BAGS ARE LIFE!
This year, the Sartirana Textile Show Side Exhibition, titled “Bags”, will be entirely dedicated to the fascinating world of the Tribal Saddle and Tent Bags, made by nomad populations from Near and Far East as well as in the West.
Nomad shepherds have their main activity and thus sustenance in taking care of flocks and in the consequent sheep-sharing and manufacturing of the wool. By using wooden looms, built in the shadow of the tents, several different objects are woven for everyday use for men and animals. They start from the kilim rugs to be put on the floor, to the saddle covers and drapes for particular occasions, till the bags of different dimensions and forms, intended for a variety of purposes.
The traditional weaving of bags to transport things, is spread among the population of the Middle East and Central Asia, where they get different names according to their function and, of course, to the language spoken by those who make them. Thus, there are the typical saddle double bags called khorjin in Persia and Central Asia and heybe in Turkey; the small Persian belt purses or shoulder bags (chanteh) and those from Turkmenistan (kap); the big sacks made by the Baluchi (balisht). The latter also make the extraordinary grain- bags, narrow sacks easy to transport during migrations, while the farmers in West Anatolia weave, for the same purpose, a sort of bale (ala chuval), very elegant and colorful. The salt-bags (namakdan), characterized by a bottle shape, are common in all regions, as well as those to hold the Quran (bokche). The big cargo bags, parallelepiped-shaped (mafrash), really look like chests and are made mostly by the Shahsavan. Some populations, like the Turkmen, have a variety of bag kinds, some of which are extremely rare today: apart from the classic tent bags chuval (big), torba (medium) and mafrash (small), from the above mentioned saddle double bags (khorjin), they wove particular formats to carry spindles (igsalyk), spoons (chemche torba) or mirrors (aina khalta). A peculiar role was played by the ok-bash, a sort of bag that may be used both like a quiver, or like a hood to carry the tent (yurta) rods during the moving from one place to another.
However, the traditional weaving of bags and transportation sacks is common also in other world areas. The Asian khorjin, for instance, are similar to the traditional bertule made in Sardinia, while the South-Persian purses chanteh sometimes may be confused with the coca-bags or mourning-bags from Latin America.
The bag, thus, is a universal container, in which the creativity of the weavers from different regions of the world had the chance to “go wild”. An common Italian saying, … “o la borsa o la vita” (your money or your life), could be therefore paraphrased as “la borsa… è la vita” (bag … is life).
Scarsella from Florence
Thanks to the kind cooperation with the Stefano Bardini Museum of Florence, the Sartirana Textile Show 2013 has the honour of exhibiting a very important antique piece, a 15th century belt-bag called Scarsella. It will be exposed together with a reproduction of a Flemish tapestry, also belonging to the end of 15th – beginning of the 16th century, in which the same Scarsella had been woven.
The exhibition of the Scarsella into La Pila during the 9th Sartirana Textile Show will be supported by the Commune of Sartirana, the Insurance Company Ciaccio Broker and by the Gallery Moshe Tabibnia of Milan.