Through the Microscope

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Posted by James Allen on July 04, 1999 at 20:56:50:

I think it started with Kurt and myself visiting the belly of the beast,that would be the MET, and watching Noboku put our pieces on the table under a huge Nikon surface scanning microscope hooked up to a TV moniter. With this device things like "z" spin and "s" ply took on true meaningfulness. The minute details of masterwork weaving became obvious. Great weaving includes things like asymmetric weft packing, staggered knotting, and I got the impression that the true masterweaver tuned her loom like a musician tunes an instrument. I became familiar with fiber breakage in old rugs and high intensity black light characterization. There are large books full of the most minute detail of dye stuffs through the ages along with true color plates. Have you ever seen any of this stuff? I am beginning to believe that C-14 analysis is just another whipping boy. Collectors have strong opinions which make them collectors. Nobody is interested in the "truth" here; just their gear and how much they like it and how much less they would like to pay for it. This is after all one of the most logical "sounding" bunch of people on the internet. Last note, the breakage of fibers from the back of the knot bundle seems to be correlated with age. I am sure there are uses which predispose to this kind of damage but the oldest rugs all have this sign. A good microscope is made by Leitz that does rugs perfectly;1200.00 dollars. Jim

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