goat’s hair selvedge theory

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anderson-snakeOne of the folk tales which is told by dealers as a means to identify an “authentic” Baluch carpet – which since 1980 is a questionable concept anyway – is that a coarse goat’s hair selvedge is said to prevent scorpions from wandering onto a carpet. Well, maybe, but it also works for snakes! Here’s a photograph from a 1994 issue of Hali where herpetologist and Baluch authority Jerry Anderson proves his theory! But did anyone ask: what’s to stop them creeping and crawling on to the carpet from the fringe ends? I’m sure the dealer would have an answer… Read the whole Tom Cole interview on his site here

HALI: We have heard that during the recent troubles the Baluch peoples in northern Afghanistan were either killed or driven out by the local population, who resented them. Who are they?
JA: They are a mixture of Baluch and Arabs, and also Lokharis, who do not weave piled rugs but instead make those dark, dark kilims which often have tufts of wool inserted on the flatweave, and are woven in two pieces and joined in the centre. There are also Brahuis in that area who are called Baluch. There is a book
written by a Russian that tells of the whole distribution of the Brahuis in Khorasan, Transcaspia, the Bukhara area and the Mazar-i-Sharif area. So many different peoples are called Baluch, or call themselves Baluch. In Farsi, the word means beggar. It also has the sense of nakedness, a person living in a tent and clothed in rags. Now the word -luch means a parasitic type of person. Ba means ‘from’ or ‘of’, so the name Baluch has bad connotations in Farsi… [The] Sistani tribal lifestyle was essentially intact until about 1980, nomads moving around in the same locales as they had for centuries. But then the Sarbandi and many other Sistanis were displaced during the Islamic Revolution.

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