An early Birthday gift
The owner of this bag came from Russia as a Doukabour at approximately 30 yrs. of age in about 1899. I estimate that it might be from the mid to late 1800’s. It is entirely wool (goat?) including the warp.
The bottom plain weave section is very similar in colouring and structure to a large carpet I have brought by my own great-grandparents also from Russia. Before their emigration from Russia to Canada, the Doukabours were settled in Georgia close to the borders of Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The piece had been currently used as a covering for a trunk, but is a type of bedding bag called a Mafrash (I think). I am looking for more information. After studying it inside and out, I can see it was woven and made up for the purpose it served. When I first saw it I thought it might have been something that had been cut up and sewn into this bag. It is quite large measuring approximately 17″ deep x 40″ long on the large side and 17″ x 20″ long on the ends.
The patterning is Soumak I think and the bottom striped section is weft-faced plain weave. The entire piece was woven on one 40″ (approx.) wide warp. The two long sides and bottom were woven as one long piece, the decorative pattern woven at either end with the striped section between. Then two patterned sections were woven side by side to form the two ends.
The seams all finished with a decorative overstitching.
The inside which shows the bright colours and the uncut looped warp ends. The yarn is very tightly spun and twisting back on itself. The yarn is brittle with age, but the whole bag feels very strong still. There are a few condition issues including small holes and some very worn areas, but overall it looks lovely. I think the yarns must have been dyed with indigo and cochineal and woven using the natural coloured yarn as well.
There are a total of 16 looped handles arranged around the bag. One at each corner, 2 on each end, and 4 on each side.
This is a very special gift for me and I feel lucky indeed to have found this piece. Not only is it a beautiful piece of weaving, it is a piece from my own history.
Click photos to enlarge.