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-   -   Yomud main carpet (http://www.turkotek.com/VB37/showthread.php?t=4458)

David Katz December 10th, 2017 09:57 PM

Yomud main carpet
Hello Everyone,

It is wonderful to stumble upon a rug in an antique store or website that is being sold for little money because the seller thinks it is just another “antique oriental rug from estate.” Such is the case with this Yomud main carpet that I recently acquired. I love the color palette, which looks all natural to me, as well as the color variations among the dyrnak guls. The elems contain what appears to be a variant of the “erre” gul (note that, in one of the elems, the white outline of the guls in one row is incomplete). I am wondering if this is late 19th or early 20th century; the Turkotek Attribution Guide: Characteristics of Yomut Weaving (http://www.turkotek.com/attributes/yomut/ymtinfo.html), citing Loges, says “In older main carpets, "diagonal rows of gols contain a deep blue alternating with green or green or blue-green;" this is certainly the palette in this piece, though I don’t know how diagnostic this is.







Best regards,

Rich Larkin December 11th, 2017 02:10 PM

Hi David,

That is a good-looking Yomud. I used to use that very strategy in rug hunting: looking in semi-likely venues in which the proprietors were not necessarily rug specialists but were in a pretty good position to acquire rugs for resale. There would be plenty of duds in that quest, but that only made the occasional find like your main carpet all the sweeter.

The palette looks great. The secondary colors make it, such as the blue/green and the apricot. Looking at your last image, I am comparing the back view of colors to the front. For example, the yellowish-apricot on the inner hooks of the guls; I take it that the color at the upper right corner of that image is the same as the color in two of the guls at the lower left. How does that look at the knot-collar level? (Don't trouble about photographing it!)

I don't know what to say about age. In general, I don't view the whole subject of giving birth dates to collectible rugs...say, greater nineteenth century...with a lot of confidence. I would say that whatever the age of your rug is, it seems to have resisted the progressive degradation of Turkoman rugs pretty well.

One question: There is a crease across the approximate middle of the first image (towards the near end of the rug). Is that the result of folding, or does it appear to be structurally-based?

Congratulations on an excellent find!


Marvin Amstey December 11th, 2017 02:20 PM

Nice rug!
To expound a bit on Rich's comment as to age: I agree in general that we are usually inaccurate, but I often feel comfortable with a +/- 50 years, such that I would say that your rug is 1875-1925.

David Katz December 11th, 2017 02:27 PM

Hello Rich and Martin,

Thank you for your comments. To Rich's queries, yes, the apricot color is the same on the front and back, and is consistent throughout the depth of those knots, down to the collar. Any idea what was used to create that color?

The crease you noticed is simply the result of my not completely flattening the rug for the photograph.

Happy holidays,


Rich Larkin December 11th, 2017 02:58 PM

Hi David,

I (sort of...nobody really knows anything about rugs :errormonkey:) know that an apricot-ish shade is achieved by dying in a depleted madder dye bath. I would think that was the process used to produce the particular color in your rug.

About age, I don't mean to be a crank about it. It is just that in order to be able to say with authority that such and such a rug was woven in 1880, it would seem that one should be able to say by contrast what was being woven in 1870, and in 1890. And if the group didn't change its act over the whole period, how can anybody throw 1880 around credibly?

I understand the notion of working out an approximate continuum in one's head after having seen and handled many rugs. But in order to apply that tool, one must assume that the changes (chiefly, degradations) in the product from any one source were uniform in time and spread consistently across the weaving group(s) geographically. However, I suspect that the developmental progress within most weaving groups was irregular in many cases, and often triggered by specific events of which we have no knowledge, such as the initial availability of a particular dye, or dye source; or little surges in rug production within particular groups based on accidental circumstances, also unknown to us. Etc. Nevertheless, one rarely encounters any kind of analysis along the foregoing lines accompanying the attribution of ca. pre-1900 dates to specific rugs.

Sorry about that! :vomit:


Joel Greifinger December 11th, 2017 04:40 PM


nobody really knows anything about rugs
Hi all,

May I recommend the "Dyestuffs in Turkmen Weavings" section of Jurg Rageth's Turkmen Carperts: A new perspective
Vol 1, p. 294-348 on dyes and "Dating Turkmen Weavings" Vol 1, p. 349-394 on dating.

A free downloadable pdf of the book can be found here: http://turkmencarpets.ch/

Joel Greifinger

Rich Larkin December 11th, 2017 05:24 PM

Hi gang,


"...nobody really knows anything about rugs...."
Just in case anybody was scandalized, that was a little joke...:groucho:...repeating an oft heard phrase of my youth!


Joel Greifinger December 11th, 2017 05:32 PM


repeating an oft heard phrase of my youth!

You were talking about rugs in your youth? :laughing_2: My preoccupation of the time rhymed with rugs, I must admit. :yin_yang:


Chuck Wagner December 11th, 2017 05:44 PM

Hi all,

This is a nice looking rug. That said, I am suspicious of the red, which looks like a synthetic to me. Reds are hard to capture correctly with digital cameras, and this seems a bit warm and orange-ish for a madder red.

If so, that would place the rug in the latter 19th to early 20th century.

Chuck Wagner

Unregistered December 11th, 2017 09:20 PM

Hi Chuck,

I'll post some side-by-side photos with rugs that I know have a synthetic red; that may help.


Rich Larkin December 11th, 2017 10:39 PM

Hi Joel,



You were talking about rugs in your youth? My preoccupation of the time rhymed with rugs, I must admit.

That may explain a lot. Just kidding!!! Again! :devil: BTW, 'youth' is a relative term. Thus, I was speaking of a time well after the invention of the wheel. :cool:


My take on 'bright' red in Turkoman rugs in general is that there was such a red in traditional use, presumably natural madder, that was substituted somewhere along the line for a synthetic version that was close in hue, but sharper and more 'orange-ish.' More to the point, the synthetic color was prone to bleeding. In any case, I agree that is the color I would most want to vet. My bet was that is legit in David's rug.


Rich Larkin December 11th, 2017 10:43 PM

BTW, an underlying point about this natural vs. synthetic red in Turkoman rugs I have seen over the years is that one would encounter rugs, or more often bags and other trappings, which seemed to be similar, and of about the same vintage, except that one would have the apparently natural red, and the other the synthetic color.

David Katz December 12th, 2017 03:09 AM


Here is a photo of a chuval with synthetic red folded on top of the Yomud in question. The synthetic red says "tomato" to me, whereas the reddish-brown color in the Yomud does not (unless it's a funky heirloom variety). Of course, this one comparison cannot capture the full range of either synthetic or natural red tones, but I think it is instructive nonetheless.


Best regards,


David Katz December 13th, 2017 02:13 PM

Dear Chuck and Rich,

Here is another comparison, Yomud to Yomud. On top of the main carpet is a more recent chuval with a synthetic red:


When you zoom in on the knots in the chuval, you can see that the knot collar is deeply colored but the dye has bled out of the tufts, as is typical of synthetic dyes:


In contrast, the knots in the main carpet show no such degradation in color from the collar to the tuft:


In my view, the weight of evidence seems consistent with natural dyes in the main carpet.

Best regards,


Rich Larkin December 13th, 2017 08:40 PM

Hi David,

The 'sharp' red that I described as familiar in Turkoman rugs 'of a certain age' was one of many different syntheticc reds that ultimately made their way to that artifact. I can't be sure your examples demonstrate that particular dye. The place it showed up most frequently was in the opposed quartered sections of the guls with the other two quarters in white. By 'bleeding,' I meant that the color would leak into adjoining colors of the foundation materials. This phenomenon was most likely abetted by contact with water.

The red with the faded tips you illustrated probably did not succumb to bleeding, but rather to exposure to light, a different weakness of some synthetic dyes. To get a much better grip in general on the business of dyes and their behavior in rugs, go into the Turkotek archive section, Salon 129, by our most excellent friend, Pierre Galafassi, for a very informative discussion. I plan to reread it myself.

Regarding the particular red I mentioned, I am not sure of the class of synthetic red dyes to which it belongs (this side of rereading Pierre), but I was always very sure through the years of my ability to spot it in the field...possibly delusional as that attitude may be. But I think most persons would be similarly confident after having run into it several times.


Chuck Wagner December 17th, 2017 02:05 PM

Hi David,

Rich is correct about the effects of light, as the source of the fading, on the piece in the first of your last two images. There is no visible indication of any dyes bleeding - that I can see - in any of the images of the piece in question.

In the fourth image of your first post, there does appear to be a change in the character of the red along the left border that is also present in the adjacent guls - although this may be due to lighting.

Without a chromatographic analysis you'll never be certain about the dyes. In a recent talk at NERS, Dewitt Mallary discussed Jurg Rageth's tome on old Turkmen pieces and pointed out that during the transition period from natural dyes to chrome dyes, there were many pieces woven that used a combination of both, and even a mix of both for some reds.

My assessment of age for your piece is based on more than just the dyes; the overall design components, and the relatively close spacing of the dyrnak guls and elem motifs are also consistent with late 19th to early 20th century work.

Chuck Wagner

David Katz December 25th, 2017 05:47 AM

Hello Rich and Chuck,

Thanks for your insights about bleeding vs fading of synthetic dyes, both of which afflict the red seen in the two chuvals. Here again are images of the Yomud chuval on top of the Yomud main carpet (chuval above, main carpet below, in each image). Bleeding of the red can be seen in the main border of the chuval, and is even more evident when viewed from the back. In contrast, there is no bleeding (or fading as shown previously) of the red in the main carpet. Again, although the absence of fading and bleeding isn't by itself diagnostic, the weight of evidence thus far seems consistent with natural dyes in the main carpet.



Happy holidays,


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