Posted by Wendel Swan on April 11, 1999 at 12:22:16:
For an excellent discussion of fundamental issues concerning restoration, I commend to readers an article written by Herbert Exner for Oriental Rug Review a number of years ago entitled "To Restore or Not to Restore." It may be viewed at:
Our reactions to existing restoration or repairs may vary widely and I suspect there will be no consensus. Let me share with you one personal experience.
I have a very old yastik with what I consider to be glorious colors (an emerald green ground and a deeply saturated purple) which appears in Yastiks as Plate 39. One end, part of the other end border as well as smaller areas in the field were rewoven using light sensitive dyes many decades ago.
I thought about simply removing this "distracting" work, but I decided to leave it as is. The old restoration, however bad, provides interesting information about the history of this small weaving. Some day I may be able to learn just when that restoration was done, but for the moment I think I can safely say that was at least 75 years ago.
In the early part of this century, yastiks generally were not considered to be collectors' items. Yet someone went to the trouble of having this particular one restored. I would like to think it was because the owner then saw something very special in it and decided to conserve the piece, much as seems to have been done with the Ushak illustrated.
The mere fact that this yastik was restored so long ago is now of much more importance to me than whether some of the colors fail to match the quality of others.
Sara Wolf, conservator at the Textile Museum, several years ago said to me that one can tell something about the relative values of rugs throughout history by the nature and quality of restoration. During times of greater appreciation, she says, the quality of the workmanship is highest and is performed more frequently.
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