The expression "to separate the wheat from the chaff" is intoned in the Bible, in the Gospel of Matthew, and it is a good one, especially when it comes to what RK wishes to now make public: our idea of spiritual tool and its relationship to oriental carpets.
Almost 30 years ago, circa 1981, RK had already assembled our Anatolian Kelim collection and was well on the way to understanding the relationship some of the iconography they displayed has to ancient archaeological objects.
We have written about this in the Anatolian kelim analysis published here on RugKazbah.com last December, and many of you have already read this or at least looked at the pictures.
In that work we hinted at our idea of spiritual tool and now wish to flesh this out a bit more, although we are not going to delve deeply into this topic, as this is not the time for such a discussion.
For the record, we should also mention our collection of pile carpet, kelim and soumak has been formed based on only one criteria -- collecting the best known representations, ie archetype, of their genre.
We are not really interested in a weaving's 'beauty' per se, as we all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this by definition is subjective. Archetypes are not subjective, as they can be proven through correct art historical comparison.
So RK only collects what we have often referred to as non-Classical 'historic' rugs and now within the confines of this discussion we should also add only a tiny percentage of our small collection can be classified as being spiritual tool.
There is no doubt in our mind most, if not 99.9 percent, of all antique oriental rugs (those made prior to 100 years ago are classified as antique by most governments) are not art, nor are they anything but commerce or at best artisan, and not artist, produced object.
This definition pertains to both what is referred to as Classical carpets as well as those called nomadic and, we shudder at the term, tribal carpets.
As many of you know we prefer the terms non-classical, small-scale society, khan or khanate to describe these weavings made outside the spheres and confines of Ottoman, Safavid and foreign influenced economics.
As an aside we must mention we have never seen a Classical carpet that is a spiritual tool and although the best of them are undoubtedly amazing craft, luxurious and beautiful they, by our definition, do not achieve this level of consciousness.
Sure, they are art and often great art but they are not genuine spiritual tools because they are copies of earlier weavings that were spiritual tools.
The art and economics of antique carpet production is a fascinating and little documented one that is way beyond the scope of this announcement, so do excuse our avoiding further discussion.
But back to our concept of spiritual tool, which by the way is one we conceived and invented long ago, having never heard or read it anywhere else, regardless of its connection or not to oriental carpets.
We did, earlier today, do an internet search and were surprised to see a number of references using these words. In fact, we saw there is a website named spiritualtool dot com and this motivated us to throw our hat into the ring and we registered spiritualtool dot net. But this, too, is ancillary to this announcement directed to the carpet "community" and not to those who are concerned with the larger issues of what a spiritual tool is and how it might be used.
Carpets have been mentioned throughout history and regardless of their position in the art-world since the 1930's (prior to then they did possess that great stature they surely lack today) these woven object d'art have had great influence on human consciousness.
RK wrote in our "IMAGE IDOL SYMBOL - Ancient Anatolian Kelim" book, which was published in 1989, "art is man's attempt to explain the unexplainable" and this definition well applies to all carpets/weavings. However the best of the Classical carpet genre, though they are beautiful and truly art(tistic), do not reach the level of spiritual tool other non-Classical carpets are able to achieve.
RK does not see these Classical carpets as being able to explain the unexplainable; they do not hint at this concept nor are they even elemental tools designed to do this.
OK, then you might ask, what carpets are spiritual tools, how does one recognize them and what in fact are they able to do?
The concept of the 'flying carpet' is we believe indelibly attached to the history of oriental carpets and let RK now take the opportunity to reveal what is behind the curtain, so to speak, of this well-known piece of theatre.
Carpets surely did not fly, nor was anyone able to make one fly.
This piece of folk-tale is similar to the witch flying on her broomstick, and for those of you who do not know the source of the flying witch let RK clue to into this bit of arcane information.
But please do not misinterpret what we will not write as anything but a bit of knowledge RK has uncovered in our ongoing researches into consciousness and its history.
No witch, whatever this word means please decide for yourself who is and who is not one, ever flew physically. The flying was metaphysical and the broomstick was not a jet-propelled apparatus but rather was the means to apply a psychedelic unguent, one able to cause the consciousness of flight, to the genital area.
This is not RK's idea, nor our discovery. It is one well-known to certain individuals who have studied the history of certain arcane sciences, and let's just leave it at that.
Anyway, the flying carpet was also a metaphysical term whose roots can be explained as follows.
Now please NOTE: what follows IS RK's original idea and invention to explain not only the source of the flying carpet idea but more importantly to give some idea of what the spiritual tool weaving is all about.
The idea of the 'prayer rug', and its source, is part of the flying carpet concept and understanding the mechanics of how and why this type of rug came into being will help to elucidate spiritual tool.
Finding God, or the higher power as RK likes to call it, requires a consciousness that is, for all intents and purposes, not mundane, ie it is not part of this world.
This belief has been expressed through history, in all languages and among all people, and this is not the place to debate whether or not there is any higher power, so once again excuse our desire to avoid further discussion.
Ways to remove mundane thoughts from ones consciousness to facilitate approaching the higher power have been bandied about since recorded history has recorded them, and be it with physical movement/exercise like yoga; drugs like psychedelics and the witch’s unguent; music; dance, etc there is no doubt these procedures have been forwarded.
Now then, in the Muslim world devotees are required to pray, called Salat, five times each day, and it is not hard to understand when praying one is seeking connection to God, or the higher power if you will.
Praying for the Muslim requires physical movement or prostration, and although there are different forms of this physical act all of them cause blood to rush into the head, and from it as well, as this is the effect of any prostration.
Blood rushing into, or from, one's head has varying effects depending on the individual and the severity of the prostration but as anyone who has ever experienced this can tell you, it can cause a change of consciousness – some might call it ‘getting high’.
It is this simple but effective physical effect that lies behind the prayer rug, which though absolutely not required for any Muslim to use during prayer, is nonetheless a very prevalent accessory.
Now then, a prayer rug we would classify as a spiritual tool would stimulate and amplify, through iconographic placement and color juxtaposition, the user's visual plane and thus assist achieving the higher consciousness, or meditation state, necessary to approach the higher power.
Again RK has never heard or read anyone who has interpreted the Muslim act of prayer, Salat, or the use of the prayer rug, as having such a history. By the way, we believe both were initiated long before the 6th century, Muhammad's birth, and the origin of this religion.
So the prayer rug was originally a spiritual tool, however, not all prayer rugs are spiritual tool, in fact we have never seen one we believe is.
Our telling you why might further help you to understand what this spiritual tool concept is all about.
We can believe, prior to the 6th century, and the proliferation of Muslim ideology, which includes the idea of the prayer rug, there were some ‘prayer rugs’ that were, in fact, genuine , ie objects able through color and pattern able to cause a a visual vibration and create higher consciousness.
This, again to reiterate, is the source of the prayer rug concept and since there are few weavings extant from prior to the 6th century, and many of those that are do not fall into the classification of anything that might be termed a prayer rug, we can not point to any example.
Most extant pre-6th century AD weavings were garments, or fragments of garment; few are large enough to even be considered, and those that are do not have a set of iconographic imagery, which could encompass the visual field of someone prostrated in prayer and amplify access to higher consciousness.
At this stage of the game RK is unwilling to discuss this spiritual tool concept further or to show some extant weavings we are positive were created as spiritual tool.
This brief presentation is first a way for us to stake a claim to having conceived and invented the concept of an oriental rug or weaving being a spiritual tool, and second to provide an introduction for others to begin to think about, research and study the idea such a concept exists.