Posted by Richard Farber on 10-26-2002 02:19 AM:

grading antique pieces

Dear Sirs.

thank you for the essay.

Might I suggest that the "grading of antique pieces" catagories might lead to some confusion.

The term grading, I believe, usually referes to paramaters of size or quality.

In the page where you describe your system you are refering to questions of knowledge of the provenance of the piece which does not of course have anything to do with aesthetics. An ugly carpet can be found in the treasury of of a church with five hundred years of documentation and an astonding carpet can be found 'in the trade'.

The question of the the origin of B grade carpets, those where experts have determined their age [and origin] [and condition] is not clear. Didn't these carpets start as C grade carpets before they were recatagorized.

You wrote in the essay


Building "measures" ...

After the "primary accumulation" seems to be finished more or less now the urgent aim is to research and understand what the harvested material means. In other terms: one has to develop measures as this type of art is unknown, still. "Standards" are necessary. Without advocating a dogmatic schedule pieces are evaluated now and put into some order of quality.

>>>>>>>>>>> END OF QUOTATION

The problem may be that there is no differentation between provenance - which seems to be the goal of the extra page -- and quality which is the subject of this paragraph.

I realize that it is extremely difficult to develope catagories that work. I am attempting to do this without success in question of morphology in embroideries. But I am just pointing out something which may well be an misunderstanding that can be remedied.


Richard Farber

N.B. actually in order to create a framwork of standards a very rigorous technique using some repeatable grading techniques is needed and some use of the dogmatic techniques developed over the centuries by are scientic colleagues might well be applied . . . .

creating a hierarchy according to 'grading' is one of the first things done in research.

I do not use scientific techniques in my work as a composer and you dont have to in stating aesthetic preferences but if you use words from the world of the dogomatic scientist than it seems fair to question their use.

. . .last thought . . . I thing these might be valid catagories for a desciption of the provenaces of 'the harvested material'.

Posted by Michael Bischof on 10-26-2002 12:05 PM:

Hallo everybody,

thanks a lot for clearing this one point:
...n the page where you describe your system you are refering to questions of knowledge of the provenance of the piece which does not of course have anything to do with aesthetics.

Of course grading has nothing to do with aesthetiques ! We introduced this aspect for two other reasons:

This is not an academic question. An antique kilim which is chemically washed is killed, but the piece will not fall into dust tomorrow. The number of people who can see the difference is small... in terms of condition of the pile and of the dyes the best kept early Central Anatolian yellow ground rug was auctioned in the West some years ago. This piece had with us the nickname "the sunglasses carpet". The colours were so bright that one felt tempted to use sunglasses. It had been washed chemically, together with some other material from the same collection. Any intelligent collector will keep his hands off that material - may be the former owner at the end had found out what had happened and put everything to auction for this reason ?
Another potential reason: imagine a nice, "semi-antique" yastik. Splendid wool, nice drawing, but 2 synthetic colours in it. Commercially this is close to junk - outside the touristic carpet shops, may be. Now imagine you "correct" the piece ? Even with the 1500 $ standard price you make enough money .... while the well informed collector would be absolutely surprised why such a "affordable" offer comes from well know professional souls ! What one can do with yastiks one may as well do with the commercially much more important stuff which is unfortunately late and has some lack of charme, if you understand what I mean ?

Richard, you said " but if you use words from the world of the dogmatic scientist than it seems fair to question their use." . I would like to express it even stronger: the use of "measures" or "standards" can only be tolerated if they are made public and if and as long there is an open debate over them. That is part of the success of science. What I find untolerable are "hidden measures" - how many of them do we have around, unspoken imaginations that rule our estimation but that make us angry if somebody insists that we "speak them out" ? If you compare the carpet world with the science world - isn't one of the many difference the dominance of not outspoken measures and aesthetique judgements based on nothing that one can check ? Where all I can do is to resist a suggestion or not resist ?

The lack of independant science in our field to balance what the trade does ( the trade must make money and there is nothing wrong about this !) is a serious unwelcome weight that keeps down the attention that
the most exciting cultural objects of this textile tradition deserve - and these are early kilims !


Michael Bischof

Posted by Richard Farber on 10-26-2002 12:34 PM:

Dear Michael Bischof,

thank you for your thoughtful reply.

I do however suggest that you might want to add the word "provenance" to your paradigm of grading. Perhaps

Provenance Catagory A,

Provenance Catagory B

Provenance Catagory C

This would make your intentions more clear and eventually allow catagories in other areas as well.

This would also remove the resonance that some people might have reminding them of Huxley's 'Brave New World'. ;>} [thats an old fashioned smiley.

You mentioned briefly something about the carpet fragment and the numerous commercial pieces . . I'll post my question in the correct place


Richard Farber

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