Here is a pair of Kordi flatweaves.
The first (acquired earlier) is a "grain bag", complete with back . It has been attributed to the Kordi of northeastern Iran, circa late 19th century.
The second is similar in size, but different in design. It has the typical "backgammon" motifs common to soffreh weavings. It, too, is a Kordi weaving.
The second piece is lacking the "running dog" or "wave" outer border.
The second piece is considerably more worn, although the first piece does have a couple of field patches of later vintage, one of which can be seen in the outer border on the left side at the middle, and is more finely woven.
Which would you consider older? As King Solomon, which would you keep?
Is the second piece actually a soffreh and not a grain bag? It has no back, but only the top is finished. The top edge is folded over and sewn down. The bottom edge has been cut. It also has an unusual motif in the center panel.
In the mid 90's, there were "copies" made similar to the first piece that showed up on the retail market. Other than pristine condition, less fine weave and cruder construction they were nearly indistinguishable. Was the publication of the book Kordi by Stanzer in late 1988 responsible for this wave of copies?
There was an upsurge in Kordi weavings in the mid to late 90's that included extremely fine versions of various Persian designs, including Qashqai, that showed up in the American market many years before the embargo was lifted. Mashad, quite close to the Afghan border, may have been the source of these weavings which could have been smuggled into Afghanistan on their way to Pakistan.
My preference goes to the second one, in spite of its worn conditions. I find its design more beautiful and original.
The colors look better too.
As for the age, I would be inclined to think that the first one is younger…
I don’t know the answers to your other questions, sorry.
The top piece has approximately 16 sumak wefts per inch, compared to approximately 10 per inch for the second piece. One reason for the more striking appearance of the second piece is the three white ground panels, but the white is all open space with a small amount of sumak designs on it.
The first piece has a 6" middle section or panel densely covered with sumak, and striped bands approximately 3" above and below it with sparse sumak. Then there are 4" bands of dense sumak and another 3" band of sparse, striped sumak at each end.
The second piece has a center 9" band of sparse sumak, bordered above and below by a 3" band of dense sumak and another 9" band at either end of sparse sumak. The densley woven sections are the panels with the half-latchooks.
In other words, the first piece is covered with much more time-consuming sumak work and the sumak is finer by more than 50%.
There may have been a reason for less complex weaving on the second piece, but I do not know. The usual reason for less complexity is that it is a later weaving. The design became simplified over time, easier to manufacture.
I kind of like the fragmentary condition of the second piece. It gives the piece a look of hard use and authenticity. And it is certainly nice to have a pair of similar weavings to compare with each other.
I will submit a couple of closer views for better comparison.
Here are two closer views of the two pieces.
The first piece here is a 5" view of the first bag:
This second photo is a 7" view of the second piece:
The weave appears quite similar in these photos because the first photo is closer than the second, which was taken from a bit farther away. You can see that the stripes in the first piece are narrower and the colors are crisper. The details are finer and there is greater variety.
Not that I would discard either of them. It is nice to have both of them at hand to compare with each other.
And I still do not know if the second weaving is a soffreh or not!
Even if the first one has a finer weave, I still prefer the second… Which, yes, could be a sofreh.
(Have you checked for ketchup or mustard stains?)