TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  A rug
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  04-21-2001 on 05:07 p.m.
Dear all,

Let's have a look at what I do.

This came in this afternoon.

It's a Hamadan.
Looking at the rug as whole.

It was very hard to make a good picture from it. The camel/beige is allways a difficult color to get rigth. It tends to get to red.
But when I take too much red out, the other colors will change.

I like the contradiction in the design. The Herati based more floral/curved design, and the more geometric border design.
This makes me think this Hamadan is more from the North of Iran. But this is only a feeling. Looking at the back it's more clear.

Warps: Cotton, 4 ply. No depression
Wefts: Wool, 2 ply, 1 shoot: Dark brown, beige and everything in between.
Knot: Symmetric
Knot count: 3 along the weft/cm
Knot count: 4 along the warp/cm

First look: Muddy
Had it pinned against the wall.
Got my magic cleaning towel and handeld it with care. The rug began to smile at me. The blew became softer/lighter. The camel/beige became as if painted by van Gogh. The rose became mor blewish. The (oxidated) browns became more purple. The white became more snowy white.The yellow is like a genuine well fixated yellow has to be, not blurred to muddy beige. Etc.

The oxidated purple, could this be Cochenille? maybe one of you know. Does Cochenille need an Iron based fixation?

Where it has been made exactly? I will not go any further then: North off Hamadan.
Age? Midle 19th century. because of the all natural collors.

Any other opinions?

Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-22-2001 on 10:33 a.m.
Vincent et al -

This rug appears to provide a good opportunity to test the utility of weave pattern since Vincent has it in hand and some of us have Willborg's nice little catalog.

On of the nicest things about the latter is that it provides one of the most useful maps (for our purposes) of the Hammadan area that I have seen.

At the 1996 ICOC in Philadelphia, I sought out Willborg and bought him a drink precisely to discover the source of this map and whether similar maps exist for the rest of Iran. Alas, he was not sure. I have never followed up but it would be worth doing. The village labels are those we encounter in attributions.

I quickly looked through Willborg's catalog to see which backs looked similar to the image Vicent has provided here. Looking at weave pattern on the backs only I thought that there were four possibles. They are Rudbar, Enjilas, Qombad (a village near Enjilas) and Shirishahabad Kurd. (Others who have this catalog should check me. I'm finding that colors in the piece affect my estimate of what the weave pattern is a lot. So I could often be passing by pieces that are candidate but simply have lighter colors than the example being tested.)

But when I looked at the closer analysis data Willborg and Vincent have provided, things began to fall apart. First, cotton warps and wefts. And both wefts and warps on the Shirishahabad are wool. The two Enjilas area examples were closest here but Vincent's piece doesn't have what in my experience is the unfailing white ground border of Enjilas area pieces. I can put up knot count and ratio information but some conversion will be needed so I can't tell readily but I think these four pieces have knot ratios closer to 1:1 than does Vincent's piece.

All these pieces Vincent, you will see on the map, are in fact north of Hammadan but I'm not feeling that using all the data that we have a real candidate in Willborg that is similar to your piece. And none of the designs provided there look like your piece. I would be interested in what others with this catalog think.

I can begin to scan and to either send to Vincent or to share on the board Willborg pieces that we think are likely but I don't really feel that I have one at the moment. I'm open to suggestions.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-22-2001 on 06:54 p.m.
Dear folks -

In my post above, I left out a word or two at the beginning of the "things fall apart" portion.

It is the Rudbar that has cotton warps and wefts.

Am I the only one with the Willborg catalog?

Tracy Davis Hartke said something that made me think she had one and I think Wendel does. How about others?

And I'm curious about how many of us have copies of Neff and Maggs.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  04-22-2001 on 09:46 p.m.

The four villages you mention are possible origins of Vincent's rug, but I see similarities in other weave patterns as well, demonstrating the difficulty of trying to be too specific in our attributions.

The utility of Willborg's catalog is that it does show several quite distinct weave patterns that would help any collector in recognizing rugs from the Hamadan area. The greater benefit is that it shows how attractive some Hamadans can be, despite the fact that they are generally sneered at by collectors as being purely commercial.

In fact, in many Persian homes, the Hamadan was the rug of choice. Our friend Jamshid has told me of many hours he spent on the Hamadans in his family home tracing the designs with his finger. They were not solely for export, but served an important domestic purpose.

A few years ago I gave a Saturday session on Hamadans at the TM. The primary purpose was to share with the audience their attractiveness, but I also saw it as an opportunity to learn for myself about this neglected group. In gathering the examples, I discussed the surrounding villages and weaves with several of the local Persian dealers to refine the attributions. In the end, I found the task too challenging. Even some of the Persians admitted that they had trouble making firm attributions. Willborg seems to waffle on some of his attributions as well.

Even though we may not be able to agree on which village may have produced a given rug, the weave pattern approach used by Willborg is enormously useful. Let's not expect it to be perfect.

(Aside. Note Willborg's use of the term "sinuous" in describing the warps.)


Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  04-24-2001 on 11:59 a.m.
Dear John,

It's hard to specify clearly. Think a lot of mistakes are being made along the historic path. Countries, borders, people changed. Rugs changed. And sometimes rugbooks have hidden agenda's without the writers even knowing it.

Think this Hamadan look-a-like could well be Meshkin. Before they transformed production to runners, runners and runners.

Have a look at this.

Wool warps, 2ply. Wool wefts, 2 ply, 2 shoots, pink. Symetric knot. In the V&A there's a 19'th century Hamadan runner just like this, but with a more beautiful main-border)
This is the front:

Here's a dated 1319/1901 meshkin runner

It's all cotton warps and wefts. Symmertical knotted, wool, 2ply

Something changed in historic perspective.

And at some occasions I encounter Meshkin: Cotton warps, wool weft, one shoot.

An older ruggy, told me once: If you don't know the answer.......it's Hamadan.

Best regards,

PS. It didn't surprice me the book is from South Africa. They where used to divide everything around them in small, neat, black an white portions. They just couldn't believe everthing is a great melting pot.

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  04-25-2001 on 03:53 a.m.
Vincent -

Yes, it is hard and I'm beginning to wonder whether close the distinctions, for which I initially conjectured, weave pattern might suited are in fact the sort of application that is its strength. It begins to seem to me that it may be more reliable at the extremes like the Borodjert species of Hammadan or my yastik.

I've heard the, "if you don't know what it is, it's likely a ______, phrase differently. I've more usually heard people say that is what is signaled whenever someone says that a piece is "Northwest Persian." But on the basis of sheer numbers produced Hammadan can often be a good guess.

I think your comment about the fact of Negg and Maggs citizenship may be a shade unfair. First, it commits the sin that it complains about by generalizing about two individuals on the basis of their country's political and social system. Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize winning writer, is also South African and I doubt that anyone would accuse her of seeing things in terms that are too black and white because of her South African citizen ship. And there is nothing in the Neff and Maggs argument that seems heavy handed to me except their insistence that unless one looks at the "synthesis" that weave pattern affords something important is being left out and perhaps their claim that it is at the level of the weave pattern synthesis that the most "stable" judgments about attribution can be made. But in general their thesis is stated in thoughtful, deliberate terms without any evident attempt to "push" things into categories convenient to their argument.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  04-25-2001 on 09:07 a.m.
Dear John,

Think my contribution to this salon was more then openminded, selfcritical. (I'm the only one that admits having loose ends in his brains.) But,I gave the book the benefit of the doubt.

I do question books with hidden agendas.
Why publish a book about rugs, if it can be left aside after 6 days of "discussion" on this board. Didn't the writers, the publisher give it any more thought? In the country of the blind, one eye is king. In the process of writing a book, doesn't happen overnight, it must have become clear to the writers there are a lot of loose ends. So the writers didn't seem to have a very high opinion about the audience, you and I. Not respecting us is unfair. This requires a certain state of mind from the writers.
Don't think giving a wider perspective to books, placing the books in a certain context, is a sin or unfair. It only explains.

Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  05-03-2001 on 11:59 a.m.
Dear all,

I raised a question about Cochenille(Cocheneal). The answer was under my nose. Hali 113: Page 61. Harold Böhmer about insect dyes.
Central American Cocheneal creates purple on an iron mordant.Came from the Canary Islands with an export of 2.7 million kilograms in 1869.

Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  05-03-2001 on 12:46 p.m.
Dear Vincent,

Your previous message talks about an export of 2.7 million kilograms of cochineal from the Canary Islands in 1869. That amounts to almost 3000 tons. Impossible.

Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:A rug
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  05-03-2001 on 01:10 p.m.
Dear Steve,

Mr. Böhmer Hali 113/page 61
"wich began on a small scale in 1826 and reached its peak in 1869 with an export of 2.7 million kilograms"
Hope mr. Böhmer did have look in the ship logs. Maybe you're right, can't trust everything you read. But oh, what a shame, I just started reading again.

Maybe mr. Böhmer means: The export all together from 1826 untill 1869 peaked. But then he had to put it in a different way. A peak is a peak, in an upgoïng scale. It can't be the produkt, because that's not a peak.
Do I understand this in Dutch? Yes! Hope you can in English.

Best regards,

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