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TRIBAL BAGS 3

TRIBAL BAGS are probably the most unspoiled, genuine, weavings of many tribal and pastoral groups throughout Central Asia and North Africa.

They are woven in many shapes and sizes and fulfill the storage function needed in tents and huts.   Small ones are for jewelry and precious personal items, also salt, spices, dried fruits, mirrors and cosmetics.  Medium sizes are pillows at night and cushions by day and are also used to store food, tools, clothing and household items.      There are even very large sacks for the storage of grain and textiles when not in use.  These double as beds for children.

Most bags are woven using only local wools, goat and sometimes camel hair.  Embellishments, both superstitious and religious, are frequent.   Durable goat hair is used for closing loops and for selvedges.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS BERBER CARPET. Prepare for a surprise! Although this looks like a carpet, and can serve as one, it is a giant storage bag. At one end the tying loops are an integral part of the end finish and at the other there is a row of corresponding slits through which the loops will go once the carpet is folded in two. In the small interiors of Berber huts and tents multi-purpose items are often made. When folded and secured as a giant tent bag it would be used for storage of grain or filled with other weavings and serve as a bed at night and a divan for day time seating. This rare piece is from the Ait Bou Ichaoen Berbers in the extreme eastern end of the High Atlas Mountains. A carpet with a similar weave and almost identical colours is shown in `Maroc - Tapis du Tribus` in the section of pages 87 to 96. Ref. 2188. Size (opened) 239 x 150 cms, 7ft 10ins x 5ft. Euros 475.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS BERBER CARPET. Prepare for a surprise! Although this looks like a carpet, and can serve as one, it is a giant storage bag. At one end the tying loops are an integral part of the end finish and at the other there is a row of corresponding slits through which the loops will go once the carpet is folded in two. In the small interiors of Berber huts and tents multi-purpose items are often made. When folded and secured as a giant tent bag it would be used for storage of grain or filled with other weavings and serve as a bed at night and a divan for day time seating. This rare piece is from the Ait Bou Ichaoen Berbers in the extreme eastern end of the High Atlas Mountains. A carpet with a similar weave and almost identical colours is shown in `Maroc - Tapis du Tribus` in the section of pages 87 to 96. Ref. 2188. Size (opened) 239 x 150 cms, 7ft 10ins x 5ft. FOLDED OVER AND SECURED FOR USE AS A STORAGE BAG.

KURDISH SINGLE TENT BAG. A rare semi-antique example from the Quchan Kurds of north east Persia. They inhabit the land between Meshed and the border with Turkmenistan. The excellent text book "Kordi" by Wilfried Stanzer gives exhaustive information on their rugs, kilim and artifacts. An extremely finely woven example, which was probably a dowry piece and subsequently used to store jewellery, complete with original back. Reference 286. Size 45 x 47cms, 1ft 6ins x 1ft 7ins, Euros 350.

KURDISH SINGLE TENT BAG. A rare semi-antique example from the Quchan Kurds of north east Persia. They inhabit the land between Meshed and the border with Turkmenistan. The excellent text book "Kordi" by Wilfried Stanzer gives exhaustive information on their rugs, kilim and artifacts. An extremely finely woven example, which was probably a dowry piece and subsequently used to store jewellery, complete with original back. Reference 286. Size 45 x 47cms, 1ft 6ins x 1ft 7ins. CLOSE UP.

ANTIQUE LURI BAG FACE in excellent condition and with the original fastening system still intact at the top. It has soft natural colours and the wool has a lustrous sheen. There are a few knots of a particular green shade which is used by weavers of Abadeh, some villages near Isfahan and also the Bachtiaris. Reference 2978. Size 51 x 47 cms., or 20 x 19 ins. Euros 145.

CLOSE UP of the floral design in the centre.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/CUSHION. Almost every home ranging from grand houses to primitive tents in Morocco have these multi purpose bags which can be used for daytime cushions, night time pillows and also for storage. Practical inexpensive ones may be bought in every bazaar but the best examples are those which are seldom available and were made by Berbers for their own use. Often these were part of a dowry or to be used on cermonial occasions. I constantly search for these because they are becoming more and more scarce. This fine example is from the western Middle Atlas Zemmour Berber group. The white in the design is cotton which discolours less in a smokey atmosphere such as a tent. This is a top example of this type of bag and originates from the Berbers of Zemmour. Reference 3338. Size 66 x 35 cms., or 26 x 14 ins. Euros 125.

CLOSE UP of the intricate designs on the bag face.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/CUSHION. Almost every home ranging from grand houses to primitive tents in Morocco have these multi purpose bags which can be used for daytime cushions, night time pillows and also for storage. Practical inexpensive ones may be bought in every bazaar but the best examples are those which are seldom available and were made by Berbers for their own use. Often these were part of a dowry or to be used on cermonial occasions. I constantly search for these because they are becoming more and more scarce. This fine example is from the western Middle Atlas Zemmour Berber group. The white in the design is cotton which discolours less in a smokey atmosphere such as a tent. This very fine pillow is the work of Berbers from the region of Zaine which lies between Fes and Casablanca. Reference 3343. Size 53 x 36 cms., or 22 x 14 ins. Euros 95.

THE REVERSE SIDE shows rows of flower heads and other designs and is typical of the work from Zaine.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/CUSHION. Almost every home ranging from grand houses to primitive tents in Morocco have these multi purpose bags which can be used for daytime cushions, night time pillows and also for storage. Practical inexpensive ones may be bought in every bazaar but the best examples are those which are seldom available and were made by Berbers for their own use. Often these were part of a dowry or to be used on cermonial occasions. I constantly search for these because they are becoming more and more scarce. This fine example is from the western Middle Atlas Ait Youssi Berber group. The white in the design is cotton which discolours less in a smokey atmosphere such as a tent. Reference 3336. Size 63 x 38 cms., or 25 x 15 ins. Euros 125.

REVERSE SIDE showing intricate bands of designs along the whole width.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/CUSHION. Almost every home ranging from grand houses to primitive tents in Morocco have these multi purpose bags which can be used for daytime cushions, night time pillows and also for storage. Practical inexpensive ones may be bought in every bazaar but the best examples are those which are seldom available and were made by Berbers for their own use. Often these were part of a dowry or to be used on cermonial occasions. I constantly search for these because they are becoming more and more scarce. This fine example is from the western Middle Atlas Boujad Berber group. The white in the design is cotton which discolours less in a smokey atmosphere such as a tent. Reference 3339. Size 54 x 34 cms., or 21 x 13 ins. Euros 120.

REVERSE SIDE showing the band of knotted pile which is used in Boujad but very seldom elsewhere.

MANY RUG DEALERS in the Medinas have a few bags and artifacts lying in untidy piles at the back of their rooms. I always look at them all, and sometimes find a treasure.

WOVEN ARTIFACTS OF A DIFFERENT TYPE in the market. The Berbers are skilled weavers of all sorts of items.

MOROCCAN MIDDLE ATLAS BERBER PILLOW woven by a small Berber group called Beni Mtir. The front design is most unusual, as is the back which is of flat woven kilim with three embroidered stylized trees. Ref. 2228. Size 76 x 36cms, 2ft 6ins x 1ft 2ins, Euros 120.

MOROCCAN MIDDLE ATLAS BERBER PILLOW woven by a small Berber group called Beni Mtir. The front design is most unusual, as is the back which is of flat woven kilim with three embroidered stylized trees. Ref. 2228. Size 76 x 36cms, 2ft 6ins x 1ft 2ins. REVERSE.

RAJESTHAN CUSHION/PILLOW which has a simple, colorful depiction of floral forms. Reference 2809. Size 38 x 28 cms., or 15 x 11 ins. Euros 25.

EACH SIDE has a different design. The cushion will be emptied to aid shipping.

MOROCCAN BERBER PILLOW/CUSHION. Almost every home ranging from grand houses to primitive tents in Morocco have these multi purpose bags which can be used for daytime cushions, night time pillows and also for storage. Practical inexpensive ones may be bought in every bazaar but the best examples are those which are seldom available and were made by Berbers for their own use. Often these were part of a dowry or to be used on cermonial occasions. I constantly search for these because they are becoming more and more scarce. This fine example is from the western Middle Beni mGuild Berber group. The white in the design is cotton which discolours less in a smokey atmosphere such as a tent. Reference 3342. Size 73 x 35 cms., or 29 x 14 ins. Euros 130.

REVERSE SIDE showing the multi coloured stripes which are typical of the best Beni mGuild flat weaves.

ANATOLIAN TENT BAG A small and rare bag woven by pastoral Yoruk people in western Anatolia. It is called locally "oklawali" and is used to store items for bread making, especially the rolling pin. The same wools that have been used to create the design on both front and back have been used at the end of the tassels and the colours appear to be natural. The design shows minimal wear at the bottom right corner which is commensurate with having been used. A fascinating and collectable piece. Reference 2637. Size 17 x 40cms. 7in. x 15in. Euros 195.

ANATOLIAN TENT BAG A small and rare bag woven by pastoral Yoruk people in western Anatolia. It is called locally "oklawali" and is used to store items for bread making, especially the rolling pin. The same wools that have been used to create the design on both front and back have been used at the end of the tassels and the colours appear to be natural. The design shows minimal wear at the bottom right corner which is commensurate with having been used. A fascinating and collectable piece. Reference 2637. Size 17 x 40cms. 7in. x 15in. CLOSE UP.

BELOUCH / BALUCH STORAGE BAG. A very old and rare example from the Belouch / Baluch group who live in the Pakistan province of Baluchistan which joins southern Afghanistan. The top consists of a lattice weave of goat hair which, when opened, is used for the storage of small items, such as plates or cups. When the owners travel the netting is fastened at the top. The tassels are of wool and are adorned with cowrie shells and beads which simulate flowers. The embroidery is exceptional and the vibrant colours are in silk. There is a similar example in “Textiles of Baluchistan” by M.G. Konieczny on page 73, plate 46. He attributes it to the region of Chagai. Reference 2318. Size 52 x 16cms. 1ft.9in x 6in. Euros 286.

BELOUCH / BALUCH STORAGE BAG. A very old and rare example from the Belouch / Baluch group who live in the Pakistan province of Baluchistan which joins southern Afghanistan. The top consists of a lattice weave of goat hair which, when opened, is used for the storage of small items, such as plates or cups. When the owners travel the netting is fastened at the top. The tassels are of wool and are adorned with cowrie shells and beads which simulate flowers. The embroidery is exceptional and the vibrant colours are in silk. There is a similar example in “Textiles of Baluchistan” by M.G. Konieczny on page 73, plate 46. He attributes it to the region of Chagai. Reference 2318. Size 52 x 16cms. 1ft.9in x 6in. CLOSE UP.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS CUSHION / PILLOW which is an excellent example of its kind and is Berber work from the eastern High Atlas. The tassel work is exceptional and is plaited from the same wool as that used in the pillow. Berber weaving from this region has been discovered comparatively recently. The outstanding text book "Ait Bou Ichaouen" by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers shows results of extensive original field work. On Plate 87 there is a wedding blanket from Talsint which has, in part, very similar construction and identical colours. This cushion was probably part of a dowry and can form part of an interesting collection. Reference 2309. Size 40 x 65cms. 1ft.4in. x 2ft.2in. REVERSE.

MOROCCAN HIGH ATLAS CUSHION / PILLOW which is an excellent example of its kind and is Berber work from the eastern High Atlas. The tassel work is exceptional and is plaited from the same wool as that used in the pillow. Berber weaving from this region has been discovered comparatively recently. The outstanding text book "Ait Bou Ichaouen" by Alfred and Suzanne Saulniers shows results of extensive original field work. On Plate 87 there is a wedding blanket from Talsint which has, in part, very similar construction and identical colours. This cushion was probably part of a dowry and can form part of an interesting collection. Reference 2309. Size 40 x 65cms. 1ft.4in. x 2ft.2in. Euros 115. FIRST SIDE.

CLOSE UP shows clear, deep colors and the unusual use of natural camel hair for the design of two leaves.

OLD BALOUCH/BELOUCH STORAGE BAG datinG trom the early 20th century and the work of the Salor Khani sub group in western Afghanistan. When I found it the piece had been used to store grain and6 flour for bread making. After much hand cleaning the depth and lustre of the wools and clear colours shone through. There is corrosion in the dark brown and black which confirms decent age. The fawn coloured leaves in the design of the centre are woven with camel hair. Reference 2374. Size 67 x 72 cms., or 27 x 28 inches. Euros 275.

REVERSE SIDE showing simple trees. The extra length of the kilim at the back is most unusual and may have been used as a flap to cover the opening of the bag.

BERBER TENT BAG/PILLOW. Although woven in one long piece before being folded in half and stitched to make a bag or pillow, seldom can two sides have such different designs. The face is intricately embroidered and the use of green pinpoints the origin to a small Berber group in the western Middle Atlas. The reverse side, or back, is a simplistic portrayal of line of trees. The piece is very old but in good condition. Reference 2951. Size 72 x 38 cms., or 28 x 15 ins. Euros 78.

KASHKAI CHANTE BAG which are used by women of several rural and tribal migratory groups in Persia. The weave, colours and design show this to be the work of the Kashkuli sub-tribe of the Kashkai, north of Shiraz. Designs are primitive and based on nature, religion and superstition. In this case four chickens (chickens are portrayed with their taila down but peacocks have their tales up in tribal weaving) pecking for food among the flowers. The original shoulder strap and mixture of flowers and tassels on the bottom border are all original. Reference 3298. Size 30 x 31 cms., or 12 inches square. Euros 75.

TURKOMAN STORAGE SACK which is very rare and dates from the first half of the 20th century. The bag is the work of Turkoman weavers from the village of Labijar in the far north of Afghanistan on the border with Turkmenistan. There are two villages separated by a canal which forms the border. The decorative work on both front and back of the bag (shown here) is very fine, varied and detailed. The original fastening loops at the top are present as is the top kilim border with its slits which allow the loops to close the bag when full. This will make an outstanding contribution to a collection of Turkoman work - I know of no similar piece and can not find anything in the rug literature which is related. Bought from a primitive rug shed on the Quetta to Kandahar road near Chaman in the mid 1980s. Reference 0297. Size 154 x 96 cms., or 5ft. 1ins. x 3ft. 2ins. Euros 1850.

REVERSE SIDE. The bag is woven as one long continuous piece, folded over and joined with the top left open for filling.

THIS RARE SACK was found with a specialist dealer in Turkoman and Belouch work north of Quetta on the road to Kandahar back in the mid 1980s.