Posted by Steve Price on 11-14-2002 08:43 AM:

Compare These Kilims

Hi People,

Michael tried to generate some discussions of kilim comparisons in another thread, but it got sidetracked and didn't really get off the ground. The "adoptable" pieces in the Josephine Powell Collection are shown on-line, the reproduction is rather good, and they aren't on the market. They seem to me to be ideal for making comparisons for those reasons.

So, I suggest picking out pairs from that group and inviting commentary on them. Here's a start. I think these two have palettes with enough in common and enough differences to make color comparison worthwhile. They are numbers 8 and 9 in the group.

First, number 8:

Then number 9:

OK, folks, what has anyone to say about them?


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Farber on 11-14-2002 12:14 PM:

Dear Steve,

sorry but I don't quite get what you are asking us to do . . . could you be your usual very precise self?

about the two killims I have the impression that the two images are in two very very different scales . . one '8' is a total image of some X centemeters long and the other '9' seems to be a closer view of a much smaller area . . .to me this confuses the question of motivic comparison . .and in some way also a discussion the pallet . . .

anyway I dont find the pallets at first peruse very similar.



Posted by Steve Price on 11-14-2002 12:47 PM:

Hi Richard,

When Michael opened the "comparisons" issue, he selected one kilim from the Powell collection (number 17) and asked people to compare it with a fragment on the WAMRI website. Originally, his posting had links to the web addresses of both kilims.

I got a call from someone who said he was Jack Cassin's lawyer, telling me that linking to the image was a copyright violation. That's nonsense - the copyright law permits us to link or put the image in our own server and display it on this site, and it isn't even clear that we'd be required to acknowledge the source. On the other hand, it didn't seem worth arguing about, so I removed the link.

Back to Michael's objective. I believe he wanted folks to look at the two kilims with dyes, particularly dye saturation, in mind, as an educational exercise. So, with that in mind, that's my suggestion for these two kilims (or any others that anyone want to add - this, I hope, is just for starters).

It looks to me as though kilim 9 has had one half restored, and just comparing the colors on the upper and lower halves may be instructive. I see the colors in kilim 8 as more saturated, by and large, than those even in what I suspect is the restored half of number 9.


Steve Price

PS (note added after originally posting message): Richard raised the question of the sizes of the two kilims. Number 8, which is obviously about the original full length and half the original full width, is 360 x 157 cm. Number 9, which is the original full width but shown with only part of the original length is 411 x 152 cm. I assume that the 411 cm length includes the part not seen in the photo, but I don't actually know whether it does or not. Nor do I know whether the 411 cm included both ends or if some of the original length has been lost. In its original form, number 8 would have been about twice the width and shorter by some unknown amount when compared with number 9.

Posted by Vincent Keers on 11-14-2002 07:45 PM:

Hi Steve,

Well this number 17 told me a sort of dragqueen story anyway. To much perfect damage.

Nr. 8 seems to have had some moth-dinners.
Looks as if it was in stock far to long. Hope they found the dealer also. The desing doesn't look archaic, (archaic! What am i saying!) to me, but I'm waiting to get spancked because I said this.

Nr. 9 Has had some problems with agressive dyes.
Strange, because the weavers knew they could easely use dark goathair. No goats around in Anatolia?
Never the less, I think the upper part of nr 9 has more originality. Low profile beauty. The lower part has been made by some colour blinds. Way to heavy, and again, I'm waiting for my spancking.

Best regards,
Outch Outch Outch
(My head looks like my bottom)

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-15-2002 04:47 PM:


When I look into both pieces , the first look goes into the colour quality. However , as the internet can not provide good jugment of the individual colours we can only speak about their relationships.

The quality of an individual colour in a Kilim by the way , is very very important. By quality I do not only mean dye saturation (which M.Bischof has rightly developed) but also the specific tone -or musical pitch- of the colour. From internet pictures we can not see this.
What we can than look at is how different colours develop in each kilim and what is their relationship or their individual rhytms.

Both kilims have similar colour composition - coloured fields surrounded by a border. However, I like better no 8's primary colour rhytm. The fields are separated by a bigger colour contrast (greeen-red-blue) while in no 9 , the colour of the designs on the field (hooked medallions) interferes with the primary field. The size of the coloured areas of the hooks is about the same as the spaces that surround them .

A similar composition is found on KILIm 1 in M.Bischof"s salon posting , but there, the composition is much clearer than these both kilims.

Also the rhytms of different colour areas are more differentiated on no8. The colour changes on the dark border and the white-intermediate border are very joyful without starting to be crowded.
Overall no 9 is calmer but maybe with some boring lack of tension and repetition versus no8 that I belive has more dynamics. On the other side , the hooked field designs on no8 needed he other half to fully develop their balance and we do not have it.

Interested to read what others think.

Ali R.Tuna

Posted by Vincent Keers on 11-15-2002 08:21 PM:

Dear all,

I really feel this nr. 9 is ruined (I wanted to write a more strong expression here, but I'm not yet angry enough) because someone thought it needed fixing. The problem with this world is we're focused on perfection. Our perfection. What you'll describe is ok with me. I can't see it with your eyes. Neither could one see with the weavers eyes. If this is music for the eyes, nr 9 has a very soft, gentle background tone. A soft colour that goes back and forth because the hooks mingle with the background colour, and next they do not. Shoot, now I'm doing the same thing. Forget what I just wrote and have it your own way.

I've said some blunt things in my previous posting, because I didn't want to get into discussing beauty. Think it's pathetic if one thinks one can "educate" in appreciating colours. (Getting more angry now)
Someone ruined nr 9! Why?

Don't I like nr. 8? Yes, but I do feel a cheap colour scheme. It's to obvious for me, so it doesn't stimulate and that's why I think it's boring. But it's a different kilim.
Shoot! Did it again.

I'm relaxed again.

Best regards,

Posted by David R.E. Hunt on 11-16-2002 12:01 AM:

Apples and oranges

Hello All -I like both of them , really two different approaches to design, but if I had a choice I would pick #8- much to be said about Marla Malletts assertion's concerning scale, so it's hard to say without seeing them in the wool side by side. I do believe that they really do represent two different approaches to design, and as such are uncomparable. I could go on and on comparing them, a reiteration of that which is so readibly apparent, but I do believe they ar almost two different catagories- I like both of them !-Dave

Posted by Robert Alimi on 11-16-2002 10:17 AM:

Hi all,

This seems like the perfect opportunity to report on the status of the "adoption" candidates. To date, 8 of the 26 pieces posted on the NERS website have found sponsorship; leaving 18 that are not yet spoken for. Details of the "adoption" process can be found at:

Check it out!


Posted by Harry_Koll on 11-16-2002 10:39 AM:

Hi Ali,

Here is a reconstructed picture of number 8 with the other half, so the design becomes more clear.

One year ago I saw a similar kilim from the Aksaray region. The piece was in very good condition, with excellent colours. To me it seems possible that number 8 also comes from the Aksaray region.

I like this piece, but we should to see it displayed horizontally for best advantage (see the thread: The Krefeld Catalog Cover Girl).



Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-16-2002 04:20 PM:

Hi Harry and Sabine,

Wow ! The digital reconstruction is wonderful and shows the right balance of the kilim.
Very nice dimensional proportions and the colour surfaces come out much better versus the borders.
Also , the central hooked designs come now with the right rhytm , like a big tree .
Your post shows the real benefits of the digital reconstruction !

Posted by Steve Price on 11-16-2002 04:39 PM:

Hi Ali,

I agree, and I think it demonstrates nicely the enormous aesthetic difference between a fragment and something approaching an entire piece. That's probably why the weavers didn't make fragments to begin with.


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-17-2002 01:38 AM:

Hallo everybody, hallo Vincent,

one of the intention I had for proposing this comparison was a constant headache one has when collecting early kilims:
more often than not the early examples are left in only fragmentary condition. Then the piece looks/appears extreme old.
But this "impression" is or may be an artefact. So a piece that looks like being made yesterday may be, in fact, much older than a fragment that appears to be from the 9th century A.D.

Kilim No. 8 is a design that is found in Central Anatolia. As far as I know this design never appeared somewhere else. We know it from different locations - but always we find "traces" of certain Turcoman groups at the places where such kilims are found. By applying different colour schemes this design can vary considerably.

This particular no. 8 is not the kilim that I admire the most in Josephines collection. My favourite of this design group had been published in Frauenknecht ( "Anatolian tapestries ..." , pl. 17) and is in a Western European collection since middle of the eighties.
My guess ( ! , no "A"-suggestion ) is that it had been made by some Kurdish groups in Central Antolia in the Cihanbeyli/Kulu area
in the first half of the 19th century. It looks very fresh, almost "new", and there is not the slightest reason to assume that it is younger
than most of the heavily fragmented pieces of this particular design group. - Now compare again, if you like, the WAMRI fragment
and no. 17 of Josephine's collection, please.

In 1997 we showed what we had learned about this textile culture in a seminary done by the Freundeskreis orientalischer Teppiche und Textilien in Nordrhein-Westfalen in the Deutsches Textilmuseum Krefeld. Pictures of quite some pieces of an example of recent "ethnogenesis" in the area north of Urfa, where Kurdish and Karakecili people that came from NW-Anatolia mingled, were shown. As these groups melted their textile tradition melted, too. And this was visible in the shown weaves. The whole collection had been sold to a British Museum but according to what I know they never worked out the potential it had. So something "Central Anatolian Kurdish" is nothing unexpected.

Life is too short to get waisted with too many polite lies and such a great collection can afford dissents easily. Though a good black ( but, Vincent, not from black goat hair which is plenty in Anatolia till today: a real black, a triple dye) is in most cases a solid indicator of age I personally do not like no. 9 very much. The white ground border is in my opinion not a very good idea, the contrast is too strong, and the way the border is separated from the field I find to be "unlucky", stuck in a timid decision. Either a more strong bigger sized "zick-zack"-solution should be there or no accentuated separation. Though I cannot access the dye quality of the piece from the digi I dislike the colour scheme of this piece as too flat and a bit boring. All this has nothing to do with the age...



Posted by Steve Price on 11-17-2002 06:49 AM:

Hi Michael,

You introduced this thread by asking people to compare the piece in the Powell collection with number 17 in the first WAMRI exhibition. The only response to that specific request was from me. I said I couldn't comment on the WAMRI piece - it is simply too fragmentary for my eyes and, in fact, it may even be two fragments from two different kilims.

Ali's digital reconstruction exercise (and Harry Koll's, earlier) shows how very different a kilim and a fragment from it look, and it's terribly difficult (for me, at least) to make aesthetic judgments of small fragments where most of he original piece is absent. Their state is just too distracting for me.


Steve Price

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-18-2002 04:08 PM:

Hallo everybody, hallo Steve,

yes, but still fragments are necessary!
Now please compare the No. 9 kilim with one that has a completely different overall design published in "Kult Kelim". I found it by looking into the Turkotek archive. My guess is that the latter is younger. But I also guess that the same group created both of them. At present no information contradicts that.

About the origin of the "Baklava" design we have written here on Turkotek so it makes no sense to re-wrap the old discussion on Turkotek here again. See, please, its grandfather (Rageth, Plate 16)

and then imagine to substitute the vertical lines in the medaillons by diagonal ones so you come to

which contains the basic "baklava" structure. Its "feet" are using a different method to substitute bigger vertical lines: a kind of "little finger system" - not to confuse with "parmakli", a similar thing but this is done in bigger dimensions.

As a matter of fact, Steve Price, I can understand your hesitation with fragments. It is for sure nothing for beginners ( ;- ) ) ! Let us suppose you are very long in this field, have seen and perhaps have bought quite some pieces with a similar image, but later ... you are no snob but you learned that entire concepts works better with bigger dimensions, more saturated dyes, more artistical discipline in realizing the weave, in one word: you are addicted to the "early kilims" now. Then you would feel sorry that in most cases you can have these early images only by accepting fragments ... you would not like it. But a grasp of the picture is better than the lower quality picture. Or like: if you have seen enough you want more... no joke: I once heard a leading collector cry in pity that unfortunately the weavers did not make fragments because these are often aesthetically more satisfying than the complete pieces!

Wow, that's ethnocentrism, isn't it ? You remember: "their" aesthetique and "ours"? For home textiles I have no problem with that attitude, though. In case this attitude claims "art" level I just laugh - and start to understand museum people who dislike some collectors for this attitude.

My favourite with the pieces that are exhibited in the Net of Josephine's collection is pl. 17 which is complete. I think it is a "best-of-its-type" piece and I feel confident to say that most likely it is older than a comparable fragment in a dealers collection which I already mentioned here. Do not get fooled just because its condition ! This means not much with early kilims. Concentrate
on the artistical discipline necessary to realize such a big coherent image. The second "medallions" at the top shows the moment when too much discipline was a bit boring, for a moment, so they (most likely two women realized this kilim) inserted an equivalent "sub-unit". Such a piece one can view very long without ever feeling bored - an unpleasant feeling that I would get from very busy late pieces or from "dead" objects of study.
So fragments are unavoidably, but quite risky. You need either better advice or you are addicted to the dangerous exciting taste of bargain hunting with fragments on your own. Just compare the two mentioned pieces - one fragment, one in "too good to be early" condition.



Posted by Vincent Keers on 11-20-2002 05:40 AM:

Dear Michael,

This plate 16 from Rageth, looks more like a Qashqai kilim. Can we be sure that it's from Anatolia?

Best regards,

Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 11-20-2002 07:55 AM:

Dear all,
I find this salon and the whole discussion very interesting, especially as I have seen a few kilims too. Fragment versus complete is usually easily decided, as fragments look older and as the tendency, at least with knowledgable people goes towards age, the frag is often the winner.
Really old pieces are generally very expensive when they are in good condition (just look at classical pieces). So most people who want to own something like that can only afford a fragment. Also it's smaller and we all have space problems.
And what if there is no complete piece known of a certain type? In that case we wouldn't have a choice.
Looking at the important museum collection in the US, McCoy-Jones, I find proof for my opinion.
Hi Vincent, keep looking :-)))

All the best and good hunting for everybody


Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-20-2002 09:55 AM:

Hi everybody, hi Bertram,

first: pl. 16 is an A-piece, the place where it was found together with some other pieces is known, also what happened thenafter.
An Iranian origin can be excluded as far as I see. But this does not mean that the group who wove the kilim is known with satisfying certaincy. The other pieces have a total different design but the "faces" of the weaves are close enough to each other.

Fragment vs. complete pieces: I agree with your arguments, Bertram, but in the case that I proposed to be discussed my interpretation is different. Piece no. 7 from WAMRI for me was, until now, not the oldest but "best" piece of this type taking into account its impact ( judging it from the picture in the book, not from digis). A C-piece with no further information available .... and not yet radiocarbon dated, which would have been a nice additional information and for the owner a proof of how certain he is. After Josephines piece is published it is second ranked, though. That piece has all the hall marks of a quite early kilim in surprising good condition, especially
as we can be sure that it was meant like it looks now. With a fragment one never can be sure whether the pleasant impression one gets from its "open graphic" is due only to the fact that a weak border with too many ugly small details is missing ...
And, not to forget that, the example shows how careful they must be selected when we start thinking about prices. After being second in a not that small design group the art market value of such a fragment is a bit difficult as I would guess.
The better one is the enemy of the good ...

One word more about A-pieces. At the weekend, at this auction event, I saw 3 village rug pieces and 2 kilims. In each case it would have been easy to secure the information about their origin ... but on the expense that then any potential buyer would have asked for a picture of the pieces original condition. So ....



Posted by Bertram Frauenknecht on 11-20-2002 12:07 PM:

Hi Michael,
nice that you use my proverb ( the better...), thanks, as it means that sometimes I seem to say something that makes sense for others:-)
I understand your system, but I think there is never really outspoken why you created it. So to get this clear as I understand it , there is a lot of faking and altering going on. And unfortunately there are a lot of dealers who either don't understand what they are looking at or they don't give a ... for the money is too tempting. Let's hope that collectors have the guts to speak up against this serious danger and point out dealers and auction houses who only think about their profits.
So far there is only murmurs behind the hand.
Only second best... I would settle for a lesser Van Gogh if it comes for under ten thousand dollars

Posted by Vincent Keers on 11-20-2002 07:21 PM:

Hi Bertram, Hi Michael,

I'll do my best.
But this dovetail structure is something one sees in, very fine woven Qashqaï kilims. Seen this in real life, and Yanni Petsopoulos mentions plate 382. And 387, 388, 394, 407, 409 show dovetail as well.
He talks about single-interlock, but we now, because we've Marla, it's a dovetail structure.
Never seen a Qahqaï with single-interlock anyway.

So maybe this Rageth kilim was transported by Qashqaï (Turkish in origine) back to Anatolia?
If the wefts are microscopic fragile, think Qashqaï could well be an option were ever the rug popped up. So why looking for a "missing" dovetail link if Qashqaï invented this and the kilim shows Qashqaï design as well?

Best regards,

Posted by Ali R.Tuna on 11-21-2002 04:26 PM:

Hello All,
I am posting the following two pictures as they might provide some insight about the design similarities between the kilims posted above. One is a detail from a large kilim , the other is a detail from the Krefeld catalogue no 52.

Ali R.Tuna

Posted by R. John Howe on 11-22-2002 03:15 AM:

Dear folks -

Some of the designs being posted in this thread seem similar to a kilim that Robert Torchia showed us and talked about way back in salon 38.

I wonder if and how Torchia's piece, and several other similar ones displayed in the posts in his salon, "fit" with some of those being discussed here.


R. John Howe

Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-22-2002 01:38 PM:



Hallo everybody, hallo Vincent, hallo Ali R. Tuna,

the kilim pl. 16 in Rageth is a coarse piece, woven for to be used in a house, with a firm structure ... There is, according to what I know, no connection at all to the possibility that it might be imported from Iran. The other mentioned pieces, found together with it,
have a similar weave "face" but totally different designs.
If one works with modern weavers but outside a cottage industry type of set one is astonished about how many different textile techniques surface when the ladies are motivated to bring in own inspirations - so this special technique might have come with them in a way or be casually re-invented ( but some kilim-generations before this particular piece was made). So the existence of this technical feature cannot sustain a Gashgai connection, as I would guess. The evolution type of view would fix the youngest connections of the Gashgai-predecessors and this Turcoman group ( which has most likely woven this pl. 16 piece) in the medieval Mesopotamia.

Thanks a lot for showing this picture, Ali R. Tuna. It illustrates the Baklava design in a perfect way - and contains another "type" of "hand-writing", this parmakli style, in the same spot. My interpretation: the archetypic image is still there but the details of execution vary a lot.



Posted by Michael Bischof on 11-22-2002 01:43 PM:

Similarities 2 ...

Hallo everybody, hallo R. John Howe,

I guess that the kilim of Mr. Torchia is related to the previously ( page 1) mentioned No. 9 piece. I use to analyze relations on the basis of dyes ( with the usual limitation: as muc has they are visible by digis) and "weaving hand-writing" , taking into account especially how the little motives are done.



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