Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Synagogue Rug and the Engsi: Part II
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Sun, Apr 8th, 2007 12:00:00 PM
Topic: Synagogue Rug and the Engsi: Part II

Although it is quite apparent most of the gol designs found on Turkmen main carpets, chuval and torba, etc are related to the well-known 13th-16th century animal style rondels and other circular pile carpet designs (like the Holbein pattern), it is still not certain they were derived from them.

Both these gol and the earlier rondels found on luxurious western Asian silk textiles and pile carpets designs could have had, as we as postulated earlier, a common ancestor.

Unfortunately, what that common ancestor was, or where it was produced, is still something of a mystery and we do not intend to pry open that can of worms here and now.

In Part One we offered the idea the Synagogue rug and the engsi also have a common ancestor that is, like the one for gol and rondels, unknown. Likewise, we do not intend to solve that question either.

However, regardless of what that ancestor for the Synagogue rug or the engsi format was, it is clear it does not have to be identified to support the salient iconographic relationship they maintain.

We will point out several of these but first, thanks to the help of our talented webmaster and one of our knowledgeable readers, who was generous with his time and sent us a number of scans of the Synagogue rug, we would like to post yet another detail of it with the best quality reproduction we can get from the photos at hand:

Using this enlarged photo lets now point out the inherent similarities the Synagogue rug and Turkmen engsi exhibit.

The first and perhaps most obvious is a central panel divided into four quadrants(ala engsi-style) that each of the eight medallions on the Synagogue Rug has.

Others are the cross formed between the two rows of boxes, and even the layout of the boxes themselves. Both of these bear quite a powerful relationship those found on almost every Turkmen engsi. And while the four large Xs in each box are not exactly like the Ys found in the corresponding position on all engsi, they do appear to this writer to be more than suggestive of them.

While some might claim these factors are nothing but coincidence, we disagree and suggest those who might believe we are fishing for parallels read the rest of our points before jumping to any hasty negative conclusions.

Another significant reference to support our idea is the relationship this slightly more magnified central detail of the Synagogue rug maintains with the overall engsi format:

Here, as in every engsi, the quadrants of the field -- yes, we realize here only two of the four quadrants in the Synagogue Rug are surrounded are encased within what appears to be an inverted U-shaped border. We do recognize a case for it being four-sided could be forwarded but, as the same situation can exist in engsi borders, we view them as analagous for this reason.

It is interesting to note the ubiquitous sainak (back-to-back double Es), which usually appear in the outermost border on almost all engsi, is also present in several similar key positions on the Synagogue Rug as well.

Here details photos of the sainak borders found in each of the Synagogue Rug medallions:

Again we do not see this as coincidence -- it is not by any means. And, along with other factors we have and will mention, the relationship the iconography of the Synagogue rug and engsi share is just too blatant to be accidental.

Doubting this is foolish, as their commonalities are specific and numerous enough to support our contention. Also, because they are not available from any other sources -- at least none of which we are aware they go quite the distance to support our idea of an earlier common ancestor.

We intend to provide additional information to support this claim and will do so as time permits.

Stay tuned

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