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Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

The Wild Child – Soul of a Kilim

First steps in the world of Kilims. I don’t know the rules. I don’t know what to look for. I have no books. And I have no museums to learn from.

I try to look at the pieces available on the net and with the many great websites I am able to see at least a few hundred in a few days. I’ve read articles on motifs and geography and have absorbed a little of what I have read. Over time, the understanding will seep in.

Seeing and learning I am exposed to many many wonderful pieces. Am back to my hamster’s wheel of desire – infinite running with no endpoint ever. EVER. That is the sad truth about desire.

But let’s not get too philosophical here. Let’s just keep ourselves firmly planted in the material world – the one that imprisons us with “maya” or desire. What a sweet prison it is!

I am on a high.

The search, the incessant demand of the soul for ‘more more more’ that wont let me sleep.

Then there’s that sweet moment when I am done with real life and can get back on to the internet and look here there and everywhere for something anything everything that can quench this new obsession …. is all so intoxicating. It is a reason to wake up. It is the reason to stay awake past midnight.

Life is about phases like these. Life is about delights like these that consume my soul.  Life is about these phases of intense fun. Well at least during the rare periods when there are no demands from real life it can be about these pursuits of the soul.

So the report card of these past 2-3 days reads:  Productivity: 0 | Indulgence: 100

And so with abandon I live this this wild life of abandon on the net clicking any link I feel like, wandering through the world of Kilims.

I find several pieces that are heart-stoppers.

The colors – the overall way it is put together … the impact is tremendous.

But – I know nothing about Kilims and so I cling at bits and pieces of information looking for confirmation.

At the end of over 20 hours of focused studying (if I can call it that) I find that there are 2-3 pieces that I cannot get out of my head.

And the one that attracted me most was a fragment in which the artist’s wild side can be seen.  It has chaos within, yet there is overall order. There is symmetry but within that, at the level of field motifs, there is total freedom – almost anarchy – being expressed.

It is a piece that I gave my heart to:

Antique Anatolian Kilim

Antique Anatolian Kilim

Symbols of fertility,  symbols of protection and male-female synergy all feature in this Kilim!

symbol 1symbol 1symbol 3symbol 4

symbol 5

The motifs are not stiff and mechanical. They are just pure expressions.

Antique Anatolian Kilim

This find makes me so so happy. Even though I know nothing about Kilims. Even though I normally cringe at fragments. I think I have found a gem. It has a chart-breaking “soul” rating in my opinion!

The joy comes from two parts – first the beauty of the piece itself. And second that I was the one with the good fortune to find it.

The dealer is in a remote pretty town of Turkey far from the crowds of tourists. An old town with cobbled stone streets. In the long conversation he tells me that business is not good – making me sad … for art is always the first casualty of an economic downturn.

The story of how he came to acquire it is also as unique as the Kilim: He had used a rug repairer / restorer for 12 years and over time had lent him some money. When the restorer retired, the debt needed to be squared off – and instead of paying with cash he paid the dealer with this Kilim.

This obviously unusual supply chain stream – makes me think that this piece came out of the restorer’s heirloom pieces only because it was destined to come to me!  [It is fun to indulge in fairy tales / delusions sometimes isn’t it?]

In any case this Kilim that contains the free spirit of the wild child within the artist …will now travel across thousands of kilometers and dozens of years to delight another wild heart!

It will, like many other Kilims of that age, need to be put on a strong backing and conserved. And a safe place will need to be found to show off its beauty and yet to keep it out of harm’s way.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 6.04.37 pmThis description from here seems to describe this Kilim well especially on account of the white cotton highlights. Collectors familiar with the category, have also suggested the same on forums.

This Kilim from Rippon Boswell June 2015 auction is described as Gaziantep 2nd half 9th century.

JZ57This further confirms the Gaziantep attribution. It is good to know the origin and the age but these details do not really matter once one is smitten by the soul of the piece.

It is so easy to fall in love with a new category of textiles! I fear to think what might happen I were to travel to Turkey!!

jm

May 2015

One comment on “The Wild Child – Soul of a Kilim

  1. Pingback: Anatolia Diaries | The Wovensouls Journal

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