Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >RK Examines Anatolian Kelim
Part XIV
Author:jc
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Mon, Jan 11th, 2010 09:57:01 PM
Topic: RK Examines Anatolian Kelim
Part XIV


Plate 5; “Image Idol Symbol:Ancient Anatolian Kelim”; vol.2, 1989

So far RK has avoided discussing color, which is a significant facet of archetype Anatolian kelim and their identification.

However, since this examination is a virtual one, and it is impossible to guarantee accurate color reproduction in any medium other than in-person viewing, we have avoided the pitfalls of trying to explain this issue.

RK can, nevertheless, assure all readers the tone and vibrancy of the colors in Archaic period Anatolian kelim are different than those in the later periods.

Some early Classic period example can come close, but even they lack the unique tonalities archetype kelim display.

These subtle and nuanced difference are not hard to ascertain when shown next to later pieces and seen by properly trained and sensitive eyes.

One of the reasons RK founded the Weaving Art Museum as a non-profit public charity organization was to guarantee tax-exemption for donations from any source, and to then direct those donations to forensic scientists, who would work with us to intensively study the minute differences of wool and dyeing procedures that created those colors.

So far, we have not received one penny and until we have outside funding we will not begin this project.

It is truly sad and regrettable a sizeable amount of money was spent, and wasted in our opinion, on c14 kelim ‘dating’.

RK has studied c14 dating and we have often expressed our view, which in a nut-shell states c14 is a very worthwhile procedure but not for carpets and kelim that have been contaminated through use.

Frankly, we think jurg rageth, who authored the Anatolian Kilims & Radiocrabon Dating book is nothing but a functioning illiterate, and the findings as expressed in the book are worthless.

RK can shoot holes big enough to fly B57’s through, both in georges bonani’s ‘science’ and ragth’s dopey opinion and conclusions.

Intensive dye and wool testing, not c14, will provide truly useful information, but building the data base necessary will take a long time and that work, as compared to the easily secured ‘benediction’ a bogus c14 date gives, is one of the reasons RK’s idea has not met with financial support.

Regardless of our inability to scientifically prove Archaic period Anatolian kelim are ‘ different’ than ones from later periods, RK can by art historical comparison prove our theory and ideas.

That’s what this examination is all about – presenting a new paradigm that demonstrates why the small group of 11 archetype kelim are unique as compared to others of their type and their template.

The main icon on the kelim above is a birth-symbol, actually a tower of them when it is viewed vertically.

The birth-symbol is an icon found in non-urban cultures worldwide, a ubiquitous abstract design found in the small-scale societies of the Near East, the Far East, Oceania, and the Americas.

The earliest representation of this icon were discovered by James Mellaart, during his excavations at Catal Huyuk:

“Plaster relief of pregnant goddess from the east wall of shrine VII.23, richly painted in red, orange and black on a white ground. The hands and feet were deliberately demolished when the building was filled in, probably to rob the figure of its magic potency, a practise common at Catal Huyuk. The goddess was richly dressed and the painting continues on the wall behind, as if she were holding an enveloping garment around her, the prototype of the later Near Eastern goddesses who show themselves to their worshippers.; page 76, Catal Huyuk – A Neolithic Town in Anatolia, James Mellaart


“relief of a goddess, with defaced head, in shrine VII.31; page 46, Catal Huyuk – A Neolithic Town in Anatolia, James Mellaart

These plaster wall-relief date from circa 6,300BC and, while the earliest, there are numerous others dating well into the 20th century.

This archetype kelim, as we will demonstrate, is the template for the many, many extant copies; in fact, it is perhaps the most copied of any.

We will illustrate a number of these others but first we need to prove why this one is l'una (the one).

RK doesn’t think we need to include a schematic drawing to show the ‘goddess’ --her head, her pregnant mid-section, and her vagina -- these anatomical areas are pretty easily seen, right?

Her hooked arms and legs complete the picture; a highly articulated birth-symbol, just like the color picture from Catal Huyuk.

There are various ‘look-like’ similarities between archaeological objects and Anatolian kelim but the two RK has presented, the indented-shape effigy and this one, are not ‘look-likes’ they are beyond that shadow of a doubt we have mentioned, one that is good enough in a court of law.

Notice the three different icon she comports; one in her head, one in her belly, and one between her legs.

This is no accident, the weavers of Archaic period kelim were not guessing, or fooling around – they knew what they were doing.

Remember proscription prevented them from doing anything other than what was culturally ‘approved’ and dictated.

RK has no doubt this kelim’s tower of birth-symbol had important connotation, and the yellow one, the one we illustrate, is the iconic image -- the others a type of repetition of her spiritual energy.

Here is the last one from the other, the left, side.

Notice the differences and how the yellow one we illustrate is the key, its position signaling its import.

RK doesn’t like to hypothesize kelim ‘myth’ or meaning of icon, we are quite content to recognize them and to be able to make others see them as well.

The fact the ancillary icon are different in each version on the tower is significant, the reason and meaning for these changes are lost, their differences however are there for all to see.

When this kelim is carefully examined the lyrical progression of iconographic change becomes apparent, as does the lack of them in the other examples we will illustrate or any others we have seen.

The birth-symbol is not the only icon this kelim displays, let’s look at the others.

Before we do, this might be an opportune time to briefly mention: The four white field Archaic period kelim are all ‘halves’, not one having what presumably was the other half, or even a trace of it.

The obvious questions this raises: Were there ever two halves and why does not one second half exist?

We have no answer, just like we have no answer for: If there were other halves, which we believe there were, how were they put together?

This might seem a non sequitur but it is not nearly as obvious a question.

When we illustrated the indented-shape icon from the sarcophagus of Mehmed I, the remarkable similarity to Plate 1 (Image Idol Symbol) implies were there another half they would have been put together not as all the later copies, with the indented-shape forming medallion, but rather with the ‘red border’ as the center and the effigy on the outside.

This makes sense considering the indented-shape effigy was a living-icon, as the sarcophagus clearly shows, and having them on the outside would likewise demonstrate this..

Also if RK’s supposition these Archaic period white field kelim were used to display the body before internment, the indented-shape effigy would have been on each side of the body, and not under it.

The same logic could be applied to this kelim as well -- the two half put together making the purple border a double-wide center with birth-symbol on either side.

This speculation aside, let’s identify the other icon this kelim possesses.

Frankly, it is pregnant with icon, more so than any of the other archetype example.

There are large, double-wide, red vulture between the eight jagged-peaks above the twelve birth-symbol.

Again, it is hard to resist spinning the myth this kelim is a birth/death dichotomy, and we’d better leave it at that.

The white border, on the right side, has as an archaic a rendition of an icon, which in later kelim has been cut it in half to produce this commonly seen motif.

Detail, kelim illustrated in Part XIII

In the archetype it is very different, displaying another lyric progression that reads as birth-symbol when the hooked ends of the three complex icon are seen as figure and not ground.

This border’s three complex icon actually are archaic, far more developed, ‘kotchak’ familiar from the borders of many Turkmen pile weaving.

The inner pair of red ground border have that ‘important’ icon we mentioned in Part XIII.

Detail; top border Beysehir kelim showing two permutation of that important icon; a blue one in the partially visible doll on the left, and a brown one to its right in the white space between the red doll and blue one next to it

RK will discuss this icon, and its various form, in a subsequent part of our Anatolian kelim examination, perhaps not until the conclusion as once again we do not like to myth-spin and discussing it demands such.

The birth-symbol kelim’s outer border, on the right side, can also be read two ways; five green birth symbol on a purple ground, or the archaic form of the bracket emblem, four complete and two half ones mentioned in Part VIIIA, on a green ground.

above: left, archaic version of the bracket icon flanked by two birth-symbol; right, a late and accreted version

Figure-ground drawing is not unique to archetype example, however, in later copies it is never as crisply delineated and the reciprocals are not icon but rather meaningless motif or misunderstood and misplaced version of icon.

The outer border, on the other side, has a smaller version of the vulture and what Petsopolous called the ‘hand’ or ‘bird’ emblem shown on a kelim from his 100 Kilims book illustrated in Part XII.

In the next installment, Part XIVA, a number of birth symbol kelim will be illustrated with commentary.

End Part XIV

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