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Bag face

Bag face

  • Place of origin:

    Central Asia (made)
    Baluchistan (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1899 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Weft-wrapping (soumak) in wool, on a woollen warp, with tapestry weave bands

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Bags are important household articles for all nomadic people. They are used to transport possessions on pack animals when the community travels and are used for storage and decoration, and as something comfortable to lean against, when the community settles for a while and erects tents. The two sides of a bag, back and front, are called 'faces' and the one at the front is often decorated with knotted pile or with a woven design. The blocks of colour at the top of this bag face are tapestry-woven, a technique which creates a slit between each colour . A stout cord would have been threaded through these slits to close and secure the bag.

Physical description

Bag Face, weft-wrapping, irregular soumak in wool, Central Asian, Baluch; 19th century

WARP: white wool; Z2S; 15 threads per inch (57 per dm).

WEFT: Foundation: dark brown wool; Z spun, apparently unplied, with 2 parallel threads per shoot and 12 shoots of weft per inch (48 per dm).
Pattern: wool; 6 colours: dark red, red, dark blue, blue, brown, white; soumak predominantly over 2 threads and back under one.

SIDE FINISH: both sides have 3 cords overcast with dark brown wool.

END FINISH as in use: lower: missing, but there is 3.4" (2 cms) plain weave with a band of red and then of dark brown weft; then a band of woven pattern with dark blue ground of white crosses with dark red centres; this band is bordered by red and blue countered soumak over 4 threads and back under 2. Upper: 1) a very narrow band of plain weave with dark blue weft. 2) a band of woven pattern in white of diagonal blocks infilled with red, the blocks joined by a pair of horns; this band bordered by double rows of countered soumak in red and blue. 3) 9 unequal blocks of slit tapestry weave which would have formed part of the fastening. Above is a repeat of 2) and then 1" (2.5 cms) plain weave with dark brown weft turned and stitched in place.

DESIGN: Field: composed of three bands each with three square panels with each panel containing a triangle in all four corners and a central red diamond divided into four. In all but the central panel, the diamond is framed first by blue forked and then by either dark red or dark brown crenelated lines. The central panel has concentric lines around the diamond and a hooked border outlined in white. Panels are bordered vertically and horizontally by brown, red, blue and brown lines.

Main border: red ground with foliate meander in dark blue and blue.
Outer border: reciprocal triangles in dark red, red and blue; this and the main border are separated by the dividing lines of the field.
Outermost border: a line of brown and two worked in red and dark blue.

Date catalogued: 7.3.95

Place of Origin

Central Asia (made)
Baluchistan (made)


1800-1899 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Weft-wrapping (soumak) in wool, on a woollen warp, with tapestry weave bands


Length: 71 cm, Width: 65.5 cm maximum, Width: 62.5 cm minimum

Production Note


mentioned and illustrated "Mind the Gap" "Baluch Rugs in the V & A." by Robert Pittenger and analysis. Hali 1994, Issue 73, P. 78, 81

Purchased for £1.
"Kilim (Herat deleted) saddlebag; Beluchistan"
(This) " is the side of a tapestry - woven saddle-bag from Herat". CECT to AFK


Wool yarn



Subjects depicted

Geometric patterns; Lozenges


Textiles; Household objects


Middle East Section

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