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THE CRAFT OF THE WEAVER
“The soft wool-woofed carpets.”—KEATS.
the most useful and beautiful of the ceived its tutelage in the cunning of warp arts-had its genesis, is involved in the and woof. mists of uncertainty. The precise date It is an art peculiar to itself, differing of its origin will probably never be defi- from those of alien peoples—an art full nitely ascertained, unless some historical of symbolism, radiant with color, replete tablet hitherto hidden from modern vis- with fancy-embodying in its weird and ion, like the great polished granite slab infinite designs the mysticism of Islam, at South Kensington, which in clearly in- and shedding the warm sunshine of the cised and gilded hieroglyphics records the tropics from its innumerable strangely mystic lore of Egypt, is resurrected from blended hues. The mosque, minaret and a corner of the remote East. Or, wrapped kiosk, the tramp of the caravan, the lotus in odorous winding sheets, perchance and cypress, the misleading mirage, the some mummy who sleeps his long and glare of desert sands, the faithful bowed dreamless sleep in a forgotten tomb, may in prayer, the dervish and dancing-girl, yield the secret from his withered hand, blended with the odors of sandal wood and or disclose it graven upon his signet-ring. attar of rose—all are summoned to the
The period representing the full flores- mind; and seem reflected from its silken cence of the art may be placed far more sheen on contemplating a glorious an. definitely, if not with almost absolute tique Oriental rug. Perchance the woncertainty. Archæologians by general drous skill of the carpet-weaver, who consent ascribe the discovery of carpet- plays with color as a juggler disports weaving to the ancient Babylonians or
with his balls, is most felicitously exEgyptians. The Babylonian women ex- pressed in a tradition of the Prophet becelled in needlework, in gorgeous golden fore whom a weaver once appeared and and silver embroideries. Equally, the said: ancient Medes and Persians, the Phæni
“O Prophet! I passed through a wood and cians and other Oriental peoples, were heard the voices of the young of birds, and I took celebrated for their tissues of rich designs and put them into my carpet, and their mother and brilliant colorings that were prized came fluttering round my head.” by ancient Greece and Rome, as to-day It is only within a comparatively short the Occident sets store upon the handi- period that the beauty and advantages of work of the Oriental craftsman in wool.
Oriental rugs and carpets have come to be The matting of plaited rushes, so com- so widely appreciated with us. Twenty monly employed in the Levant, may have
years ago, before the great demand for been the initial form from which the per- them arose, fine specimens were readily fected Persian carpet sprang. Unques- obtainable. To-day, perfect antique tionably, the spider, whose loom is univer- pieces are more and more difficult to prosal, was the first weaver; and from him cure, their value having risen annually in
proportion to their growing scarcity and ORIENTAL Rugs. By John Kimberley Mumford. the public demand. Indeed, many anWith 32 full-page illustrations, 16 in colors. Scribner's Sons, large 8vo, $7.50 net.
tique weaves, like the matchless Ghiordes,
which rival in beauty a painting by a The virtuoso, the average buyer, and great master, as well as the old Kulahs, the general reader, therefore, will hail Koniehs and other splendid old prayer with pleasure the discovery of one who rugs are well-nigh extinct.
has accomplished this task in an emiAnd yet more rare than the gems of nently satisfactory manner-even to visitTurkey and Persia has been the informa- ing the weaver while employed with his tion concerning them-including a classi- shuttle at his home. Nor can the bookfication of their numerous families and lover fail to be impressed with the highly sub-families, and an accurate résumé of
artistic and sumptuous manner in which their variform designs, colorings, quali- the publishers have presented the inforties, weaves, peculiarities, symbols, etc. mation that so many will be grateful to Many have long desired a comprehensive obtain. And while it cannot be said that monograph on this useful and fascinating the author has entirely solved the vexed subject, beyond the works of Vincent question of nomenclature; for from the Robinson, various German and French very nature of things this were virtually technical treatises, and the unwieldy and impossible—yet it must be acknowledged very expensive, though beautiful,"limited" he has done much in unravelling its tanillustrated elephantine folio, “Oriental gled skein. But the author does not proCarpets,” published by the Imperial and fess to be infallible in this and many Royal Austrian Museum in 1892.
other phases of his deeply perplexing So great are the burdens such a task subject. “ The latitude for error is would impose, however, that few would boundless, even to the best judges,” he care to incur them—the varying nomen- truly observes, “since manufacture for clature of the various products of the market has become the rule iustead of the loom in itself presenting a serious obstacle exception, and European and American to any authoritative classification. More
More- designs have been sent to the Oriental over, the Oriental rug with its medley of weaver for working. There is perhaps no patterns and tints—each individual ex- art in which opinions as to the origin of ample differing from every other example products differ so widely, and with reason of its special class, and utterly at variance upon the side of all. Hence no writer, no with those of other districts, often even authority, so called, no dealer in rugs may in its chosen sizes—is most difficult to de- lay claim to infallibility.” The colored scribe intelligently ; as difficult indeed as plates in this large quarto of 278 pages, the moods and tenses of the Arabic are said to be done by a new and secret protrying to translate. No one but the stu- cess, are superb; while the numerous dent of Oriental textiles can appreciate artotypes and photo-engravings render the labor of sorting the multitudinous the volume unusually attractive. In adweaves from the network of names by dition to a full index, there are maps of which they figure in commerce and also the rug-producing countries, and a valuamong connoisseurs in different countries, able " Textile Table,” descriptive of the inclusive of the land of their origin. To diverse knots, warps, woofs, piles, etc., emtreat understandingly of the subject, calls ployed in the different districts. The besides for a protracted sojourn in the contents of the monograph include: Hiscountries themselves ; or, as it has been tory, The Rugweaving Peoples, Materials, observed, “To understand the carpets of Dyers and Dyes, Design, Weaving, Classithe East, you must live with them, and fication, Caucasian, Turkish, Persian, live with them long."
Turkoman, Khilims, Indian.
A paragraph from the Introduction will · fabrics. Everyone should have a hobby, serve to show the nature of the treatise it has been truly said. There is none more as well as a long dissertation: “ First, to fascinating than a study of Oriental rugs, consider the deep and enjoyable meaning though it is somewhat late in the day for of Oriental floor-coverings; second, to collecting these, as it is for old Chinese throw light upon the life and work of the self-colors, or even historical old blue and weavers; third, to dispel so far as it lies white Staffordshire, unless one be poswithin the power of the author, the sessed of ample means and still more obscurity in which the subject has hither- ample knowledge. But as Thackeray has to been involved, and place the reader in said about dining, "Next to eating good possession of such information regarding dinners is to read about them," so one the rugs, both genuine and spurious, now may say with reference to enjoying the generally offered for sale in American subject under consideration with Mr. markets, as shall, in a measure at least, Mumford as its exponent. He has condeliver him from the mercy of the deco- ducted the reader through a garden of rator, the salesman and the auctioneer; glowing colors and strange flowers, and fourth, to emphasize the superiority of given him peeps of many a hidden scene the old vegetable dyes, the true Oriental beyond the trodden paths of the plaisance coloring; finally to give an idea of what and parterre. constitutes true value, of the comparative It is true we miss among the plates exworth of the various Oriental weavings, amples of the fine old Kulah and Konieh and the means of distinguishing them.” prayers, a specimen of a really grand old
By no means the least service that Mr. Bergamo, more of the peerless Ghiordes Mumford has performed is the exposure with their flashing prayer panels, pendof the “doctoring "of rugs and the various ant mosque lamps, and intricate floral means employed by the unscrupulous, figurings, an example of a glossy Turkboth in this country and in the East, to ish pile made to simulate a tiger's deceive the unknowing. The market to- pelt, a Persian hunting-carpet, and an day is glutted, and has been for years, inch-thick satiny product of Sarak rewith so-called “washed" or treated Kir- splendent in its gorgeous reds and strikmans, Kazaks, Samarkands, Bokharas, ing medallions. But these are minor Yuruks, Irans, Kirs-Shehrs, anđ in fact criticisms—one cannot have all, especially almost every known species and variety; in the case of rugs whose variety is as great as it is filled to overflowing with new silk as the stars in the Milky Way; and the reproductions of old Ghiordes, and Iran, reader may be safely left to the painstakas well as European and American pat- ing work of Mr. Mumford, the numerous terns, for which enormous sums are de- fine representations of rugs in colors, and manded and obtained. It is quite unne- the charming letter-press in which the cessary to state that a fabric which has been treatise is presented. chemically treated is necessarily injured, Finally, it is impossible within the reand is absolutely without value to the stricted space at command, to bestow more virtuoso, any more than a glass diamond or than a cursory glance on a volume which a spurious “precious stone.” Neither does must at once and for a long period become he care for the modern silk production at a standard authority on the subject of any price.
which it treats so wisely, entertainingly and Of especial interest are the chapters on conscientiously. design and dyes, and Turkish and Persian
George H. Ellwanger.
CAPTAIN MAHAN UPON EASTERN POLITICS
THIS 'HIS book in the main is a reproduc- Tersely—if almost roughly—disposing
tion, in one volume, of papers pre- of such parasites upon the body politic, viously printed in Harper's and the North Captain Mahan proceeds to survey the American Review. Therefore, to that logical relation and weight of the United large class of observers and students who States as a world power with particular habitually read everything that falls from reference to potential bearing upon the Captain Mahan's pen wherever they can Problem of Asia. Necessarily the United find it, the book presents nothing intrin- States must be viewed as a secondary sically new, but finds its special merit as factor or as a correlative element in this a permanent assembling, for convenient problem. The prime factors and major reference, of masterly papers which it had elements are England and Russia; one the been pity to leave disjointed in the pages
embodiment of Sea Power and the other of evanescent magazines.
the embodiment of Land Power as diAt the outset Captain Mahan, in a vein rectly applicable to the conditions inof contempt that might seem harsh, were
volved. it less deserved, brushes aside the “bogey
Around these two central figures Capof so-called “Imperialism." Men who, tain Mahan groups the other world powequally with himself, have seen through- ers, in secondary capacities. Generally out the discussion, that the existing atti- speaking, he assigns the United States tude of the United States with respect to and Germany to the side of England, and territorial questions is simply a consistent
France to the side of Russia in his groupprojection, at the end of the statecraft ing of potentials. The importance, in a that blazed the way for its greatness at
local sense, which he inferentially ascribes the beginning of the nineteenth century,
to Japan- also on the side of Englandstill have to thank Captain Mahan for his may be debatable; unless we view Japan luminous exposition of their own views. as wholly subsidiary, in the financial sense The “Anti-Imperialists," the “Little at least, to the Western Powers with Americans,” we have always with us; but
whom he associates her. they are no more virulent now than they Granting, however, for the sake of were in 1804, or than when Tom Corwin brevity, the logic of Captain Manhan's asconjured the Mexicans in 1846 to “wel- signment of factors, we arrive immedicome our soldiers with bloody hands to ately at his subtle analysis of the potenhospitable graves;” and by the same tialities and possibilities of Land Power token, their virulence is as impotent now
and Sea Power, respectively, in the operaas it was then.
tions by which the problem of Asia is to At all events, one finds gratulation in
be solved. the fact that the “Anti-expansion In this analysis one traces an undertow “Little American” creed which had an of what might be termed AnglophilAdams for its prophet in 1804, has ism, though it is free from the accompanino greater figure than in 1900 a Schurz ment of Russophobia common in such for its high priest.
discussions. In fact, Captain Mahan's
leaning to the side of England seems due THE PROBLEM OF ASIA AND ITS EFFECT UPON INTERNA- rather to his noted prepossession in favor TIONAL POLITICS. By A. T. Mahan, Captain United States Navy. Little, Brown & Co., 8vo, $2.00.
of the grandeur of Sea Power itself, in