Home > The Beat Goes On >Pick the Anatolian Kelim Archetype Part II
Sat, Jun 17th, 2017 01:38:44 PM
Topic: Pick the Anatolian Kelim Archetype Part II

A few words before we get into discussing which kelim is the archetype and which an early descendent copy.

After we were prevented from logging on several of the facebook rug-jockeys we encountered gleefully claimed we canceled our account and deleted all our posts, something that is completely untrue as our "jon anderson" facebook account was disabled by someone else, see the proof below, probably one of them.

We surely did not do it, as the screenshot shows the account was disabled, not cancelled.

Screenshot of facebook sign in page showing the jon anderson account was disabled, not cancelled

After this disablement we waited two days and then made up a new alias "dieterschmidt64" and soon again were permitted to join the warp and weft group. This time we decided we would not post anything but just read, and copy what had already been written, all of which by that time had been reposted by milani and biTchoff.

We saw some new snide and totally untrue comments had been added by them and peter scholten accusing us of all things terrible.

What a trio of losers.

But, then again, suddenly someone disabled this second account before even a few hours had passed.

We only went back to copy the thread for posterity. We had no intentions or interest to further try to enlighten those stone-age wannabe kelim pundits, RK haters who do not even know us, and other assorted see my name on the internet Anatolian kelim know-nothings.

OK, enough faRcebook commentary.

Upper: Anatolian Kelim fragment, marshall and marilyn wolf collection, unpublished but exhibited in NYC April 2008, kelim (A); Lower: Anatolian kelim fragment, RK Collection, published IMAGE IDOL SYMBOL: Ancient Anatolian Kelim, 1989, kelim (B)

Although these two kelim look very similar they do have some quite significant stylistic and iconographic differences. Ones that granted can be interpreted in different ways by those who do not want to face the reality the wolf kelim (A) is the early descendent copy and the other kelim (B) the archetype.

OK you might say why? Keep reading..

The most salient difference is the repositioning of two very important icon we have identified as integral parts of this narrative picture. The first is the turbe (fig1) and the second is the flaming rhomb(fig2).

Left: Fig1 turbe; Right: Fig2 flaming rhomb

A turbe is a mausoleum. They exist all over Anatolia from different periods. Clearly only the rich and most important people were interred in such buildings. They are always the same shape, conical. This shape is believed to continue the prehistoric posthole and reed style dwellings which were circular in shape with a conical structure of reeds fastened together at the top.

The flaming rhomb can be interpreted as fire, an important element and part of certain pre-Christian Near Eastern ritual and religious belief.

In kelim (B) both of these icon are positioned under the blue gabled arch and inside the sacred niche(s) it forms.

However, in kelim (A) they have migrated outside that niche into the area around it, and in fact the turbe(fig1)are hung off the gabled arch like some after thought.

This is no accident or coincidence. It demonstrates the weaver did not know or even understand the meaning they carried within this ritualistic narrative iconography. More about this will follow, but lets first highlight other differences.

The sacred flaming rhomb (fig2) has also been repositioned outside the gabled arch niche, but worse has now been placed inside a hexagon (fig3). We can only see this as stifling and constraining this icon reducing it at best to a meaningless design/amulet/ornament. Comparing it to kelim (B)s version makes this abundantly clear.

Fig3 flaming rhomb hexagon

But there is another, smaller flaming rhomb (fig4) in kelim (A) that appears off to the extreme right side.

Fig4 small repositioned flaming rhomb kelim (A)

It is impossible to tell if it, too, like the rhomb in the hexagon was doubled like fig3 or if it was a halved like those in kelim (B) fig2. Considering the possibility kelim (A) might have been originally deep enough for the two arms of the gabled arch to have met at their junction (fig5) with enough room to have the vulture icon(fig6) atop the double helix(fig7) like on kelim (B) fig8 , then this small flaming rhomb might also have been doubled.

Left: Fig5 detail kelim (A) showing what remains of the gable arch perigee junction; Middle Left: Fig 6 vulture icon kelim (B); Middle Right: Fig 7 double helix icon kelim (B); Far Right: Fig 8 vulture and double helix icon kelim(B)

In any case the superior articulation, coloration, scale and the positioning of the flaming rhomb under kelim (B)s sacred niche more than implies the repositioning of this icon in kelim (A) lessens its ritualistic significance and therefore that of kelim (B) itself.

But there are more evidentiary hints to this conclusion.

The addition of many more legs, as well as a lack of detailed portraiture and number of colors, make the animals on the kelim (A) (fig9) a far shadow of those on kelim (B)(fig10). Plus it is their presence and a weavers ability to add life that defines kelim (B) s imagery and separates it from later copies, even ones as early as kelim (A) appears to be.

Left: Fig 9 Detail animal kelim (A); Right: Fig 10 Detail animal kelim (B)

Because of kelim (A)s extreme fragmentary condition, it is impossible to make any aesthetic judgments. Nor is it possible to try and compare other design factors to those seen on kelim (B), like the missing borders and end panels.

But RK believes the points we have mentioned should be enough to justify our position kelim (B) is the archetype.

In our earlier comments about kelim (B) that began with the publication in 1989 of the IMAGE IDOL SYMBOL: Ancient Anatolian Kelim book we have always mentioned its narrative style as opposed to the unitary style of all the other archaic period examples. But we have, so far until now, shied away from saying just what is being narrated.

Lets now leave facts and evidence behind and wander into the land of myth and story telling.

The only comment we saw on the facebook thread worthy remembering was peter scholten mentioning the Turkish phrase gk yolu, which translates literally as sky-road or way, in response to our idea the arms of the gabled arch are the path the vulture flies after collecting the soul of the dead.

We have always believed the few white ground archetype Anatolian kelim were used to display the body after death and before internment. These kelim were then placed in the turbe if the dead person was rich and important enough to have constructed one, or donated to the local Mosque for the less affluent.

Belkis Balpinar mentions sometimes the kelim that was used to display the body was taken home and reused the next time someone in the family died.

In any event, and regardless whether any of this is fact, the story or narrative kelim (B) recounts could very well memorialize such a ritual and ceremony. It seems highly unlikely and beyond chance the vulture icon would have been placed on the blue gabled arch just by accident. And the appearance of a clearly depicted double helix, which modern science has demonstrated is the design of human DNA the most essential element of human life, under the vulture can easily be imagined to relate to the practice of excarnation, which was, and still is in some isolated villages in Anatolia practiced as cult of the dead activity.

So the iconography on kelim (B) recounts a mythological story of the human soul and its journey into the sky after death, a concept most pre-industrial societies and cultures maintained.

In our attempt to learn more about gk yolu we found nothing more than its literal translation but we were not able to do this using Turkish language sources. So if some reader who is fluent in Turkish can learn more RK would be very interested if there is more to this tantalizing phrase.

Were we able to scientifically analyze the materials and dyes of kelim (A) and (B) we are fairly positive other material differences could be noted. But until that happens we are confident our analysis of their iconography and visual characteristics prove with little doubt kelim (B) to be the archetype and kelim (A) to be a somewhat later copy.

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