A Quiz for Structurally Savvy Ruggies

Think you know just about all that’s necessary about tribal rug and textile structures?  Just for fun, try your hand at the questions below.

1.    Some nomad and village weavers lay in two wefts simultaneously from opposite directions, crossing them in the centers of their rugs between sheds. Why? What would you look for on a South Persian, Göklan or Kurdish rug to identify this peculiar and very distinctive process?

2.    Can you tell if a soumak bag has been woven from the front or back?  This feature can help to separate textile groups.

3.    In what significant way do wool carding and combing differ? Why is one process much superior to the other for rug yarns?

4.    Peasant weavers have used several distinctive methods to straighten knotted-pile rugs that have become crooked on the loom. Would you recognize unique Kurdish or Saryk Turkmen practices?

5.    Kilims woven with stepped designs and slits are often much sturdier than kilims with diagonal designs and no slits. Why?

6.     Do you know what obscure technical feature indicates that a Turkmen ensi was surely made for use as a tent door hanging, rather than as a commercial item?

7.    Why are most yarns Z-spun? And why do exceptions occur?

8.    Avar kilims (dums) from Dagestan have commonly been mis-identified as "dovetailed." Do you know why this is incorrect?

9.     Can you distinguish the several different kinds of transverse bands that weavers have used as warp-end finishes on their rugs? Half-hitch, obliquely interlaced, two-pick interlaced, obliquely wrapped bands and others? If you needed to repair such a band to stop it from fraying, could you do so?

10.    On carpets with two different wefts, selvage overcasting yarns have sometimes been interlocked with the wefts. Why?

11.    Decorative end borders and saddlebag closure strips with twill motifs have been made in several ways--three different ways in southwest Persia alone. Could you use these differences to help sort out tribal weavings from that area?

12.    Some coarsely-woven Tibetan rugs have technical parallels with Central Asian julkhirs. What is the similarity?

13.    Are you sure you know what a shed is? Do you know why we should never speak of tent-band knots as tied "on the top shed"? Or refer to a weft in a rug as a "shed"?

14.   Baluch-type pile rugs have featured at least six different distinctive flatweave structures in their end borders. Do you know which appear on your rugs?

15.    Have you ever seen a weaving with reverse offset soumak? Could you distinguish it from very similar-looking reciprocal brocading? One of these techniques has been used by Kurds in Iran, the other primarily by Anatolian weavers.

16.    Asian rug weavers have used twining for several purely utilitarian purposes. Can you name a few?

17.     Have you noticed that several distinctive stitches have been used to assemble bags or join kilim halves?

18.    Do you know the differences among inlaid looped pile, Senneh looped pile and Tibetan knotting?

19.    Can you recognize the important structural difference between common reinforced selvages and attached reinforced selvages that are outwardly the same? These constructions reflect distinctive weaving practices and can separate rugs which otherwise might be assigned the same provenance.

20.     Why do some rugs have fringe on only one end, and a plain "cord" finishing the other? What are heading cords anyway, and what do they signify?

So how did you do?  Have trouble with any of these?  If so, you need WOVEN STRUCTURES, with its practical, common-sense discussions of weaving techniques. Order a copy today!  Then periodically check out our Woven Structures Update pages on this website.

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