Sumak saddlebag face

Circa 1870
Moghan-Savalan plain, Northwest Persia
52 cm x 47
1'8" x 1'6"

This is undoubtedly one of the most unusual sumak bag faces I have ever handled. The pattern looks like a representation of an archeological park, with seven-legged, two-headed animals, alternated to its four-legged variant, walking alongside different kind of prehistoric small dinosaurs, circling around a bizarre, square-bodied imaginary creature. These figures are placed between an ascensional arrangement of column-like devices, possibly a totemic figure of sorts. I couldn’t find anything remotely comparable in the literature, although the sequence of borders (including the rows of hexagons in the bottom panel), together with the lack of weft countering, anchors this mysterious piece firmly within the Moghan-Savalan sumak weaving tradition.

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