Re: Why the difference?

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Posted by Wendel Swan on June 28, 1999 at 17:42:10:

In Reply to: Why the difference? posted by Yon Bard on June 28, 1999 at 16:37:16:


The simple answer is that we still don't really know how to date tribal rugs very well and our means for doing so are limited. Virtually all of the standards to which you refer in the introduction to the Salon for the dating of rugs are inapplicable to tribal weavings. There is little evidence to corroborate the optimism and speculation that drives most of the time lines.

While there may have been a few advocates to the contrary, the concept of pre-1700 Turkmen rugs was virtually unheard of just a few years ago. Even if one accepts the C-14 results, applying those results successfully to the dates of other Turkmen rugs doesn't seem to work yet.

And if the long-collected, much-discussed, much-analyzed abundant Turkmen rugs remain difficult to date, what can we say about the lesser-known tribal weavings?

Who among us can identify, with a reasonable degree of certainty, a pre-1850 Afshar, Bakhtiyari, Shahsavan, Belouch or Kurdish rug? Michael Wendorf may be able to speak to some documentation on such a Belouch that Jeff Boucher once owned, but hard evidence is generally lacking.

Not only are we probably ignorant of when many tribal weavings were made, the older they are the less likely we are to know who wove them. Only when relatively large numbers of any particular design and type of rug are woven came we affix a label and tentative dates to them.

I have a particular interest in Northwest Persian weavings, Shahsavan in particular. But I see a lot of interesting, good material that I can't identify from that region. I've adopted Harold Keshishian's approach: just call it NWP.

I recently bought a Greek flokati for my daughter. I know when it was made because its label tells me, just like beer.



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