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Cognitive dimensions of talim: evaluating weaving notation through cognitive dimensions (CDs) framework


The design process in Kashmiri carpet weaving is distributed over a number of actors and artifacts and is mediated by a weaving notation called talim. The script encodes entire design in practice-specific symbols. This encoded script is decoded and interpreted via design-specific conventions by weavers to weave the design embedded in it. The cognitive properties of this notational system are described in the paper employing cognitive dimensions (CDs) framework of Green (People and computers, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989) and Blackwell et al. (Cognitive technology: instruments of mind—CT 2001, LNAI 2117, Springer, Berlin, 2001). After introduction to the practice, the design process is described in ‘The design process’ section which includes coding and decoding of talim. In ‘Cognitive dimensions of talim’ section, after briefly discussing CDs framework, the specific cognitive dimensions possessed by talim are described in detail.

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  1. 1.

    A short period was spent at Amritsar in 2015 to assess the talim usage there, but due to religious disturbances during the time of fieldwork, the work was suspended.

  2. 2.

    Warp threads are vertically fixed on the loom and weft threads are those with which knots are woven, thus completing the horizontal structure.

  3. 3.

    The developmental trajectory of graph and talim is discussed in a separate paper (under review) which also includes a contrast between manual and digital setting.

  4. 4.

    I am grateful to the anonymous reviewer for pointing this out.


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I am thankful to National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, and its Consciousness Studies Programme for supporting this work and funding the fieldwork conducted during 2015. I am obliged to Ms. Aamina Assad, Chief Designer, School of Designs (SoD), Mr. Gazanfar Ali, the then Director, Directorate of Handicrafts—Massive Carpets Scheme (MCS), Mr. Zubair Ahmad, Director, Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT), all in Srinagar, for facilitating my work at their respective institutions. The consent form used during 2015 was translated by Prof. Mushtak Haider, University of Kashmir. I am thankful to M/s BMW Designers and Sajad Nazir, Srinagar, for permitting me to reproduce the talim roll, a talim excerpt, graph and their respective designs in the paper whose copyright they hold. I am indebted to Prof. Siby George, IIT Bombay, for giving me feedback on the paper. I am grateful to all my respondents for giving me their invaluable time.

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Correspondence to Gagan Deep Kaur.

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Handling Editor: Ekaterina Shutova (University of Cambridge).

Reviewers: Alan Blackwell (University of Cambridge), Marian Petre (The Open University).

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Kaur, G.D. Cognitive dimensions of talim: evaluating weaving notation through cognitive dimensions (CDs) framework. Cogn Process 18, 145–157 (2017).

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  • Talim
  • Cognitive dimensions
  • Design process
  • Kashmiri carpet weaving
  • Carpet designing
  • Graph