Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Synagogue Rug and the Engsi: Part III
Sun, Apr 8th, 2007 11:54:20 AM
Topic: Synagogue Rug and the Engsi: Part III

In the first two posts to this thread we set up our conjecture that there is a relationship between the Synagogue rug and the Turkmen engsi format.

We have provided some supporting documentation and will, with this post, continue that process.

One thing is sure: The engsi is the most complex iconographic weaving the Turkmen produced.

And its origination is a mystery, as there are no indications how or from where this type of weaving was developed.

We will concede some tent-bands, particularly those that are full pile and those that are the earliest of their respective types, also have complex iconography. However, considering the far more exuberant and numerous number of icons that appear in engsi, as compared to tent-bands, we consider the engsi to be far more enigmatic, interesting and important.

On that note trying to determine where the engsi came from should be one of the most poignant and fascinating topic for anyone interested in Turkmen studies.

Letís now pick-apart the Synagogue rug and compare some additional detail to engsi.

First off the similarities between a Tekke engsi like this one:
and the Synagogue rug are quite obvious Ė well, that is, when one is looking for them and has the knowledge of this idiom to recognize them.

Here is a detail from the Synagogue rug that is, at least in our estimation, a smoking gun:

The corresponding stylistic format and elements of the detail can not just be coincidence, they definitely display too much similarity to be so easily dismissed.

Plus, the kotchak(ramís horn) device at the top of this detail and the one on the Tekke engsi provide a bit on icing on the cake, now donít they?

This feature, though quite rare, also appears on the following engsi, which is not Tekke but rather some Yomud group piece:

Here, on this engsi, the customary Y or ďcandelabraĒ motifs are unusual and they, too, relate quite nicely with the Xís seen in the detail of the Synagogue rug.

Again, while they are far from an exact copy, they are also far from just being accidentally alike.

We illustrate another Tekke engsi with a kotchak-type ornament:

We should also point out the niche seen on this and almost all other Tekke engsi, as well as those made by some other Turkmen groups also is present on the Synagogue rug detail we have been discussing.

Is this, too, an accident or coincidence?

Naturally, RK would have to say no but exactly what is implied by this we canít say other than suggesting both the engsi and the Synagogue rug share a common ancestor.

As we explained before, this is our position but letís look at some other supporting evidence.

Here is what we call a pseudo-animal tree engsi:

The curled-leaf main border we see here appears on a number of other Tekke and other group engsi. It also is present and quite prominently used on the Synagogue rug. Here are two details and, though they are a bit blurry due to the lack of resolution, they are still quite easily identified:

In the Turkmen exhibition we presented our idea this iconic design is not a curled-leaf but rather a stylized recumbent(head turned back) animal pose.

Regardless of its meaning, the fact it also prominently appears in the iconography of the Synagogue rug can only be seen as another strong indication of their relationship and connection with engsi.

We intend to continue this comparison and will do so asap.

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