Early Central Asian flatweave fragment sells at Netherhampton Auctions
The late Ian Bennett’s swansong as a carpet cataloguer at Netherhampton Auctions was this enigmatic but evidently very old fragment of Asian woollen flatweave, with animal-style iconography akin to that associated with early Steppe art. It sold for £5,750 ($9,570) on 5 March 2014 in the Salisbury saleroom’s 10th anniversary sale since June Barratt and her team moved their sales to Netherhampton from Woolley & Wallis.
Ian saw it just before his untimely death at Christmas 2014 and was very excited about it, believing that it could be from the Pazyryk period and area. However, in the view of one Russian expert on the Pazyryk finds, “neither the colouring, nor the ‘horses?’ iconography look Saka. Also the manner of weaving is quite different from what we know about Pazyryk, or Tarim Basin, or Hsuing-nu textiles. The only feature which seems to fit the Saka tradition is the thread structure, although in a complicated item like this there should be some complex plying (2-3 colours plied together of mixed fibres), and there is none evident from the photograph.