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Virtual Show and Tell Just what the title says it is.

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Old September 8th, 2018, 03:40 AM   #1
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Default Hereke Rugs

Hi all,

Recently salvaged a bunch of carpets from the trash heap. (they were litterally going to just throw them all away )

Salvaged 3 Hereke's, 3 Kashmiri silk carpets and a little Heriz. I will only post the Herekes as I think they are more worth posting. Up to a few months ago I did not even consider I could actually really like Herekes... that was up to the point I got my hands on a few but I by no means know much about these kinds of carpets.

I am aware there are a lot of Chinese reproductions of Herekes on the market of course. But I have no idea in which year these Chinese started to become prevalent in the market?

Would like to get your opinion on if any of these are actually worth keeping/cleaning/restoring?

1st is supposedly bought 10 years old

- bought in Hereke and signed 'S Hereke' in Latin script and has some serial number woven as a little extra carpet into the fringe, never seen that.
- Hung on the wall for 10 years with the lower fringe badly taped to the back and the adhesive has damaged the integrity of the silk in the fringe causing it to fall off.

2nd is a little smaller, bought 23 years ago

- I have the original invoice showing it was bought in Turkey in 1995 (Side, touristy place..)
- Signed Hereke in Arabic script
- Used as a decorative carpet on a decorative table and seems to have been in the sun all the time, look at the fading of the blue

3d was given as a gift 35 years ago by a big organization as retiring present to one of their directors who likes these nice things.

- extremely fine (finest I have ever seen to be honest, I'm sure many have seen finer though)
- hung on the wall for 35 years (should have seen the mark it made on that wall)
- has this little lead piece on plastic shot through the lower left corner which set of alarm bells for me as I was thinking no Hereke weaver would do that. On the other hand, were the chinese around doing carpes 35 years ago?

Would love to hear your opinions and see if any of them are collectible or worth keeping.

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Old September 8th, 2018, 11:10 AM   #2
Chuck Wagner
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 73


It is difficult to make a good judgement without handling these pieces.

Chinese knock-offs of Hereke pieces began showing up in the Middle East in the 1980's, so yes, they may be Chinese. Here is a distant shot of some on a wall in a shop over there (it's the only example I have):

Recent Chinese work may have improved, but in the 1980s through to the early 2000s, the "handle" remained fairly constant.

Difficult to describe, though, without comparisons.

Hereke rugs are very supple rugs, have very short pile but are dense, the backs are smooth, and the rugs heavy for their size and thickness; one tends to sense they "carry the weight in the back" rather than in the pile, as felt with thicker wool or long pile silk rugs.

The Chinese rugs are small but have a very high knot count (like, 1600-1800 kpsi), but feel thin, a little papery, and light in weight. One senses that if the rug were crumpled up tightly, the fold marks would be permanent because of excess weaving tightness. The edges tend to pucker due to poor tension control, and the backs are not smooth to the touch (your close-up has that sort of look, by the way...). The designs are based on Hereke work but tend to be a bit blocky.

They have the word Hereke in English in the earliest ones, and in poorly executed Arabic script in later ones. And last, the Chinese pieces are inexpensive. Hereke rugs, are expensive - typically far more so than one might expect in comparison to the Persian pieces of equal or higher quality from Qom or Kashan.

The lead swage, usually on a piece of wire, is something that some ateliers and dealers use in Turkey as a mark of originality, but in fact, any idiot can copy that, including a Chinese knock-off artist.

Chuck Wagner

Last edited by Chuck Wagner; September 8th, 2018 at 11:18 AM.
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Old September 8th, 2018, 02:04 PM   #3
Joy Richards
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 53
Default Selvage explanation

Hi Karel,

Just wondering whether you've seen Barry O'Connell's video on the subject which may be useful for you and easy to test. It regards the selvage, something that's difficult to see on your pictures.


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Old September 9th, 2018, 06:28 AM   #4
Karel Verstraeten
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 2

Hi Chuck and Joy,

Thanks for your insights. Yes I have seen that youtube video and just about anything online available. The selvedges are exactly like in the video and there are no other 'obvious' other points that would identify them as chinese.

As to the cost of them, I couldnt say, they are saved from going to the dumpyard and I only know from the second what was originally paid for it (20000 belgian francs in the 90's which was a lot of money then, would be equivalent to around 2500USD nowadays I would expect)

The backs of the first and second one could have been smoother. The back of the third is pretty smooth but then again it might just be too fine. On the other hand it is from around 1985 with an arabic 'Hereke' inscription, question is if the Chinese were producing them in this exceptional fineness with arabic inscirptions in the 80's.

The first dark blue one is very 'supple' and I get what you mean about 'where the weight is'. The second is much stiffer. Though I am also thinking the second one suffered somewhat from being on a decorative coffee table for 20 years which I think had stuff on top of it and full sun light and probably lots of dust.

The third one then is stiffer as well but might be just due to it having almost double the knots of the other two so it is bound to have another feel.

Took them to my favored local dealer now and he's pretty convinced nr 1 (signed with 'S Hereke' is apparently relatively convincing) and 2 are genuine Hereke but he is on the fence on the third. Waiting for his dad to come back and give his opinion...

Let me know if you have any extra thoughts or clues that could help solve the mistery

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Old September 18th, 2018, 03:45 AM   #5
Karel Verstraeten
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 2

To give you all a quick conclusion on this: according to my local dealer (which I value very highly) numbers 1 and 2 are no doubt genuine Hereke, number 3 no doubt Chinese. His reasoning about the weight was exactly the same. The rug doesn't 'feel' like it carries enough of it in the right place.
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