Posted by Jim Allen on June 28, 1999 at 20:55:08:
In Reply to: Re: Why the difference? posted by Yon Bard on June 28, 1999 at 20:18:04:
: : : Yon,
: : : 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.
: : : Regards,
: : : Wendel
: : Wendel, that was an excellent answer. I would take it one step further and state that all of your comments apply to Turkomen rugs also. This may be heresy, but even with all the analyses done - c14 stuff aside - we still can not put an accurate date on Turkomen pieces other than when they were collected or acquired by a museum. We can put several pieces together and possibly make a dating hierarchy: old, older, oldest (as opposed to Mark's good, better, best); but, to put a number on them is only speculation. I imagine that the same can be said for Shahshavan or Afshar pieces also. Regards, Marvin
: Marvin, and yet you yourself referred to your Ersari as possibly pre-1800!
: But, seriously, let me rephrase my question: Why do you find in books and auction catalogs many Turkmen rugs with estimated dates in the first half of the 19th century, but other tribal rugs are almot invariably no earlier than late 19C? There are some exceptions, as Tom points out, but they are few and far between.
: Regards, Yon
: Well the obvious reasons are Turkomans are better made by a very long shot and they were in essence representations of money. In feuds in local Tennessee mythology there are stories about brothers tearing a large denominational bill in two. There are rugs, old Turkoman rugs, which have been ripped down the middle. Turkomen rugs were money in every possible sense of the word. Part of their value was in their appeal and that was connected to designs. Designs were stored in old weavings which were kept because of their outstanding quality and didactive ability. The Turkomen people NEEDED to keep their old rugs around because rugs were in actuality much more important to the Turkoman as a means of getting critical supplies. Let me remind you the Turkoman life without the products of the city, guns , bullets, knives,oil, salt etc., was identical to stone age existence. People seem to forget just how incredibly hard was this life. Jim
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