more than 30,000 years ago. Throughout the last stage of the Paleolithic and the entire Neolithic sequence which followed, the pool of these sacred traditional image/symbols was enlarged. Painted kiln-fired pottery and most probably weaving were first practiced during the Neolithic and although no patterned textiles have been found, the large number of existent decorated pottery vessels and fragments clearly demonstrates the continued use of such a complex iconography of related image/symbols.

The survival of this prehistoric iconography within the kelim weaving tradition thousands of years later raises many interesting but difficult to answer questions, perhaps the most intriguing of which is : "Did the creator/weaver of this artwork know the prehistoric source of the main design seen above?". While the weaver's knowledge is impossible to ascertain, the source for the design can however be positively identified. It is the vulture. A very similar vulture design was found on a brown and white slip painted jar recovered from the excavations at the Neolithic site of Hacilar fig.28.

While not encountered at Hacilar, the practice of leaving the dead for excarnation by vultures is well known from other sites, particularly the neighboring Anatolian Neolithic site of Catal Huyuk. Is a detail from a shrine room wall painting fig. 29 c.6500BC from the Catal Huyuk excavation, which unmistakably shows a large similarly designed vulture attacking a headless corpse, proof of this symbols prehistoric source and meaning?

Figures captions 27-29

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