Monday 7 December 2015

Picture Post No. 7: The Rug Turned Over

'Because things don’t appear to be the known thing; they aren’t that what they seemed to be neither will they become what they might appear to become.'

Posted by Tessa den Uyl and Martin Cohen
Kurdistan, Iraq 2011
Photo credit, Azad Nanakeli
On a rainy night in Arbil, attention is particularly drawn to this eclectic assemblage of handmade carpets, hung here on a wall, used for decoration or prayer.

Marvellous, idyllic images, singers and politicians are celebrated next to religious figures on the carpets, becoming a metaphor on social habits and aesthetics. The sacred space of the carpet reveals change.

Is it our sense of our own lack of veracity that leads us to appropriate gifts in order to remind ourselves of ideals we cannot attain?

Everything seeks distinctiveness in the form of the authenticity of its inauthenticity

Within the rugs, a human possibility is woven into our fragile enthusiasm in order to give movement to our own souls.


Thomas O. Scarborough said...

There is very rich symbolism in the carpet collage, and a strong cultural identity. I see that many of the images are Christian, or have Christian associations.

Perig Gouanvic said...

Tessa, this text captures so well a tendency -- if not a habit -- most of us have to collect pictures of what we'd like to be, like to have, like to understand. This iconic poetry deserves to be in PI's top posts, IMHO.

Your text in color is very well brought by what precedes. We capture in a flash the paradox of authenticity and its representation; it reminds me of a singer I used to like a lot (an icon! ;) ), and of a song in particular.

I did not understand "The sacred space of the carpet reveals change.". Other than that, bravissimo!

I'll let the poem and picture resonate or sink in for a while and hope to come back with more substantial thoughts.

docmartincohen said...

"The sacred space of the carpet reveals change."

Actually, I dind't quite get that either. And I had the beneift of the first draft text which was longer! But I liked the idea of the 'sacred space of the carpet'. There are all those associations - from rugs placed by Mother for the little ones, to red carpets for VIPs to elegant Kashmirs marking the division between civilisation and nature...

Tessa den Uyl said...

Dear gentlemen,

The carpet used for prayer is a templum (a delimited sacred space in respect to a profane world). "The sacred space of the carpet reveals change" comes from this vision. Certain aspects of what was defined as profane has always been revisited into the meaning of the sacred in different cultures, and this kind of revisiting of things continuous as we can see at the picture above. We might say that the idea about the sacred becomes interpreted differently along a timeline. Then, as Martin mentions, it draws associations.

docmartincohen said...

Thanks Tess. Do you mean that even a carpet with a politician or a filmstar on it become a prayer carpet? Christian prayer 'cushions', I remember, used to come ina range of jolly geometrical patterns, but maths is sort-of agnostic.

Tessa den Uyl said...

Initially, foremost in islamic cultures, the carpet was highly perceived as a delineation of a sacred space, even when used for decoration and not for prayer. The art of making a carpet was not just a skill; the creator would put something of his/herself as a sign woven into the carpet. The carpet used as decoration is hung above the bed or in the living room in these cultures. It represents the family, values. Still today.
Living myself in an islamic country, what surprises me of these carpets in Irak is the figurative representation. Where I live one doesn’t find any figurative representation. This is also why the interpretation of the sacred space changes in regard to a geographical position even when committed to the same religion. I can’t respond to your question Martin, for I don’t have the proof these carpets above are used for prayer but I wouldn’t exclude the possibility. Sure is that they are hung above the bed as decoration and continue to represent something rather different from our notion of the carpet.

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