Posted by R. John Howe on 02-23-2006 04:32 PM:

Bold Graphics and Color

Dear folks -

One of the pieces to which I responded most in this exhibition was this simple, but impactful pile rug from Central Anatolia.

I took several shots of it.

First, a closer look at it's central field area.

Then an even closer look at one corner that lets you see the colors more adequately.

Marla Mallett has written that the shape of the latch hooks in pile pieces sometimes signal those likely taken from flatweave sources. Here is one chart she provides on her site.

The square-ish hooks in the central device in this piece are like those she sees as "pile" renditions, but those in the corner brackets and ends seem close to one of the shapes she sees as likely sourced in slit weave tapestry. It was interesting to me that two types of latch hook drawing are used in one piece, although this may not, in fact, be infrequent.

This piece is also given what could be seen as an optimistic dating: 1800-1850

The gallery label compares this rug with a long rug that hangs to the right of it. Its description says that this long piece was also made in the Cappadocia area of Central Anatolia and shares a similar palette.

This second long rug has lappet-like devices on its ends that we see on Turkish yastiks, but also on larger pieces like this one as well.

I post this second piece only because the gallery label refers to it. My real interest is in drawing attention to the strong graphics and colors of the square-ish piece.

Turkmen collectors tend to like "red" rugs with spacious design layouts, wherever they encounter them.


R. John Howe

Posted by Vincent Keers on 02-23-2006 08:38 PM:

Dear John,

The weaver had some graph layout problems at the start. But that doesn't bother me at all.
And it gives me a very western Turkish taste.
Not central. But what the heck. It's a beauty.
(The centre is western and the border is eastern so that's why....central.)
For me the main design is in gold.
All the other patterns are as to be expected in a Turkish piece.

This piece is rugArt.

Best regards,

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 02-24-2006 02:07 AM:

Hi John,

When I saw it first in your Salon I thought it was much smaller and less interesting. Seeing it with people on the side, I realized its bigger scale. It must make a hell of a presence.
The design itself its nothing extraordinary. Coupled with the magnificent colors its splendid.


Posted by R. John Howe on 02-24-2006 06:07 AM:

Hi Vincent -

You said in part:

"...For me the main design is in gold..."

Me: Yes, it's probably more accurate to describe this as a yellow ground piece. Certainly the field is on a yellow ground.

I took perhaps illicit advantage of the most outer strip of red on this piece as I described it as a "red" rug (although notice my quotes that I used to hedge my indication).

If you recall there was a possibly similar Gary Muse claim about the ground color of a particular kilim in our discussion of "ground color ambiguity" in the "color" salon

Probably not at bottom applicable here.

There is, as you know, a famous tradition of very old yellow ground village rugs in Central Anatolia which this piece may echo.

I think the color palette generally supports the Central Anatolian attribution. The red, the yellow, the purple, the green, and the bright blue are what might be described as classic Konya area colors.


R. John Howe

Posted by Cevat Kanig on 02-25-2006 04:28 AM:

Hi Folks,

The first rug picture that John posted is Capadocia rug, was woven in Central Anatolia Capadocia area UCHISAR village of Nevsehir city, probably woven around circa 1800, the yellow color of the rug is Saffron plant which is the most expensive spice in the world, one gram of it as expensive as gold.


Posted by R. John Howe on 02-25-2006 07:23 AM:

Hi Cevat -

The gallery label places this piece in Cappadocia. I moved to a more general level in my Konya colors reference. You have not only moved back to the more precise indication but have named a specific village as the likely source of this rug. Perhaps a map would help folks see where Cappadocia is in relation to Konya.

"Cappadocia" appears to be an area rather than a city.

Could you say a bit more about how you can tell that this piece was likely woven in UCHISAR village of Nevsehir city?

Interesting indication also about the likely source of this yellow dye (one can verify at the grocery store how very expensive saffron indeed is).

We probably can focus too frequently and too sharply on age estimates, but since you seem to agree with the gallery label that this piece might have been woven as early as 1800, would you say a word or two more about the indicators on which your estimate is based?


R. John Howe

Posted by Cevat Kanig on 02-25-2006 10:02 PM:

Hi John and All,

The Border design of the rug and the colors appears to me around circa 1800. These rugs are mostly finding in long size, I had been bought and sold some of them in the past, some of them was late 19th. Some of them were mid 19th. And some of them were early 19th. Century. This rug appears to me early 19th. Century, the wool of these rugs are softer then Konya wool, the source of the yellow of these rugs mostly Saffron, the color look like gold.
In the past, they use to tell us that saffron is juice of the gold, the yellow dyes in Cappadocia rugs looks like gold because it is Saffron plant.

Cappadocia is well know area in history, to sell something as Cappodocia may ad some value on the rug, thats why they say it is Cappodocia, if they told you that it is Uchisar village rug, you may be not even pronouns it, but when they tell you it is Cappodocia rug I think the seller thinks that it ads more value on the rug, just a bit make up in fact, assume that a nice coat has no name, same coat with a good label like "CERRUTI 1881" made in Italy. Ads value on it.

People use to buy and sell these kind of rug as Uchisar rug, some how it turn out Cappodocia rugs , it is possible when they are buying as Uchisar and selling Cappodocia, because people knows where Cappadocia is and it is also a historical name.

Attribution are made before and hart to change them to real names.


Posted by Jerry Silverman on 02-26-2006 03:02 AM:

Dear John,

Well, I guess that answers your questions.



Posted by R. John Howe on 02-26-2006 06:36 AM:

Jerry, Cevat -

Well, yes and no.

Cevat, I undestand that you think the borders and the palette on this piece indicate that it was made early in the 1800s. And also that the wool in a "Cappadocia" rug would likely be softer than that from a "Konya" piece. Could you say a little more about what the borders of a later piece might look like? And what would we notice about color differences in a later piece?

And I understand that the "Cappadocia" attribution might have marketing advantages with regard to both customer understanding and price. But what indicators do you personally use to assign this piece to the village of Uchisar? It seems to me often that Turkish attribitions rely heavily on design characteristics. A "village" attribution seems pretty precise.


R. John Howe

Posted by Cevat Kanig on 02-26-2006 08:26 PM:

Hi John,

In Oriental rugs, the weave, the wool and the colors of them tells you that where the rug was woven, of course the design characteristics tells which city and the villages that has been woven, but it is some times {rarely}, you can see Caucasian and Persian design in Turkish rugs. And Turkish designs in Caucasian and the Persian rugs even others rugs, the attributions are mostly makes by the weave, the wool and the color of them then design to find out where the rug was woven.

The later version of the RUGS are more bright colors and the designs are not clear compare to oldest version of them, oldest ones colors are mellower and the designs are more clear.

If I or you did not touch a rugs wool, and did not see the weave and the color of it, I personally cant make any attribution, the indicators to attribute Uchisar rug is very simple to answer for me it is that they teach me so. I have never been in Uchisar in my live but I have friend who is rug dealer in Turkey and was born in Nevsehir.

Below are Uchisar Rugs that my eyes see.

Thats how i see.


Posted by R. John Howe on 02-27-2006 07:43 AM:

Hi Cevat -

Thanks for the further indications and images.

It may seem odd to someone who has lived in Turkey that folks like me sometimes press for specificity with regard to things that are often simply "known" first hand by those there. Thanks for your patience with my probing.

Another reason I asked is that I have a large Turkish village rug fragment with quite similar colors (you can't see it in this image but there is also a soft green and a purple in my piece), but different designs, that is attributed only to the Konya area.

Since some experienced folks have estimated that my piece may have been made in the 18th century, the wool is not that used in the later sort of pieces you reference. The weave is quite coarse, perhaps only 25 kpsi. The handle is heavy but flexible.

I assume that my piece is attributed to the Konya area because it can't be pinned down more closely (despite a distinctive, bold design).

I'm always interested when attributions get very specific.


R. John Howe

Posted by R. John Howe on 03-01-2006 04:36 PM:

Dear folks -

As I said in another thread here, today I had lunch with a Turkish rug repair person of some experience.

I was able to connect to Turkotek and he read this thread to this point.

He disagrees with the precision of Cevat's attribution.

Peter Stone has a funny book entitled "The Comical Carpet." One of his humorous axiums about claims made in the rug world is "frequently mistaken, but never uncertain."

So here we are in a familiar position, caught between two experienced folks who disagree.

Not everybody here can be right.


R. John Howe

Posted by Cevat Kanig on 03-01-2006 05:41 PM:

Hi John,

Why don't you say his name and his idea then?


Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-01-2006 08:36 PM:

Dear John and Cevat,

I mentioned that I saw the gold design as the main design.
This is what I see:

This design can be found in Beloudch borders and in Qashqa and Afshar borders.
It's a small world.

Mostly this design is seen as an S.
But it isn't.
If you play with the design, the "Anatolian" design wil show up. Ganzhorn thinks it must be a cross. I don't think so. Some think it's a kind of Mother Goddess. But I don't think so.
The design in black and yellow (only half of it) must be the leading design for the weaver.

Just flip it horizontal, vertical etc.
It will never let you down.

Best regards,

Posted by R. John Howe on 03-01-2006 09:44 PM:

Hi Cevat -

I'm not naming him because I didn't ask his permission to quote him by name. He seemed reluctant to be more specific than Konya, although he did not disagree with Cappadocia.

I mentioned it here because this is a situation that folks like me frequently find ourselves in. People who are experienced and who may even be natives of a particular rug producing country often disagree amongst themselves about attributions, sometimes vehemently.

I have no idea who is right in this case at all. I am not in a position to cast doubt on either indication (I value your willingness both to share, to explain and to exemplify the indication you made).

But it is interesting that these two opinions seem quite different.

Vincent -

I see that I did not take in accurately your remark about the yellow areas.

It is true that some folks argue that the designs in what might be called the "negative" space in a given piece can be as important (some say more important) than the designs our eyes tend to go for following the more positive aspects.

In our early days here on Turkotek, one advocate of the importance of examining negative space, advised that when viewing a Turkmen piece is is always best to "see white first."


R. John Howe

Posted by Cevat Kanig on 03-01-2006 10:54 PM:

Hi John,

Your Restorer friend is not the only one who says that it is a Konya rug, there are some other people they say that it is a Konya rug like your friend, because they think so or they learn so. But they don't know. If they knew they would make specific village attribution, isnt it?

I made a specific village attribution.
Also if a person says that it is either Kirsehir or Ortakoy rug, that means to me "HE DOSN'T KNOW the rug that we are talking about could be for him either that or this. I doubt your friend never heard about Uchisar rug, did he?

Also you are claiming that your friend is experienced one, can you prove it us that he is experienced one or you think so? .

Best Regards.

Posted by Steve Price on 03-02-2006 05:42 AM:

Hi Cevat

John said that his friend is an experienced restorer of rugs. That is the sort of thing one can tell just by seeing him at work, and requires no further documentation. This doesn't make him an expert on geographic attribution of Turkish rugs, although it suggests that he knows something about the subject. I don't read anything beyond this in what John wrote, and he didn't imply that you know less than his friend does.

This is lurching in the direction of being about people. Let's keep it friendly and about rugs.

Steve Price

Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-02-2006 08:08 AM:

Let's talk about the rug for a change

All right,

No, I do not look at the negative space first.
Because in most cases this negative space doesn't look like anything I'm familiar with.

I look at the positive space first.
But in most cases the positive space, like in this rug, could be from eastern, western and yes central Anatolia. You'll find it in Greek, Hungarian, Russian etc. textiles. And because the image is in 0's and 1's; I can't feel it, smell it or take a bite. And colours in 0's and 1's are the least reliable source for making any specific attribution.

So I try to find a pattern that can be memorized easily in order to get a perfect grid.
Here it is:

A = The grid
B = What the weaver thought was the grid.
This can be seen at C, D and E.

A = At every next knotting line, the A-grid is present without any gaps and in close contact.
B = The "grid" (in my brain this is the negative space) has gaps.

So, what can I say?
The weaver didn't understand the grid.
Only in the end, at the top she got it right.
Because of the compression in the design the warp tension could be adjusted. (If not, the design must show elongation.)
This all, and the size leads me to the following conclusion: It's a beauty and I wish it were here. West, central, east, factory, village, Greek, Turkish, Jewish, Armenian, Kurdish or whatever.

Best regards,

Posted by R. John Howe on 03-02-2006 10:38 AM:

Hi Vincent -

Interesting analysis and points.

I think you and I may be using "positive" and "negative" differently here.

Is it the case that your "A" grid is drawn entirely in yellow? To some extent such readings can be arbitrary or personal, but I see the yellow as ground and so read the devices in other colors as the positive level.

I do see what your analysis suggests and I would not have seen it without you.

Despite this weaver's misconception of this design, I take it that her "mistakes" do not at bottom offend you.

Thanks, again for the lesson,

R. John Howe

Posted by Vincent Keers on 03-02-2006 08:27 PM:


Hi John,

What you see as positive, I see as positive.
But I wonder what the weaver saw as positive.
Maybe the same, but in memorizing the negative, the positive is allways perfect.
So the negative space is used as a kind of basic concept.
And because I see this basic concept in Qashqa borders as perfect as it can de done and as positive design, it could be that the Qashqa have kept the original design in tact. Not so strange because the Qashqa have Anatolian roots and because not fully integrated in the Iranian culture, the designs are more original.
So what we see as Anatolian from Anatolia is a simple leftover Oeps....wha hav I done?

Best regards,

Posted by Cevat Kanig on 03-14-2006 08:39 PM:

Hi Folks,

Below are more details of Cappadocia and?





Posted by Cevat Kanig on 05-02-2006 09:42 PM:




Cevat Kanig