Proprio perché vivaci nella ricerca e nell’ acquisto, il nostro sito funge da
In questa sezione spesso troverete delle esposizioni in grado di stuzzicare
anche i più esigenti esperti e neofiti.
Un ulteriore stimolo per cogliere se un prodotto antico, ma nuovo sul mercato
italiano, è apprezzato dal pubblico, anche internazionale.
Per i Boro, i Taches e i Baluch ho anche scritto un catalogo legato ad una
mostra frutto di questa sezione.
As also happens in the West, attempting to find a distinction between objects of art and things that are used merely on a daily basis isn’t often very easy as well as sometimes being wholly senseless.
The hand-made articles made in south-west Persia and gathered in this catalogue were intended as sacks to be used for transporting goods. Their colours and the particular shape of the part of the bag which is tied will not, however, leave even the most astute observer indifferent. Therefore, we once again find ourselves with the challenge presented by the role of an object in the face of man’s creative ability. These are objects which were not intended for the market but were supposed to fulfil a role, albeit with a certain amount of imagination and personality.
The use of bags – whether they were meant to transport wares or contain food or personal goods – is very widespread in the East, even though this custom has slackened in recent times. The shapes and types are numerous and depend largely upon their given use as well as which regions or peoples they hail from. Although indispensable in the life of a nomad, sacks are also used by settled village dwellers.
Many people know about the beauty of mafrash and khorjin as well as the smaller salt bags (namakdan) which remind us so at such close hand of the characteristic pattern of the bags in question. We believe, however, that nobody will fail to be surprised by the sacks that we are presenting here which make up a group on their own due both to their shape – a square or a double square – and their design. With a touch of imagination we have labelled this latter element the “knotted skyscraper”. Their name is tacheh.
Rather large in size, they are woven in Chahar Mahal, a fertile region to the south-west of Isphahan, on the slopes of the Zagros Mountains.
We need to envisage the sacks as cylinder-shaped and closed, sewn up at one end before being filled prior to the other end being sewn, too. At this point, the bags are ready for loading, usually upon the back of a mule: the inhabitants of this region are famed throughout Persia for rearing these strong and tireless working animals.
Materials and Techniques
The tacheh are woven in pairs and in one single piece, measuring approximately 260 x 100 cm. They are then separated into two symmetrical halves and sewn up along the middle.
The structure of the sack is made of wool in a variety of colours and undyed cotton (warps). The pile is in wool and the knot symmetrical. The flat woven part is made with the kilim technique although sometimes with the insertion of supplementary wefts(sumak).
The perimeter is strengthened with extra warps and wefts. The ‘selvages’, in particular, are finished with wefts that are in alternating colours, more often than not in the very same kilim colours of the pieces in question.
Patterns and Designs
The piled area of the saddle bag is characteristic since it shows the very particular shape that we have named “skyscraper”, or rather, a relatively elongated rectangle narrowing at the end. This part of the sack, which closely reminds us of the salt bags (hailing from the same area) which fill collectors around the globe with enthusiasm, is not a part which is used for strengthening (different from other bags made with mixed techniques). In other words, it doesn’t have any structural function but is used for pure embellishment. Indeed, it is not to be found in the fold which supports the weight to be carried and half of it only touches the flanks of the animal (although sideways and horizontally so it can be admired in all its beauty).
As suggested by R. Zamani, who has helped us with this classification, some of the pieces collected here are woven by sedentary peoples (the village tache). However, most are the results of the skills of weavers from Bakhtiari nomadic peoples (tribal tacheh). In these woven materials of tribal origin sumak technique enrichments are common and the kilim is elaborate both in design and colour. The patterns of the knotted feature of the bags are very vibrant.
On the other hand, in the village tacheh, this form of enrichment grows in importance and size to the detriment of the part made with the kilim technique. Even though there are tribal influences both within the general design of the sack and in the choice of patterns, the tone of the bag as a whole is more village-like and decorative.
We have also wanted to include an example from north-western Persia and two pieces of extraordinary beauty, woven by peoples of Armenian origin.
As far as the colours are concerned these bags when compared to their tribal equivalents are more colourful and a particularly deep shade of yellow can be found much more frequently. Pink, which is so common in these tacheh, is never used by the nomad groups.
As far as the designs on the knotted part are concerned they are the same as the carpets from the same area of Persia. The use of layouts which are repeated ad infinitum is also common: there are multicoloured chessboard patterns (kheshti) which are also to be found in some of the more beautiful gabbeh with horizontal bands in alternating colours more or less laid out in arrow-head form. The presence of single elements both floral (gol farang, boteh) and geometric (for example, lozenge-form) is also a very common feature. It isn’t rare, though, to come across the flask-shaped element with no design at all. Its whole strength, in this particular case, lies in the choice of background colour which might carry a small inscription and, very often, a date.
The kilim reminds us at very close hand, both in taste and layout of the sofreh (in particular those from the area around Kamo) – large square mats used both for the transport of bread as well as being used as large ‘cloths’ to eat upon. For example, the sharp arrow-head feature is also very common – standing out by contrast and movement upon a background in a different colour.
Since we are able to view these bags freely (and with no need to use them) their strength and their equilibrium for us stems from the relationship between the knotted feature and the kilim part. The first part, which is more personal, contains patterns and colours in their elongated space which tell the story of this people’s artistic tastes: both far from us and near to us at the same time. Fulfilling a materialistic role, the second kilim part is in the form of a square background – the horizon over an imaginary skyline.
P. Tanavoli, Weavings of the Lors of Iran, Part I, Hali 140, 2005
P. Tanavoli, Gabbeh. Art Underfoot, Teheran, 2004
Amir - Etemad, Tacheh, Paris, 2001
P. Tanavoli, The Tacheh of Char Mahal, Teheran, 1998
P. Tanavoli, The Sofreh of Kamo, Teheran, 1998
P. Tanavoli, Bread and Salt, Teheran, 1991