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Old June 3rd, 2018, 05:20 PM   #1
Kay Dee
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Default Terms used to define age question

No doubt opening a can of worms here but what would be the general consensus, if there even is a consensus, of what the following terms denote in age as is were, that is say 'circa' or '+/-' or what 'time span'?

We know 'antique' is supposed to mean something older than 100 years, but what about;

1) Semi-antique

2) Old

3) Recent

???
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Old June 3rd, 2018, 05:37 PM   #2
Steve Price
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Hi Kay

You're right, there are no universally accepted definitions in Rugdom. But to a first approximation,
semi-antique = 50 to 100 years
old = 25 to 75 years
recent = less than 50 years

There's the old saw about the sign in the shop window that says, "Antiques for sale. We buy junk"

Steve Price
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Old June 4th, 2018, 08:03 AM   #3
Filiberto Boncompagni
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Yeah.

But... Shouldn't be recent = less than 25 years?

Otherwise it means, I suppose, that when I first joined this board, around eighteen years ago, I was “recent”.

OK, now I am old anyway...
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Old June 4th, 2018, 11:53 AM   #4
Steve Price
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Hi Filiberto

It's a loose definition. At my age, 50 years ago is recent.

Steve Price
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Old June 5th, 2018, 01:06 PM   #5
Rich Larkin
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I wonder what the point of the question is. The rug is what the rug is. It was made sometime, and that won't change whatever tag you put on it. Maybe it means something in some marketplace to some people.

I have a runner dated 1902. Did it experience some magical transition in 2002? If so, I didn't notice. (I was too busy refusing to jump into the lunar-solar debate on that rug.)
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Old June 5th, 2018, 04:56 PM   #6
Steve Price
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Hi Rich

I think it's the fact that there are many collectors (not just of rugs) who only collect antiques. There's nothing especially beautiful about terracotta fragments that are 2,000 years old, but if you want to own one you'll have to pay for it.

Collecting isn't a rational activity, and trying to see it in rational terms is futility.

Steve
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Old June 6th, 2018, 06:04 AM   #7
Kay Dee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
I wonder what the point of the question is. The rug is what the rug is. It was made sometime, and that won't change whatever tag you put on it. Maybe it means something in some marketplace to some people.

I have a runner dated 1902. Did it experience some magical transition in 2002? If so, I didn't notice. (I was too busy refusing to jump into the lunar-solar debate on that rug.)
Hi Rich,

The point of the question was trying to get a supposed age 'bracket' (as Steve provided) for certain terms used in rugdom, not an exact date as you seem to surmise in your last para.

But I don't quite get your reference of 1902 jumping to 2002. If you had said how did the person know it was 1902 and say not 1910 for instance, OK, but I don't get the relationship between 1902 and 2002 as I think Blind Freddy could tell the difference there. (Of course, maybe Blind Freddy has become an expert at 'touch' and actually can do so )

And as you refer to the 'marketplace', I regularly see more than a few old / antique rugs with supposed exact dates, and this kinda 'puts me off' shall we say.

So (not referring to you here) my impression of anyone who puts an exact date on a rug as you allude too, in my opinion, has either;
1) Had to have been there when rug was woven (or knows someone who was).
2) Woven the rug themselves (or had it woven for them).
3) It has a date inscribed.
4) Thinks they are soooooo good at dating rugs that they can say exactly what year it was made just be look / feel. I would have to assume though there are very few people in the world today who could accurately date a rug to a exact year that is older than themselves at best.

However, for instance, I was around in the 70's in Nepal to see a couple of rugs I now have made, so I do know the exact date of those. (See image below of a copy of a Mongolian rug - that was falling apart - made by a worker of the famous - in Nepal Tibetan rugdom that is - Tent Tom aka Tom Glenn in 1978. All wool, natural dyes.) Other than that the best I can do with older rugs I have is think 'circa 1900' or maybe use the century it was made, e.g. say 'think 18th century', etc.

And as to why 'age' is of importance, well I think most collectors or buyers would like to have some idea of when the item in question they like / are buying was made, if just for interest sake alone if nothing else. But I do agree, if I like a rug I really don't care if it was 2002 or 1902, although I do prefer the older pieces in general.

Hope that helps as to why I asked the question.

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Old June 6th, 2018, 02:16 PM   #8
Steve Price
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Hi Kay

I think you underestimate the ability of sellers to make 10 year old rugs look and feel 100 years older.

Steve Price
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Old June 6th, 2018, 04:04 PM   #9
Kay Dee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Price View Post
Hi Kay

I think you underestimate the ability of sellers to make 10 year old rugs look and feel 100 years older.

Steve Price
With all due respect Steve, and no offence meant, but are you serious or just 'pulling my leg' so to speak?

What you say is certainly not the case in my field of "expertise" (for want of a better word) with regards Tibetan rugs, or if so I am yet to see an example in my 47 years or buying, selling and collecting Tibetans.

However, as have said previously, I can't speak with ANY authority or even guess the age of rugs made west of the Durand Line (or for that matter a little to the east of it).

So how good the fakers are out that way / in your area of expertise, well you of course may be right.

Best, Kay
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Old June 6th, 2018, 04:25 PM   #10
Steve Price
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Hi Kay

I'm absolutely serious. I know nothing about Tibetan rugs, but if you visit central Anatolia you'll see newly woven rugs "aging" in the sunlight on hillsides. In Pakistan, new rugs are left in dirt roads to be aged by automobiles. Corroded black wool (an indicator of pre-20th century dyes) is often mimicked by using an electric shaver on the black pile in new Caucasian--pattern rugs.

It's a jungle out there.

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Old June 9th, 2018, 03:04 AM   #11
Rich Larkin
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Hi Kay,
Quote:
“The point of the question was trying to get a supposed age 'bracket' (as Steve provided) for certain terms used in rugdom, not an exact date as you seem to surmise in your last para.”
My point was that terms like “antique” and “semi-antique” don’t really do anything except imply that the speaker thought a particular rug fell into a certain arbitrary bracket, whatever that is worth. But it begs the question of whether anyone can supply a reasonably accurate age for the rug in the first place. That, I would think, is the real issue. As far as that goes, I agree with you. In fact, don’t go far; I believe I have achieved the status of ‘crank’ on the topic of dating rugs (mostly, you can’t, but everybody is acting as though you can), and I need the moral support.

I do believe there is some worth to the accumulated wisdom of the rug trade, and perhaps ‘rug scholarship’ (though we know that is a mixed bag), as regards approximating the age of some rugs or classes of rugs. I think, for example, that in some families active in the rug trade for successive generations, information found its way down the generations from persons who at one time had actual knowledge, or close to it, so that the present generation’s estimates of age deserve some respect. But overall, the whole business is at best fuzzy. Nevertheless, it is very common to find rugs on the market, or otherwise being exhibited in some way, bearing claims of date of origin in, say, the early 19th century, or 18th century. But nothing is offered in terms of evidence, or even argument, to support the proposition. The cases that really have me going off the deep end are the ones that say in so many words, “We don’t know where this rug came from; 18th century.”

My point on my own rug about 1902 to 2002, and whether something important happened there, was based on the fact that the rug has a woven date (twice!) that can be construed as 1902. If so, I guess by some lights, it officially made it into the hallowed circle of antique in 2002. “It’s all right, folks! You can now say, ‘Antique!’”

It might be interesting to look at it. The rug is a runner of which, unfortunately, I do not have a full picture. Here is a shot of the date. If one is viewing it from this orientation, the long axis of the rug is horizontal.


This inscription reads '1320.' If it is in relation to the lunar calendar, it translated to 1902 in the western calendar. If it is based on the solar calendar, which apparently was adopted in some places in the Islamic Middle East, it is about 1942. I acquired it some time before 1980, and I thought it was appreciably older than, say, 38 years, so I am going with 1902. How can I do that? Because it's my rug!!


While we are at it, here is a view straight on. The runner design consists of several of these hooked diamonds down the center. Note also the drawing of the fowl adjoining the diamond medallion. And see the four-bladed pinwheel diamond motif in the border. It is enlarged in the next image, which also demonstrates the grainy quality of the wool. Maybe somebody has suggestions about the provenance of the rug. I have tentatively called it Luri.



BTW, I am pretty sure the original rug had a wider main border, and outside that, a repeat of the border shown. I think it was cut back and finished off as we see it, and I think the reason was moth damage.

Rich
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Old June 10th, 2018, 08:20 AM   #12
Kay Dee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
My point on my own rug about 1902 to 2002, and whether something important happened there, was based on the fact that the rug has a woven date (twice!) that can be construed as 1902. If so, I guess by some lights, it officially made it into the hallowed circle of antique in 2002. “It’s all right, folks! You can now say, ‘Antique!’”

Argh, the penny drops. Got it now!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
This inscription reads '1320.' If it is in relation to the lunar calendar, it translated to 1902 in the western calendar. If it is based on the solar calendar, which apparently was adopted in some places in the Islamic Middle East, it is about 1942. I acquired it some time before 1980, and I thought it was appreciably older than, say, 38 years, so I am going with 1902. How can I do that? Because it's my rug!!
And because you can. And yes, fair enough too!
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Old June 12th, 2018, 03:28 AM   #13
Jeff Sun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kay Dee View Post

What you say is certainly not the case in my field of "expertise" (for want of a better word) with regards Tibetan rugs, or if so I am yet to see an example in my 47 years or buying, selling and collecting Tibetans.
I'll second that. I have seen plenty of sun faded and worn Tibetan rugs...but not because they were made as fake "antiques", but rather they have been put to hard use.

Chinese carpets on the other hand...I've seen some very convincing stuff, but reproductions nonetheless. The Chinese vendors I deal with did not try to pass them off as real. HOWEVER, I have talked with several western vendors who either through ignorance, or willful ignorance, claim an older age. I find claims of old age to be majorly dubious when it comes to Chinese rugs in particular. There just are not that many of them to start with, and furthermore Chinese art has been using purposeful archaisms for thousands of years. SO if you are calling something a "Ming Carpet" because it has such and such a dragon or design...well, it could have been made last week.

I've also known "Silk Herekes" to be made in China (where they know a thing or two about silk and weaving) and exported to Turkey, where they are then sold as...you guessed it..."Silk Herekes". The original weavers may have no idea what they are making ultimately is being sold as a fake. It's just another contract rug to them.
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Old June 12th, 2018, 04:04 AM   #14
Rich Larkin
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On the subject of prematurely aging rugs, I remember having seen it in action in Iran in the 1960s while on vacation. In a number of the cities, it was common to see room-sized rugs out in the middle of the street being run over by the rush hour traffic. I lived elsewhere in the Middle East then, and didn't know all that much at the time (though I wasn't aware of the fact!); but I didn't have to know much, as in every case I saw, the rug being 'aged' was a relatively low-grade Tabriz or Hamadan area sort of item. All the taxis in the world were not going to mask the simple fact that the rug under all that grime and leaked motor oil was not much.

The only people being fooled were the ones who knew nothing about rugs in the first place, but thought it was their duty to like the thing because it was a hand-made rug. (Such people exist!) So, armed with that notion, they might take further note the rug seemed to have had a long, hard life. But someone who took the trouble to consider the actual aesthetic qualities of the thing were not apt to be impressed.
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