Posted by Patrick Weiler on June 28, 1999 at 21:47:53:
In Reply to: Re: Why the difference? posted by Jim Allen on June 28, 1999 at 20:55:08:
: : : : 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
Perhaps one reason Turkoman weavings of earlier vintage remain to this day is that, as has been speculated here earlier, they were commercial. This means that numbers of them would have been sold and taken away from the very environment that would have done them the most harm - the homes of their makers.
We know that the great central Asian cities of Samarkand and Tashkent were on the caravan routes.
These caravans went through the heart of Turkoman country on their way to Herat.
Weavings were most certainly traded for necessities (such as dyes) and found their way to people who collected them for their beauty, not for their utility. Many of these have likely found their way to us.
As has also been speculated, settled weavers most likely created some of the most magnificent main carpets for sale and use in the larger towns and cities.
Even Tibet, as isolated as it is, was closer to the "Interstate Freeway" of its day, the caravans, whereby many weavings coming from there are being "found" and are of great antiquity.
A parallel in the United States is the classic Navaho weavings. Nearly none exist in the region where they were made. Most of the pieces available today were bought from or traded from their makers. It seems that the farther away from the source, the more likely to survive.
As far as SW Persian tribal weavings go, they may well not have been traded out of their region of manufacture as readily as the Turkoman pieces. The same with the Shahsavan, as most of their weavings were more utilitarian and necessary for their nomadic lifestyle, therefore more valuable as useful household objects than as trade goods. It was not until forced settlement that the extant pieces came straggling in to the markets.
We also know that to this day "sophisticated" Persian city dwellers would look with disdain on the crude attempts at refined carpet weaving of most tribespeople.
I have seen what was described as "the most likely Baluch to be as old as the 18th century" and it certainly has a bit of a dusty old atmosphere about it.
I will "Stay Tuned", as they say, for more revelations from this most interesting field.
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