Embroidery from Afghanistan, £10.99
Width: 37.000 cm
Height: 111.000 cm (including tassels)
AOA 1997.As4.1;AOA 1997.As4.2
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Pair of felt tent bags
Uzbek, mid-20th century
Felt is a highly versatile fabric. It has been made and used by nomadic peoples of Central Asian for over 2500 years for everything from covers for the traditional tent (yurt), interior fittings, carrying bags, saddle cloths, and clothing. Felt is a non-woven textile that uses the natural qualities of wool fibres to shrink and bond together when treated with hot water, agitated and pressed. However, it can easily wear. These bags are lined with a coarse woven wool fabric to make them last longer. The tassels are of horse hair and the embroidery features designs on the theme of the 'ram's horn' motif.
In the yurt, belongings are suspended from, or wedged into, the lattice-work walls or stored in hanging textile wall-bags and 'shelves'. One of the bags here has a tablet-woven band, possibly for lashing the bag to the yurt trellis wall. These bags are made in pairs. Often called 'tent pole bags', they hold smaller items in the yurt, and are also placed on the end of the wooden roof struts when moving camp.
G.W. O'Bannon, From desert and oasis: arts of (Athens, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, 1998)
J. Harvey, Traditional textiles of centra (London, Thames and Hudson, 1996)
M.E. Burkett, The art of the felt maker (Kendal, Abbott Hall Art Gallery, 1979)