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2"Prayer Rugs of the Timuri and Their Neighbors

  Of the ninety earliest or best rugs, about half are rugs in small groups of three to five similar examples, which we can only mention briefly and lump together here, saving them for future detailed study.

Some have features such as borders and selvedges similar to the large group of camel-grounded tree-of-life prayer rugs, while others may be later versions from the three early groups which will be described now.

Figure 3 Group A Group B Group C Doktor-i-Qazi
  24% 33% ---- ----
  17% 47% ---- ----
  19% 60% ---- 39%
  53% ---- 76% ----
  21% ---- 77% ----
SMALL GUARD BORDERS 75% 33% 60% 45%

I will begin then with Group B, which has the highest know count; this group accounts for 15 of the ninety best rugs (Fig. 4). The knot counts range from 70 to 140 ksi (1100 to 2150 k/dm squared); the average for the group is 110 ksi (1700 k/dm squared), which is rather high for Baluch-type rugs. The ones I have examined are also more tightly woven than other groups.

One of these, formerly in the Ernest Roberts collection (19), is dated to the equivalent of 1869. The field patterns are usually a more complicated version of the tree-of-life pattern used in the camel ground prayer rugs. There is frequent use of small white borders. Main border patterns vary considerably, but a kotchak border and a simple triangle-vine border are used in more than half of the rugs (Fig.3). In general, the border patterns used in the blue-ground prayer rugs are quite different group from those used in the camel-ground prayer rugs, and also quite a different group from those used in the camel-ground prayer rugs, and also quite different from most of the borders used in the rugs in Azadi's book of Baluch-type rugs (20).

The selvedges of this group are usually two-cord, with wrapping in brown wool or goat hair, which is seen less frequently in the two groups which follow. End finishes vary, the most common one alternating narrow and wide strips of weft-floated repeat designs. This group tends to use much more brown in the pile than other blue-ground types. If any of the blue-ground prayer rugs are made by Baluchi weavers, this may be the group, but I can offer no proof. Some may be made by Hazaras (21), Jamshidis or other Aimaq tribes.

The next group (12 of the 90 rugs) is a familiar one; the so-called Dokhtar-I Qazi prayer rugs; they are included here since they are structurally vary close to the other groups, and were probably woven in the same areas (22). Their knot counts range from 63 to 126 ksi (970 to 1950 k/dm squared), averaging 90 ksi (1400 k/dm squared).

The earliest examples of the type nearly always use the same four borders in the same order. Selvedges are two-cords, usually covered with red and blue wool in a checkerboard pattern. End finishes are usually plain flatweave in narrow stripes of brown, blue and red; some have a thin row of weft-float (nearly always the same pattern).

Figure 4. An exmaple of Pittinger's Group B Baluch prayer rug

At this point, it is not clear who wove these rugs. Dr. Dietrich Wegner was the first to use the name Dokhtar-i Ghazi in print(23) for a Baluch sub-tribe in the region north of Herat; more recently these rugs have been attributed to Timuri weavers. The translation of the name of Dokhtar-i Ghazi or Qazi to "daughter of the war hero", or "daughter of the judge" as the name of the Baluch or Timuri sub-tribe seems unlikely, since according to . Dr..Janata, no sub-tribe in this patriarchial area of the world would name themselves after a woman (24). It seems most likely that a term Dokhtar-i-Qazi is merely a trade neame for the pattern of allover little blossoms or shrubs. Similar patterns were extremely common in 19th century Persian fabrics for clothing (25), and used in pile rugs from other areas of Persia (26).

Figure 5. Pittinger's Group A type. "They are attributed to the Timuris by most dealers and collectors, although other than the reports of Gen. Bogolubov and Dr. Wegner, there is no specific proff so far. These prayer rugs tend to be nearly square in format, and most likely date to circa 1850 to 1880"

by Robert Pittenger

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