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Saturday, January 19, 2013


"A Mixed Bag:

Salt Bags from the Frances Plunkett Collection"


Frances Plunkett

Collector, Washington, DC

Salt bags were an essential part of the Persian and Central Asian nomad’s woven trappings, in order to carry salt on their annual migrations, and keep it safe and handy for storage and use.  These unique weavings were made by most, if not all, of the weaving tribes of Persia: the Luri, Bakhtiyari, Afshar, Qashqa’i, Khamseh, Kurd, Shahsavan, Baluch, Timuri; also by Baluch and Timuri tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Salt bags are bags of a unique shape, with a rectangular area below and a narrower neck open at the top.  Their characteristic shape (the neck flops down and over to close the top) is intended to preserve the (rock) salt or anything else being stored, and to prevent the bag contents from being spilled.  In addition to salt, seeds, dried fruit, nuts, etc. are known to have been stored in such bags. The bags come in varying proportions and sizes: some are flatter and squat, while others have long necks, and are made in both flat weave and knotted pile formats.  Frances Plunkett will bring her extensive collection of salt bags to share with TMA/SC in a show & tell, hands-on program.

Frances has a graduate degree in history from the University of California-Berkeley, with a focus on south Asia; she has lived and worked in India for extensive periods.  She also has a demography degree and spent most of her professional career working as a project officer in the Population, Health and Nutrition section of the World Bank.  She is active in the local rug community in Washington D.C. and collects smaller weavings and embroideries, especially Baluch.  Frances invites members of TMA/SC to bring examples of salt bags from their collections to share at the program.



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