Posted by Jerry Raack on 10-25-2002 01:03 PM:

Edge Treatment on Fachralo Kazak

Editor's Note: This topic was originally posted to our Show and Tell Forum, but was moved into the Salon discussion because of the cross-references with some of it.
Steve Price

Hi Everyone!
I offer here a picture of a Fachralo (or is it a
Sewan -- doesn't matter?) Kazak rug that is missing its outer minor borders all the way around. What I want to find out is what those missing borders were, and what the edge and end finishes should be for this piece. I'm hoping you all can help me here. First of all, here is my piece:

It is dated 1230, which puts it at about 1814. It has ivory wool warps, and red dyed wool wefts, mostly 2 shots per row, but some to 4 shots. Knot count is 8 H x 8 1/2 V = 70/square inch. It is missing about 2" on left side, 1 3/4" on right, 1 " top and 1 1/2" bottom. So, its full size should be 3' 6" x 5' 2" in size. It has 10 colors: Ivory, Red, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Blue-Green, Yellow-Gold, Deep Purple, Pink, Green and a Dark Brown that is mildly corroded.

My guess is that the outer missing minor border was a saw-tooth design just like the inner minor border. But in what colors? The other examples of this type that I am aware of show no real consistency in the colors. And none of the older ones have their original selvedge to tell me what it should have looked like.

Here are some other examples that I am aware of that I've seen only in pictures.

A. Hali, 1984, Volume 6, Number 3, Page 274, Figure 5

This piece appeared only in black and white. So, the colors of the outer minor border, and selvedge are not determinable. However, it does confirm that the outer minor border in this piece is a saw-tooth design. This rug is dated 1224, which puts it at 1809. Note, this piece has only one "mirhab", rather than the double as in my rug, and every other example that I am aware of.

B. Hali 1988, Issue 37, Page 60, Ad for Rasa Carpets

This piece is similar in design, and is dated, but the date is not readily readable. It appears to be 1260, which would put it at 1844, but this is not for certain. It shows a saw-tooth outer minor border which is Red on the inside and Green toward the outside edge of the rug. The edge finish is not recognizable on such a small picture. The size of this rug is 2' 11" x 5' 3".

C. Mike Tschebull has an example, which I have not seen a picture of. He says his is also missing its outer minor borders. His is dated to 1806, which makes it the oldest example I know of.

D. Rudnick's also have an example which is very close to mine in color and design. Theirs is undated. But, Rosalie was able to tell me that theirs has (from the field going toward the selvedge) a Brown and Blue sawtooth minor border, the same yellow major meander border, and then a Red and Blue sawtooth outer minor border. She said their selvedge is not original, so could not help with what it should look like. I don't have a good enough picture of the Rudnick piece to determine if it is as old as the 3 examples
above or not. It may be a bit younger (2nd Q of 19th Century?), but this is just a guess.

E. I have a picture from a dealer in Italy (see below) which is undated.

It has a different inner mid-blue minor border with downward facing "C" elements. It has the same major yellow meander border, and at one time had a Yellow and Red outer saw-tooth minor border. The dealer did not know what the selvedge looked like. When he got the piece, the remnants of the outer minor border had been cut off, but the person he bought it from showed him a picture that confirms the color and type of the outer minor border. This rug is presently 2'10" x 4' 7", but would be bigger if the missing borders were added.

F. I saw a picture of a rug that Holly Smith had restored for someone that was nearly identical to the piece from Italy that I described above (lettered "E"). It had the same inner mid-blue minor border with downward facing "C" elements, the same yellow meander major border, and a sawtooth outer minor border done in Red and Green. The selvedge was not original, so
nothing can be discerned from this piece in this regard. The Italy piece and this one may have been woven by the same person, and I think are younger than the pieces described in A through D. I think the E and F pieces date to somewhere around 1875 or a little later. Just a guess. Any other opinions?

G. Here is a much later example, which I think dates to last quarter of 19th or early 20th century. It is not dated.

I saw this piece in person, and it was in excellent condition at an auction here in Columbus area. Its colors were not nearly as saturated, nor as clear as any of the above pieces. It had an inner minor sawtooth border in Blue and Dark Brown, the yellow meander major border, then an outer minor sawtooth border in Dark Brown and Blue (mirror image of the inner minor border), followed by a double selvedge wrapped with the same red wool as the weft material. This piece was 3'2" x 5'0" in size.

There are several other examples which are not as close in design, nor color to the above. But, I will mention them for completeness. One is in Hali, 1982, Vol 4, Issue 4, Page 399, Figure 27. It is shown only in black and white. It is a longer rug with 2 complete double mirhab medallions, rather than just one. Ian Bennett's book, Volume 1 - Caucasian has 2 examples to note. The first is #15, which he lists as a Sewan Kazak. It is shown only in black and white, but it has a completely different set of borders than all of the pieces described above. He dates this piece to late 19th or early 20th century. Then #21 he lists as a Fachralo Kazak, again only shown in black and white. It has a double mirhab that is elongated enough to have 2 inner medallions in it. He dates this one also to late 19th or early 20th
century. Again, the border systems on this piece are significantly
different from any of the others.

That's it for what I can tell you of the things I am aware of. I checked every issue of Hali, but could have missed an example or 2. I know there are other examples published in Hali that are very similar to the piece G I show above. None of my other reference books have anything similar.

So, my questions are the following:
1. What do you think the outer minor border design looked like for my rug (first one described)?
2. What colors do you think the outer minor border was?
3. What was the edge finish (selvedge) like?
4. What was the end treatments on this rug like? (I think the bottom should have had about a 1" red plain-weave kelim end)
5. How old are the intermediate, non-dated pieces; and do you believe the dates on the ones that are known?

I'm hoping you all can help here. If you know of other examples, have additional references or pictures, please share them with us.

Many thanks,

Jerry Raack
Pataskala, Ohio

Posted by Vincent Keers on 10-25-2002 06:45 PM:

Hi Jerry,

Have a look at:
It's in the caves, my private museum.
It's a Fachralo, al intact. Very old, saw the original invoice from 1923 think it was 60 Dutch Guilders. Was bought by a connoisseur

I'll try to dig up the original tiff file, if you're interested, because my site works with gif files.

Great rug, you got,
pity it's slightly fatigued.

Best regards,

Posted by Jerry Raack on 10-25-2002 07:29 PM:

Thanks for the URL -- very nice rug you have. I think it is related to those from Italy and Holly Smith rugs I have seen, and I would put it in the same timeframe. It has a major border system and drawing that more closely match them, or it may even be a bit later. In any event, it is of the same type as mine, and I would be interested to know what the edge finish is if you can find it with the detail in your tif file.
I'm beginning to believe there are more of these rugs around than I first thought. However, I would bet they are all made in a realtively small area -- wherever that is.

Jerry Raack
Pataskala, Ohio

Posted by Richard Farber on 10-26-2002 01:52 AM:

Dear Mr. Raack,

I am usually very doubtful about the authenticity of dates in the carpets. I have seen forgeries and know a forger or two from the market here; but in the case of your carpet I can well believe that the date knotted in the carpet could be original. The colors shine through even from the digiphoto. [could you perhaps include a closeup or two for the enjoyment of the turkotek fans?]

Are you asking these question in preperation for a major reweaving and "restoration" of the piece ?

It seems to me that this might well be a carpet worth attempting to put into its complete form . . . I refer those to the discussion of how antique carpets were rewoven at the beginning of the twentieth century in OUT OF THE PAST THE ISTANBUL GRAND BAZAR by Berry.

Also might I ask for a closeup of the dates from the front and back ?

Thank you

Richard Farber

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 10-26-2002 05:01 AM:

Hi Jerry,

Here is a Fachralo prayer rug from Gans-Ruedin’s "Caucasian Carpets", plate on page 96, attributed to the end of 19th:

Fairly similar design, same color scheme than yours, minor borders with brown-blue (the brown changes to a yellowish color in some parts and the blue changes to light blue in others) saw-tooth pattern.
My bet, looking also to the other examples you show above, is that your minor outer border was a mirror of the inner one.
About edges and end treatment, Gans-Ruedin’s plate doesn’t show a satisfying level of detail.
That’s the best my scanner can do:

Best regards,


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 10-26-2002 05:50 AM:

The edges and end treatment: it could a be like the Kars/Kazak shown on Marla Mallett’s End Finishes Project in "Bands of Oblique Interlacing"?

Posted by Steve Price on 10-26-2002 07:30 AM:

Hi All,

Ed Krayer sent me this image of an old Fachralo in his collection, and asked that I post it as another example of this type.

I read the date on the left as 1330 AH, which corresponds to 1912 AD. The inscription on the right is outside the range of my ability to read such things.

Thanks, Ed.


Steve Price

Posted by Jerry Raack on 10-26-2002 10:27 AM:

Date and Color Details

I'm attaching (actually, I asked Steve Price to post them for me, so it may take a bit for them to show up in this reply) a couple of other pictures as you requested.
This first photo is a detailed shot of the date from the front. I don't have one handy from the back. I've done a really detailed look at the knots from the front and back on both of these dates, and I'm convinced that they are original. Another reason to believe the date is the quality of the colors, and the presence of the really deep purple, which is often found in early Kazaks (see next photo).

This second photo is of the upper left corner of my rug. I've chosen it, as it helps show the length of the wool pile, and has 9 of the 10 colors that are in the piece present in this shot. You can see it has Ivory, Red, Dark Blue, Pink, Green, Purple, Blue-Green(top part of the small medallion), Dark Brown and Yellow. Only the light blue color present in the bottom 1/3 of the rug is not shown in this shot.

Hope this helps everyone with the color, structure and date. By the way, while most of the weft is of the red wool with mostly 2 shots per row, there is also some use of the pink color as wefting, and there are rows with 4 shots per row. As you can see, someone decided to "tidy up" the rug by cutting off the edges and ends to make them neat. In doing so, they erased any vestiges of what once were the outer borders. Thus the guessing game.
You'll also note the large "tear" across the middle of the rug in the original photo, and the fact that the bottom half tapers to a smaller width at the bottom. I strongly suspect this is from retensioning of the loom, possibly after it was moved that caused this. With the uneven tension, the piece wore where it must have buckled and we see the result of this in the lower half of the rug. Thus is the fate of many rugs which have been utilized over the years.
As for reweaving, I've considered it. I'm struggling with this aspect a lot. It is a fine old rug with a lot of appeal as it is. However, it would look absolutely fantastic restored to show its full border system and to fix the large tear across the middle. There have been several salons and discussions in Turkotek on this issue, and I'll not try to open that door again. My view is that it is a personal decision as to what to do for whoever owns the piece.
Thanks for your comments,

Jerry Raack
Pataskala, Ohio

Posted by Jerry Raack on 10-26-2002 10:43 AM:

Thanks for reminding me of the picture in Gans-Reudin book. I have that book, and simply forgot about this example, which is a very nice late 19th century example. The Gans-Reudin example has only one "mirhab" at the top, rather than the 2 at opposing ends. There appear to be fewer of these examples than of the "2 mirhab" variety.
For the same reasons you express, I suspect my piece had the blue and dark brown sawtooth as an outer minor border.
I also looked at the Marla Mallett URL you gave and saw the "Oblique interlacing" end finish that is common on many Caucasian pieces. Do you think this end finish appeared at the top of the rug only, and after about 3/4" of plain red weave kelim end? So, there would have been the blue and black outside zigzag minor border, followed by the red and white stripe narrow separator border, followed by 2 rows of dark brown to form a stripe, then the plain red kelim weave and finally the oblique interlacing of the warp ends? That's certainly a possibility.
I have a Fachralo prayer rug dated 1903 that has all its original parts. It has a plain-weave red kelim at both ends, with the bottom warps simply having loops (where they were pulled off the loom pegs), and top warps are left cut straight off. It has a double red selvedge of the same color as the weft material.

Many thanks for supplying the information,

Jerry Raack
Pataskala, Ohio

Posted by Jerry Raack on 10-26-2002 11:05 AM:

Many thanks for the image of the rug dated 1330 from your collection. I'm amazed at how close the design is to the one I have. One wonders if rugs were copied from one another. It is difficult to pick out all the colors in your piece. Perhaps you could fill us in on what the colors all are. In particular, does your piece have a dark purple as in my piece? This color is usually an indicator of some age in Kazaks.
It is very helpful to see that they utilized a reciprocal of the inner minor border for the outer minor border, and that the edge finish (selvedge) appears to be red. Does yours have a double selvedge (2 bundles of about 2 warps each overbound with the same color red as is used in the wefts)? I suspect it does.

It's interesting for me to note with the examples that are being shown, the variation in the freedom of the drawing in the various pieces. This I believe has been a discussion item before, but these pieces help show that the later pieces start to become more rigid in design, and contain a different color palette than earlier pieces. In particular, in rugs with this design, Mike Tschebull told me that the earliest pieces all have a very wide color range, and often contain three reds. Later pieces have one red, and a narrower color range.
However, that notwithstanding, individual differences in rugs may be due as much to the abilities of the weaver and availability of materials as to any other factors. We've all seen really good paintings and really bad paintings all done in the same year. The difference is in the artist. Even within a single artist, they are more succesfull with some paintings than others. So, those few outstanding pieces we see are the result of the artist/ weaver "putting it all together" into a piece that is asthetically pleasing with regards to proportions, design and color. A tough combination when your doing it without the use of a cartoon; and with a cartoon, it often is far too stilted and formal to be pleasing. Of course, these are personal thoughts on these topics.

Many thanks for sharing,

Jerry Raack
Pataskala, Ohio

Posted by Richard Farber on 10-26-2002 12:41 PM:

Dear All,

there seems to be a post that has gone missing . . . .

anyway, I had the impression that this piece might well be of the age the woven date states and therefore not a piece created to satisfy the commercial demands that developed after 1870.

R. Farber

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 10-26-2002 01:01 PM:

Dear Jerry,

I suggested the Kars/Kazak finishes on Marla’s site because it shows some similarities with the (very unclear) detailed scan of Gans-Ruedin rug, but only as a possibility.
Now I wonder how those finishes are in Ed’s rug…
The resemblance between the two rugs is very strong indeed, considering they should be a century apart.
Well, the 1330 one is a bit more crowded, isn’t it? Not such a big difference one should expect after 99 years, though. What makes them different are the colors - at least for what I can see on my monitor. That purple is awesome!

PS - Richard, perhaps it was this posting that I withdraw for modifications after I saw Jerry’s close-ups.

Posted by Richard Farber on 10-26-2002 03:11 PM:

Dear everybody,

sorry the comment that I was refering to appeared in the "why are there so few. . . " thread

Mr. Bischop said

"My idea was that therefore kilims are much more collectable than the bulk of piled weaves which are late commercial products anyway (look at the "Fachralo Kazak" thread started by Jerry Raack to see what I mean)."

I actually dont think that the fragment of Mr. Raack is a 'commercial product' but rather a piece that predates the commercial wave that swept Persian and related areas in the last quarter of the 19th cent, as so clearly documented by Helfgott in Ties That Bind, Smithsonian Institution 1994.

I believe that the bulk of Kilims available are commercial products . . . or that is an impression from looking at carpet shops. And of course I agree that beautiful old kilims are beautiful and old.

Richard Farber

Posted by Michael Bischof on 10-26-2002 05:16 PM:

Hi everybody,
sorry, I was to lazy it explain in length what I meant:
the Raack piece is for me what I would call a "pre-commercial" one, but not the others. In the late pieces there are clear signs of what happens if rugs of this type are made with a commercial mind/necessity occupying the brain.
You remember: we discussed "decay" in that other thread "dyes and ethnographical value". It is fascinating to see even with digital photos the tremendous differences in
a. dye qualiy
b. treatment of colours in the rug
between early and late material with the material that you ( thanks to all of you !) have delivered here.

And, like most real village rug, the percentage of pieces which are notfragmented is low. And in few cases when they come in mint condition they do not sell because the number of customers who could estimate their age in spite of their condition is low.

Richard, of course kilims have been made for commercial reasons as well, especially in the Caucasus area. But in our essay we deal with early kilims. This is another area...


Michael Bischof

Posted by Vincent Keers on 10-26-2002 09:26 PM:


As promissed.

Best regards,

Posted by Jerry Raack on 10-26-2002 10:11 PM:

Actually your scan of the Gans-Reudin rug is quite good! I took out my copy of the book and put a magnifying glass to the top edge of the rug, and it simply shows as "red", which I am guessing is just a plain kelim end woven with the red weft material.
The bottom of the Gans-Reudin rug appears to be simply warps that end (either in a loop or are cut -- no way to know).
In any event your observations are good.
I too was amazed at the similarity of the rug dated 1330 to mine date 1230. Even though there is a bit of difference in design and spacial quality, and the colors are not quite as brilliant, the piece is close enough that it defies the age difference between the two (for me). The other rugs are usually a different story however. The colors in my rug truly are clear and outstanding, and are just as shown in the photos or even better -- including the purple which is fantastic.
I also note the difference between the color combinations (adjacent colors) in my rug and many of the others. Putting the pink next to the purple is really an awsome combination, as is the pink against the green. It all "just really works" for me. Glad others are enjoying it as well.
I think the other pieces that have been offered up are very good in their own right. I would be happy to own any of them! I thank those people for supplying the pics and encourage them to continue to add to our knowledge.

Jerry Raack
Pataskala, Ohio

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 10-26-2002 10:41 PM:

What is the evidence that these are dates? I see consecutive numbers 1,2,3 or 1,3,3. The series - if there is one - might go on to 1,4,3 and 1,5,3. I think you get the point. Are these numbers of something other than dates? Unless there is an insciption stating this was made in a particular year for whomever or whatever, I'm skeptical

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 10-27-2002 05:08 AM:

Hi Jerry,

I’m glad we agree on the similarity of the two rugs. I would like to include also the Gans-Ruedin one because it shares too many elements with the other two. Look at them side by side:

Colors, as usual, are a tricky matter: my scan of Gans-Ruedin is pretty faithful - at least on my monitor - but the original plate itself looks a little too "warm". Colors of Ed Krayer’s Fachralo, on the contrary, look a bit "cold". I would like to see more pictures of it before expressing a conclusive judgement.
I also agree with you when you say "I think the other pieces that have been offered up are very good in their own right. I would be happy to own any of them"!
Really!! (Sigh!)

For the very same reasons stated above I DEFINITELY don’t agree with you.
I don’t see any tremendous differences or decay in the rugs shown above, especially in the three of the side-by side picture. On the contrary, that makes me wonder about the plausibility of the dates, as Richard and Marvin mentioned already.
Dyes look better on Jerry’s Fachralo, granted, but the other two (having in mind the reservations expressed above) don’t look bad at all! And here we aren’t even speaking of synthetic dyes!

Which brings me to another subject… (I’m sorry, Jerry, for the digression)

In a current Salon thread you pontificated:

After seeing such a thing anybody who would use the "late" pieces or even the "semi-antiques" with partially synthetic dyes in this league has a neurosis, I would say, and recommend to move to areas where the own talents are. There must be some .... ;-)

Since these two threads are crossing and I am one of those neurotics, hope you don’t mind if I answer to that here.
Michael, previous arguments concerning the desirability of collecting later pieces with artificial dyes have failed with you.
Now consider this:
There is no doubt that anybody, given the choice, would go for the BEST.
1- It is better to drive (better still: to be driven in) a Rolls-Royce than a Volkswagen.
2- It is better to drink the finest wines than an honest table wine.
3- It is better to fly in a private jet than in economy class.


There is only one little problem: MONEY.

It is better to collect the finest, older textiles one can find on the market, OK, but what about if one cannot afford to pay the prices? Why not go for later cheaper pieces if one LIKES THEM? Otherwise you "recommend to move to areas where the own talents are".
What do you suggest…Collecting football cards perhaps?
Or, as in the three examples above:
1- Cannot afford a Rolls: so walk.
2- Cannot afford Chateauneuf-du-Pape? Drink water.
3- No money for an executive Jet? Stay at home.

Is that your solution Michael? Seems a bit of masochistic one.
Who is the neurotic here?
Best regards - to Memduh Kürtül too.


Posted by Steve Price on 10-27-2002 06:10 AM:

Hi People,

Marvin raises the question of whether the numbers inscribed on the dated pieces are really dates at all. Here's the basic information we have on them:
1. The are in the same location as the usual place dates are put in Caucasian rugs in which the numbers are unambiguously dates. What makes some of them unambiguous is that they are preceded by a little symbol sometimes described as a "handle" that is a shorthand for what we'd call in English "A.H." (year post-Hegirah).
2. They are in the same format as those dates - black numerals in a white rectangle.
3. They are clearly numerals and can be read as plausible dates (that is, they almost always come out to be between 1800 and 1930 if we read them as dates).
4. No plausible alternative to their being dates has been suggested, and I can't think of one.

This doesn't mean that the dates are the years they were woven - they could comemmorate events, for instance. And it doesn't mean that they are accurate, honest, or even understood by the weaver. But, on balance, it seems reasonable to adopt the conventional interpretation until some plausible alternative is offered.

I assembled a little database of dated Caucasians some time ago, and didn't find a single one with dyes including an obvious synthetic and an inscribed date earlier than 1877, nor did I find any with corroded black or brown dated later than about 1925. That is, the evidence from the dyes was consistent with the hypothesis that the numerals represented the years the rugs were woven, or some date not far from that.


Steve Price

Posted by Marvin Amstey on 10-27-2002 11:24 AM:

They could be inventory numbers; design numbers; a reference to who the weaver was; a price; a lot of other things. Sorry, Steve, still skeptical.

Pages (2): [1] 2