Many early Turkmen engsi have what has been called the curl-leaf, “P”, or recumbent animal border, particularly those made by various groups of Chodor weavers.
This border also appears on most of the so-called Salor engsi and is present on the WH engsi.
When this border is doubled, placed side to side and the meander line is shifted from left to right, its outline makes an implied medallion, or gol.
The import of convention is one RK has pondered for many years, and since the WH engsi displays it we thought it pertinent to place some of our thoughts on paper, well virtual paper that is, at this time.
Detail, WH engsi showing the medallion or implied gol formed by the juxtaposition of the two curl-leaf side borders
This curl-leaf border also appears on some MC (main carpets) but never in the doubled format and, therefore, no MC exist with these implied gol medallion.
This suggests either these implied gol medallion are an accidental occurrence, a bi-product if you will, or something the weavers for MC did not need to memorialize.
Another thought that discounts its importance and relevance on engsi is the fact the medallions that are formed are completely alien to any other gol in the Turkmen repertoire.
This would be reason enough to see any significance these implied gol medallions might convey as nothing but another questionable idea that has no factual documentation or support.
However, let’s go further and try to find some additional support for either case, ie the medallions are purposefully generated or they are just incidental accident of running the curl-leaf border next to itself more than once.
Sometimes the curl-leaf border is tripled but in most, if not almost every instance, there are no medallions formed, as the meander is not shifted from side to side which is necessary to generate them.
The earliest versions of the curl-leaf border look like this one that is a detail from a Chodor engsi we would date as at least mid-18th century.
Detail of tripled curl-leaf border showing the distinctive crown, or top-hat style, of articulating the curl-leaf
When this form of the curl-leaf appears the fact the “P” or recumbent animal, is always depicted right-side up, and not upside down, is another facet we equate with it being the archetypal form.
Later versions, without the crown, often depict the curl-leaf in both postures, ie. right side up and upside down.
The curl-leaf border the crown is a rare version and we have, to the best of our memory, never seen it on anything but solidly pre-19th century examples.
It is interesting to note the WH engsi version follows this format, not displaying the "P" upside down, but there are no crowns (or even the suggestion of them) and the curl-leaf is very diminutive, abbreviated and skeletal, all of which equate with being, again, a later interpretation.
Now, if the implied gol medallion was an integral and significant part of juxtaposing multiple curl-leaf borders wouldn’t the earliest examples, like the detail of the Chodor engsi above, display it as well?
Again, and because no real positive proof exists to prove which Turkmen weaving is the earliest and which are later, the same questions RK presented in Parts I and II of this exercise must be relied upon.
Here is a visual comparison of the WH engsi curl-leaf implied medallion gol with the two other illustrated detail from engsi where this border is used in a multiple form.
Left: early Classic period Chodor engsi; Middle WH engsi; Right: early Classic period Kizil Ayak engsi
Again, none of these actually look anything like any extant Turkmen gol, another notch in the idea they are just an incidental occurrence.
One other observation that adds credence to this idea: Notice in the WH and Chodor engsi implied gol medallions there is a narrow, secondary border running up the middle.
Were the weaver’s actual intent and purpose for the multiple use of the curl-leaf border to form these gol medallions why would those narrow borders exist to break up the design?
Clearly all these reason, and others we could add, point to the reality such gol medallions were not intended to be seen as some would like to see them.
Need we mention in sailor grogan’s video he points them out as something significant, something we trust the above demonstrates is wishful thinking.
Before we leave this subject we would like to mention the WH engsi gol medallions that are generated on the horizontal.
Detail, WH engsi, showing the diamond gol type medallions formed on the horizontal by doubling the curl-leaf border, the one on the right blacked-out to facilitate identification
This version, versus the one formed on the vertical, is far more suggestive of an actual gol.
But, here again, the thin solid secondary border running though the center, as well as the failure to close each “gol” on the left and right side discount any possibility a gol is actually intended or even purposely implied.
This one, and not the vertical, provides a vehicle for some interesting conjecture because the outline shape of the “gol”, and the
resemblance the animal-head within the curl-leaf shares with those, albeit more substantial and defined ones, in most Tekke torba gol are genuinely suggestive of known Turkmen iconography.
Left: detail WH engsi curl-leaf; Right detail early Classic period Tekke torba fragment with extremely well-defined animal heads in the upper and lower parts of the torba gol
The curled-leaf implied medallion gol is far less convincing a concept as seeing the curl-leaf icon itself as an animal figure.
The earlier the weaving in which it appears, the far better it is defined and identifiable.
Here, for instance is a detail from a very early Classic period Chodor MC fragment where such an animal appears.
And just for completeness, RK wants to add this comment about the # signs and its use in Tekke weavings.
Here is a detail of an early Classic period Tekke engsi where this icon appears.
There are numerous others we could cite, however, we believe this Tekke engsi to be considerably older than the WH engsi.
And while it might appear to naďve and novice eyes this is not the case, we are sure it is.
Don’t forget the conditions we listed in Part I and II and apply them to answer this question.