TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Elena Tsareva's comments
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  11-09-2000 on 09:03 a.m.
Dear all,

I spoke this morning with Elena Tsareva, curator of the Russian Ethnographic Museum on the issues raised in this Salon. Perhaps her comments will clarify several matters raised in this salon.

Some of the pieces in her charge do display splotchy reds. A flood in the basement of the museum in 1924 did substantial damage to many of the carpets stored there. As all of the pieces were stored together in boxes regardless of age, synthetic reds from later pieces ran into the older carpets, including some from the Dudin collection. She stressed that this "splotchiness" is not representative of all Turkmen carpets.

She has also been informed, and is of the opinion, that natural dyes do not run and that insufficient mordant results only in a weaker dye, not bleeding. Elena said that it is her understanding that neither boiling or chemicals will cause madder to subsequently run.

Elena did say that whe has been told that excessive cochineal in wool can bleed since cochineal does not bind in wool as firmly it does in other fibers. However, she has no direct evidence of that fact since most Turkmen wool is dyed with madder - an especially fast dye that does not run.

This issue of apparently bleeding dyes in antique carpets in the museum's collection has arisen before. She stressed that it is vital to examine both the front and back of any single example to see whether the splotches are from bleeding synthetic reds within the piece or from outside contamination.

Best regards,


Subject  :  Re:Elena Tsareva's comments
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  11-09-2000 on 09:51 a.m.
Dear Wendel,

Thanks for contacting Elena on this. Her comments are very illuminating.

By way of informally summarizing where we are so far, we have five mechanisms accounting for stray reds in Turkmen rugs (and the list could very well get longer). They are, in no particular order:
1. The one everybody knew about before we started, color runs from using a synthetic red dye in the piece, common in 20th century production.
2. Natural variation in the color of nominally ivory or white wool, exemplified in Amos Bateman Thacher's Yomud.
3. Red wefts peeking through white or ivory pile, as in my torba (trapping?) and, perhaps in the Tekke germetch in The Rickmers Collection.
4. Staining from dyes originally on young rugs that, one way or another, had colors that ran onto older ones, as exemplified by some of the rugs in the Dudin collection in St. Petersburg.
5. Photographic artifacts, which Wendel notes in a (non-Turkmen) bag in his collection and which occurs in at least one Salor bag from St.Petersburg's museum.

I think we're making some headway with the subject.

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:Elena Tsareva' comments
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20jpweil00@gte.net
Date  :  11-09-2000 on 09:58 a.m.

If I had a flood at my house, the whole place would turn pink from synthetic red dye runs. This flood in 1924 could very well explain much stray red in some carpets. I suspect that some rugs have been stained from this or other wetness problems while at rug stores or when stored with other rugs. It could also be responsible for collectors spurning many otherwise very rare weavings due to this perceived deficiency.

It would be difficult to believe that this cross-contamination is responsible for all of the instances of stray reds, though. If Tsareva is correct regarding the bleeding of cochineal and some rugs were dyed with a combination of cochineal/madder (cochineal is a bluer red than madder and most of the Turkmen rugs do not seem to have this color all by itself) it could very well be that some of the cochineal in otherwise "good" red may stray.

I understand that some rug cleaning specialists are capable of removing stray red from white areas. There may be many more weavings that have been cleaned of their stray reds and do not have the problem any more.

Patrick Weiler

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