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Collector Tips

Collector Tips

Carpets
Before investing in a carpet, you need to familiarize yourself with the history of its creation. Learning to understand carpets is a completely achievable thing, nevertheless, experience gained only over the years is needed to see when the carpet ornament is mechanical, inorganic, which deprives it of harmony and relegates it to the category of low-artistic works.
Nodes
There are two types of knots: the “symmetric” Turkish giordes knot, which can be seen on Turkish, Turkmen and Caucasian carpets, and the “asymmetric” Persian senne knot, found on Iranian, Indian, Egyptian and some Turkmen carpets. To obtain a “symmetrical” knot, the knot thread is pulled out of the ball, wrapped around two warp threads, and the ends are brought out to the front side between these threads. The knitting of the “asymmetric” knot is made for one warp thread, the free ends of the pile yarn are laid out on the front side on both sides of the warp thread.
Dyes
Vegetable dyes provide that sophisticated, non-cutting tint that collectors appreciate; chemical dyes are more intense and fade faster. The expert can associate a certain range of colors with a certain area. Plants such as dye moraine and tropical indigo shrubs produce red and blue pigments, while berries, fruits, bark and mushrooms provide a palette of primary and secondary colors. The scarlet color given by paint, the substance of which is cochineal, can be found only on carpets made from the late 19th century, mainly in Turkmenistan. In the folklore of the Turkmen tribes, an epic ballad with details of carpet production has survived to this day:
“The wool is longer for the warp, which is shorter for the weft, and then in cow urine, or in pistachio burunja, or in pomegranate infusion – it fixes the colors firmly.”
Dating
Carpets woven in Muslim countries before the beginning of this century often have a woven date of manufacture according to the Muslim chronology. Later Caucasian carpets often have two dates – a Muslim and a year A.D. The starting point of the Muslim chronology is called “hijra” and is associated with the resettlement of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622. To establish the year of carpet manufacture in the chronology we are accustomed to, divide the year according to the Muslim calendar by 33.7, then subtract the result from the year figure and add 622. To perform the opposite operation – with approximate accuracy – add 583 to the year according to the Muslim calendar.
Maintenance, care and storage
Experts do not object to cleaning and repairs, but you should not buy a heavily soiled or damaged carpet without first finding out whether the thing will survive cleaning. Carpet maintenance is sometimes more expensive than buying it. At home, you can safely use a vacuum cleaner, but you should never clean the carpet against the lint. It is preferable, however, to knock it out from the inside out. You can also dissolve a mild detergent in water, rub the carpet with a sponge or soft brush and then rinse. Antique carpets, especially silk carpets, should not be exposed to heavy stress, as well as exposed for a long time in bright sunlight. Change the location of the carpet from time to time to preserve the pile. Bright light, dampness and frequent touching of hands are very destructive. It is recommended to store carpets in a rolled up pile on a roller or wooden straight stick, in a dry and dark cabinet or room.
Copies – fakes – modern imitations
For a long time, both in the East and in Europe, it was customary to repeat the old patterns of oriental carpets all the time. With the skillful knitting of an oriental carpet, its colors are usually very lively. In the case of making counterfeits, they have to be jammed so that they appear dull with age. This kind of gray hair (discoloration) was done in a variety of ways, but this affects the material, it always means a decrease in quality. Sometimes the carpet is exposed only to strong sunlight, then washing it from the front surface, but usually fading is achieved with the help of lemon juice. Also, the old look is given by rubbing the coffee grounds on the surface of the pile. Another method is to moisten the face of the carpet with alcohol and set it on fire. As a result, only the ends of the woolen threads will burn and the carpet will take on a soft shade.
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