Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >More Evidence: re Ancient Fragment group
Fri, May 9th, 2014 05:26:37 AM
Topic: More Evidence: re Ancient Fragment group

In 2009 and again last year RK published a fragment we believe was made circa 1,300-1,400AD by a Turkmen weaver belonging to a group that had recently migrated from western central Asia.

If we are correct this would be the earliest known Turkmen woven product.

Proving this is impossible. But demonstrating the fascinating possibilities this fragments iconography opens up for understanding just how the Turkmen gol-centric weaving style evolved is.

In the two part discussion below we offered such an analysis. We have at this time nothing we wish to add; however just the other day another fragment, not nearly as old but earlier than the latest two illustrated below, appeared for sale on the internet.

We thought it pertinent add it to those illustrated below and to again call attention to our previous work.


ancient Anatolian carpet fragment with pre-archetypal Turkmen Gol, published RugKazbah.com in "An Ancient Saryk Main Carpet and its Progenitor

Last year RK published a multi-part paper titled An Ancient Saryk Main Carpetand its Progenitor concerning the seemingly strong relationship between the Saryk Timurchin gol on an archetype example in our collection and an ancient, far earlier, pile carpet fragment(above) made presumably in eastern Anatolia by an unknown weaving group that, apparently, had migrated from Turkmenistan.

Here is the link* to Part One:
*please note RugKazbah.com does not support active links, you must cut and paste the link below into your browser window to activate them


The other parts can be found here at the bottom of this page:


Quite sometime later another fragment, obviously very related but substantially later appeared.

RK published it and some commentary, entitled A Far Younger Relative Appears here:


Now a third companion example has appeared

Central Anatolian fragment recently offered for sale on the internet

This fragment is quite a bit earlier than the younger relative but far substantially later than the one we published in the progenitor discussion.

Here are two side-by-side comparison that clearly show this fact.

Above left the youngest example; Above right: a quite earlier example; Below left that quite earlier example; Below right: the substantially earlier example

Comparisons like this are few and far between.

The main reason being there are so few really ancient Anatolian Village weavings extant to show the archetype form most commonly seen carpets were modeled after.

Were there RK is sure not only would there be more, but understanding the mechanics of design reproduction and transference both within the Anatolian Village and clan weaving traditions themselves and those of the Ottoman Court would be far more known.

Alas, they arent so lets run with the ball here a bit while this one is in focus.

It seems blatantly obvious to us these three fragments are closely related and most probably (we think definitely) made by the same weaving group.

Why then do they exhibit such clear differences?

1.They were made at different times, and those times are not just a generation or two but far more widely spaced.

We would guess the youngest is circa 1800, the next circa 1700 and the third circa 1300. Someday, perhaps, some others will appear to fill this last far larger gap

2. They were made in different geographic locations in Anatolia. The earliest being produced in north-central eastern Anatolia (Erzurum?); the next chronologically in east-central Anatolia (somewhere between Sivas and Malatya?); and the third far more western Anatolia (somewhere between Afyon and Ushak?).

The fact large tribal movements, forced both by man and nature, happened over long centuries in Anatolia is firmly established. So the distinct possibility this weaving group, and untold others, was able to remain faithful to its weaving culture and proprietary traditions is not something easily dismissed.

Plus the influx of migrating Turkmen tribal groups into Anatolia is equally as established a fact.

Few specific details of these migrations are known, making further identifications nothing but guesswork and supposition.

We wish we had more to add to this comparison but as we dont and feel further speculation will add nothing we will leave this exercise as it now stands.

We do suggest motivated readers spend some time comparing the three fragments, particularly the two earlier ones.

Since we dislike actual dating, preferring to use our Archaic/Classic/Traditional/Industrial Period schema, lets date them with it.

As we have previously written the oldest is Archaic Period, the next late Classic Period and the third mid-Traditional period.

Should any reader know of any related example RK would enjoy hearing from you.


Unraveling the mysterious origins of oriental carpet iconography is a major interest of RKs. So is plotting the subsequent dissemination, both over time and geographic distance, and we are ever on the lookout for comparisons where a set of distinct design elements exists.

We are sure by now our readership knows what a set is but for those newer viewers: A set is a group of three or more icon, amulet or talismanic designs which appear in weavings that might otherwise seem less likely to be related.

Not so long ago we discovered and published what we believe to be an extremely early eastern Anatolian pile carpet fragment with a strong underlying relationship to a prototype Saryk Timurchin gol main carpet.

Fragment number one: ancient Anatolian carpet fragment with pre-archetypal Turkmen Gol, published RugKazbah.com in "An Ancient Saryk Main Carpet and its Progenitor

Part one of that paper can be read here:http://rugkazbah.com/boards/records.php?id=2016&refnum=2016

And the other seven parts can be found here:


About two years later a similar but considerably later Anatolian fragment appeared.

fragment number two

Soon thereafter a third related Anatolian fragment that is not as old as the first but substantially earlier than the second appeared.

Fragment number three

RK then published them with additional commentary.


Now an even later example, an end-of-the-line but complete carpet, has come to light.

Complete carpet number four

Though this carpet is unmistakably related to the others, and has enough elements of the set to prove it, we believe it was not woven by the same group responsible for # 2 and 3.

Its coloration being the most obvious difference, but there are other more subtle ones, particularly its alien border iconography.

Not so subtle is the substitution of large rectangles instead of the octagonal medallions/gol that formerly contained this groups most distinctive iconographic features. Features that have now undergone significant codification but are still recognizable.

Left: detail rectangular medallion carpet number four, where the icon has been doubled; Middle and Right: Details from medallion/gol fragments three and one with original depiction of this icon

For these reason we believe it was woven by someone who had little to no real cultural ties to the weavers who created the others but was more than casually conversant with their earlier weaving tradition.

It displays four elements of the iconographic set. See if you can identify them.

OK, times up - just kidding.

Lets now list them, and then several additional the three fragments share.

1.The birth-symbol, illustrated below, in the medallions

2.The outer saw-tooth border surrounding the medallions

3. The latch-hook inner border surrounding the medallions

4.the rather now bastardized hooked element that has been doubled and is the sole element that fills the inner rectangles.

Left: Detail fragment one; Right: detail carpet number four

Here are several other key elements of the set the three fragments display, one of which (the first we mention) does appear in number four but it has become almost unrecognizable hidden under a plethora of latch-hooks and in ancillary colored diamonds.

We are speaking about the outer border, shown below, from fragment number one.

Left: Detail main border fragment one; Right: Detail main border complete carpet number four

They, numbers one and two, as well as number three all have an interlocking S minor border.

Inner minor S border fragment number one

Lastly, the aforementioned octagonal medallion/gol fragments #1, 2 and 3 display.

The appearance of these shared elements virtually guarantees these weavings are intimately related and there should also be no doubt #4 is their far younger sibling.

Rarely has RK discovered four related pile carpets capable of demonstrating such a documentable and deep multiple century continuum.

This is far more commonly found, but still rarely, when researching Anatolian kelim.

The reason probably the far more migratory nature of Anatolian carpet weaving groups versus those whose major weaving tradition centered on slip-tapestry.

Also the far more isolated and insular cultures of these kelim weaving groups encouraged and allowed the preservation of intimately related examples over long time-periods, ones extending at least 200 year and often more.

There is no doubt in our mind fragment #1 is 400-600 years old and carpet #4 later 19th century, circa 125 to 150 years old.

The iconography on these pile weavings, like that seen on the few equally ancient archaic period kelim and their later 19th century relatives we have published, compares a set of iconic, amuletic, and talismanic elements so important to their respective weaving traditions they were able to maintain a viable presence over such remarkably extended time-frames.

We are never surprised when we uncover a new set of weavings with such an extended heritage, a heritage that in todays here today gone tomorrow world is as alien as a volcanic rock-tipped spear and lion-skin kilt.

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