1 foot 11 inches x 1 foot 5 inches
59 cm. by 53 cm.
This equally fragmented embroidery is actually one of the corners from a much
larger cloth. Its iconographic content provides what this writer feels is a
glimpse at a pre-Islamic/Christian design form. Perhaps, as has been previously
suggested, the halved medallion might represent a calendar or an astrological
reference device. Whatever its original meaning, the icons displayed here are
different than any others and it remains a unique example of weaving from this
There are two major groups of these embroideries, which are identified by technical
differences of ground fabrics and sewing stitches. This example has been embroidered
on a natural linen ground cloth using a long stitch that is then couched, while
Plate One has a blue silk netting and simple cross-stitch. The silk-net and
cross-stitch type is far more common than the linen ground long stitch type
but in any case, no other known examples of either type can compare with these
two enigmatic, early fragments.
While they are technically much different than the other flat-weaves shown in
this exhibit, they have been included because the potent iconography's they
display are at times capable of providing a frame of reference for the rest
of the exhibition. An underlying, common design vocabulary existed and was utilized
by these weavers even though the use of exotic materials, like cotton and silk,
implies contact with outside trade routes which were generally unavailable to
the far more geographically, economically and culturally isolated weavers of
the soumak bags and larger kelims.
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