Archive for December, 2005

Luca Brancati poster from 1988

December 17, 2005

Tim has just returned from a day spent with Luca’s fantastic collection in Turin. Apologies for the quality of this snap, but it seems too good an opportunity to miss. For those who haven’t read Tim’s historical essay in the catalogue to our first exhibition, Luca Brancati put together the earliest collection of war rugs in the mid-1980s, and exhibited them widely in Europe. The majority of his collection is still intact, and from Tim’s snaps it contains some extraordinary images, which will help us benchmark the first generation of this genre as our project proceeds.

What struck me, at first look, was the number of images that were asymmetrical. How is this so? From where did the motivation come to move to pictorialism, and in the process, away from the symmetry of classical “Baluch” precedents?

and yet another!

December 16, 2005

from Max Allen.  And more to come, apparently!

… and another

December 13, 2005

Max has been busy. Here’s another very similar rug – however this time the mosques are less like mosques and more like multi-story buildings, and the alien texts raining from the sky (Matrix-like) have assumed the more concrete form of helicopters. This example, together with the two below, make a fabulous threesome, adding to the poetic ambiguity we see when we probe their origins in more detail. Stand by for further Max Allen comparison and analysis…

a variant

December 13, 2005

Max Allen of Toronto sends this close relative of the previous rug. See his comments to that post…

Early Taimani mosquescape with aircraft

December 1, 2005

This is an image sourced from Ron O’Callaghan, who writes:

This is an Afghan war rug made in Afghanistan by Chahar Aimaq Taimanis from Northwestern Afghanistan just east of Herat. This rug came to us from Afghanistan and it is as if it has been sequestered in a time capsule. We believe it came from earlier in the Soviet phase of the war and is characteristic of a rare group of pictorial rugs from the Herat area in Western Afghanistan that are read horizontally rather than vertically. The field is a light oatmeal, natural wool, undyed. Pictured here are three mosques, shown as the main domed mosque buildings with their towering minarets from which the muezzins proclaimed the daily prayers. Ascending between the mosques are trees-of-life, fruit trees probably pomegranates. Also appearing between the mosques are six Soviet fighter/bombers, probably MIG-25s. Both on the field and on the border are representations of Russian Cyrillic letters. There are very nice kilim ends on this piece.

Compare the symbols of fighter aircraft with the beautifully simplified images in the flatweave works in the Gower collection – is this a link to the origins of the latter? I admit it’s arguable that many aircraft and bomb symbols are reduced in this way – but in this case the comparison is very close…

I particularly like the ominous “clouds” of Russian Cyrillic text in the sky above the mountains… stormy weather ahead…

(PS Graham – I’m having trouble with your email address… could you confirm?)