Double Saddle Bag (Khorjin)

Not on view

The Shahsevan, whose name means "those who love the king," are Turkic nomads. Their historical migratory range reaches from the southwest shores of the Caspian Sea to the southern part of Transcaucasia. Art historians have identified Shahsevan weavings, including a variety of small-format bags, only in the past half century.

Many Shahsevan weavings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially those with centralized geometric designs, show a striking relationship with Anatolian carpets from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. These older textiles are called Memling carpets, after the fifteenth-century Netherlandish painter who depicted them in his religious works. The khorjin saddlebags from the Mughan plain (on the Caspian Sea in northwestern Iran), such as this piece, continue the Memling design: it features a geometric octagonal medallion motif with stars and angular hooks that develop from the step-like edges. Many of the motifs found on Shahsevan textiles are thought to be centuries-old tribal emblems, a symbolic language that today we are frequently unable to decipher.

Double Saddle Bag (Khorjin), Wool (warp, ground weft, and sumak weft) and goat(?) hair (black braided loop); sumak extra-weft wrapping and slit tapestry (kilim) weave (front); weft-faced plain weave with pattern in supplementary continuous weft and braided loop closures (back)

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