Re: Why the difference?

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on June 29, 1999 at 11:54:59:

In Reply to: Re: Why the difference? posted by T. Cole on June 29, 1999 at 08:18:02:

: : : : 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- While my own area of expertise does not extend to the Shahsevan and Baktiari, I believe I am in a position to identify a pre-1850 rug from the Afshar and Baluch groups. Regarding the Taimuri rug fragment pictured in HALI 97, Baluch Style, I believe that fragment is pre-1850. I have also seen a couple Afshar weavings I have no hesitation to date to pre-1850. Just looking at a picture of the pieces does not convey all the information necessary. Touching it, examining it closely and living with it for some time while comparing it to other examples of similar types will assist in this mundane process of assigning a date. As I have stated on cloudband, it is a MULTI-FACTORIAL process by which these rugs can be tentatively considered to be earlier than most of what we see.

: : Tom:
: : I have a question. Is the fragment you are referring to the blue ground piece with a garden related or weeping willow design? I have misplaced at this moment my Hali 97. Thank you.
: : Michael W.

: Yes, that is the rug. By the way, I sold it long ago.

Hi Tom:
Thank you. I remember the piece and have seen it again recently. I agree with your view that this process of estimation is multi-factorial. Handle in particular is a factor that is almost impossible to articulate, but critical to the process. It is interesting that that piece is dated so early because I would not have judged it so. I do have experience, as Wendel made reference to, handling a baluch group rug that was verifiable to 1824. The carpet was acquired by a Northumberland estate in that year and added to its inventory records. It is unclear whether the carpet was new at that time. In the early 1980s, I believe it was 1982, the family consigned the rug to Rippon Boswell in London where it was sold to Colonel Boucher with the inventory records. I have the catalogue! By this time the carpet had serious condition problems these being mostly several large holes where heavy furniture had laid for many decades. It was the only rug in poor condition ever purchased by the Colonel and was not included in his book. The piece made no big splash at the time and is currently in a little known collection in Germany. The pattern, interestingly, is persianate like that of the fragment you refer to. In the case of the Boucher carpet, the mina khani pattern. The handle and the back of the Boucher carpet is quite a bit different from the piece in Hali 97. The Boucher carpet had a salt and pepper back. The handle was loose and extremely floppy. I do not feel this handle was due to the condition because while it had several holes and a cut, the pile otherwise was nearly full. In addition, though limited in color, the Boucher carpet had more shades of browns and reds than the piece in Hali 97. In field pattern, the carpet was closely related to another carpet formerly owned by Herrmann and now in the Wher collection. I have never handled another baluch quite like it though I am cetain you and Anne Halley have since i recall her having an analogous piece at San Francisco in 1990.
I hope this adds something. Michael

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