ORTS Show and Tell 2020 (group 2)

27th MAY 2020

This year’s Members’ Show and Tell produced an enthusiastic flurry of fascinating contributions from more than 20 members. The variety of entries reflects the Society’s broadening area of interest, withexamples from South America, Africa and Europe as well as from our more traditional focus on Asia.

Although the online format was forced upon us, it has resulted in two benefits: one is that members did not have to carry their precious pieces from home to the AGM venue, which may be the reason we have a greater number of larger items, especially rugs, than usual. Secondly the commentators have had longer to think about our responses this year.

Not being able to gather in a convivial atmosphere with refreshments and the ability to handle items is a loss. To get the true sense of scale, technique and matters tactile we very much hope we will be able to revert to the normal practice next year.

As usual, the Show and Tell includes several contributions which might just as easily have fallen under the heading ‘Show and Ask’. This makes for a pleasingly interactive event, and we do hope members will feel free, after browsing the delightfully intriguing contributions, to share their comments.

Clive Rogers and Fiona Kerlogue

May 2020

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(submission .pdf linked to name)

Fiona Kerlogue comments:

Louise Teague These married women’s embroidered caps and plait covers are known as chach kep (‘hair bag’). They are gathered quite roughly at the top, and when worn are wrapped around with the ileki, a wide and extensive turban. These two are particularly fine examples. There is a good illustration of a woman wearing the chach kep uncovered on page 115 of ‘Kyrgyzstan’ by Klavdiya Antipina, published by Skira (and translated by ORTS member Stephanie Bunn, who also co-wrote the introduction and will know far more than I do). There are also images showing how the cap is almost completely covered by the elaborately wrapped turban.

Peter Gent 1. Bag from Southwest China - This bag was most likely made by Bai ethnic minority people, some of whom live in the Lijiang area. The forms of the decorative motifs of figures, flowers, birds, insects and animals are typical of the Bai, and the long parallel stitching in bright colours is also typical. The triangular pendants with beaded tassels are amuletic and may have contained aromatic herbs. 2. and 3. Bags from Bolivia - These two bags are ch’uspa, bags used for carrying coca leaves in ceremonies by both Aymara and Quecha people. They are woven in a warp-faced plain weave with supplementary warp patterning, usually of wool or camelid fibre (llama, alpaca, or vicuña). A common motif is the pilis, a bird of the Andes. See Adelson, Laurie and Arthur Tracht. 1983. Aymara Weavings: Ceremonial Textiles of Colonial and 19th Century Bolivia. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Sheelagh Killeen

This is a bed-cover, adiol, made of strips of abr (from the Persian word for cloud, thus cloud-like) silk, the name given to this kind of silk ikat-dyed cloth. There is a very useful section in Janet Harvey’s book ‘Traditional Textiles of Central Asia (published by Thames and Hudson in 1996) giving the background to these ikat silk-weaves. Production seems to have started in the late 18th century and continued until the early 20th, mostly in Uzbekistan. It involved a number of different specialised workshops, each performing part of the process, from winding the warps, binding the threads to resist the dye, dyeing the various colours, and then weaving. The resulting very long strip was then stitched together into a bedspread or often a garment, usually for a wealthy individual. After the Soviet revolution production did continue, but the designs changed. Nowadays fake ikat is made by applying the dyes with a brush.


Clive Rogers comments:

Paul R. Benjamin

The rug appears to be a Haj present i.e. a gift to commemorate the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. A trip every good Muslim should make in his/her lifetime if able.

Another type of south Persian rug that is synonymous for this particular purpose are those the Shekarlu group of Fars / Shiraz province. The nickname of which was once Mecca Shiraz amongst old dealers in the West, reason being they were the best on the market and highly thought of. Unless I am mistaken, which is easily possible not having see the item itself, these kinds of rugs are liable to break when folded awkwardly due to being heavily beaten down in weaving thus of a board type handle. This type was once known by the erroneous dealer name Neriz.

Peter Gent

Coco is a part of every day life in high altituude Andean cultures. The materials normally used would be from native Alpaca.

Rachel Hamand

Originally this embroidery was most likely part of a ’Turkish Towel‘ commonly made in quantity for a dowery purposes. It would have consisted of two ends of the same design within a plain (sometimes towelled) field. Quite likely produced in both Greek and Turkish communities from W. Anatolia. These two pieces are fragments from one and so represent somewhat less than a quarter of the original piece which was ‘Solomonised' by the Istanbul butcher. It is my personal belief that these Turkish embroideries influenced later English samplers so Rene M (?) unlikely but possible given what I have said… mid 19th cent.

Roger Hardwick

1. The carpet is a classic Tabriz carpet in a typical Herati pattern. Yes made for sale in a recognisable workshop I cannot name circa 1920 or 1930s. 2. The animal trapping possibly for a baby animal with the amulet. It could be Afghan, Shah Savan, Louri or South Persian... age unknown.

Sheelagh Killeen

In Uzbekist this class of ikat weaving may be reffereed to as Uç renk Aranandi (modern Turkish spelling) or Three Colour Ikat in modern English. These ikats only have to be dyed twice leaving the resist white to form the third colour. These three collour ikats my be associated with the Samarkand region of Uzbekiatsn whose chief artisans are Tajik (Dari Persian speaking) so dealing with it across three languages can be awkward.

'Ikat is an Indonesian or Malay word (sources differ) meaning tied or bound which has been adapted into the English language to describe textiles created using the techniques resist dyeing the warp or weft prior to weaving which creates the signature fuzzy edges in the patterns, no matter where the textiles in question originate. In Uzbek abrabandi describes the entire class of Uzbek ikat textiles. Abra is the word for cloud and bandi refers to the tying of the warp during the dying process.'  - Shannon Ludington University of Nanraska

Sir Terence Clark

1. Likely correctly attributed but possibly Kutchang Kurdish. This is one panel from a khojian or pannier bag with the two decorative faces woven in a strip and folded and sewn together. As with a tough life the backing became damaged the decorative face was cut out by dealers. Age later part first quarter 20th cent. 2. Often attributed to SHAH CAVAN. This is the end panel of a ‘Mafrash‘ a cargo box in cube formation consisting of 5 sides. Two end panels as seen here two longer panels twice the width of the ends in the same design and a bottom plain or striped part to form the bottom of the trunk. Used in tents as bedding and other storage and on the move as trunks fastened to the side of a camel. Age first quarter 20th cent. Further reading Tribal Rugs: Introduction to the Weaving of the Tribes of Iran Housego, Jenny ISBN 10: 0905906985 / ISBN 13: 9780905906980 3. Persian Kurdish runner with missing borders, possibly woven toward Iraq border. Age 1930 - 1960.