Rugtracker.com is ex-rug restorer, dealer and more recently turned internet rug-commentator, john taylor’s renamed rugbam blogspot. Here he continues efforts to prove himself a worthy opinion expresser and maker in rugDumb.
The effort he has spent scanning many interesting pictures and getting them online is notable; a commendable addition to the usual bunk with which websites, like turk0tek.com, jozan.com and even hali.com, often litter the digital rug-landscape.
Rugtracker’s latest collection of pictures and captions concern what herr taylor has dubbed the “dervish swastika design”, aka the swastika.
RK is not going to spend much effort critiquing taylor’s sophomoric commentaries or opinions, as we have already mentioned his inability to provide acceptable, detailed, and documented commentary.
This one provides no improvement.
For instance, we wonder why he has called this the “dervish design”?
Perhaps some explanation for your readers might be due, herr taylor.
Also stating “The pendants have been replaced by the trees from the field of the other examples. It is possible that the original pendants are in fact Sanjaks, or Ottoman banners, which were often thus shaped.” without the slightest mention of how or why this might have happened likewise bodes poorly for taylor’s attempt to convey his thoughts to readers.
Forget about his avoidance to prove such an off-the-wall and seemingly unrelated statement.
The most interesting part of taylor’s most recent picture parade is the inclusion of 10 or so ‘Caucasian embroideries’ and the premise “The silk embroideries from the Caucasus/N.W Persian area played a crucial role in the development of carpet designs (ie those with the dervish design)…”
Complete long-stitch 'Caucasian' embroidery, the earliest and best example in taylor's commentary; Textile Museum Collection, Washington, D.C.
This is an obvious thesis.
However, after stating the obvious taylor then jumps headlong into the obscurity of his imagined rug-savvy.
They, these embroideries, “…serving as Wagirehs before the general introduction of paper.”
Speaking of obscure notions this one, also dished out sans one iota of substantiation or documentation, again displays taylor’s inebriated belief his opinions are factual and worth publicizing in print.
He continues with this even more questionable rational: "New ideas could be tried out in a fast and efficient way”
Fast and efficient?
Whoa, herr taylor, do you think embroidering a textile like those you illustrate is easily done, and done quickly?
What about the high value and cost of the silk used in these embroideries for try-outs?
Comments like these show taylor is both over his head and lost in the sauce simultaneously. A dangerous combination for any would be pundit.
An additional foot-in-the-mouth, or is it both shoe in mouth, taylorism is his postulating the dervish design, aka the swastika, was “…mutating to a standard border and field design on numerous Yomud weavings”.
These are the two examples taylor uses to illustrate his absurd contention
No, sorry, herr mr taylor, you’ve now gone far to far into La-La land. Put down the wine glass and the pipe and learn something from RK.
You’re right suspecting the ‘dervish design’ has a relationship to the (earliest examples of) silk embroideries called “Caucasian”.
But regrettably you are not astute enough to realize you probably know about, and have seen, what is undoubtedly the archetype, one which set the stage for the others with those swirling arms, ie your dervish design.
Archetypal ‘Caucasian’ long-stitch silk embroidery; RK Collection; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic weaving of the Caucasus, 1990
RK has been collecting and researching these embroideries for decades. And we have published this piece on RugKazbah.com several times before, perhaps readers will remember.
Viewing the comparison below should make the following comments unnecessary. However, for those in need, a bit more explanation will follow.
But, before, RK needs to mention there are two technically different types of these embroidery.
The first is done with a long ‘couching’ stitch on an undyed linen ground cloth.
The second done with a small cross-stitch on a blue dyed cotton, or more rarely seen silk, netting,
The long-stitch type appears, from the extant examples of both types, to be the earlier technique.
The fragment on the right presumably when complete had a layout like the example illustrated above and below.
It is our opinion, and what remains of the fragment substantiates this, there were only four swirling arms on the now missing central medallion, and only one on each half medallion above and below it.
Notice the loss of definition the iconography within the medallions of the complete example displays, as well as the highly accreted elements outside the medallion perimeter.
Also missing from the complete embroidery are the fragment's smaller lobed-medallions, half of one remains visible to the left of the fragment’s half-medallion, as well as a small remnant of one above it.
They have been replaced by hexagons which appear above, below and to both sides of the complete embroidery’s medallions.
This transition, or translation if you will, from the fragment’s archaic iconography to the later, but still quite early for the type, complete example’s classic one provides some good proof of RK’s continuum based concepts to understand just how later designs and patterns evolved from earlier iconographic conventions.
We surely do not know, and neither does john taylor or anyone else, if the dervish design, evolved from the ‘Caucasian’ swirling-arm medallions embroideries.
But it is perfectly clear the swastika icon pre-dates any of them.
The far more interesting question is whether or not those ancient, pre-historic, swastika were the original design stimulus for the embroidery’s version.
Here is one of the oldest swastika representations known
7,000-Year-Old Swastika Unearthed in NW Bulgaria, during excavations of a ritual pit around the village of Altimir near the town of Vratsa, Bulgaria.
Even earlier, prehistoric, swastika are also claimed to exist in India. So it is quite possible design transmission, from east to west, across Asia Minor did provide the means to bring the swastika icon into the earliest weaving culture responsible for the later trans-Caucasian embroideries with swirling arms.
Lastly, we are positive our embroidery fragment pre-dates any Anatolian rug with the dervish-design and, therefore, it or some other, similar, contemporary weaving could have well been the iconographic source.
And, in any event, calling it a 'dervish design' is another obtuse reference taylor needs to either explain, or forget about.