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flatweaves in history and myth

flatweaves in history and myth

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Published by Jonny Sharples

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Published by: Jonny Sharples on Feb 28, 2011
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02/28/2011

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It can be said Persian spinning and weaving techniques are as old as the recorded history of Persiancivilization this is evidenced by fragments of fabrics discovered in Kurdestan dating as far back as5000BC,  although it is rare to find materials of this age in Iran as the environment is humid andincredibly damaging to fabrics. We can however look at other artwork from the regions history forexamples of the importance of this art form.Slide 1This stone relief from Persepolis showing gifts of spun yarn and textiles being presented to DariusThe great dating back to 5
th
century BC could be argued to show the importance and longevity of textile artwork in Persian culture.Even in The myths of the Achaemenid Empire who held power between 530 to 330 BC, knowledge of these techniques was considered an important personal boon just as ignorance of such techniqueswas considered a flaw often associated with demons or Divs as they were called showed a lack of refinement and culture.Designs on early tapestries echo the importance of culturally relevant symbolism pertaining toPersian myth.Slide 2For instance this wool tapestry from Pazyryk in the 5
th
to 4
th
century BC shows lions which were animportant icon in myth from the achaemenid period. Lions were often depicted alongside cattle asseen here in this 5
th
century relief from PersepolisSlide 3The lion attacking the bull is a symbol of Noruz, the Iranian New year.King Jamshid in Persian myth is responsible for bringing fire, smelting, spinning, weaving and sewingtechniques to his people which gives a good comparison point for the  cultural value placed on theseskills.Another example of Persian spinning and weaving being important in the cultures myths and beliefsis Mashyak and Mashyanak the equivalent to Adam and Eve in Persian creation myth are the firsthumans in legend, created clothing by spinning thread made from their own hair.usesWhile early Achaemenian Flatweaves were more commonly used as horsecloths their very existencehints that Persians would have used the same techniques to create decorative floor coverings.   Thenomadic Persians tribes will often use Gelim flatweaves, a more lightweight rug than would be usedin say a mosque or other permanent structure as a form of bedroll that doubled as a mattress, andsometimes as we see here; a  tent. The qali which was a pile rug would be used more often as a permanent floor covering. This wasmost often used as a display of wealth and status within society.

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