This term we recommend to use with caution. For us it only means a total
subjective feeling that a certain piece may create. As a descriptive term it is
totally unusable. We have seen flatweaves that appeared to be at least
1000 years old, e.g. one little kilim from the Northeastern part of Central
Anatolia, with goat hairs, a simple but bold design, the warps were from black
goat hair, very saturated but faded natural dyes - and 1 synthetic dye.
We have noticed twice that authors used the term in a descriptive manner. The authors were dealers and at least a "side aspect", a planned "collateral damage" of the term "archaic" was the intention to add an artificial "aura" to the piece, lifting its evaluation by doing so.
We admit that we like to feel affected by this impression. But it is a feeling, no observation. In research it is misleading. The majority of the "archaic" pieces that we have seen ( and we see these pieces in situ in Anatolia, not the pre-selected and prepared weaves in special galleries in the West) are late, end of 19th century, coarse but sometimes impressing village work.
Whoever finds this warning to be too strong - please look at Rageth (4 , pl. 7): a tiny fragment of a green-red saf kilim with a medieval appearance. It was shown in San Francisco in the McCoy-Jones exhibition paralleling the ICOC conference. The description of Gary Muse was kind of overwhelmed, "tapitolyrics" one may call it. I (M.B.) discussed it with some leading German collectors that were there.
My statement: it is a "C-piece" in our system of grading. The real place of origin is not known if one looks for facts. The description is amateurish carpet dealers language.It is not of the same origin as the famous green-red "Dazkiri" saf-kilims that were the ultimate goal for the top collectors at that time. The green dyes which appeared broken was not a ghostly rest of a once admirable dye but a second-class flavonol green that is simply, for technical reasons, less safe and tends to turn ochre when light-oxidized. The red has, by far, not the class of the same colour in the above mentioned "real" - so, as a result, I openly questioned the claimed very high age and said: I would not wonder if, later, it would come out that it is not that old ...
The people who held my statement probable and I had to wait till 1997 when the radiocarbon dating results were published: the piece is the youngest within this particular group. It dates from somewhere between 1820 and 1870. And, by the way, if we employ our knowledge obtained in tracing back pieces as shown with this early Ermenek group, Fig. 7.1 on the same page is not Dazkiri, but from the North-Western part of Central Anatolia. Further we cannot research in this particular moment. A key figure, a dealer, really thinks one would not know where he once got this piece from ... "judging" kilims" from their archaic appearance is the least sound method imaginable. But, admittedly, it makes fun
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