Kilim has me curious...

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navigator9

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I'm wondering if there might be anyone knowledgeable about kilim rugs? I've always loved them, for their designs and their incredible colors. I can't afford a rug, but I have splurged occasionally on some pillows. I recently bought a couple, and I'm intrigued by something that I've never seen before in a kilim. At first, I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at, but then I realized that it's backwards. It's a name and a date, "MAHIR 1970". The letters are about an inch and a half tall. When I googled Mahir 1970, the first thing that came up was this. "Mahir Çayan (15 March 1946 in Samsun - 30 March 1972, Kızıldere) was a Turkish politician and the leader of People's Liberation Party-Front of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Halk Kurtuluş Partisi-Cephesi). He was a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary leader. On 30 March 1972, he was killed by soldiers with nine friends in Kızıldere village." So I'm wondering if maybe it might not have been politically prudent at that time to be a supporter of this Communist leader, and perhaps the weaver of the rug that this pillow was made from, wove his name backwards, to show his support, but discretely? I've never seen a name woven into a kilim before, but then again, I'm no expert. Or am I just romanticizing this whole thing? Maybe it's just the weaver's name, after all...but why backwards? Any ideas? I'm always curious about the story behind things.

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DeeAnna

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If it's a pillow cover, could the person who made it into the cover have made a mistake and used the fabric with the wrong side facing out? Only the "R" and the middle two digits of date are backwards, and the date isn't all that clearly written -- it might be an honest mistake.
 

navigator9

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If it's a pillow cover, could the person who made it into the cover have made a mistake and used the fabric with the wrong side facing out? Only the "R" and the middle two digits of date are backwards, and the date isn't all that clearly written -- it might be an honest mistake.
Gee, I never thought of that. It just looks so out of place, doesn't it? The skill level of the weaving is so different, almost as if a child had done it, the letters uneven, and running off at an angle. It's that personal touch that makes this one special to me. Years ago, when I went to Guatemala, I was amazed at the beautiful huipils that were woven on backstrap looms. The women there make new ones for tourists, that are very plain, but they also sell their own, worn huipils, that are absolute works of art, and much more expensive than the new ones. I have a couple that I bought when I was there, and one is patched, very crudely, and it has always seemed to me that it was done by a child, and again, that personal touch makes it really special to me. I don't have a picture of the patch, but here is a close up of one of the huipils. I've always been fascinated by textiles.

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DeeAnna

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I love textiles too -- I'm forever finding handmade beauties and buying them even though I really don't need yet another blanket/tablecloth/wall hanging.

I found a handmade Persian rug for $30 some years ago in a second hand store -- the warp is handspun native wool, the colors are gorgeous, and the weaving is intricate and beautifully done much like your huipil. I told the shop owner she had the rug way, waaaaay underpriced. She said she knew that, but she didn't pay all that much for it and her price was based on what she paid for the rug. Needless to say, it's in my bedroom now keeping company with a handsome Navajo rug that I treasure as much because it has a few strands of the weaver's own hair woven in as anything.
 

navigator9

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I love textiles too -- I'm forever finding handmade beauties and buying them even though I really don't need yet another blanket/tablecloth/wall hanging.

I found a handmade Persian rug for $30 some years ago in a second hand store -- the warp is handspun native wool, the colors are gorgeous, and the weaving is intricate and beautifully done much like your huipil. I told the shop owner she had the rug way, waaaaay underpriced. She said she knew that, but she didn't pay all that much for it and her price was based on what she paid for the rug. Needless to say, it's in my bedroom now keeping company with a handsome Navajo rug that I treasure as much because it has a few strands of the weaver's own hair woven in as anything.
Oh, I love that story! Don't you love it when you run across a treasure like that? The name woven in, the patch, and the weaver's hair are the personal touches that remind us that these items weren't mass produced in some factory. I only hope handmade will always be valued.
 
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