Turkmen tent band. Pinner, The Rickmers
Collection, London, 1993, Plate 61
|Old Turkmen tent bands, made with a combination of
knotted pile and plain weave, have some unusual features that no
one has discussed in rug literature. Because band techniques are so widely misunderstood, I'll
review a bit first, then show some astonishing details. To
study the evolution of design in these textiles, we must think
about the structures and processes in new ways.
Most of the bands were made with a warp-faced or
warp-predominant weave, because for a strong tent girth
it was important to crowd as many sturdy warp yarns as possible
into the band's width. Since the weavers jammed their warps
closely together, they tied knots on no more than HALF of them in any one
row. To have used them all would have made a buckling and
The procedure was this: The weaver opened a shed, and WHILE THE SHED WAS OPEN, she tied ordinary symmetrical knots
ON JUST THOSE
WARPS THAT WERE RAISED. After inserting a weft and packing everything into place, she
changed the shed, tied knots on the
next set of raised warps, and inserted another weft. Of course if she was
combining areas of pile with areas of plain weave, she could choose freely where to place knots on the raised warps.
The weft could be inserted either before or after the knots were
NOTE: Remember, a "shed" is a SPACE through
which a weft is put -- it is not a tangible thing. Thus one
cannot say that the knots were "tied on the top
shed." That is incorrect. Only double weaves--with two
fabric layers--are made with upper and lower sheds.
|In this drawing, ordinary
symmetrical knots in the
first row are shown tied on the yellow warps only. To begin a second row,
with the blue warps raised, a knot is shown tied
on a blue pair of warps. Thus knots are AUTOMATICALLY offset
slightly, and vertical pattern lines or edges are always slightly jagged.
People have sometimes referred to this kind of knotting
as "knots tied on three warps." THIS IS INCORRECT. There is always an
unused warp behind every symmetrical knot, and that extra warp is NOT encompassed
by the knot. In the drawing here, there are also extra, unused warps between the knots.
This tent band knotting technique is called knotting on an open
shed. The technique is also used in the central Asian rugs known as julkhir. In
those heavy rugs, however, any number of wefts may appear
between rows of knots. When either two or four wefts are used in
their foundations, the knots are vertically aligned; if either one or three
wefts are used, the knots are offset as in the drawing.
band knotting is done with first one set of warps raised
(yellow), then with the opposite set of warps raised (blue). Unused
warps lie behind the knots and between them.
Turkmen tent band detail.
Wool, cotton and silk knotted pile on a
warp-faced plain-weave cotton ground. A majority of bands
grounds. Vertical pattern edges are slightly jagged.
||Most horizontal/vertical patterning in this
kind of tent band knotting is easy, especially
with large, bold forms. Because of the automatic offsets,
however, small motifs with vertical edges are not as crisp as in
ordinary rug knotting. The checks in the photos below were each
made with four knots (two, then two more in the next row). But instead of small rectangles,
we see parallelograms that tend to connect in
one diagonal direction and separate in the other. This
characteristic tended to discourage designing with
small pattern units in tent bands knotted on an open shed.
If a weaver chooses to make a
diagonal motif with this structure, when she comes to the third row of knotting --
that is, when the yellow warps are again raised -- she ties a
knot for that diagonal so that it lines up vertically with one of those in
the first row. Thus knots in the first and
third rows are aligned; knots in the second and fourth rows are likewise
aligned. Such a diagonal has a
series of slight, barely discernible jogs. This kind of diagonal
can form the edge of a knotted motif, make a thin linear
element, or delineate
a pattern within a solid pile area -- especially within vertical
bands or borders. Such diagonals may be
steep or shallow, depending both upon knot placement and weave
balance. The knot arrangement shown in diagram B and in the
photo below is the most common of the two on Turkmen tent bands, because it makes a nearly 45-degree diagonal.
Alignments A and B. Regular knotting done with an open shed. Two ways of forming diagonal pattern
elements. The arrangement below is common on Turkmen bands.
|In the magnified
detail above, each colored knot
TWO parts -- the extra, unused warp lies behind it, visually
separating the parts. (When seen on the band's back, as in
this photo, one of these extra warps is in front of
each knot.) On some bands, the warp yarns almost completely
obscure the knots; we are lucky to see them in this detail. The photo shows the characteristic diagonal formed with steps that
are uneven, since knots are aligned vertically only in every second row.
On Turkmen mixed-technique tent bands you will
find that diagonal patterns made within VERTICAL pattern
sections or borders are normally made in this way, as in the detail at the
band weavers also decorated horizontal bands in
in diagrammatic form, we see how pile knots in this structure (normal, regular knotting
on an open shed) are aligned in vertical, though jagged, columns
of pile, and how pattern diagonals are formed. The shallow
diagonal of Alignment B is the common one, and was used in the band
details above. When this kind of knotting on a tent
band is folded or rolled slightly, the jagged vertical knot
columns are clear.
"Regular" tent band
knotting on an open shed.
|Most tent band weavers found this
conventional method fine for areas of solid pile. To make large, isolated
diagonal designs on their bands, however, they found an approach
that worked better, as we will see below.
Variation: Extra Offsets
|A short while back I flippantly
remarked that a demented weaver might of course offset knots on BOTH sets
of warps to make steeper, smoother diagonals: Instead of
consistently aligning all knots on blue warps vertically and
knots on yellow warps vertically, she might conceivably offset
knots on BOTH yellow and blue sets. Well, I simply hadn't looked
at knotted bands closely enough. Weavers have tried just about
everything, and sure enough, I soon received photos from
Christoph Huber in Switzerland showing details of a tent band with exactly the theoretical feature I had
mentioned as a possibility. It was
an astute observation on his part, as these details can be difficult to see clearly, especially on pieces in mint condition
with thick, unworn pile.
The drawing shows that in four rows, knots can easily occupy FOUR different warp
positions. Knots are tied on different yellow warp pairs in the first and
third rows -- NOT vertically aligned, but offset. It's
with knots tied on blue warps. With this diagonal
arrangement -- with these extra offsets -- not until the fifth row
will any knot align with one in the
first row. A very steep, smooth diagonal is produced.
Here's how this kind of diagonal, made with extra offsets, looks
on the back of a band -- under severe magnification. Part of each dark blue knot is
positioned above part of the knot before it. Remember that each knot is represented by TWO nodules in the
(NOTE: It is not good use the term "overlapped"
here, as that has a different connotation. That describes knots
that share warps and thus overlap within a single
Alignment D. Tent band knotting
with extra offsets; knots arranged to make a steep diagonal.
I know now that nearly all Turkmen tent bands combining knotted
pile and flatweave use both regular knotting on
an open shed and extra offsets. Both the unique
possibilities and the limitations of the technique have shaped designing in the
textiles. That is the main reason the structures deserve a closer
First, here's how pile looks on the front when a tent band weaver
has used extra offsets to align knots diagonally.
If you roll the band slightly, DIAGONAL COLUMNS OF PILE
separate a little.
It's certainly not normal rug knotting! In fact, to get a quick idea of
what kind of knotting a tent band employs, the easiest first
check is to roll various sections slightly to see how the pile
lines up -- vertically or diagonally. With the steep incline here, knot
columns run parallel to the motif's edge.
As Christoph and I began to look more closely at the bands available to us, we found more and more variations -- and
some truly complex combinations of structures! Bands
may include three, four or more
different kinds of diagonals, but more importantly, they include
unique knotting arrangements and sequences.
A majority of isolated diagonal elements on Turkmen tent bands
are made as in the drawing at the right. It's a more shallow extra
offset incline than the one shown above, and a very natural
alignment. Notice in the drawing that
although the knots are spread farther apart, they are still positioned on FOUR
different sets of warps. They are still tied alternately on yellow warp pairs, and on
blue warp pairs.
Alignment E. Tent band
knotting with extra offsets; knots arranged to make a shallow
|Here's how this kind of diagonal looks on a
typical band -- a back side above, and front side below. In the photo below, all of the
diagonal design parts were made with extra offset knotting (as
E), while all of the horizontal or vertical
sections were made with regular tent band knotting. For the shallow diagonals in this motif, diagonal knot columns
intersect the pattern edges. They are
to those edges.
The Natural Asymmetry of
Extra Offset Knotting
|The important characteristic that separates extra
offset knotting from all other weaving structures used by
western and central Asian tribal weavers is its natural
asymmetry. As you will see shortly, this is a
feature that should
help us to determine which tent band design elements most likely
originated in the band technique itself, and
which were copied by band weavers from other textile media.
At the right and below are diagrams showing some of the diagonal knot alignments
that are possible with extra offsets. Notice that in
diagram C diagonally
constructed columns of knots are
consistent throughout; all knots are offset by one warp to the right in each
successive row, although where the color distribution changes in the
lower part of the diagram, a differently slanting colored line
-- or pattern
edge -- is formed. Here the steps are wider.
The small flower heads below were made with pile arranged
diagonally as in diagram C. The shapes are slightly asymmetrical: The diagonal
outline on the
left side of each blossom is a little steeper than that on its right, and the
left side has smaller "steps" than the right. It is a quintessential
tent band motif -- its characteristics determined by the unique
structure. The slant of the stems is the same as that on the
right side of the blossoms; their direction is just reversed.
Extra offset knotting.
Knotted pile is aligned
The red and green
diagrams are by
||When tent band designers wished to make
symmetrical forms, they had to vary their
methods. They created some unique forms by inclining their pile knot columns in first one
direction, then the other. In arrangements like D and E below, not only does the direction of
offset reverse for the green diagonals, the direction of offset
reverses for ALL of the knots.
When we roll a band section made in this way, the diagonal pile columns
zigzag, as in the photo. In Alignment D, the knot columns are
parallel to the green diagonal; in Alignment E, knot columns
are perpendicular to that diagonal, and intersect it. You can try rolling
small sections of a
tent band fabric in both directions -- along diagonals, and
The zigzagging columns of extra
these alignments can be used for solid color motifs, for
divisions within solid areas, or for thin linear elements and
The zigzag motif below (with knots aligned as in E) is a structurally-derived design encouraged by the extra
offset knotting technique. Continuous zigzags
formed in this manner became especially popular for vertical borders.
||A close look at the small row of
flowers below reveals the peculiarities of the extra offset
knotting technique used to full advantage. The natural shallow
inclines and obliquely oriented knot columns in diagram E were
used consistently throughout.
motifs, weavers could run knot columns in opposite
directions simultaneously. At
the left is a simple motif that was made with knots
arranged in diagonal columns of pile converging along a central
axis. Solid color motifs could be formed in the same way. Although this seems like a logical approach to forming
symmetrical designs, there is an inherent disadvantage: it's messy
in the middle. Inevitable irregularities occur where the columns
converge, requiring single-warp knots, overlapping knots,
larger multiple-warp knots, or a combination of these.
Both knot alignments D
and E can be arranged so that diagonal columns converge.
In each of these flowers, oblique knot columns converge to
make symmetrical flowers with sharp points. Vertical knot
columns fill the centers.
Sometimes weavers combined several different alignments, as in this flower motif.
Points on the
small figures were
drawn with converging sets of steep extra offset
diagonal knot columns, which, where they ended, formed wider, more
shallow diagonal contours. The vertical
flower stems were made with regular tent band knotting. Small triangles in the flower centers further
confused the mix. These are complex little motifs indeed.
Forms like these point up the fact that Alignments D and E merely
utilize two different aspects of the natural asymmetry in extra offset
knotting. At least two different inclines are
always present with this structure -- they just do not always form
two outside adjacent diagonal edges of
a single motif.
Flower motifs constructed in several different ways are shown in detail on the next
||As you might have guessed, still more shallow
diagonals and even curves can be produced with the same
techniques. On the Anatolian horse cover detail here,
part of the contours were shaped with knots in successive rows
placed still farther
apart in selected areas. The knotting was done in a fairly free-form sort of
way. Although the central Asian weavers of julkhir used
regular knotting on an open shed, the Turkic weavers of these
Anatolian horse covers also used extra offsets, as in the tent
bands. The back of this heavy textile is perfectly plain: no knots are visible.
|I mentioned above that when diagonal columns of
knots CONVERGE, awkward transitional areas are created. When extra
offsets are used for motifs that have BOTH DIAGONAL and
VERTICAL pattern edges, as in the large star below, there are also
awkward areas of transition. Take a look again at the red and
green diagrams above -- at C, D and E -- and notice the ragged vertical edges
at the sides of each. To
fill these uneven spaces, knots may be overlapped, warps may be skipped,
or knots may tied so that they encircle more than just a pair
of warps. The latter, at the right, seems to be a frequent solution.
We can expect to find irregular knotting in motifs that tent
band weavers have copied from other textile media.
Pile rug motifs, in particular, often have shapes made with both
vertical and diagonal edges. The weaver of the band above used an eight-pointed
star on her band, but found it difficult in the tent band
techniques. In motifs like this, knot columns are often irregular: they are sometimes vertical, sometimes diagonal, sometimes
|When we try to catalog or compare the knotting techniques
used in bands, it can be terribly confusing to
study either transitional areas or areas where different
pattern parts merge. It is easier to focus on long,
uninterrupted pattern edges and solid parts of motifs. Even
skilled weavers improvised in difficult areas, and experimented with various
Writers have often puzzled over the fact that Turkmen tent band design
repertoires differ considerably from those in Turkmen rugs and
This should not be surprising, however, because
constraints encouraged the development of unique tent band motifs, as
we saw with the zigzags and rows of diagonal flowers above.
Motifs borrowed from other textile media were sometimes altered to fit the
long narrow format; others were simply rearranged and incorporated.
Examples include the linear horizontal brocade motif repeated below,
common slit-tapestry kilim motif that was turned vertically and
used for a center stripe below. Hooked brocade forms were
isolated and elaborated, like that at the right, and placed within compartments. The adaptation of
pile rug motifs to the oblique columns of extra offset
knotting -- with their inherent asymmetry -- often required
considerable improvisation with zigzagging or converging knot columns and multiple
When examining a band, we might first notice
differently inclining diagonals in the design. Such
variations are obvious clues that different knotting methods
have been combined. In the photo, steep diagonals constructed with
extra offsets and pile aligned diagonally as in diagram D are marked with
green; more shallow diagonals with knots aligned as in E are marked with red.
With symmetrical motifs like those shown, we might then look to see
how the weaver formed the motifs -- whether she used converging diagonals
or some other arrangement. The central vertical column, with checks, was knotted in the
fashion, with no need for extra offsets. These checks form still
another diagonal. The section shown here is
from the far right portion of the tent band photo
Incidentally, this weaver used red warp stripes
as guides to help keep the knotted borders straight. These
are only visible in the flatweave section at the end, and on the
band's back side. Use of marker warps or stripes was a common practice, although on some
early bands, flatweave stripes themselves provided borders
Turkmen tent band with a simplified version of the common
serrated "wings" and
flowers. Christoph Huber
|After we have examined
some bands closely and understand the reasons why different techniques
were used for different design parts, photos can suggest, but cannot tell us for
certain, what kinds of knotting was used. We can guess that the
vertical borders of the panels below were done with normal,
vertically aligned knotting, because that's the most practical in narrow vertical spaces;
otherwise, constant messy knot transitions would have been required.
Turkmen tent band, detail.
(Several cut panels sewn together) P.Andrews, S. Azadi, V. and
A. Rautenstengel, and H. Sienknecht, Wie Blumen in der Wüste,
Hamburg, 1993, detail from Plate
We might guess that
the large horizontal and vertical design parts in these panels are also normal
knotting, subdivided with diagonals made as in
diagram B. In some of the bands we have analyzed, however,
horizontal bands with "barber pole" decoration were made with extra
offset knotting -- the knotting diagonally aligned. We can
guess that the large, major
diagonal design parts were made with extra offset knotting
as in diagram E. An
examination of the actual panels might prove any of these assumptions
wrong, but they seem to exhibit some of the "purest"
uses of the techniques. Detail photos on the next page contrast the approaches of
||When we try to determine the mix of techniques used in bands by studying
book photos, we
face some difficulties. First, different diagonal inclines can result from
uneven warp spacing. The warps are much farther apart in the
left pile section of the band above than in other pile sections.
(The center of the band is at the right in this magnified view,
and it is also solid pile.)
Thus diagonals made the same way in various areas incline at
angles. Secondly, variations result from unevenly
packed wefts and
knots. Weft yarns rarely maintain perfectly horizontal positions
when lying partly in flatweave areas, partly in pile areas. We must
at least check
several different portions of a band before drawing conclusions from
Knotting errors also produce variations, especially in
sequences with uneven steps.
At first glance, serrations on some band motifs may seem to be more steeply inclined
because one side of a saw-toothed point is actually vertical, while
the other is diagonal. We see that in the band below. In the band at the
however, serrations were formed with asymmetrical diagonal knot
columns, and so represent
one of the purest
approaches possible with extra offset knotting.
Turkmen tent band.
Moshkova, Carpets of the People of Central Asia, Tucson,
1996, O'Bannon edition, Plate 5. The horizontal center figure in this photo has diagonal parts that
obviously slant at a different angle than nearby design parts.
Serrations on the "wings" or "leaves" are formed with
extra offset knotting. For details, see the next page.
Turkmen tent band.
Moskova, Figure 114.
In this band the dominant plant motif is articulated in two different
ways, although the serrations all combine verticals and
diagonals. A majority of diagonal
elements in the band display extra offsets. Details
are discussed on the next page.
In analyzing mixed-technique bands, then, we need to
first distinguish between the two major structures.
Consistent, regular, normal tent band knotting with alternate rows of knots
aligned so that the pile lies in slightly jagged
vertical columns can be described as:
on an open shed.
When bands include diagonal design elements with knots offset on
BOTH sets of warps, with knots offset
along diagonals so that the pile separates in oblique columns
when the fabric is rolled slightly, we
can describe the areas as:
on an open shed with extra offsets.
While most central Asian julkhir were made
with just plain knotting on an open shed, most pile and
tent bands were made with a combination of the structures above.
Analysts might be advised to focus especially on horizontal
pattern parts and knotting
in design areas that have both
vertical and diagonal edges.
|So why have we previously overlooked
the unusual knotting techniques in surviving tent bands? Well...
most of us don't have lots of them around to study and
Furthermore, peculiar knot alignments only become clearly visible as
pile wears, exposing knot collars, and that is not the kind of
wear that tent bands typically received. Although published photos
offer a few clues to the
techniques involved, only a close examination of the weavings
conveys a sense of the skills required for their production.
We need to compare many more bands before technical
differences in the knotting will be useful for making attributions to specific
tribal groups. But since band labels have usually been tentative and
intuitive, based mainly on features such as color palette
wool quality, additional clues should be welcome. Motifs
have rarely been useful in making tribal attributions, as they
reflect the peculiarities of the structure and format more than
group design tendencies. It has always been troubling to find bands
made with symmetrical knots assigned to groups that use
asymmetrical knotting exclusively in their other work, and we
need to consider reasons for that disparity.
Turkmen tent band. P. Andrews,
S. Azadi, V. & A. Rautenstengel, and H. Sienknecht, Wie Blumen in
der Wüste, Hamburg, Plate 97.
The steep dark, linear diagonal elements in both the left and
right panels surely use extra offsets
arranged as in diagram D above.
Small flower details also include these steeply inclined edges. We can guess that
most of the remaining diagonal
elements employ extra offsets, made in the manner of
diagram E, and that vertical pattern parts were done with normal
tent band knotting. Horizontal pattern
parts and motifs with both verticals and diagonals require first-hand
examination. The ashik "flower" heads with
complex interior motifs presented extraordinary technical
Tent band, HALI 26,
We might logically wonder if there is good reason for attributing bands
with certain kinds of extra offsets to tribal groups that
offset knotting in other work -- in their ensis, chuvals and
other bags. We find such details primarily in Saryk,
Yomut and Tekke weavings, occasionally in Ersari work. I've found none in
Salor, Chodor, Arabatchi, Kizil Ayak, or pieces with "Eagle Göl"
characteristics. Yet the band
directly above was published with a Salor label. The piece
just before that has been attributed to the Chodor by Moshkova,
although it has been pointed out that the generous use of silk in
the piece is unusual for Chodor work. Zigzag and
diagonal floral motifs shown in detail earlier are from an unusual band thought to
Arabatchi -- a reasonable guess based on its unusual color palette
unsubstantiated hunch is that band techniques employing extra
offsets at least originated within Saryk or Yomut
groups -- among weavers who frequently used offset symmetrical
knotting in their chuvals and rugs. More study may clarify relationships
and suggest which developed first -- the bands or the use of
offset knotting in other weavings. (See the previous
UPDATES page on Turkmen Offset
yarns are interlaced with
the shed open.
|Familiarity with the techniques can
definitely give us a better understanding of design evolution within the
bands. The earliest mixed-technique Turkmen band designs appear to be those
in which horizontal and vertical knotted-pile features dominate. Large angular
hooks are most common on these. Diagonals seem limited to those
within horizontal and vertical bands, and those made with one simple,
natural kind of extra offset. Bands made by
Uzbek and Kirghiz weavers display some of the most extensive but
purest use of extra offset knotting, with designs made
primarily with simple diagonals. While the extant bands from
these groups may not be the oldest chronologically, their
patterning may be characteristic of earlier Turkmen
The earliest motifs infrequently display complex converging
knotted diagonals or interior motifs that disrupt columns of
diagonal knotting. Pattern areas with concurrent vertical and diagonal sides -- motifs much less suited to
extra offset knotting -- also appear infrequently in
the bands that otherwise seem to be the oldest.
Inlaid brocading and twining are important decorative elements on many early bands and
probably represent the oldest
parts of the tradition. Knotting on an
open shed almost certainly developed as an adjunct to inlaid brocading. Both
techniques were accomplished with an open shed: brocade wefts were interlaced with just the top
layer of warps, while knots were tied
just the top layer of warps. The intimate connection between these structures is
demonstrated most clearly when the two kinds of patterning occur side by
side, both techniques having been done while the SAME shed was
Even the Turkic horse cover from Anatolia, shown
earlier on this page, includes both knotting on an open shed
and inlaid brocading, although neither structure appears
in any other kind of Anatolian weavings.
One cannot help but notice that bands with the most active and intricate
patterning are those with varied and complex use of extra offsets in the knotting.
production required a high level of skill,
and they display a deft handling of several techniques, along
with repertoires of between 10 and 20 motifs. My feeling
now is that these must surely have been the products of specialists, rather than
scattered tribal weavers who each produced one or two bands
in their lifetimes. There may have been individuals within some
groups who concentrated on bands. Samplings of information from governmental
statistics support the idea that production
of at least the later and more intricate bands was centralized.
For example, records show that only 200 rugs but over 3800 tent bands were
produced in the Turkmen kustar industry in Ashkabad
in the year 1911. Kustar weavers in the Merv oasis produced about 1100 rugs but over 2000 bands in that same year.* Indeed,
the most complex of these weavings may have been
the work of specialists for quite a long time, with only the
earliest, simplest examples done as a part of routine nomad household
production. Specialization would
certainly help to account for the use of symmetrically knotted bands
within groups such as the
routinely used asymmetrical knotting in their other
One unusual dating problem is pointed up by the kustar
reports: In the early 1900's these committees made an effort to improve the quality of production by furnishing the
weavers with natural dyes. Thus late 19th century pieces may
display synthetic colors, while early 20th century pieces sport vegetable
* Richard Wright,
"In Search of Turkmen Carpets," Oriental Rug Review, Vol.
9, No. 5, pp 34-39. Mr. Wright quotes from the records of the
Statistical Committee, Transcaspia Oblast. See also The R.E.
Wright Research Report, Vol. 4, No. 2.
* William Irons has mentioned that the Yomut tribesmen
with whom he lived in northern Iran traditionally bought their
wooden tent frames from specialists in nearby Göklan
settlements. [They made flatwoven tent bands for their own use.]
Vanishing Jewels, Rochester, 1990, p. 47.
P. Centlivres, in "Les Uzbeks du
Qattaghan," Afghanistan Journal 2/1, 1975, p. 28ff,
tells of Uzbeks buying the wooden parts of their yurts
from specialized carpenters, mainly Tajiks.
When mulling over the question of how specialized tent band
techniques and design repertoires would have been passed along within groups of weavers, we have
to consider how many tent bands each family needed, and
how often bands would have been produced. Is it reasonable to
assume that in the past young weavers assembled household goods
and dowries much as they do today -- swapping or selling some of their own woven products
to raise money for
made by specialists? Perhaps for fancy tent bands made by
specialists who had the skills, extensive repertoires of special
motifs, and also the appropriate loom set-ups? We do know that nomads bought their wooden lattice-work yurt frames
from specialists, even from woodworkers in other tribal
groups;* that does not lessen their status as
ethnographic objects. It is much easier to envision warp-patterned
tent bands as items made by individuals at home, since identical techniques,
designs and equipment were used for warp-patterned rugs,
bands and bags.
All-Pile Tent Bands
All-pile tent band
fragment. R. Newman, HALI 74 and ORR 12:6.
|So how do tent bands that are
solid pile relate to this discussion? First, the technique is
different, and much simpler. All-pile bands were made essentially like long, skinny
knotted-pile rugs. The
fragment at the right even has pile made with asymmetrical knots
(open to the right). A weaver
could, of course, incorporate areas of offset knotting in such
bands, just as
in the bags or rugs on the first of these pages. In the few examples
I've seen at first hand, however, I have
not discovered this practice.
Because all-pile bands have only half the number of warps used
in bands knotted on an open shed, all-pile bands were much less
satisfactory as utilitarian tent girths. They simply were not as
strong. They could, however, be
produced by any rug weaver, with any designs, without the need to learn specialized techniques. I
suspect that the
rarity of these bands has much to do with the looms
available. Weavers producing warp-patterned or warp-faced
textiles routinely work on narrow ground looms, because crowded
warps are sticky and only narrow fabrics are practical. Shedding
devices are different, because shed changes are more frequent
and demanding. There is no limit to the warp length that can be
stretched and pegged to the ground. It is hard to imagine that individuals without a
tradition of warp-faced weaving should construct special looms just to produce an
occasional all-pile band -- especially one truly suitable only for