Posted by Jim Allen on June 21, 1999 at 03:29:41:
In Reply to: Re: Dating Turkomen weavings posted by Yon Bard on June 20, 1999 at 20:23:20:
: : "Many people assume that the most beautiful expression of any design is the oldest, with the questionable implication that designs arise spontaneously in full
: : perfection and do nothing but degenerate subsequently." Yon do you think it might be the incidence of genius and the fact that works of genius stand out from the rest and are preserved while the chaff falls away? I have seen enough classical looking Turkomen with synthetic dyes to know that great weaving was done into the early 20th century. As for C-14 results there are enough early dates now to assume that some of them are accurate or close enough. Sure some pieces touted to be early will turn out to be recent but who cares the vector is firmly established, 16th century Turkomen weavings do in fact exist. Now the question is will anybody pay the added decinal place people want for them? Jim Allen
: Allen, the argument that great pieces are preferentially preserved implies that an old piece is likely to be good, but not that a good piece is necessarily old; but you make the argument yourself that good pieces have continued to be made. However, I do wonder how much the argument about the preservation of good pieces really holds. It sounds plausible, but can it be verified? Does it hold for other art forms? There is a lot of mediocre ancient art still extant.
: Regards, Yon
Certainly the preservation of art works is a function of the native appreciation and social functioning of the object. In historical periods design seened to move from more durable materials to less thus one finds plenty of North American Indian artifacts from ancient periods carved into or out of stone. In their later periods their work migrated to leather and wood and we consequently have much less of this material. Rugs arn't entirely different but the variables arn't as clear. Considering the material I have studied that is ostensibly pre-1700 I have come to the conclusion that 16th and 17th century Turkoman material is extermely finely woven and was in fact carefully cared for. I say this because my own early chuval has a "native" repair of astounding quality. Until recently most people were unaware that piled chuvals were not used regularily and were in fact more decoration than anything else. The collapse of the soviet empire has brought hard times to the Turkomen people and the objects that are now turning up out of Turkmenistan are personal objects like babies hats and neck surrounds. Many of these are made in modern times from recycled embroideried parts. It is very reasonable to assume that in 1882 the Tekke, the last dominant horde, held in "trust" the bulk of all Turkoman historical materials much like the crazy Immans do today in Turkey. I say crazy because the carpets mostly sit in rooms with poor conditions as moth bait while the big Mosques all have machine made carpet on the floor. There is still a lot of great classical pieces in Turkey because of their culture of appreciation and the social act of donating pieces to mosques. The sad fact is that most great Turkoman material has been far worse damaged by western vacumn cleaners and cleaning practices than centuries in their native lands. Jim
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