SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA RUG SOCIETY
April Newsletter 2008
Anatolian Prayer Kilims
April 23, 2008
Reception Begins at 6:30 pm
Presentation and Show and Tell: 7:15 – 9:00 pm
Peter Papp Gallery
470 Jackson Street, San Francisco
As a follow-up to our well-received presentation on Anatolian prayer carpets, SFBARS will look at the variety of “seccade” prayer kilims from Anatolia. Our host Peter Papp and I will present some examples, lead the discussion, and encourage our members to show some pieces from their collections.
Unlike most prayer carpets, which tended to be reserved for use in mosques, kilim seccade were often made for personal use in the home or were portable. While most of the pile seccade were made in well known weaving workshops associated with the major towns of Anatolia, the prayer kilims were made almost anywhere. For this reason there is much greater stylistic variation in kilim seccade, and therefore they are much harder to attribute to a specific geographic location. Nevertheless, dealers and a variety of books on kilims have provided us with many precise labels. I suggest that these enable us to divide prayer kilims into several subdivisions.
One group is prayer kilims from Western Anatolia. Interestingly, the locations we usually associate with pile prayer rugs, like Melas, Ushak, Bergama and Kula, etc., are not commonly associated with kilim seccade. Instead we hear about Afyon, Dazkiri, Eskishehir, Mihalicik, Aydin, and Sivrihisar, towns somewhat further into the interior of Anatolia and away from the major coastal commercial areas. In addition there are the “Yoruk” weavings from the nomadic Turkmen tribes around Balikesir and Denizli, which are normally labeled as “Yuncu” or “Aydinli.” We will show off a classic Sivrihisar stepped prayer kilim, which exemplifies the weavings of this west Anatolian group, and may represent the seven layers of heaven.
Another group of flat woven seccade is considered to be from central Anatolia, especially from the towns and Sufi shrine centers that ring the central Konya plateau: Corum, Elmadag, Cankiri, Kayseri, Mut, and Cumra. Of this group the most recognizable weavings are the well known kilim seccades from Obruk, with their totemic antlers and snake motifs.
Southern and southwestern weavings are influenced by Arab or Kurdish aesthetics, as distinct from the more northerly seccade from the headwaters of the Tigris, Euphrates and Aras rivers. The northern kilims use more floral motifs and a softer palette. Most recognizable prayer kilims from this region are labeled Erzerum or Kars, but should more accurately be called Bayburt, Kagizman, Zara, and Gumushane. Interestingly, there seem to be no seccades from the Kurdish tribes around Van.
Other weaving centers were Sivas and Malatya. We will examine closely a group of seccade kilims from a region south of Kayseri, known as Yahyali. This summer pastureland for nomadic tribes was the ‘yurt’ of the Afshar tribes in the 14th-15th centuries, and the weavers of Yahyali are well-known in the 20th century for their pile carpets woven with a distinctive purple hue. Their kilims are less well-known but also quite distinctive. We will bring along a good map of Turkey to help us identify the weaving centers, as well as some books that illustrate other examples of seccade kilims.
SHOW AND TELL: We encourage SFBARS members to show off their own seccade kilims or other Anatolian weavings, whether you know their origin or not. Bring in your favorite piece and let us all enjoy it. Peter Papp may find some examples from his inventory and certainly will contribute his discerning eye to help us appreciate the weaving magic of Anatolian kilims.
S. Peter Poullada
REMINDER ON MEMBERSHIP
We still have not received dues renewals from about 40 members. We will be sending out final reminders shortly. If you are not sure if you have renewed or not, please contact our Membership Director, Jacqueline Van Lang, at the email address provided below. We will continue to send out newsletters and announcement to everyone for the next two events, but starting in September we will only be sending newsletters to members who have paid their dues.
May 14. “A Zagros Mountain Showdown.” Simonian Gallery, San Mateo. Our theme will be weavings of the tribes of southwestern Iran. Show and tell plus a viewing of the movie People of the Wind about the
Bakhtiari migrations. This is jointly hosted by The Armenian Rug Society. Details to follow later this month.
June 22. Annual picnic at Jim Dixon’s carpet palace in Occidental, California. Once again this will be a pot-luck. Please contact Nancy Sheppard, 415 315 8285 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to volunteer a dish
(appetizer, main course, dessert, etc.).
Members: If you know of upcoming lectures, exhibitions, etc. of potential interest to the SFBARS membership, please send the information to email@example.com.
6 Muir Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94610