I finally got the image of the restored kilim scanned and into the server. Apologize for the unfortunate delay, but the image is a transparency and I didn't have a transparency-capable scanner up and running until today. I hope Michael will comment on whether the color is reasonably accurate on the scanned transparency.
The first image, to refresh your memory, is the unrestored kilim; the second is the kilim after restoration:
The next two images are closer looks at one end (I believe that the end shown after restoration is not the same end as that shown before restoration, but that really isn't so important at the moment). Again, the first is before restoration, the second is after restoration:
These comparisons remind me of a lecture I once heard by a famous
violinist. At one point he tried to demonstrate the difference between a Stradivarius and a cheap violin. First
he picked up the cheap violin and played on it badly (given who he was, that must have been deliberate). Then he
played beautifully on the Stradivarius. Need I say more?
I assume that you refer to the vast difference in image quality of the piece before and after restoration. It's true - the "before" image is a scan of a snapshot taken, evidently, on a sidewalk somewhere. It's pretty awful in almost all respects. The "after" image is a professionally made 5 x 7 inch transparency suitable for a high quality publication.
I think Michael's point in showing before and after images is mainly to illustrate just how much restoration there can be, and how really good the final product can look. Even the very poor "before" images give you a pretty good idea of how much restoration was done to bring it to its present state.
yes, Steve: that was our intention. We wanted to document the status of this piece like it was found.
It differed from normal fragments in having left no (or something close to zero) black wefts. But black was the ground colour of this particular piece. Therefore the picture was destroyed. Only the whitish warps remained visible. This resulted in a total conversion of the picture.
In this case we decided to try a restauration that should come as close to the original status.
For this purpose one cannot use synthetic dyes or some else black - it must be a black exclusively from madder, which is in fact an extreme dark aubergine with some brownish cast. Visually this differs much from just some black.
At the same time the slightest smell of "improving" the piece with a commercial aim should be avoided. Therefore the documentation of the original status. The present owner and we agreed on this.
The kilim now differs from its authentic status by the fact that the new black yarns are much finer than the original ones (which were used down wefts, therefore appearing to be much thinner than the original ones). In this respect I must admit Vincent was right: this aspect is lost. On the other hand one has always to do a kind of balance calculation betweens gains and risks
of such an operation - and its result is open for interpretation. Normally we never would restore such early pieces - and we never made some handy fragments out of one big kilim rest. Here the basic question was: can there be art without a picture ?
PS. What the photos cannot transport. At a private party after the exhibition in Essen was opened this piece was shown to the major players in Europe. Ignazio Vok was there, Udo Hirsch, Christian Erber (who now organizes the Volkmann meeting in Munich)
, Dr. Prammer from Austria who will soon publish his own collection .... everybody found it difficult to find out where the restauration ends and the rest of the original starts. That shows how important the proper documentation is.
Steve, I think the pictures tell practically nothing, since
the part shown in the 'after' picture is barely visible in the 'before' picture. We would certainly need better
'documentation' than what we have here.
I have the image at home and will scan and post the other end of the restored one tonight or tomorrow.
Hi Yon and Everyone Else,
I've rescanned the image of the restored rug - the correct end this time. Here is the kilim before and after restoration:
And, in the same order, closer looks at one end.
Think we can tell from the images that about 50% of the kilim has been restored. (Incl. warp work)
Why not just copy it 100% and leave the original, original?
I liked the "original" better.
It reminded me I'm mortal. It was a mirror.
The kilim was alive, now it's dead.
Maybe perfect, (some wear still vissible), but it has become a calculated item of beauty.
And w're left with a Picture of history and a "restored" kilim.
So be it,
In your description of the restoration in one of the previous posts in this thread, you mention that you did not use black, but a mixture of dyes that resulted in near-black.
My understanding is that the old black dye (or dyes) were corrosive, and obviously this kilim's black was done with a corrosive dye. In restoring it, why did you not use real black? Is the corrosive black that was in it originally not a true black or is there some other reason?
first a practical argument: the first photo was made just to document the previous status. It makes no sense to make an expensive big transparency of a piece that is not washed and will be restored later. Therefore it is less good and the Stradivari example cannot be applied.
Vincent: hopefully the old photo shows clear enough that
in this particular case the original picture (the intention of the weaver) was no longer visible. Even worse: it turned opposite. A whitish space where one should have something black.
After the discussion it was clear that the aim of the operation would be to restore the picture, but not to pretend the piece is in mint condition or close to it !
Therefore mainly those parts were repaired that were found necessary to come closer to this goal and on purpose the other things were left as they were.
Whether it is "dead" now or ,opposite, living again is subject to interpretation. We are convinced that it is living again ... the proposal to weave it new sounds better than it would be in reality. How many people know how such a kilim looks like when fresh, with no light oxidation of the dyes ? To weave a new kilim with natural dyes that resemble this early patinated piece
would be to create junk. Natural dyes must be as saturated as possible. Otherwise they do not admit colour harmony. But then the new piece without use differs a lot from this early fragment.
The dyes: as far as we found out the crucial point in corrosiveness are reactive Fe-III compounds. With them one can corrode (kill) wool in less than 1 hour.
The art of making a good black than is to avoid to have such compounds in the wool when the dye process is finished - and to avoid that they can "come up" by improper use of the textile later. For this we have a limited experience of about 25 years, not 250 years.
This special black was made exclusively out of madder
and it is important to catch this visual impact when restoring the piece. To replace it with a (theoretically) less corrosive triple dye would endanger the "colour identity" of the piece as in some parts this "black" tends to a very dark aubergine. There is quite some
abrash in the black, so to say.
Michael, I think the Stradivarius analogy applies exactly: We
have to compare a bad quality picture [performance] of an allegedly bad kilim-condition [violin] to a good picture
[performance] of an allegendly good kilim-condition [violin]. Since you make a point of trying to get before-and-after
comparisons, it seems that the same quality pictures should have been obtained for both. In fact, since the original
kilim no longer exists, it was that much more important to get good pictures of it as it was. I fully agree with
Vincent: If you wanted to see what it looked like originally, you should have made a whole new piece from scratch,
or produced one 'virtually' on the computer.
I agree that if an objective is to document the original state of a kilim that is going to be restored, good photos of it in the pre-restoration state are important. It is obvious that this kilim was visually unimpressive before restoration, and is a knockout now, so the "badly played cheap violin vs. well played Stradivarius" analogy is not quite accurate (it is clear even in the bad photos that the pre-restoration piece is pretty far gone), but better images of it before restoration would be helpful.
I think the badly played Stradivarius has become a standard violin now?
Why does a Stradivarius sound different?
Some think it's because he hung the violins out to dry in the sun after painting them, again and again and again.
If Stradivarius had used a lesser finnish then the Stradivarius would sound like a cheap violin by now and nobody would take up the hard work in restoring it. Sophia thinks it's a brilliant kilim, you think it's a knockout.
I think white warps in 40% dark wefts kilim is stupid.
But, if 1800 is the year of production and if it's South/East the weaver is forgiven for not using goathair or dark wool.
You said, I think white warps in 40% dark wefts kilim is stupid. . I don't understand. Suppose the weaver had used black warps. Would it be accurate to say, I think black warps in 60% light wefts kilim is stupid ? If not, why not?
If the background is dark/black and the design is on top of it. That's what I mean.
The design isn't light, it is natural colored.
A black background makes the natural dyes mix more easy. So more beautiful. So better Art.
okay, I understand that from your perspective as a reader who looks to some pictures that are offered the Stradivarius comparison might make sense. But not for real life.
We tried to explain what an "anti-fake" restauration of an early fragment could be alike and which concepts/thoughts should be followed in case it is done. Normally we would never restore such a piece. So it is not easy to find a suitable example.
Keep in mind please that it is much more difficult to find out that it is restored than it was with that ACOR minder.
First you document the original status - for the potential problem that the restauration is so successful that the client thinks anew and offers it in an indrect way to an auction house.
This is an open, unprotected marketplace. In case of conflicts the catalogue description
like "unusal early fragment, ... minor repairs" is of no use for you. You would have been fooled but nothing you could do. No chance to follow up the history of the offer. Sooner or later such things come up. And then people start to question: who's done it ? This photo was made for this case - the example I invented as with the present owner we do not have such
Now, Yon, imagine what it costs to make a good big transparency of such a fragment. And in case you would start it experience shows that it is quite hopeless to photograph a dusty, dirty
ghost of a fragment ( unwashed !). We are no museum and there is nobody to pay cash money for unnecessary expenses.
Therefore all we could offer was this photo. Not on purpoe, as you see - and therefore we did not play intentionally a bad tune on a lousy violin.
Thank you for the clarification. Now I understand.
forgive me for being late with this answer. The proposal was: why not weave a new kilim instead of restoring this fragment ? And to use this fragment as a kind of rugged deposit, material substrate of lost thoughts ?
That sounds logical, but for people who sit in the West, sorry. First of all: such an A(-) piece itself is expensive enough for the buyer. I did not buy and I did not sell it but I know the price.
On top of this came the expenses of washing and restoring it. Let us look to the realities of today in details.
A production kilim with partially natural dyes costs 70-100 $ per m² in retail. Since in April 2001 the Turkish Lira dropped against Wesern currencies multiply by 0,6 to get the price of today. This is for serial things done with hand-spun yarns in more or less pastel (low saturated)
dyes, the Indigoids from synthetic Indigo. For machine-spun yarns the price is of coarse cheaper. It is impossible to re-weave this fragment within this production environment. The yarns are 300% too thick. The dyes would wrong: not this red, "imalat kirmizi" ( like "production red", something brick-brown red) , not this apricot and by no means this aubergine. Not to mention the black. In the production business one has to prepare a design that the weaver will copy painstakingly correct. It results always in a sterile, stiff "production" look. If you copy the little deviations from the concept that you see in this fragment the result would be even worse !
Because of cheap yarns and middle quality dyes the piece looks horrifying when it comes from the loom. So it needs to be burned heavily. Slight burning would not damage a kilim, it is necessary to burn away the legion of fine hairs standing against the weave. But if you burn it so heavy that looks dark brown-grey then you need to wash it chemically to get rid of the innumberable little sticky parts that arose from burning the wool. Then they must be pressed
at 50-70°C with up to 100 atm. pressure to have them look "smooth". In this moment they look like an antique kilim looks like for semi-educated customers.
And now lean back and try to imagine the result: the owner of this early rugged fragment has been able to a certain amount to visualize the original picture of the piece, so much that he decided to buy it. This guy now should pay some hundred $ - for such a parody ?
Okay, then let us do it the other way. Manage to have suitable yarns ! They must be finer than the yarns were when this fragment was woven (as it has lost quite some wool during its history).
This is possible as the result of the restauration proves. Then let us have the necessary dyes.
Well, just believe that a person who can manage this aubergine-black can as well manage the other tones ! That this assessment is true I cannot prove in this article. Ask some people who have seen the civit dye plant in Konya under the guidance of Walter B. Denny in 2000 ! They should have seen such reds and apricots.
To find a weaver who would be able to weave such a piece having the fragment in front of her,
that means, without a paper design, is possible. Because there is no market for good new kilims she would not be easy to find. And one would need to work with her all the time, not only for this single good kilim to be made.
But now the problem: to have one successful hit one has to try several approaches. That means: for one kilim to be made prepare a manyfold of the suitable yarns, dyes, make a stock. Then begin the weaving. With a good weaver no single result will be "junk", but one does not know when the first kilim is aesthetically convincing.
What, please, will you do then with 3-4 pieces that came in as side products ? Sell them for the above given 100 $ to run bankrupt - or loose money ? Charge everything on the customer in addition for the single successful reproduction ?
In short: nobody has the right to claim that one builds up and runs a whole textile chain just in order to create one good reproduction.
In the moment when the Turkish society gets conscious of its own cultural history, starts to evaluate it anew and there will be a market for "real" kilims both domestic and internationally
- as we now have it with wine in Europe: a new status - then some master weavers will be there to pick up such a challenge.
Till then the only message one can give to collectors who come up with such a demand would sound like: sorry , you are too unimportant, not keen enough on learning the details and not thorough enough in your consequent market behaviour to come up with such a claim !
In case somebody does not like this message: please try to avoid to hate the messenger !
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