Home > Turkmen Rugs >Dissecting the WH engsi
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Thu, May 26th, 2011 05:08:11 PM
Topic: Dissecting the WH engsi
post epilogue

This supposed "Eagle group torba" was just posted for sale on the internet.

Notice any similarities?

Obviously the iconography here and that in the elem of the WH engsi utilize similar ornaments, ones that are related but surely not the same.

What is interesting, though, besides the ragged-edge pseudo-gol that is the largest element in this design, is the presence of white dots that are flowers above it.

These white flowers are eminently related to the also far more undefinable white elements the WH engsi sports over each of its ragged-edge pseudo gol.

In RK's method of examining weaving relationships we see this as far more than a coincidence and would put 99.9 percent belief in stating the pattern on the torba demonstrates another interpretation of the earlier iconography the Tekke engsi we published established.

One thing you can take to the bank is the now recognized presence of the only other ragged-edge gol in such a late and derivative example as this "eagle group" torba bodes poorly for anyone's idea the WH engsi is an early, important, addition to either the Salor engsi group or Turkmen studies.

These large complex ragged-edge gol flowers are also occassionally found in the elem of some other Turkmen chuval and we will look through our digital photos and see if we have one to post asap.

But regardless of now finding and realizing these flower are related to the WH engsi ragged-gol medallion does not, as we just wrote, make it any less of a Turkmen aberration nor offer any support for the stupid price paid for it.

Author: jc
Thu, May 26th, 2011 05:08:11 PM

For comparison here are two of the earliest Tekke engsi flower-tree
icon we know.

Details; Tekke engsi, early Classic period; RK collection;

Author: jc
Thu, May 26th, 2011 06:49:05 AM

Here is another, better and earlier, example of a chuval elem with the ragged-edge gol flower.

Eagle group II or possibly III chuval with ragged-edge gol flower elem, formerly offered for sale on the internet

Both these chuval were made after the WH engsi and they raise several interesting comparison, not the least of which is why the engsi has a ragged-edge gol removed from, and without, the flower.

Was that the original form and then it became combined with the flower?

RK doesn't think so and we would offer this hypothesis to explain just how the ragged-edge gol 'flower-head' tree originated: The ragged-edge gol originated as we proposed from the figure/ground between the large ashik in the Tekke engsi elem( or some other weaving with them) and then replaced the typical 'flower-head' in the tree many Tekke and other group weavings display in their elem and borders.

This happened through the same process of design integration that caused other post-classic period stylistic and iconographic change.

Below is a Tekke engsi with that familiar and typical, though somewhat earlier than most, 'flower-head' tree in the lower elem.

Tekke engsi with complex 'flower-head' elem and # icon in the borders, formerly offered for sale, early Traditional period

The ragged-edge gol, as well as the ragged-edge 'flower-head' plant/tree are both, as we have continually implied, later additions to the Turkmen design vocabulary.

Whereas the 'flower-head' tree in the elem of the Tekke engsi (above), and countless others some considerably earlier with different minor detail and articulation, is an icon with a long history; one that proves it is much earlier.

The fact, we repeat, there are no equally old, forget older, examples of a ragged-edge gol or 'flower-head' tree seems to support our contention this pattern is a later one.

The WH engsi and its ragged-edge gol is undoubtedly earlier than either of these chuval, but that is not saying much.

And although it is "S" group, and therefore held in mythic regard by collectors, the elem's iconography and the fact it is woven upside-down on the loom all point to it being a later and not early example of the type.

RK can demonstrate additional points to prove our position but we realize it is like arguing about religion -- there is no absolute ground that can be proven.

So for those of you who believe the WH engsi is not what we claim please consider the facts we have presented, particularly those concerning the ragged-edge gol which is, in our eyes, the smoking gun capable of putting lead into the balloon many are trying to float about the WH engsi.

Author: jc
Wed, May 25th, 2011 01:57:27 PM

RK is pretty sure we have some more jpeg of chuval which sport the complex ragged-gol flowers but this is the only one we could find so far.

Detail, ragged-gol from the elem of a Tekke chuval, mid-19th century, formerly offered for sale on the internet

We are also sure there are those who believe a design like this is significant and not the derivative, late pattern we claim.

And it is not an icon in our definition but rather a later re-interpretation, an invention, based on earlier Turkmen flowers.

There are a number of clue as to why we believe these ragged-edge gol, whether standing alone as proper gol in the WH engsi or as part of the complex flower this chuval elem and the torba display, are what we claim.

Perhaps, the most significant, as it is technical/structural and not iconographic is the serrated, or ragged, edge.

The use of serrates, rather than steps or terraces as they are called, to define the outline of the ragged-edge gol is considered in many other non-Turkmen weaving context to denote later work.

And quite honestly, we do not see why this definition does not apply to Turkmen weaving where there are amazingly few examples of serrate outlines available for comparison, and none in any weaving we would call archaic period.

Of course the step outline can be traced back to slit-tapestry weaving and the serrate to shared-warp tapestry.

It is fairly obvious, but still yet unproven, which was the earlier technique but logically, and also because the first loom are believed to be warp-weighted and completely unsuited for shared-warp weaving, it follows slit-tapestry weaving was the earlier.

This conclusion, of course, is tangential evidence at best but in conjunction with the numerous other points we raise, both about the ragged-edge gol and the other iconography of the WH engsi, it adds weight to our position.

RK knows what we have presented here and in the other parts of this exercise is opinion but unlike what we call naked or usupported opinion ours is based on factual documentation.

And while we do not request anyone believe what we write, we do request everyone look carefully at the evidence that backs our position.

Presenting opinions is easy, presenting documented ones far harder.

Likewise, disagreeing with opinions is easy but documenting why one disagrees with them is, once again, far harder and something that rarely occurs in rugDUMB.

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