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Bag face

Bag face

  • Place of origin:

    Central Asia (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

saddle bag (one half).

WARP: white wool; Z2S; 16 threads per inch (64 per dm) calculated from 32 per 5 cms).

WEFT: brown wool; Z2S; 2 shoots after each row of knots; 14 knots per inch (54 per dm calculated from 27 per 5 cms).

PILE: wool; 6 colours: dark red, red, dark blue, very dark brown, dark brown, white; asymmetrical knot open to the left and tied around 2 warp threads; 112 knots per sq. inch (1728 per sq. dm.).

SIDE FINISH: both sides incomplete and stitched down; the pile side finish cannot be determined but the flat weave has 2 cords overcast.

END FINISH: Lower: cut at middle of a pair of saddlebags. Upper: 15 cms. maximum and 13 cms. minimum of plain weave: first a 4 cm. band divided into 4 narrow bands as follows:
1. plain weave, black weft;
2 and 4. countered soumak over 4 threads and back under 2 in red and blue.
3. plain weave with black weft and white woven pattern. Above are 16 blocks of split tapestry, 7 cms. deep in browns, red and blues. The intervening slits formed part of the fastening for the bags. Above them is a repeat of the soumak and patterned bands. The edge is turned along the second band of soumak and stitched in place. NB. The 'soumak' may have been embroidered on after weaving.

DESIGN: Field: the field is a rectangle divided into four equal quarters by white and brown dotted lines which also surround the field. The lower half has a red and the upper half a dark red ground. On each quarter is angular branching in brown and blue from a central white octagon which contains an eight-pointed star.

Main border: the dark blue ground on top and on both sides has a series of large eight-sided guls, each containing an eight-pointed star; the lower border has three red rosettes, the central one, hooked. Both edges of the whole border are decorated by a reciprocal trefoil pattern in dark red and blue.

Outer border: the brown ground has red crosses alternating with blue diamonds. Below the pile is a repeat of the narrow bands of plain weave, 'soumak' and white patterning.

The back: there are broad and narrow bands of plain weave in dark brown, dark red, red and blue. There are five bands with white patterning.

The middle section: eight (and parts of two more) double chevrons in dark brown, dark blue and red in plain weave. At colour changes, the threads have been carried a little way over the back, forming a decorative outline.

The fastening: this is a cord of goat's hair which has been sewn on to form 15 loops and there is a plait of 53.5 cms.) maximum on the left (half has unravelled).

Date catalogued: 1.3.95.

Place of Origin

Central Asia (made)


19th century (made)


Length: 102 cm maximum, Length: 92 cm minimum, Width: 79 cm maximum, Width: 66 cm minimum, Length: 79 cm bagface, Width: 79 cm bagface

Production Note

mentioned and illustrated "Mint the Gap" - "Baluch Rugs in the V & A" by Robert Pittenger and analysis. Hali 1994, Issue 73, p. 79, 81

cf: Housego (1991) ill. 127, "Saddlebag, Baluchi, East Iran" NB spaced white dot outline.
arsons (1980) illus. 26, "Semi antique Beluch Namak Donneh (saltbag) from.... S W Afghanistan).

Purchased for £3. "(half) saddle bag (subzewar deleted), Beluchistan".

".... a very finely-woven saddlebag from the neighbourhood of Subzewar..."


Wool; Goat hair


Middle East Section

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