Originally Posted by richard tomlinson
if claws, as a design
feature, cannot determine a date - and it seems design alone stands
for nothing in dating most rugs - what are the best determiners for
dating chinese rugs? do foliate dragons count for anything? must we
look at a combination of factors - colour, structure, desgn, other?,
with my limited knowledge, i have 3 loose general
1. chinese rugs sporting a thinnish (2-4 inch) brown
border (often corroded) rather than a blue one tend to be
2. the fewer the number of warp strands (e.g 3 ply v 5
ply), the older the piece
3. old chinese rugs with cotton and
wool foundations (most have all cotton) are very old
disagree? this is what eiland says...
does anyone else have
any other general rules for determining age from design or other
help me !!!!!!!!!!!
problem with general
rules, is that they are generalities
and cannot cover the multiple exceptions, and generally
to be evaluated on an individual level. Sorry for the poor
Regarding your criteria:
1. Thinnish brown vs blue
border: Really have no idea about this. Eiland may have thought that (or
more likely his Chinese source), but I have never heard this anywhere
2. Generally if something is more than 3 ply, it is machine
made. Machine spun string and yarn made it's inroads into China about 1850
and instantly took over from hand spun...almost entirely. ALMOST is the
key. You can usually assess this by a visual inspection in any case as
manually spun fibers have less consistency in thickness than machine spun
Nonetheless, hand spinning continues still in China. I had
a Tibetan rug made in 2010 with handspun warp and weft, so by itself this
is not enough to say a rug is old. It's just a clue.
3. Wool vs
cotton. GENERALLY, yes. But cotton spun warp and weft has been available
for a VERY long time at this point. Likewise, spun wool is still in use,
so you can only get a very approximate feel from this.
For me, I
always try and get as much backstory to the rug as possible: Where is it
from? How did the individual come by it? This is difficult to do if you
are buying outside of China, and even inside China they could be feeding
you a line of BS, but at some point it comes down to trust.
also need to look at the actual history of the country. Whereas a turkman
rug migh be "old" if it is from the 19th century, in China the story is
much different. There are in truth very, very few antique Chinese rugs
remaining. The 20th century was not kind to Chinese luxury
For example: Tibetan rugs (what I collect) are generally
considered "old" if they date from before 1949. I have seen very few that
could be from the 19th century and I must say they were not
impressive. The designs were not elaborate and the colors were muddy.
Very worn. In short utilitarian pieces that show their age.
somebody is trying to sell you a perfect rug with a tale of fantastic
antiquity, I would be sceptical. Very sceptical. Check every avenue of
investigation. But that is just me.