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Pierre Galafassi
September 10th, 2017, 05:29 PM
Hi Rich,

Quote:
*… Another point of interest is the design color of the central field against the yellow background. I call it stone green, and I have not found it in any other rug. The places featuring the color are uniformly lower than the surrounding yellow. I have surmised that the dye was corrosive, resulting in that effect; but I imagine the pile in those areas could have been clipped shorter intentionally….

I agree with your hypothesis. It seems, to me too, much more likely that the clipping was intentional. Not only because the weaver was obviously a serial clipper.

I believe that greens were nearly always obtained by successive dyeing with indigo (vat-dyeing) and with one of the many natural yellows available, mostly applied by *alum-mordant dyeing. Some natural yellow dyes could be applied by so-called*direct dyeing (without mordanting of the wool). However the latter dyes often led to borderline wet- and/or light-fastnesses.

Neither Indigo vat dyeing, nor direct dyeing with natural yellows, nor the usual mordant dyeing (with alum) with natural yellows will cause any wool degradation over time.

For the sake of completeness, I only mention here that applying some natural yellows on wool mordanted with a very low concentration of copper salts, leads to a greener shade of yellow (not to a proper green mind you) than when alum mordant is used, and that this copper mordanting has the potential for triggering a fibre degradation.
But the risk is very limited because
a) only very low copper concentrations will obtain that greenish yellow shade and
b) I have no proof that this quite acrobatic method was ever used in real life.

Best regards
Pierre

Rich Larkin
September 10th, 2017, 07:26 PM
Hi Pierre,

That all sounds perfectly logical. I hadn’t taken such careful note that our weaver was evidently a serial clipper. :fez: Shrewd observation, in your usual manner!

I do not want to hijack this thread, but I would like to inquire regarding your comments on the copper-induced greenish yellow. No doubt, you are familiar with the occurrence of a slightly corrosive light green (called “celadon green” in some quarters) found in some Persian rugs, notably nineteenth century Ferahans. Heinrich Jacoby and Reinhard Hubel refer to it as ab-i-sangar, or (literally) “stone blue” in Farsi; but Jacoby says, better to call it “stone green.” He goes on to say the dyeing process utilized copper sulfate, leaving the wool susceptible to corrosion.

This khorjin face has a Hamadan weave, and features a light green I take to be the same as or similar to what is found in the old Ferahans.
http://www.turkotek.com/show_and_tell/Stone_Grn_Hamdn.jpg
http://www.turkotek.com/show_and_tell/Stone_Grn_Hamdn_det_ cr.jpg
http://www.turkotek.com/show_and_tell/Stn_Grn_Ham_det_brdr .jpg

In fact, Jacoby described the ab-i-sangar effect as “greyish green,” a comment with which I agree based on older Ferahans I have handled. The khorjin shade above is somewhat more cheerful. However, the color in the khorjin shifts to a shade much closer to the old Ferahan version in the upper section, as seen in the central border. In addition, it is slightly corrosive, as shown in the (slightly fuzzy) low angle view of the border.

I wonder whether you are able to recognize the green in my images as exemplary of the copper effect to which you referred. And thanks for your comments, insightful as usual.

Rich

Kay Dee
September 10th, 2017, 07:34 PM
What do you think is the case? That the dye was corrosive, or that the pile was clipped low in the first instance?

That it had been clipped / incised.

I acquired the rug in about 1970 ---------- I think the mat is probably pre-1900.

I agree that it certainly looks more like c1900, not late 20c.

Your comment about the Chinese rug possibly having been woven for the Tibetan market (or perhaps some other specific market) is interesting

That book I mentioned, The Tiger Rugs of Tibet by Mimi Lipton - although much more expert folks than I have pointed out some 'flawed assumptions' (for want of a better word) contained within - has arguably the best collection of photos of Tibetan tiger rugs there is. It is certainly THE book on Tibetan tiger rugs, although the caveat above applies it seems. Photos are alone worth the cos though.

It is evident that the various design elements are part of a specific tradition, as reflected for example in the middle one of the three pieces you posted. In that regard, by the way, I had owned it for quite a while before I came to realize it represented a tiger pelt. Before that discovery, I had been working on a theory that had the wiggily stripes as some sort of sea creature, the spine down the middle a feeding trough, and the outer border a vast, foaming ocean. All I can say about that is, speculative research can be extremely dangerous. :vomit: :eek: :thumbsdown: :sherlock:

:batman: :nerd2: :laughing_1: :thumbsup:

Kay Dee
September 10th, 2017, 08:11 PM
… Another point of interest is the design color of the central field against the yellow background. I call it stone green, and I have not found it in any other rug. The places featuring the color are uniformly lower than the surrounding yellow. I have surmised that the dye was corrosive, resulting in that effect; but I imagine the pile in those areas could have been clipped shorter intentionally….

I agree with your hypothesis. It seems, to me too, much more likely that the clipping was intentional.

Agreed, from the photo at least, that is without eyeballing the rug 'in hand'.

I believe that greens were nearly always obtained by successive dyeing with indigo (vat-dyeing) and with one of the many natural yellows available, mostly applied by *alum-mordant dyeing.

Gents, re my now bolded / underlined above in Rich's intro, what are we talking about here being 'stone green', the tiger stripes, or.................. ? :baffled:

A couple more examples;

The horizontal (Chinese) fragment purported to be from 16c. The other two are Tibetan 'top' saddle rugs, supposedly c1900 or before.

http://imagizer.imageshack. us/v2/xq90/922/XwZSvr.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pmXwZSvrj)

http://imagizer.imageshack. us/v2/xq90/923/PnRKbe.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pnPnRKbej)

http://imagizer.imageshack. us/v2/xq90/923/aXGy5Z.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pnaXGy5Zj)

Kay Dee
September 10th, 2017, 10:58 PM
Having changed computers and looked at your pics Rich on a big colour corrected screen then I have to assume it is the stripes that you are referring to as 'stone green', as especially the back shot and small front image they look a type of green colour that appeared blue on my laptop. Interesting.

Please correct me if my conclusion / assumption is wrong.

Rich Larkin
September 10th, 2017, 11:08 PM
Hi Kay,

Gents, re my now bolded / underlined above in Rich's intro, what are we talking about here being 'stone green', the tiger stripes, or.................. ?

Initially, I was referring to the tiger stripes in my mat as "stone green." (This was not based on any tradition in rug literature, but only on what I knew about certain stones. Usually, they need to be damp, with maybe a little moss in the equation.:))

Besides that, there is a different, lighter color familiar to hard core ruggies that usually appeared in old Ferahan rugs. According to at least two well regarded authors/scholars, that color was known traditionally in Iran among rug people as ab-i-sangar, which literally means "stone blue" (in Farsi), but which is in fact more green than blue. I posted a bagface that features what I think is a version of the ab-i-sangar though it is brighter, if that is the right word, than the usual Ferahan rendition. In terms of color value, the Ferahan green has more gray in it than the light green in my bagface. As I mentioned in my post to Pierre, that color in my piece (in the central border) is closer to the Ferahan in the upper section than the lower. The close-up shots in my post are from the lower section.

Keep in mind that the color in my bagface and in the old Ferahan rugs does not involve the use of indigo. We are agreeing that my Chinese tiger stripes do involve indigo with some form of yellow.

BTW, if that tiger pelt pattern is a feature of old Tibetan weavings, I would suspect my Chinese mat was woven in imitation of the pattern.

Rich

Kay Dee
September 11th, 2017, 06:15 AM
BTW, if that tiger pelt pattern is a feature of old Tibetan weavings, I would suspect my Chinese mat was woven in imitation of the pattern.


Thanks for you reply / clarification to my question (but I did more or less figure it out when I changed computers and saw it in a different light so to speak, no pun intended). :fez:

Now re your above though; note that the term 'old' in a Tibetan carpet context does not mean OLD, it generally means - although there are a few now (carbon dated) older examples - something made in the 1800's (although there are other Tibetan rugs that do appear earlier also). However, other than the (very) few carbon dated ones, the earliest physical proof of the age of a Tibetan rug is only from the late 1800s, as the two (IIRC) were either donated to museums soon after they were bought in Tibet and the person returned home (to UK and USA IIRC), or when donated later there was physical proof of their provenance as it were.

PS. When looked at very closely, can you see any indication of wear, however slight, across the center of your rug as it were (that would indicate it may have laid long-length-ways across a saddle) which would indicate it being a top saddle rug? (Even without the wear in that area, given the dimensions, that's what I think it was made / intended for originally. But hey, I could be wrong, have been before and no doubt will be again I expect. :rainy_day: )

Rich Larkin
September 11th, 2017, 12:53 PM
Hi Kay,

When looked at very closely, can you see any indication of wear, however slight, across the center of your rug as it were (that would indicate it may have laid long-length-ways across a saddle) which would indicate it being a top saddle rug?

There is no wear pattern of that nature. I have never thought my mat was a saddle rug. It is of light character as a fabric, not the stout sort of weave I associate with Tibetan rugs. Also, I would think small Chinese mats of this general size category are not unusual. In fact, when I got this one, I also acquired another Chinese mat of a heavier texture (and different weave) only slightly bigger...maybe 2' X 4'.

BTW, the comparison of the 16th century fragment you posted with these other tiger models is interesting. The squiggly in the frag has a very distinctive shape, especially in the lower section, that can't be an accident. I don't want to be a troublemeker, but do we hear any support for the Loch Ness Monster? :devil:

Rich

Pierre Galafassi
September 11th, 2017, 07:07 PM
Hi Rich and Kay,

You are right, guys, I forgot the stone green, stone blue and celadon green.


I haven’t seen a chemical analysis of any of these dyes yet, but it is indeed likely that a copper mordanted wool, dyed with one of many natural yellows like weld (Reseda lutea), isparak (Delphinium zalil) or dyer’s broom( Genista tinctoria) etc..may have been a key component of this Persian- and perhaps Chinese gamut of shades, going from greenish yellow to almond green, via kaki and greenish grey. All rather pale shades.
I suppose that a base of very pale indigo dyed- or Saxon blue (*) dyed wool was part of most recipes too (note please that in pale shades an indigo blue is quite greenish. The deeper the indigo shade the redder it goes).

Some years ago, I played with these natural yellows and copper salts as mordant (or co-mordant, with alum as main mordant) in my little cottage lab.

It appeared that even with a lab equipment vastly superior to what our ancestors used (including a pH-meter, an analytical scale, and a thermostat- controlled lab dyeing vessel), the shades obtained with this method were quite unpredictable.
Then, the choice of the yellow dye also strongly influences the dyeing outcome. Isparak, for example, is quite likely to lead to a kaki without warning.
Not to mention the Damocles sword of fibre degradation, under light exposure, when the amount of copper in the fiber is excessive, or when the final rinsing is insufficient to eliminate the excess of copper ions.

This experience led me to suppose that this dyeing method must have had a limited success with dyers and weavers, except of course the odd Kamikaze.

While we are at Asian- blues and greens on wool, there are two more rare birds, perhaps worth mentioning:

Dyer’s bugloss, (Alkanna tinctoria) can be cajoled into yielding various shades of dullish blue, which together with natural yellows are potential sources for almond- or celadon greens too (reasonable fastness).
Not an easy dyeing method though and the necessity to use a water/alcohol dye-bath may have been a strong deterrent (or a strong motivator:cheers:). It seems that some Turkmen dyers still know today its dyeing potential. One of my rugs has a bit of violet, dyed with Alkanna.

19th century visitors of China spoke of Lo Kao, a beautiful, natural emerald-green dye. Awfully expensive, it was probably used mainly for Imperial textiles (nearly exclusively silk of course, but the dye worked for wool too). Some French chemist tried to identify the molecule as a first step for its industrial production, but were stopped in their tracks by the boom of synthetic dyes. IMHO Lo-Kao may have been a natural indigoid molecule, perhaps extracted from a Chinese variety of Rhamnus.
It is not very likely that this dye found its way in plebeian wool rugs.

Note:
(*) Saxon Blue, a sulfonated indigo molecule, yielding a rather greenish shade of blue, was used in Occident since the 18th century. It may have been imported in India/China on ships of the East India Company.

Rich Larkin
September 12th, 2017, 03:30 AM
Hi Pierre,

That is fascinating information, not the least of which is the fact that results with the use of copper salts in the mordant could be very unpredictable. In years past, I had experience with a number of the so-called Ferahans with the ab-i-sangar or stone green. It was a very distinctive and recognizable shade, suggesting that some dyers evidently had a keen understanding of how to get what they wanted. In addition, though the color showed some erosion, it was rarely if ever severe, as is often the case with the old, corrosive black/brown.

I also saw a number of what I would consider Hamadan rugs that included the 'stone green' color, most often as the ground color of the border (as was the case with most of the Ferahans as well). These Hamadan-type rugs (i. e., single-wefted on cotton foundations) were often in sizes I considered "old school," such as 6' X 12'. Of course, the Ferahan area is not far from one sector of the Hamadan weaving area.

Thanks for the thorough review.

Rich

Kay Dee
September 12th, 2017, 08:04 AM
First, THANKS Pierre for all that wonderful dying info!:cheers:

There is no wear pattern of that nature. I have never thought my mat was a saddle rug. It is of light character as a fabric, not the stout sort of weave I associate with Tibetan rugs.

Well I wasn't saying it was Rich, just asking if any tell-tale signs showed it may have been (used as such). :duel:

See below several examples of 'top' saddle rugs, two Tibetan (top) and one rather old Chinese Ningxia (bottom), and note the 'center' deterioration in all three where it rubs on the wooden saddle. However, if a rug is not used often (as a top saddle rug), this wear can be so minor / subtle it can't really be seen in a photo (so hence my question). :)

Now one of those Tibetans' below is a Wangden / Wangdan made / weave (the top one, with similar dimensions to yours), and rather OLD (in Tibetan terms) to boot. Not sure if you know much about these type of rugs, but you only have to look sideways at some and threads start falling out, literally. :cry: So the type of weave, i.e. light, heavy or Wangden seemingly makes / made no or little difference if used as a top saddle rug or not. The Ningxia is rather light but given it and its accompanying bottom saddle rug's age (a very rare set for this genre! :money:), it could just be from being 'worn down'.

By the way, how many KPSI does yours have (and yes, I realise KPSI has very little bearing when talking Chinese / Tibetan rugs, but just interested is all).

I don't want to be a troublemeker, but do we hear any support for the Loch Ness Monster? :devil: Rich

Damn, your right! Nessie existed after all! (BTW, good catch Rich, no pun intended.) :laughing_1:


http://imagizer.imageshack. us/v2/xq90/924/Vkoczy.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/poVkoczyj)

http://imagizer.imageshack. us/v2/xq90/924/lBQEkZ.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/polBQEkZj)

http://imagizer.imageshack. us/v2/xq90/923/yh8djQ.jpg (https://imageshack.com/i/pnyh8djQj)

Rich Larkin
September 12th, 2017, 12:29 PM
Hi Kay,

I misunderstood your description of the typical wear from saddle use.

If you count down the roundels along the spine of the rug from the top, there is wear across the rug, mostly on the left side, between #s 8-10.

http://www.turkotek.com/show_and_tell/Harold_Chin_full.jpg

Would you consider that to be evidence of saddle wear? The location of it seems off judging from your three interesting examples. There isn't much wear elsewhere in the pile.

Rich

Kay Dee
September 13th, 2017, 07:33 AM
If you count down the roundels along the spine of the rug from the top, there is wear across the rug, mostly on the left side, between #s 8-10.

Would you consider that to be evidence of saddle wear? The location of it seems off judging from your three interesting examples. There isn't much wear elsewhere in the pile.

Short answer, no.

If that was on both sides, say where a riders knees or boots, etc, may have rubbed that area then more inclined to say 'maybe'. But not just on one side, and if rubbed there then should be some wear in the 'middle' from the saddle, however slight, which there appears not to be.

Kay Dee
September 13th, 2017, 04:49 PM
You and Jeff have convinced me, book is on order. :party:

Edit: And yes, Pierre, THANKS for answering ALL my questions, and then some!

Well gents, Glanz der Himmelsöhne arrived and................. .................... was all you claimed and more, and so what if I can't read German, pics alone worth the price! :bravo:

Again, THANKS for the recommendation to both of you!:cheers:

Jeff Sun
September 14th, 2017, 10:15 PM
An interesting detail of the design appears in the detail shot. It is the single line of black within one of the tiger stripes. In fact, this stripe is along one edge of the field about half way up the rug. It consists of ten knots, and it is repeated exactly in a corresponding stripe on the opposite side of the field. The knots are black, not the deep blue found elsewhere in the rug. The black yarn does not occur anywhere else in the rug other than in those two stripes. The black lines are lower pile like the green areas adjoining them. Certainly, the thin black lines were incorporated intentionally. Does anyone know what the reason may have been? Identifying markers? Does this sort of talismanic feature appear often in other Chinese rugs?


Man...I go away for a little bit and all this fun happens!

Hi Rich-

Here is my postulation on the black stripes:

1. It's a mistake, accidental or purposeful. For example: the weaver ran out of yarn of one color and purposely made due with something else. They kept the symmetry so at least it looked balanced. This is my strong favorite.

2. It's a repair. Unlikely really. But maybe.

3. It is a marker...kind of like "snapping lines" in the carpentry trade. Rugs from Shaanxi often have periodic red weft threads that achieve this purpose.

4. The weaver was part of a hard rock band known as "The Black Stripes", not to be confused with "The White Stripes".

Take your pick!

Rich Larkin
September 15th, 2017, 02:40 AM
Hi Jeff,

Good to hear from you.

I think proposition #3 is closest to the answer. I don't favor the theory of the weaver running out of the color, because the black was used in place of the 'stone green;' but that color was evidently in full supply through the rest of the weaving. The repair theory is also unlikely, as the area surrounding the stripes is clearly original and in very sound condition. I would love to go for the rock band theory. I will have to apply to our friend, Paul Smith, for the musical research. :nerd: I have to think, though, that the stripes are some kind of marker for the weaver.

Jeff, from following your visits to these pages, I take it you are an enthusiastic observer of the antique rug markets in and around China. Is that so? If it is, have you encountered in older rugs the subtle clipping of surface designs into plain colored fields like the pale yellow border in my rug?

Rich

Marvin Amstey
September 15th, 2017, 01:11 PM
Rich
Here is a throneback from my collection, circa 1800, that has a lot of subtle clipping defining the waves at the bottom. If you enlarge the bottom of the image they become apparant

https://s6.postimg.org/fras5w07l/Ningshia_chairback_-_circa_1800.jpg

Kay Dee
September 15th, 2017, 01:56 PM
Here is a throneback from my collection, circa 1800, that has a lot of subtle clipping defining the waves at the bottom.

NICE (and somewhat unusual, with only the two dragons) throne-back Marvin! :bravo:

Jeff Sun
September 15th, 2017, 03:39 PM
Hi Jeff,

Good to hear from you.

I think proposition #3 is closest to the answer....



Hi Rich

To paraphrase rug scholar William Martin Joel:

"You may be right.
I may be crazy.
But these just might be the kind of rugs you're looking for."


Jeff, from following your visits to these pages, I take it you are an enthusiastic observer of the antique rug markets in and around China. Is that so? If it is, have you encountered in older rugs the subtle clipping of surface designs into plain colored fields like the pale yellow border in my rug?

Yes...I've spent some time rifling through stacks of rugs in and around China. I would agree with Kay that it does look like it is carved. I have encountered some such carved rugs. Some, as in few. Carving was done earlier than most people think, but clearly became more prominent in the 20th century, doubtlessly aided by the use of electrical sheers and clippers and a sense of fashion. So that the rug is carved, doesn't necessarily mean it is "new". Certainly not "third quarter of the 20th century".

And regardless of it's age, it is a super nice rug. 5 stars. The "Fish-Scale" border I like very much and have not seen that pattern executed in that way.

Also, I feel there is a thread on the "carving" topic somewhere....

Rich Larkin
September 15th, 2017, 03:52 PM
Thanks, Marvin. Is the preferred method of enlargement to transfer it to Photoshop and pump it up? Or is there a more esoteric method that preserves or enhances quality?

Nice throneback, too!

Jeff,

Thanks for the cogent comments.

BTW,

To paraphrase rug scholar William Martin Joel:

"You may be right.
I may be crazy.
But these just might be the kind of rugs you're looking for."

:rofl: :laughing_1: :laughing_2: :rofl: :laughing_1: :laughing_2: :rofl: :laughing_1: :laughing_2: :rofl: :laughing_1: :laughing_2:

:bravo: You can never go wrong invoking Billy Joel!!