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Full text of "The oriental rug; a monograph on eastern rugs and carpets, saddle-bags, mats & pillows, with a consideration of kinds and classes, types borders, figures, dyes, symbols, etc., together with some practical advice to collectors"

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THE ORIENTAL RUG 



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Plate I. 

ANTIQUE LADIK 

Prayer Rug 

From the Collection of Mr. George H. Ellwancer 

Size: 3.10x6 




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ORIENTAL 



XA MONOGRAPH* 



EASTERN EDGS AND CARPETvS: 
SADDLE-BAG5, MAT^ 'iS PILLOWS! 
WnHA(X)JS!5E>EMnOK OF KttflW 
AND CU^SES.TYPES, BORDERS, 
FIGURES, DYES. SYMBOLS ETC 
TOGETHER.WITH SOME PRAG 
HCAL ADVICE TO COUECTOEI 




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Copyright, jgoj 
By Dodd, Mead and Company 



Published September, 1903 

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PREFACE 

THAT Oriental rugs are works of 
art in the highest sense of the 
term, and that fine antique speci- 
mens, of even modest size, have a financial 
value of ten, fifteen, or thirty-eight thou- 
sand dollars, has been recently determined 
at public auction. At this auction, several 
nations had a representative voice in the 
bidding, and the standard of price was fairly 
established. The value of rugs may have 
been imaginary and sentimental heretofore ; 
it is now a definite fact, with figures appar- 
ently at the minimum. What the maxi- 
mum may prove, remains to be seen. 

Choice old rugs, therefore, to-day come 
into the same class with genuine paintings 
of the old Dutch School ; with canvases 
of Teniers, Ruysdael, Cuyp, Ostade, or 



vi PREFACE 

whatever similar artist's work may have 
escaped the museums. They vie in pres- 
tige with the finest examples of Corot, 
Diaz, Troyon, or Daubigny ; and in mon- 
etary supremacy they overtop the rarest and 
grandest of Chinese porcelains. 

And yet the Oriental rug, as against 
such competitors for the wealthy collec- 
tors' favour, has hardly a history, and is 
practically without a name or a pedigree. 
Experts will tell you at a glance whether 
or not your Wouverman is genuine, or 
inform you where every true Corot was 
owned or whence it was bartered or stolen. 
In Chinese porcelains, the knowing dealer 
will easily prove to you not only under 
what dynasty but in what decade or year 
a particular piece was produced. 

The painting has descent, signature, or 
the brush mark of a school to father it. 
The Chinese vase, bowl, or jar has its 
marks, cyphers, stamps and dates, and an 
undoubted genealogy to vouch for its au- 
thenticity. The rug must speak for itself 



PREFACE vii 

and go upon its intrinsic merits. It is its 
own guarantee and certificate of artistic 
and financial value. 

The study of Oriental rugs, therefore, 
can never lead to an exact science or ap- 
proximate dogmatic knowledge. Who- 
ever is interested in them must needs rely 
upon his personal judgment or the seller's 
advice. There is practically only one 
current book authority in the premises. 

A new volume on the subject would 
thus seem to be well justified. It is the 
hope of the author that this book may 
prove itself sound and practical, and that it 
may help to make more clear and simple 
the right appreciation of a valuable rug. 

W. D. ELLW ANGER 

Rochester, N.Y., 1903 



CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

I. The Mystery of the Rug .... 3 

II. General Classification 13 

^' III. Of the Making, and of Designs, 

Borders, etc 21 

\JK IV. Of the Dyeing 35 

V. Of Persian Rugs, specifically . . 43 
VI. Caucasian Rugs, Daghestan and 

Russian Types 61 

VII. Of Turkish Varieties 69 

VIII. Turkoman or Turkestan Rugs . . 79 
\j ^ IX. Of Oriental Carpets, Saddle-Bags, 

Pillows, etc 93 

X. Auctions, Auctioneers, and Dealers 107 

XI. Inscriptions and Dates 121 

XII. General Observations and Particu- 
lar Advice 131 



LIST OF PLATES 

Plate 

I. Ladik Frontispiece 

II. KONIAH Facing page 22 

III. Kazak „ ,,36 

IV. Sehna „ „ 44 

V. Chichi „ „ 5° 

VI. Kabistan „ ,,62 

VII. Gheordez ,, ,,70 

VIII, KouLAH „ ,,72 

IX. Melez „ „ 74 

X. Beluchistan „ ,,80 

XI. Anatolian Pillows . . . . „ ,,94 

XII. Bergama „ ,,124 



THE MYSTERY OF THE RUG 



^fte Oriental H^uq 

Chapter I 
THE MYSTERY OF THE RUG 

TO judge of an Oriental rug rightly, 
it must be looked at from sev- 
eral points of view, or, at least, 
from two aspects ; against the light and 
with the light. From the first standpoint, 
against the light of knowledge, speaking 
figuratively, there may be seen only a num- 
ber of rude and awkward figures in crude 
colours scattered erratically on a dark or 
dingy-lookiiTg background, a fringe of 
coarse and ragged strings at either end, and 
rough frays of yarn at the sides. This is 
what is accepted by many people as an 
Oriental rug. And indeed this is what 
most rugs are. 

3 



4 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

If, on the other hand, we view our rugs 
with the light of a better wisdom and 
happier experience, we will see the richest 
and softest of colours, the most harmonious 
shadings and blendings, medallions brilliant 
as jewels, or geometrical designs beautiful 
as the rose windows of a cathedral ; or, 
again, graceful combinations of charm- 
ingly conventionalized flowers and delicate 
traceries and arabesques, — all these dis- 
playing new glories of ever changing and 
never tiring beauty. Each woven picture, 
too, is as soft to tread upon as a closely 
mown lawn, and caresses the feet that sink 
into its pile. These are Oriental rugs as 
their admirers know and love them. 

Perhaps the chief charm of all such 
beautiful rugs is in their mystery. Their 
designs are odd and strange and full of 
hidden meanings, and their effects are often 
evolved from the crudest and clumsiest 
figures, hooks and squares and angles ; 
they owe their wealth of colour to simple 
vegetable dyes from the woods and fields 



THE MYSTERY OF THE RUG 5 

and gardens, and yet the secret of many 
of these dyes is still a secret, or has long 
ago been lost. The places whence the 
rugs come, the people who make them 
and those who sell them, all are myste- 
rious and hard to know and understand. 

Moreover, broadly speaking, there are 
no experts on the subject, no authorities, 
no literature. He who would know them 
must learn them by experience. The rug 
dealers, for the most part, seem to treat 
their wares merely as so much merchan- 
dise, and what knowledge concerning them 
they are willing to impart is so contradic- 
tory as to be almost valueless. Few of 
them would agree upon the name of an 
example which might be out of the ordi- 
nary, or be able to tell where it was made. 
Ask of them what a " Mecca " is, and 
they will stammer in their varying answers. 
And yet the Armenians who handle most 
of the rugs in this country are often highly 
educated, and fully appreciate the beauty 
of their wares. Their taste, however, is 



6 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

not always our taste, and all the Oriental- 
ists seem to retain their barbaric fondness 
for crude and startling colours. When 
we would turn to books for information 
in the matter we find that the authorities 
are not many. They might be numbered 
on your fingers and thumbs. These few 
books, moreover, have been published only 
in limited editions at high prices, and are 
not easily obtainable. One of the most 
important of such works is the sumptu- 
ously illustrated, elephantine folio, issued 
in Vienna in 1892 by the Imperial and 
Royal Austrian and Commercial Museum. 
And, elaborate as this authority is, the 
modest editor, by way of apology, says in 
the preface that " no pretensions are made 
toward perfection owing to the little in- 
formation that we can fall back upon." 
A recent authority on the subject is 
John Kimberly Mumford, and his volume 
on Oriental Rugs, published in 1900, 
has thrown much light on the subject. 
Too great praise cannot be given to this 



THE MYSTERY OF THE RUG 7 

work and to his later studies in the same 
field. 

Still, no one knows it all, and the mys- 
tery of Oriental rugs only deepens as we 
try to learn. The little that any one may 
really know of them through experience, 
through questioning and elusive answers, 
through conversations with obliging and 
polite vendors, and through foreign travel 
even, is, when all is said, only a patch- 
work of knowledge. Consider how stu- 
pendous and hopeless would be the task of 
one who would dare endeavour to analyze, 
criticise, classify, and co-ordinate the paint- 
ings of the past five centuries, were no 
names signed to them or no appreciable 
number of pictures painted by the same 
known artist. 

He who would write of rugs has a like 
condition to face. 

And alas ! also, whoever would write 
on this subject must now treat of it prin- 
cipally as history. The characteristic rugs, 
the antique rugs, the rare specimens. 



8 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

are seldom to be bought. They are 
in museums, or in the hands of col- 
lectors who hold them in even a tighter 
fist. 

Twenty years ago the warning was 
given that the choice old rugs were grow- 
ing scarce ; the years following found fewer 
still upon the market. Two or three years 
ago one of the largest wholesale houses in 
New York, carrying a stock of half a mil- 
lion or a million dollars, had no antiques 
to show. In the autumn of 1902, an- 
other large New York importer who 
had just returned from Persia, Tiflis, and 
Constantinople admitted that he had 
not brought back one valuable antique 
piece. 

Nevertheless, the true enthusiast need 
not be discouraged. From wandering 
dealers, in odd corners, at the unexpected 
or by chance, one may happen on a choice 
specimen. 

The very word " Persian" is a synonym 
for opulence, splendour, gorgeousness ; and 



THE MYSTERY OF THE RUG 9 

" Oriental '* means beauty and wonder and 
the magic of the " Arabian Nights.*' From 
the Aladdin's cave of the mystical East, 
therefore, we may still hope to gather 
treasure and spoil. 



GENERAL CLASSIFICATION 



Chapter II 
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION 

MOST of the rugs of commerce 
in this country come from 
Persia, Turkey, Asia Minor, 
Turkestan, the southern part of Russia, 
Afghanistan, and Beluchistan ; a few also 
from India. The rugs are named from 
the provinces or cities where they are 
woven, and to the uninitiated, the names 
seem to have been as fearfully and wonder- 
fully made as the rugs themselves. They 
are spelled one way on the maps and 
every other way in catalogues and adver- 
tisements. In enumerating the most fa- 
miliar ones it may be well to write their 
names as nearly phonetically and conven- 
tionally as possible. A few rugs have 
trade appellations only, without regard to 

13 



14 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

topography ; and, often, unknown towns 
are called into requisition for fanciful titles 
to please the purchaser. 

Of course the names of rugs may mean 
nothing to your man-of-all-work, whose 
duty it is to chastise them upon the lawn. 
But there is poetry in the names of the 
roses, and you cannot half enjoy their 
beauty unless you know a Mabel Morrison 
from the Baroness Rothschild ; Cecile 
Brunner from the Earl of DufFerin ; or 
can give the proper rank and title to Cap- 
tain Christy, General Jacqueminot, and 
Marechal Niel. And who would dare to 
talk of laces that could not give a French 
or Dutch or Irish name to them ? Or, 
when painted pictures instead of woven 
ones were under discussion, who would 
venture to admit that he had heard for 
the first time the names of some of the 
Old Masters, or did not know any of 
the Flemish School, or could not at least 
touch his hat to a Gainsborough or a 
Romney ? There were " old masters " in 



GENERAL CLASSIFICATION 15 

wool as well as on canvas, as the Gheordez 
rugs most particularly prove, and though 
the artists' signatures are missing or mean- 
ingless, their classification is important. 
Once learned, and then difficult to re- 
member withal, rugs answer to their 
names like old and familiar friends. If 
Homer catalogued the ships, surely the 
masterpieces of the Eastern loom are 
worthy of brief nomenclature. 

The Persians come first, and perhaps in 
the following order of excellence : Kir- 
man, Sehna, Kurdistan, Khorassan, Sera- 
bend, Youraghan, Joshghan (Tjoshghan), 
Feraghan, Shiraz, Gulistan, Mousul, etc. 
The rug dealers frequently speak of a 
" Persian Iran," but as Iran is the native 
expression for Persia, the name is as tauto- 
logical as are the dealer's laudatory adjec- 
tives. So far as the term " Iran " can be 
differentiated, it is now applied with some 
propriety to rare old Persian rugs of fine 
weave only, whose proper name may be in 
doubt. 



i6 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Among the Turkish rugs, which are 
mainly those from Asia Minor, the Your- 
dez (or Gheordez), the Koulahs, Koniahs, 
and Ladiks are by far the finest, and then 
come the Bergamas, vying often for like 
high honour, the Melez, and many others 
which are vaguely classed as Anatolians. 

From Turkestan come the numerous 
Bokharas and the more uncommon Samar- 
kands ; from Afghanistan, the Afghans and 
the Khiva, and Yamoud-Bokharas. But 
the two rugs last named seem to have a 
doubtful paternity, and should perhaps be 
classed with the other Bokharas. 

Beluchistan sends but one type, which is 
generally unmistakable, although Afghans, 
Bokharas, and Beluchistans all have a family 
likeness. 

To Caucasia in Russia are credited the 
Kabistans, Shirvans, Chichis (Tzi-tzis), 
Darbends, Karabaghs, Kazaks, and Gengias, 
also the Soumacs, or so-called Cashmeres. 
The first four of these are somewhat simi- 
lar in character, and not many years ago 



GENERAL CLASSIFICATION 17 

were generally sold in this country under 
the indiscriminate title of Daghestans. We 
are more specific in our knowledge now, 
and can classify and differentiate an old 
Baku rug, or a Kuba, which is a Kubistan, 
and therefore what we used to call an 
antique Kabistan. 

India provides us only with some fine 
large carpets mostly of modern make, and 
also with many imitations of Persian rugs, 
made in part by machinery like the cur- 
rent substitute for a Turkish towel. 



OF THE MAKING, & OF 
DESIGNS, BORDERS, ETC. 



Chapter III 




OF THE MAKING, & OF 
DESIGNS, BORDERS, ETC. 



I 



N order to appreciate 
the beauty of rugs, it 
is well to remember 
how they are made, and with 
what infinite patience the 
bits of wool are knotted onto 
the warp one after another, 
knot upon knot and tie after 
tie, until the perfect piece is 
finished. Yet, no ! Finished 
it may be, but never perfect. Deliberately, 
if necessary, it must show some defect, in 
proof that Allah alone is perfect. Such 
at least is the poetical version of a crooked 
rug as the seller tells it. Yet never was 
a vendor but will expatiate fluently on the 

21 



22 THE ORIENTAL RUG 




merits of a rug 
}^^ which lies true 
and straight 
and flat upon the floor, as a good 
rug should. It is a common sight 
nowadays in shop windows to see 
some wandering artisan plying his 
trade for the edification of the 
passer-by. In his own home it is 
generally a woman who does the 
weaving, and very commonly the 
whole family take part in it. More 
often still the rugs were woven 
by an Oriental maid for her prospective 
dowry, and the practice yet obtains. A 
specimen of her handicraft in textile art 
was a bride's portion and marriage gift ; it 
was considered as essential to the pro- 
ceedings as the modern trousseau. This 
offering was a work of love and often a 
work of years. It is but natural, under 
such circumstances, with dreams, hopes, 
and fancies for inspiration, and the stimulus 
of rivalry, too, that masterpieces should 



MAKING, DESIGNS, BORDERS 23 



result. These Eastern marriage portions 
correspond to the " linen chest '* of our 
ancestral Puritan Priscillas ; and similar 
customs now survive in many countries. 
Except that the "accomplishment" of the 
Oriental maiden is so much more im- 
portant, it might also be compared to the 
beadwork so diligently done by our grand- 
mothers. If the Persian bride gave infinite 
toil and pains to innumerable knots and 
ties, our belles of the last century were also 
unwearying in their tasks, and strung more 
and smaller beads than any would care 
to count or finger now. The de- 
signs on these bead-bags were 
mostly crude and " homely," and 
their art was very simple. But 
though the handiwork of the 
Orientals was expended in a bet- 
ter cause with 
worthier skill, 
both linen 
and wool, 
and even 



Persian, Caucasian 





24 THE ORIENTAL RUG 




' beads, be- 
spoke a la- 
bour of love 
in such em- 
ployments; 
which, alas ! is 
ut of date to-day. 
gs of this charac- 
gathered from house 
to house, together with 
r^^ some few stolen from mosque 
Feraghan L^f Design OX palace, Were the first ripe 
spoils of twenty years ago. Of course the 
supply was soon exhausted. It is an inter- 
esting question whether it might not be 
possible, in the East, to revive this high 
class of work among the girls. Instead 
of establishing great factories for machine- 
made products from set designs, could not 
the most skilful of the girls be induced by 
good prices to create original pieces and 
rejuvenate the old art ? 

The method of weaving is most simple. 
The warp is stretched on a rude wooden 



MAKING, DESIGNS, BORDERS 25 



frame, and this warp is either wool, linen, 
or cotton. The knotting is begun at the 
bottom and worked from right to left. 
A bit of woollen yarn about two inches 
long is deftly twisted between the strands 
of the warp, then tied in a secure knot, 
and the ends left as they are. This knot 
of yarn is then secured in place by one or 
more twists of the end of the warp, and 
then another knot of yarn is tied and 
the process repeated ad infinitum until the 
bottom row is finished and another row 
begun. Not till the rug is all made are 
the ends of the knots cut, ac- 
cording to the length of nap 
desired. Such, at least, was the 
original method, although the 
various knots 
are all a mys- 
tery to any 
but the ini- 
tiated, by 
whom they 
are generally 




26 



THE ORIENTAL RUG 



classified as two only. When one square 
inch of rug is completed, according to the 
quality of the rug and the coarseness or 
fineness of the yarn, there have been thus 
laboriously tied from one hundred to five 
hundred knots, not uncommonly a thou- 
sand and more in some museum pieces. 
And all this v^^hile the weaver is working 
with his brains as well as with his fingers 
and keeping true to the design and colour 
scheme which he carries only in his head. 
Except in the few inten- 
tioned copies, specially made, 
they had formerly no pat- 
terns to follow. Each par- 
ticular weaver, however, 
was wont to keep to the 
general design and col- 
^{o^ ouring which distinguished 
o**'"^? his particular locality. 

Of designs it may be 
said, generally, that they 
were originally individual 
trademarks, and, of them- 



Koniah Field 




MAKING, DESIGNS, BORDERS 27 

selves, stamped the locality 
of their weavers. Later, as 
know^ledge and civilization 
spread and tribe grew to communi- 
cate with tribe and nation with 
nation, local designs came to be 
used indiscriminately. For exam- 
ple, you will find in the semi- 
antique Feraghans or Shiraz, or 
Kiz-Killims as well, the distinctive 
and unmistakable Sehna models. 
On the other hand, certain definite, 
primal, and unchanged designs, both 
in the field and border, mark some rugs ab- 
solutely and exclusively; as the Bokharas 
and Afghans. In many, their classifica- 
tion is fixed, or at least approximated, 
rather by their borders than by the figur- 
ing of their fields. There are many bor- 
der designs surely determining their origin 
and the region to which they properly 
belong. These borders may have been 
borrowed or stolen, or may have naturally 
spread to other regions, even in the old 




28 



THE ORIENTAL RUG 



time ; and they may be adapted to various 
other makes to-day. Their evident indi- 
viduaHty of design tells its own history 
just the same. 

It is not difficult to master the char- 
acteristic features of the borders of many 
types ; and, once know^n, they make a fair 
foundation of knowledge for the collector. 
They are often truer and safer guides to 
classification than are the designs of centre 
or field. Indeed, the study of borders, 
inner, middle, and outer borders, and 
borders characteristic, modified, or excep- 
tional would make a book of wondrous 
artistic interest and beauty of design. 
Even the item of selvedge, 
particularly in the Beluchis- 
tans, shows great skill in 
colouring and pattern. 

The 
consider- 
ation of 
charac- 
teristic 




MAKING, DESIGNS, BORDERS 29 



patterns in field and border is so involved 
with verbal description and specification 
in the various classes of rugs that an at- 
tempt at complete pictorial illustration of 
such figures in their proper place is prac- 
tically impossible. A few reproductions 
are shown in this chapter which may- 
serve as examples. Some of them are 
more particularly considered elsewhere in 
the text, as reference may show. 

The Serabend border is referred to on 
p. 50, and is quite unmistakable; and the 
Persian border (p. 23) is 
familiar to every one, and 
appears frequently on 
Caucasian rugs of every 
quality and every age. 
The Feraghan leaf design 
is noticed on p. 52, and 



Crab Bordtr 




30 THE ORIENTAL RUG 





wherever used in 
the drawing, determines 
its class as absolutely as any figure 
may. The Rhodian border is referred to 
more particularly on p. 72, and the Koniah 
design and Koulah border are described in 
their proper place, p. 72. Other Persian 
borders are most interesting, although they 
may not particularize any class or locality. 
Such are the turtle and crab borders (pp. 
28 and 29), and the lobster design, at the 
head of this page. The origin of these 
strange forms of ornament as applied to 
carpet-weaving adds only another mystery 
to the subject. But dyes were derived not 
only from leaves and roots, but also from 
insects, molluscs, and crustaceans. It must 
be that the origin of the colour originally 
suggested these symbols of marine or in- 
sect life for decorative effect. The more 
they were used, however, the more con- 
ventionalized and meaningless they appear. 



MAKING, DESIGNS, BORDERS 31 

recent weavers not appreciating what they 
represented. Old pieces show more clearly 
the evident model. But old pieces also 
often show original creations in border and 
design, far more artistic than the usual 
types. The Kazak border of the titlepage 
is an example. The discriminating col- 
lector, when a choice offers, will do well 
to avoid the commonplace. 




\ 



OF THE DYEING 



Chapter IV 

OF THE DYEING 

THE dye, the tone, the richness, 
and colour value of a rug was, and 
still is, an essential characteristic 
of the weaving of each class and region ; 
and it was formerly not only essential but 
exclusive, the dyes being often trade secrets 
or, more truly said, tribe secrets. 

Of course every one knows that the 
colouring of the yarn of the best Oriental 
rugs is derived only from vegetable or ani- 
mal dyes, and to this is due their beauty 
and durability. It may be noted also, in 
parenthesis, that it is the yarn and not the 
wool that is dyed. Alas, that modern 
weavers. Oriental and Occidental, have 
learned to substitute mineral or aniline 
dyes! These not only destroy the wool 

35 



36 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

and fade badly, but when the fabric is 
cleaned or wet by any chance the colours 
run, and leave their stains and blemishes. 
Of course, too, they fail to give the rich- 
ness, depth, and lustre of the good old 
method. Generally, their manifest crudity 
bespeaks the poor quality and coarseness of 
their make. Some vegetable dyes also 
fade, but they fade only into softer and 
more pleasing shades, and more delicate 
and harmonious blendings, as witness, in 
many antiques, the soft and beautiful tones 
of pink, salmon, and fawn which come 
from raw magentas, as the back of the rug 
will prove. But that magenta dye was of 
the old school. Modern magentas seem 
never to fade away gracefully and becom- 
ingly. It must be noted, however, while 
speaking of the dyes used in the fine old 
rugs and in the best rugs of to-day, that 
for one or two colours resort was, and is, 
had to mineral dyes. Many of the best 
old Turkish specimens have thus suffered 
in their blacks and browns, and many a 



Plate III. 

ANTIQUE KAZAK 

From the Collection of Mr. Erickson Perkins 

Size : 5.9 x 7.2 



OF THE DYEING 37 

museum exhibit is eaten to the warp where 
these colours occur. It may be well to 
remember this, as some varieties of Mousul 
and of Turkish weave, thus worn to the 
warp in spots, leaving the other figures 
raised and in relief, are palmed off on the 
innocent purchaser as rare, " embossed '* 
pieces. Iron pyrites is the mineral from 
which these black dyes are made, and some 
Turkish weavers seem to know no vege- 
table black or brown. In some of the 
best Persians, Serabends particularly, the 
green which is used in the borders has 
the same fault as the Turkish blacks 
and browns; and if it does not "fade 
away suddenly like the grass," at least it 
leaves the nap "cut down, dried up, and 
withered." 

The subject of the various dyes might 
be extended to a separate monograph, for 
really the whole history of rug making 
depends upon the dyes used. The day 
that the aniline, petroleum dyes came into 
use doomed the perfect making of carpet or 



38 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

rug; and not all the strictest laws of the 
Medes and Persians — which is to say, the 
Shah of Persia — have availed to prevent 
the use of the mineral dyes, and the com- 
plete demoralization of modern weaving. 
You may find even in choice, closely 
woven, artistic Shirvans and Kabistans 
of fifteen and twenty years ago some 
few figures in certain colours which are 
clearly and manifestly aniline. They are 
the strong reds and especially the bright 
orange. And in some modern Kurdistans, 
which should be free from guile, a few 
figures betray the same telltale glaring 
media. Used with a sparing hand, as 
they are, they do not ruin a rug, but they 
are none the less a blotch upon its fair 
repute. The theory is, so far as con- 
cerns the new Kurdistans, for instance, 
that these few mineral dyes are bought 
by the weavers from some traveller or 
agent by chance and inadvertently, and 
without knowledge of their character. 
Otherwise they would hardly be used for 



/ 



OF THE DYEING 39 

a few figures in a finely woven piece, 
where all the other dyes are vegetable. 

One expert Armenian has a sure test for 
mineral dyes in his tongue. When in 
doubt he cuts a bit of wool from the rug, 
nibbles it a minute or so, and then pro- 
nounces his sure verdict. But the test is a 
delicate one, and the fruit of knowledge is, 
presumably, bitter. 

Again, in speaking of colours and shad- 
ings, it may be interesting to know why 
solid colours so often come in streaks, 
changing abruptly, for instance, from dark 
blue to light blue, or dark red to light red. 
You may have any of several explanations : 
that the weaver, dipping his wool into the 
dye, stopped, for any trivial word or inter- 
ruption, and the wool took on a stronger 
hue ; or, that another hand or one of the 
women or children took up the work ; or, 
again, that the plant, from which he bruised 
that particular hue, gave out in his back gar- 
den. Any of these reasons may be right. 
But the more credible one is to believe 



40 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

that the artistic weaver knew how effective 
is this change of colour, and what a pleas- 
ing, changing, varying light and shade it 
gives to his masterpiece. 



OF PERSIAN RUGS, SPECIFICALLY 



Chapter V 
OF PERSIAN RUGS, SPECIFICALLY 

TO describe in detail the charac- 
teristics of all the classes of rugs 
and carpets that have been men- 
tioned would be hardly possible, even with 
a hundred object lessons. The peculiar 
features of some of them, however, may be 
noted. But first be it observed that the 
term " antique " as applied to rugs is gen- 
erally sadly abused. A rug is not beauti- 
ful simply because it is old. It must have 
been fine when new, it must have been 
carefully preserved, and it must rejoice in a 
ripe old age. Time must have dealt kindly 
with it, and only softened and mellowed 
its original beauties. Let the antiques 
which are but rags and tatters, however 
valuable for their design, hang in the mu- 

43 



44 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

seums, where they belong ! The only merit 
of one of these genuine remnants of three 
or four centuries ago is in their originality 
of design. They were creations and not 
imitations, and made by true artists and not 
merely skilled weavers. Choose you, in- 
stead, a more modern rug of fine quality 
which will improve from year to year as 
long as you may live to enjoy it. 

It may also be premised that the sizes 
of rugs run from about three feet to six 
feet wide by four to ten feet long. Few 
rugs approach squareness, and rugs wider 
than seven or eight feet are classed as 
carpets. 

Some of the most beautiful pieces used 
to come, and still do, in the form of "strips,'* 
" hall rugs," or " stair rugs," according to 
trade parlance. They are worthy of a 
better name, which is their Persian term, 
" Kinari." They were made in pairs to 
complete the carpeting of a Persian room, 
being placed on either side of a centre 
rug, with two shorter strips at the top and 



Plate IV. 

ANTIQUE SEHNA 

From the Collection of the Author 

Size : 2.4 x 3.1 

This is apparently one side of a pillow. The other side, 
which is also in the possession of the author, is exactly similar, 
except that the colours are reversed, the medallion being red 
and the corners blue. This mat has 33 to 36 knots to the 
running inch, making over 1,000 to the square inch, or more 
than a million knots in the small piece. 



OF PERSIAN RUGS 45 

bottom. More fine specimens of these 
long strips are now to be found than of 
smaller sizes, and they should not be 
neglected by the collector. By artistic 
arrangement and device they will accom- 
modate themselves to almost any house, 
somewhere, and few choicer prizes can 
be bought to-day. 

The Persians are eminently the best rugs 
to buy. They are usually finer and more 
closely woven than the others, and more 
graceful in design, and seem to show a 
more refined and aristocratic art. The Kir- 
mans would be the first choice, and are to 
the rug dealer what diamonds are to the jew- 
eller, a staple article which he must keep in 
stock, and which finds a ready sale. But 
even were it possible to buy a true diamond 
Kirman, the very catholicity of taste to 
which diamonds and Kirmans appeal de- 
tract from their merit in the eyes of those 
who seek for more individuality. For the 
new Kirmans, fine, soft, and clean as they 
look, are all very much alike, and mostly 



46 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

copies or variations of a few particular an- 
tique forms, with a floriated medallion in 
the centre, or a full floriated panel, and 
floriated corners. A familiar design is a 
vase of flowers in graceful spread, with birds 
perching on the sprays. Or, again, they 
show some adaptation of " the tree of life.'* 
This symbolical figure appears in many 
forms, now denuded of its leaves like the 
" barren fig tree," and covering the whole 
rug, and now in smaller form as " the cy- 
press tree," or the sacred "cocos," three or 
more to each rug, in full foliage and look- 
ing for all the world like certain wooden 
fir trees. It needs only the combination 
of these trees with the stiff wooden animals, 
far more wonderful than Noah ever knew, 
and tiny human figures, which might be 
Shem, Ham, and Japhet, all of which adorn 
these rugs, to remind one of the Noah's 
ark of childhood. Representations of birds, 
men, and animals never appear on Turkish 
rugs, the explanation being that the Turks, 
as Sunna Mohammedans, the orthodox sect. 



OF PERSIAN RUGS 47 

are opposed to them on religious grounds ; 
while the Shiites, the prevailing sect in 
Persia, have no such scruples. 

But before leaving the subject of the 
Kirmans, be it well understood, by the 
wise and prudent, that not one out of a 
thousand, or indeed ten thousand, of those 
on the market to-day (and they are as 
common as door-mats) has any pretence 
to genuineness. They are faked in every 
way. They are washed with chemicals to 
give them their soft colourings, they are 
made by wholesale and, it is said, in part 
by machinery, and they are no more an 
Oriental rug than is a roll of Brussels car- 
pet or an admitted New Jersey product. 
To the credit of whom it may concern, it 
must be stated that the dipping, washing, 
and artificial aging of these commercial 
pieces is mostly done by cunning adepts 
in Persia before their works of art are ex- 
ported. Only an expert's advice should 
be relied on in buying a Kirman, to- 
day, and even that should have a good 



48 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

endorser. The distinction between Kir- 
mans and Kirmanshahs was founded in 
fact and was important. But the latter 
term as now used in the trade is only 
poetical. It is the same new Kirman 
euphemized. No other rugs except silk 
rugs, which come under the same ban, 
have proved such a profitable swindle to 
unscrupulous and ignorant vendors, and 
have given a bad name to the dealers who 
try to be honest in their calling. 

The Sehnas are highly prized by the 
Orientals and Occidentals. Old examples 
are uncommon and are very choice. 
" Their fabric gives to the touch the sense 
of frosted velvet. They reveal the Meis- 
soniers of Oriental art," says a writer on 
the subject. Some of these come in very 
small sizes, like mats, two feet by three. 
They have a diamond design, the centre 
being a graceful floriated medallion on a 
background of cream, yellow, red, or green, 
with floriation at the corners, making the 
diamond. They are the most exquisite of 



OF PERSIAN RUGS 49 

Persian gems, and are further considered in 
another chapter. 

The Sehnas have the nap cut very close, 
v^ellnigh to the warp, and are therefore 
often too thin for utility. They do not 
lie well on the floor, and by reason of their 
short nap look cold and lack richness and 
lustre. If you can find a choice one, how- 
ever, and if, happily, as sometimes occurs, 
it may have a little depth of nap, you will 
own a pearl of great price. 

The Khorassans are very soft and thick. 
They generally show the palm-leaf or loop 
design in their borders, and are altogether 
desirable. Their colouring almost always 
inclines to magenta, but time subdues this 
to a delicate rose. Time has also subdued 
most of the specimens offered, to the sad 
detriment of their edges and ends. The 
ends are very seldom perfect, and age 
seems to bite into the borders of the 
Khorassans with a strange and voracious 
appetite. It is well to consider these de- 
fects in your choosing. 



so THE ORIENTAL RUG 

The Serabends and their class have one 
border peculiar to themselves and a centre 
of double, triple, or multiple diamonds in 
outline, in which are scattered irregular 
rows of small figures, generally palm leaves, 
so called. This peculiar figure has three 
or four different names, the palm leaf, 
the pear, the loop, etc. It was originally 
worked into the fabric of the finest Cash- 
mere shawls, and represents the loop which 
the river Indus makes on the vast plain in 
upper Cashmere, as seen from the mosque 
there, to which thousands made their pil- 
grimage. It was thus intended as a most 
sacred symbol and reminder. The Sera- 
bends are firm in texture, lie well, and are 
most satisfactory. Sometimes, however, 
the green in them shows the faults of an 
aniline dye. Their designs are peculiar to 
themselves, but never become monoto- 
nous. The palm-leaf pattern is of course 
common to many kinds of rugs. But 
the varieties in the form and size of it are 
infinite. 



Plate V. 
CHICHI 

About forty years old 

From the Collection of the Author 

Size : 3.6x5.10 



1%"*;' ^<;-- --"^^'S^i^/'A^Va';-.--' .■ v^^-;sb ,.*^-^^^^ ?j^- 




OF PERSIAN RUGS 51 

The Shiraz rugs are warm in colour, lus- 
trous, but rather loosely woven. Many of 
them show the "shawl pattern," small hori- 
zontal or diagonal stripes. These striped 
rugs, however, are always wavering and 
irregular in design and soon tire the eye. 
They are well passed by. Reproductions 
of the old Shiraz designs with the centre 
field filled with innumerable odd, small 
figures used to be common a few years 
ago. They were very rich and handsome. 
Almost all of them, however, have the 
great defect of being crooked. They will 
puff up here or there, and, pat, pull, or pet 
them as you may, it is hopeless to try 
to straighten them. They are frequently 
called Mecca rugs, on the generally ac- 
cepted statement that these are the rugs 
usually chosen to make the pilgrimage to 
that shrine. 

The Youraghans and Joshghans (Tjosh- 
ghans) possess the general excellences of 
the best Persians, but they are not com- 
monly seen. The Joshghans will show in 



52 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

their field a light lattice-work design with 
conventionalized roses, or graceful diaper- 
ings and patternings, of the four-petalled 
or six-petalled rose. The Persian rose is 
single, of course, and appears in many 
simple forms. The Joshghans might be 
the prototypes of some of the old Kubas 
or Kabistans, except that floriation was re- 
placed by tiling and mosaic work in the 
Daghestan region. 

The Feraghans are not as finely woven 
as the Serabends, and on that account, 
primarily, yield to them in excellence. 
But old Feraghans often come in smaller 
sizes than the Serabends and in more de- 
sirable proportions. On the other hand, 
while Feraghans are generally of a firmer 
quality, there are also antique Serabends 
heavy and silky. Between the two it 
would be little more than to choose the 
better specimen. While the Feraghans 
have no accepted border to distinguish 
them, they have a most marked character- 
istic in the decoration of the field. It is 



OF PERSIAN RUGS S3 

a figure like a crescent, toothed inside ; it 
might be a segment of a melon. But more 
than likely it was originally a curled-up 
rose leaf; for the rose, variously conven- 
tionalized, is most common to this class. 
There is generally an indication of a trellis, 
on which the roses are formally spread. 
But the curled leaf is almost always in 
evidence, however varied or angular it 
may be drawn. 

The Persian Mousuls are perhaps the 
best rugs now to be had for moderate 
prices. The region where they are made, 
being partly Turkish and partly Persian, 
gives them some of the characteristics of 
each nation. But the choice ones are al- 
ways offered as Persian ; and the designs 
of most of them are distinctively of that 
country, with frequent use of Serabend 
borders, Feraghan figures, etc. Their 
centre field sometimes contains bold me- 
dallions, but generally it is filled with 
palm-leaf or similar small designs, which 



54 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

in themselves arc quite monotonous, except 
as they are diversified and made beautiful 
by graduated changes of colour in both 
the figures and background. Sometimes 
these streaks of varying colour make too 
strong a contrast, but generally they shade 
into each other most harmoniously, and, 
the nap being heavy and the wool fine, 
these rugs are eminently lustrous and silky. 
They have no rivals in this regard ex- 
cept among the Beluchistans and treasured 
Kazaks. As you walk around them they 
glow in lights and shades like a Cabochon 
emerald. One of their distinguishing de- 
signs is a very conventionalized cluster of 
four roses, the whole figure being about 
the bigness of a small hand. There is a 
rose at top and bottom and one on either 
side, with conventionalized leaves to give 
grace. The design is recognizable at a 
glance, and is wellnigh as old as Persia. 
For the rose is conceded to be Oriental in 
origin, and if it is not primarily a Persian 



OF PERSIAN RUGS 55 

flower, it belongs surely to her by virtue 
of first adoption.* 

The designation of certain rugs as Kur- 
dish or Kurdistan has been used indis- 
criminately, yet they are by no means the 
same, and between the two classes is a well- 
marked distinction which should be recog- 
nized. Kurdistan is a large province in 
northern Persia, with a protectorate gov- 
ernment both Turkish and Persian, and 
with the Turkish inhabitants in the ratio 
of about two to one, according to the 
geographers. The Kurds constitute only 
a small but most important part of the 
population. They are generally spoken 
of as ** a nomadic tribe," or more fre- 
quently as " that band of robbers, the 
Kurds.'* Regardless, however, of their 
morals or habits, by them are made char- 

* This ancient four-flowered pattern appears in as many 
forms as the loop or palm-leaf; but whatever bud or blossom 
may be modelled by the weaver, the design retains its strong 
distinctive lines. It is shown on the cover of this volume in 
one phase, and it appears in different form in the plate of the 
Beluchistan rug. 



56 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

acteristic, coarse, strong, and often superb 
rugs which are properly called "Kurdish." 
On the other hand, the Persians in Kurdis- 
tan make a finer class of rugs and carpets, 
which are known as Kurdistans. These 
latter have been praised by an eminent 
authority as " the best rugs now made in 
Persia and perhaps in the East." They 
are certainly bold and splendid in design, 
beautiful in colouring, and of great strength 
and durability. 

The Gulistans are thick, heavy, and 
handsome, with striking designs, frequently 
like the flukes of an anchor, on a light 
ground. They are not common now even 
in modern weaving. 

There are many other Persian rugs 
which might be further specialized and 
considered. But such old commercial 
names as Teheran, Ispahan, etc., can in 
fact only be differentiated by an expert; 
and when experts disagree, as will fre- 
quently occur, and when they are at a loss 
to decide whether an important specimen 



OF PERSIAN RUGS SI 

is an Ispahan or a Joshghan, classification 
becomes obscure to the layman and even to 
the collector ; and he will wisely avoid the 
complexities of such discussion. So, also, 
Sarak rugs are rarely seen now save in 
modern reproductions, and must be passed 
by with the same criticisms as apply to the 
new-made Tabriz. 



CAUCASIAN RUGS, DAGHESTAN 
AND RUSSIAN TYPES 



Chapter VI 

CAUCASIAN RUGS, DAGHESTAN 
AND RUSSIAN TYPES 

THE Daghestan rugs of Caucasia 
are only second in importance to 
those from Persian looms. An 
opinion is reserved, nevertheless, regarding 
antique Turkish weaves, which are herein- 
after considered. 

If history does not satisfactorily prove 
that the Caucasus was originally the north- 
ern part of Persia (as may have been, under 
Cyrus), Persian dominance and influence 
may be demonstrated, in textile art, by rug 
borders, patterns, and designs. The Shir- 
vans, Kabistans, Chichis, Darbends, Kara- 
baghs, all exhibit pronounced Persian 
characteristics, and show the educational 
power of the mother country of this handi- 

6i 



62 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

craft. Fineness of weave, delicacy of hue, 
and chaste simpUcity of design are distin- 
guishing features of this group. But, as 
contrasted with the Persian patterns, the 
Persians use for their detail roses, flowers, 
palm leaves, etc., while the Caucasians 
gain similar effects from geometrical fig- 
ures, angles, stars, squares, and hexagons, 
with small tilings, mosaics, and trellisings. 
The true and the beautiful was never better 
demonstrated by Euclid through angle, 
square, or hypothenuse. An old Chichi 
rug, like a drawing of Tenniel's, will prove 
what grace may come without a curve and 
by angles only. 

It is unfortunate that the best rugs of the 
Caucasus come from the large province of 
Daghestan, and that that general term is 
applied to them indiscriminately. Twenty 
or more years ago most of the Oriental rugs 
which were sold here to an uneducated and 
unappreciative public came by way of Tiflis, 
and for lack of knowledge were all branded 
with the common name of Daghestan. 



Plate VI. 
KABISTAN 

Thirty or forty years old 

From the Collection of the Author 

Size : 4. 5 x 5.6 



CAUCASIAN RUGS, ETC. 63 

Thousands of beautiful Kabistans, Shirvans, 
Bakus, etc., were then sold for a song un- 
der the one arbitrary title. They would 
be priceless to-day, and yet the former 
commercial, vulgar use of the name leaves 
it in undeserved disrepute. As used in this 
chapter, it is intended to mark a distinction 
between certain of the Caucasian types, 
which it properly represents, and the 
Russian types from the same region, 
which are illustrated in the Kazaks and 
Yourucks. 

What may have become of all the fine 
Kabistans, which were forced upon the 
market years ago, is a question. Are they 
all worn to rags and lost to the world ? Or 
do they still turn up at chance household 
auctions ? Many fine specimens may be so 
discovered, dirty, disguised, and disreputa- 
ble, but easily reclaimable and made anew 
by washing. There is a theory, also, that 
many choice pieces came to San Francisco 
in the 'seventies and 'eighties, and are lost 
to sight and memory somewhere in Cali- 



64 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

fornia. A collector might well explore 
this home field. 

Too great praise cannot be given to the 
old Shirvans, with their " palace " or " sun- 
burst " pattern ; to the Chichis, with their 
mosaic work, worthy of Saint Mark's Ca- 
thedral ; to the Karabaghs, with their flam- 
ing reds; or to the Kabistans, with their 
soft, light tones of colour, made softer still 
in contrast with ivory and creamy white. 
These are the despised Daghestans which 
were, and for which the collector may 
now vainly search abroad. 

It is not always easy to distinguish 
between an old — or middle-aged, may 
we say ? — Shirvan or Kabistan. Many 
of their designs are common property, and 
it is the cleverer weaver who executes 
them the better. This broad statement 
may be made by way of a test : the best 
of the Shirvans are rather loosely woven 
and thin. The Kabistans are of finer 
weave, are firmer and heavier, and lie 
truer on the floor. 



CAUCASIAN RUGS, ETC. 6s 

Two classes of rugs from the Caucasus 
have been referred to as Russian, the You- 
rucks and Kazaks. There is no authority 
for the distinction except in the rugs them- 
selves. They prove their case from their 
thickness and iron durability, from their 
sombre or strong red colouring, and from 
their daring crude and simple designs. In 
their utility they bespeak an article of 
warmth and weight, and in their art they 
represent a barbaric simplicity like a Navajo 
blanket. Kazak and Cossack are almost 
synonymous terms ; and the Cossacks, the 
Kurds, and the Indians have something of 
kinship in weaving, at least. But the Kazak 
rugs are not all crude, by any manner of 
means. If strength is their first character- 
istic and strong primitive pigments in rare 
greens, reds, and blues ; and if their patterns 
are simple and angular ; — none the less, 
in antique specimens, much originality was 
shown in the drawing of their borders, and 
soft browns and yellows with ivory white 
appeared in their colouring. 

5 



66 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Of the Shirvans, Chichis, etc., ordinarily 
offered, there is nothing to be said. They 
are cheaply and roughly woven, and made 
only to sell. They are disposed of by the 
thousands at auctions, and piles and piles 
of them fill the carpet and department 
stores. Be it said to their credit that 
they will outwear any machine-made floor 
covering ; that they are good to hide a 
hole in an old carpet ; that they help to 
furnish the bedrooms of a summer cot- 
tage ; that they are most useful in the back 
hall ; and, in fine, that they are better than 
no rugs at all. Yet, on the other hand, be 
it well understood that they are not, as 
frequently advertised, " exquisite examples 
of textile art," and that fine Oriental rugs 
are not to be bought at " $6.98 " apiece. 



OF TURKISH VARIETIES 



Chapt er VI I 

OF TURKISH VARIETIES 

BABYLON or Egypt may have 
woven the first carpets or floor 
coverings, and China of course 
worked early in the same field. But 
Persia acquired the art quite independent 
of China, and well in the beginning of the 
long ago. Indeed, the Chinese industry 
practically ceased to exist many centuries 
back, and was transferred to northern Persia, 
where the history of this handicraft has its 
true beginning. From Persia all other 
countries have drawn their knowledge and 
inspiration, and however much they may 
have endeavoured to create and to evolve 
new figures and new designs, even the 
oldest examples of their art must concede 
something to Persian influence. 

69 



70 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

The Turks, above all others, have shown 
themselves the most apt scholars, and in- 
deed in many lines have improved upon 
their teachers. The choicest specimens of 
Turkish weave are as rubies to the other 
precious stones, rarer, more brilliant, and 
more costly than diamonds. Though not 
so closely woven as some of the Persians, 
they are wonderfully beautiful in artistic 
picturing and in their own Oriental splen- 
dour of colour and design. Such in partic- 
ular are the antique Gheordez, as splendid 
in rich floods of light as the stained-glass 
windows of a cathedral. They are the 
finest woven and have the shortest nap of 
their class. 

Here is the description of one taken 
from a catalogue of twenty-five years ago : 
" Antique Gheordez Prayer Rug. Mosque 
design, with columns and pendant floral 
lamp relieved on solid ground of rare 
Egyptian red, surmounted by arabesques 
in white upon dark turquoise, framed in 
lovely contrasting borders." 



Plate VII. 

ANTIQUE GHEORDEZ 

Prayer Rug 

From the Collection of Mr. George H. Ellwanger 

Size : 4. 6 X 5. 1 1 



OF TURKISH VARIETIES 71 

Another is pictured as : "A flake of 
solid sapphire, crested by charming floral 
designs in ruby on ground of white opal. 
The mosaics and blossom borders are 
toned to perfect harmony." 

These word pictures are in no way ex- 
aggerated, and only help to portray the 
glories of the old Gheordez, with their 
graceful hanging lamps, as wonderful as 
Aladdin's, in a vista between pillars of 
chalcedony or onyx. They came in the 
form of prayer rugs generally, and a pro- 
nounced feature of those more commonly 
seen is a multiplicity of small dotted 
borders. The older and finer examples 
show borderings of far more graceful and 
artistic drawing. 

The antique Koulahs and Koniahs, 
though not so finely woven, have mostly 
the same superb centres or panels of solid 
colour as the Gheordez, and vie with the 
latter in the splendour of their hues, if not 
in the delicacy and intricacy of their 
designs outside the central field. The 



72 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Koulahs may generally be recognized by a 
narrow border, which is peculiar to them- 
selves and is almost invariably found on 
them. This consists of a broken line of 
little tendrils or spirals quite Chinese in 
character, and looking much like a row of 
conventionalized chips and shavings. It is 
so odd and distinctive that once seen it can 
never be mistaken. The Koniahs also 
have little figures which are quite their 
own, and which usually appear somewhere 
in the central design. They are small 
flowers each on a single stem, and the 
flower has commonly three triangular 
petals, like an oxalis or shamrock leaf. It 
is quite unlike the blossoms which be- 
sprinkle other rugs. With this, often come 
crude figures of lamps like miniature tea- 
pots. The Ladiks display all the colours 
of an October wood, and complete the 
group of Turkish old masters. Not a few 
of them have also a unique border in the 
form of a small lily blossom. Experts 
speak of it familiarly as the " Rhodian 



Plate VIII. 

ANTIQUE KOULAH 

Prayer Rug 

From the Collection of Mr. George H. Ellwanger 

Size : 3.11x5.6 



OF TURKISH VARIETIES 73 

border," but its origin is altogether ob- 
scure. 

These words in testimony to the beauties 
of Turkish rugs may be offered simply by 
way of guide-posts to lead to some mu- 
seum. A few battered and torn war-flags 
of Gheordez or Ladiks are occasionally 
offered on the market, but the best of them 
lack all character and colour, and show 
only the bold design and holes and strings 
and naked warp. 

Just which particular Turkish rugs are 
properly classed as Anatolians it is hard to 
say, Anatolia being so large a province. 
The term as commercially used is only 
as comprehensive and expressive as " Iran '* 
applied to the Persians. It is generally 
misapplied to an uncertain class of old, 
worn, and tarnished remnants or new coarse 
prayer rugs, ruinous of harmony with their 
magenta discords. Yet many of the 
" mats " are rightly called Anatolians, and, 
premising a later chapter, one of the 
greatest delights of collecting was to look 



74 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

over a pile of them, with the never-failing 
hope of finding some bright particular 
gem. And these mats are truly the little 
gems of Turkish weaving, and in accord- 
ance with the Oriental fondness for jewels 
and precious stones the suggestion that they 
represent inlaid jewelled work has been 
well imagined. But here again we cry, 
" Eheu fugaces ! " They have gone. It 
is idle to look over the pile. There are 
no good ones for sale. One explanation 
of their scarcity is in the fact that the 
Armenian dealers have a weakness for these 
small pieces themselves, and are wont to 
indulge their fondness for colour and sheen 
by keeping the choice ones for their own 
use. So the mats of commerce are either 
new, coarse, and crude and offensive with 
arsenical greens and aniline crimsons and 
magentas ; or they are but soiled patches 
and bits of old rugs sewn together. Caveat 
emptor! and let the buyer look at their 
backs before purchasing. 

The old Melez rugs, with characteristics 



Plate IX. 
MELEZ 

Forty or fifty years old 

From the Collection of the Author 

Size : 3.10x5.3 



OF TURKISH VARIETIES JS 

peculiar to themselves, are of almost like 
importance to the Koniahs and Koulahs. 
Frequently they have a suggestion of the 
Chinese in their figures and decorations. 
You will find symbolized dragons pictured 
on them, also the cypress tree ; while in 
colour they form a class by themselves, and 
exhibit shades of lavender, heliotrope, and 
violet such as no other kinds may boast. 
Whatever this dye may be, and whatever 
tone of mauve or lilac it may take, you 
will find it only in the Melez, a few Ber- 
gamas, or in some old Irans, whose race is 
practically extinct. Worthy modern Melez 
are still to be had, and will improve as they 
wear ; if only they are firm in texture and 
do not flaunt the battle-flag colours of 
Solferino and Magenta. 

The Bergamas come mostly in blues 
and reds, most prominently set out by soft 
ivory white. One of their recognized 
patterns is quite individual, and readily 
marks their class. It is a square of small 
squares marked off like a big checker- 



76 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

board. Other small pieces are almost 
square, with the field in mosaic-work or 
flower blossoms. In the fine old speci- 
mens, which used to be, the Bergamas 
rioted in superb medallions or in a floriated 
central figure like a grand bouquet. As a 
class, their merit is softness and richness. 
Their defisct is that of the Shiraz, a prone- 
ness to curl and puff themselves with pride. 
The fault is caused by the fact that their 
usually artistic selvedge is too tightly 
drawn. Skilful cutting of the selvedge 
and new fringing will correct the error. 

Some old and some excellent new 
Bergamas have lately been in evidence in 
the stocks of the Oriental dealers. How- 
soever or wheresoever they come, the col- 
lector may well take courage from their 
appearance and apply himself to the chase 
with renewed zest. 



TURKOMAN OR TURKESTAN 
RUGS 



Chapter VIII 
TURKOMAN OR TURKESTAN RUGS 

THE geography of the carpets and 
rugs thus far considered has in- 
cluded a very considerable area. 
Any traveller or collector who may 
have journeyed in fact to the regions 
where they are made may well have stories 
to tell, for his wanderings will have led 
him into strange lands and wild places. 

But the remaining classes of rugs, which 
we are wont to see lying gracefully in 
front of our hearths, as tame and peaceful 
as kittens, have come from still farther and 
wilder regions of the world ; and the won- 
der is that we see them at all or are per- 
mitted the privilege of treading on them. 
The Turkestan class, so far as our subject 
is concerned, carries us east from Persia, 

79 



8o THE ORIENTAL RUG 

through Afghanistan and Beluchistan even 
into China. They are Oriental in very 
truth, and at first blush, it would seem, 
should be more crude and barbaric in 
their art. But as compared with the 
bold, rough, and rude weaves and patterns 
of the Russian Caucasians, they are, as a 
class, most refined and delicate in design 
and fine in texture. 

It has been said that " whoever has seen 
one Bokhara rug has seen them all." 
Their set designs and staple colouring have 
been so long familiar that we have lost 
respect for them. There are the well- 
known geometric figures for the centre, 
smaller similar figures for the borders, and 
a mosaic of diamonds or delicate traceries 
of branches for the ends. Choice ex- 
amples, like the stars, differ from one 
another in glory only. The variations 
evolved from the one conventional design 
are almost infinite ; and the many shades 
and tones of red which are used bring to 
mind the paintings of Vibert and his won- 



Plate X. 

ANTIQUE BELUCHISTAN 

From the Collection of the Author 
Size : 4. lo X 8. 3 




.HB^sfccr3»^^Ck3£:<'3--;M?^S^^li3-g^ a^wmscBSP^psgg^^ 



TURKOMAN RUGS 8i 

derful palette of scarlets, carmines, crim- 
sons, maroons, and vermilions. 

Some of the rare old Bokharas come in 
lovely browns and are almost priceless 
in value. Sad to say, it remained for an 
American vandal to discover a process of 
" dipping " or " washing " an ordinary rug 
so as to imitate these rare originals, and 
many dealers unblushingly sell these frauds. 
To wear imitation jewelry is far less repre- 
hensible. Happily the trickery is generally 
distinguishable because the "dip" or stain, 
whatever it may be, is apt to run into the 
fringe or otherwise betray itself. The wise 
buyer will reject with scorn any rug, under 
whatsoever name offered, which shows no 
other colouring than various shades of 
chocolate brown. No such uniform brown 
dyeing ever characterized any class of rugs. 
Even the brown Bokharas which are in 
museums show some other tints with their 
brown tones. 

Good Bokharas, like good Kirmans, are 
undeniably beautiful and of great value. 



82 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

but the mere fact that both are considered 
staples in the rug trade tends to detract 
from their artistic value ; and that they 
are so generally doctored, disguised, and 
perverted puts them in bad repute. 

The Yamoud-Bokharas come in larger 
sizes than the others of their type ; are not 
so fine in texture, but thicker and firmer. 
Their designs are larger and bolder, and 
they show a most becoming bloom. They 
also display green and even yellow in their 
colouring, which is not usual in Bokharas. 
Their selvedge is beautifully characteristic. 
In Bokharas proper the adornment of the 
selvedge usually is on the warp ; as in the 
Bergamas and Beluchistans. In Yamouds 
the selvedge is almost always carried out 
in wool with like skill as that given to the 
rest of the piece. 

The Afghans are a coarser edition of 
Bokharas, and may be mostly considered 
for utility. They come in large sizes, and 
almost square ; have bold tile patternings, 
and in the finer examples are plush-like 



TURKOMAN RUGS 83 

and silky. These are still to be had, but 
many modern ones are dyed with mineral 
dyes, and their bloom is meretricious. The 
chemist has waved his magic wand over 
them, not wisely but too well. 

The Beluchistans are somewhat akin to 
the Bokharas, and like the latter rejoice in 
reds and blues in the darker tones, while 
they display greater variety in their designs. 
These are ordinarily crude and simple, but 
in the old exemplars they were of con- 
siderable variety, and their wealth of chang- 
ing colours in sombre shades was rich 
beyond the dream of avarice. " Lees of 
wine," "dregs of wine," "plum," " claret," 
"maroon," — these are terms which have 
served to describe their prevailing colours. 
The adjectives are still applicable and may 
give some idea of the colourful effects 
which are obtained from their stains of 
brown and red and purple. For decora- 
tive effect, their deeper tones make most 
harmonious contrast with the subdued and 
softened Persians and old Daghestans. In 



84 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

many specimens, new and old, white, both 
blue white and ivory, is used in startling 
contrast. It makes or mars the picture, 
according to the artistic skill of the weaver. 
The wool used in the good Beluchistans is 
particularly soft and silky, and lends to 
them their unique velvety sheen. No 
other varieties show it so perfectly, al- 
though antique Kazaks have their particu- 
lar plush, and the Mousuls with their 
depth of pile have a shimmer and shifting 
light which is their especial artistic feature. 
The distinction may not easily be formu- 
lated; but, nevertheless, the sheen of the 
Beluchistan is one beauty, while the play 
of light and shade on a Mousul is another 
pleasure to the eye. 

In the Bergama rugs the weaver does 
not disdain to spend some toil and time 
upon the selvedge ; and this, even in small 
specimens, is commonly four to six inches 
long, carefully woven in white and colour 
and with occasional ornamentation. In 
this selvedge a small, elongated triangle is 



TURKOMAN RUGS 85 

frequently embossed in wool, with the 
commendable purpose of avoiding the " evil 
eye/' 

But in the Beluchistans the maker " en- 
larges his phylacteries, and increases the 
borders of his garments." He goes even 
to greater pains and trouble in the elabo- 
ration and finishing of his selvedge. It is 
often prolonged to eight or ten inches in 
moderate-sized rugs, and is woven into 
most interesting patterns and stripes of 
colour. It is literally carried to extremes. 
It may seem an act of vandalism, but the 
wise and stoical collector will do well to 
eliminate all but two or three inches of 
it and have a skilful weaver overcast 
and fringe the ends. Selvedge, however 
adorned, is utilitarian only, and, like 
useless fringe, it must not be allowed to 
detract from the proportions and beauty 
of the piece itself. 

For the comfort of the collector be it 
known that within the last year or two, 
many fine Beluchistan mats and small rugs 



86 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

have been secured somehow by the whole- 
salers and are in evidence in the retailers' 
stock. Beluchistan, evidently, is one of 
the remote regions last to be drawn upon, 
scoured, ravaged, and exhausted. The 
opportunity should be improved by the 
provident buyer. 

The Soumac or Cashmere rug calls for 
no further description than a Cashmere 
shawl. With the exception of choice 
antique specimens which time has chastened 
and mellowed into pictures in apricot, 
fawn, robin's-egg, and cream colours, the 
Cashmeres are rather matters of fact than 
of art. 

What are known as Killims, or Kiz- 
Killims, the better class, are hard fabrics 
akin to the Soumacs except that they 
have no nap on either side, and are 
double faced. They are mostly Caucasian 
and Kurdish, with the bold designs of 
those classes, or they come in the beautiful, 
delicate patterns of the Sehnas. In their 
crudest and strongest Kazak figures they 



TURKOMAN RUGS 87 

appear in the most brilliant pigments, with 
soft reds, rose, lake, and vermilion for con- 
trasting colours, splashed together as on a 
painter's palette. Of course they lack the 
sheen of a rug, but their colour effects are 
marvellous. While generally used for 
portieres and coverings, they are perfect 
rugs for a summer cottage, being most 
durable, and are worthy of attention. 
Moreover, fine antique examples are still 
to be had. Some collector might be the 
first to make a specialty of them and 
garner them before they pass ; the end of 
the Oriental weaver's pageant. The usual 
warning, however, must be given, that they 
are often cursed with the barbarous ma- 
gentas hereinbefore mentioned, a colour 
which would ruin a rainbow. 

The products of Samarkand are quite 
out of the ordinary, and thoroughly Chinese 
in character. Except by association and 
classification they have no resemblance 
to the Turkestan or any other division. 
They form a class by themselves, the 



88 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

legitimate successors of the old Chinese 
rugs, long gone by. They are very bold 
in design, and in colour tend to yellow, 
orange, and various soft reds. An inferior 
make of Samarkands often appears under 
the title of Malgaras. They have neither 
quality nor colour to commend them. 

But there are old Chinese rugs also. 
Most of them are in the conventional blue 
and white, with simple octagonal medal- 
lions, with no border to speak of, and 
with little strength of character. They 
are coarsely woven and have been so com- 
monly imitated by machine reproductions 
in English carpetry that even blue and 
white originals have small merit to boast 
of. There were, and doubtless still are, 
Chinese rugs of far more importance. 
Many are noted in the catalogue of a 
sale in New York City no longer ago 
than 1893. From one item remembered, 
they showed various beautiful colourings, 
far beyond the simple white and blue, 
and in design displayed much of the 



TURKOMAN RUGS 89 

artistic strength, grace, and beauty of the 
old Chinese porcelains. It is a mys- 
tery where these rugs lie hidden. No 
one boasts of owning them or claims 
credit to even a modest $10,000 antique 
specimen. 



OF ORIENTAL CARPETS, SADDLE- 
BAGS, PILLOWS, ETC. 



Chapter I X 

OF ORIENTAL CARPETS, SADDLE- 
BAGS, PILLOWS, ETC. 

HOWEVER a man may justify 
himself for collecting rugs, re- 
gardless of his success, of his 
needs, or of his income, there would seem 
to be no danger of any one making a 
specialty of buying carpets. Except to 
millionaires or for clubs and palaces, space 
would absolutely prohibit, if the housewife 
did not. The nearest that the enthusiast 
might approach to such an ambition would 
be in the accumulation of hall strips ; 
which has its own temptations, quite with- 
in the possible. 

And yet the term " carpet " is an elastic 
phrase, and any piece which exceeds six 
or seven feet in width and of greater 

93 



94 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

length, is entitled by courtesy to be named 
a carpet. It may be said that a rug, like 
a baby, ceases to be a rug at an uncertain 
size, and then becomes a carpet. But car- 
pets in the larger dimensions, ten by twelve 
feet or more, as ordinarily understood, are 
only herein considered. They are really 
articles of utility first and always, and must 
answer to certain measured requirements. 
Such is the accepted theory and practice. 
The buyer is wont to think that the merit 
or beauty of a carpet is of secondary con- 
sideration if only it fit the room. Here is 
a heresy. It is far better that the room 
should be made to fit or adapt itself to the 
perfect carpet. 

If you would buy one, the best that you 
can do is to choose wisely. They are all 
of modern make, with very few exceptions. 
If you have one that is antique, you your- 
self have made it so, or you have inherited 
a ragged and neglected example of bygone 
years. The modern carpets, nevertheless, 
those still made to-day, are many of them 



Plate XL 

ANTIQUE ANATOLIAN PILLOWS 

From the Collection of the Author 

Sizes : 1.10x2.10, and 2. i x 2. 1 1 




\^fir^P/if>i^^d^PP44U^d^r >M^ ^£j^f ^ 4' d^ff^ ^^ ^^^ 




CARPETS, SADDLEBAGS, PILLOWS 95 

superb pieces, far outclassing any small rugs 
of the same weaving. 

The Kirmanshahs would come first, of 
course; closely woven, beautiful and soft 
in colour, delicate and artistic in their 
designs, they are the most perfect floor 
coverings for the salon, reception or music 
room. If they were only real ! But very, 
very few of them are. They have all been 
treated with chemicals, and their beauty 
of complexion is just as artificial as any 
rouged and bepowdered courtesan's. Un- 
less you have one out of ten thousand, it 
has not come from a palace, but from a 
scientific laboratory. 

Many of the Tabriz carpets lie under 
the same suspicion, and those of soft tones, 
claiming to be antiques, may be wisely 
questioned. But new ones come in clean, 
rich colourings, in fine designs, and are tex- 
tile masterpieces. 

The Kurdistan carpets of to-day are by 
far the best of all. They are more loosely 
woven, but they are so much the heavier. 



96 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

and that is to be desired in a carpet. 
And they are honest. Their colours are 
beautiful, varied, strong, and true. It is 
claimed for the Kurdistans that some of 
their dyes are still well-guarded secrets ; 
and it is true history of some years ago 
that many a bloody feud and murder grew 
out of cherished Kurdistan secrets of dye- 
ing. Their designs are bold and striking, 
with grand centre medallion and corners, 
and a field artistically adorned. Money 
cannot buy anything better than a fine new 
Kurdistan ; and thirty or forty years of 
wear should leave it better still. 

Next to be chosen would be the Goro- 
vans. They also show brave figuring with 
a strong centre medallion, characteristic 
zigzag corners, and angular ornamenta- 
tions which are most gracefully carried 
out. Their colouring is usually in fine 
blues and reds. 

Modern Feraghans come in large carpet 
sizes, and some antique ones are still to be 
had. But the Kurdistans and Gorovans 



CARPETS, SADDLEBAGS, PILLOWS 97 

far surpass them in two important par- 
ticulars. The Feraghans appear only in 
their own peculiar, small-figured designs, 
which are without strength or character 
on a large floor space. Besides that, being 
more closely cut than the others, if they 
do not soon wear out, they soon wear 
down, and begin to show the suspicion of 
their warp and their loss of tone and 
colour. They are beautiful carpets, never- 
theless, and will practically last a lifetime. 
But the heavier they are, the better. 

There are few other modern Persian car- 
pets in large sizes which come in appre- 
ciable numbers for classification. There 
is a rather indefinite order of Gulistans, 
under which title many good nonde- 
scripts are sold. 

There are also current Sultanabads, in 
very large sizes, well woven, on old models, 
to meet present uses. 

Most other carpets are of Turkish weav- 
ing, whatever their names, and come under 
the general title of Smyrnas. Smyrna is 



98 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

the centre of distribution for a great variety 
of cheap and coarsely woven carpets ; but 
poor in quality as these may be, they 
should not be confused with the Ameri- 
can machine product also known as a 
** Smyrna." In the same class come the 
Oushaks, Hamadans, etc. There is nothing 
more to be said for them than to testify 
that they will wear better than a Brussels 
carpet, and give some distinction to a 
modest dining-room. 

It is a far cry from carpets to saddle-bags, 
and yet these latter are of greater import- 
ance and interest to the collector. More 
valuable pieces of Oriental weaving are 
to be found among the diminutives than 
in the grand opera of textiles. 

Beginning at the bottom, we find plenty 
of the little pairs of bags, twelve or eigh- 
teen inches square. They are donkey bags, 
carried back of the saddle, and generally 
appear in Shirvan make or, most commonly, 
in Shiraz weaving. The Shiraz often have 
considerable beauty and sheen and dark rich 



CARPETS, SADDLEBAGS, PILLOWS 99 

colouring. But these very small pieces 
have little real utility or available artistic 
beauty. They never lie well, and only 
litter up the floor. They belittle a well- 
arranged room as would a frail and useless 
gilt chair. They are recommended for 
pillows, but we Occidental infidels associate 
rugs too closely with the foot to find them 
easy to the head. They are also advised 
for use as hassocks. But the hassock long 
ago disappeared, with or under the " what- 
not," or behind *' the horse-hair sofa." 

Other bags, used on horse and camel, 
come in more important sizes, as large as 
two feet by six feet or more. Exquisite 
specimens of Bokharas are found among 
these ; artistic, antique pieces, woven as 
fine as needlework. A number of these 
seem to have come suddenly on the mar- 
ket in some mysterious way ; and they are 
of every size within their small limits ; 
because, as an Oriental has suggested, there 
are pony camels also. Another mystery 
about those camel bags would seem to be 



loo THE ORIENTAL RUG 

that some are beautifully straight and there- 
fore most to be desired, while others are so 
curved as to be impossible of use unless 
around the foot of a pillar. Here is a 
case differing from that of the ordinary- 
crooked rug, because these bags were orig- 
inally made straight and true. Overload- 
ing and overpacking have only sagged 
down the middle. I dare not say that the 
more the curve, the greater the age and 
the more the value ; but it may be that 
curved Bokhara saddle-bags, passed by, by 
the Levite, are prizes to be picked up by 
the good Samaritan, and may be easily re- 
stored to normal rectitude. 

But the term " saddle-bag," whether for 
this animal or that, is confusing and alto- 
gether too generally used. It must be 
borne in mind that a bag was and is an 
article of universal utility to the Oriental. 
For all purposes of travel, journeying, or 
visiting, it corresponds to our valise or 
portmanteau of to-day ; or, in aptest com- 
parison, to our " carpet-bag" of fifty years 



CARPETS, SADDLEBAGS, PILLOWS i o i 

ago. And, according to the taste and 
means of their owners, these Persian, 
Armenian, or Turkish carpet-bags varied 
in size and beauty. A few rare old 
Caucasian small rugs can only be accounted 
for as valued personal rug-bags of their 
period. 

Among these smaller pieces are alone to 
be found the most valuable of all the col- 
lector's spoil, the small Sehnas. Very 
rarely they come in pairs, about two feet 
by three feet, and therefore could not have 
been used as bags for any purpose. They 
are pillows; and pillows of course play 
their important part in the menage of the 
East. Besides the exquisite Sehnas, the 
finest of the Anatolian mats, as they arc 
generally called, were used for pillows and 
not saddle-bags. The warp generally 
proves their purpose. When the warp runs 
vertically to the larger side, and ends in a 
fringe, that specimen was of course some 
sort of a saddle-bag. When the selvedge 
is at the shorter end you have the pillow. 



I02 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Among the other beautiful miniature 
specimens of textile art, which are still 
occasionally offered, are saddle-cloths. 
They appear mostly in beautiful Sehnas, 
and occasionally in fine old Feraghans and 
other Persian weaves. They are marred, 
however, for beautiful floor coverings by 
the necessary angular cut in them, through 
which the straps of the saddle passed. 
This is often skilfully filled in, in the case 
of choice specimens. But the blot re- 
mains. Their irregular shape also con- 
demns them for the most part with the 
many admirable but irreclaimable crooked 
rugs. 

These saddle-bags are frequently used 
for table coverings or for mural adornment. 
But in our modern house decoration rarely 
does a rug look well upon the wall. The 
Persians hang them instead of pictures, 
which is well. But they do not mix them 
with pictures on the wall, which is better, 
and shows good taste on the part of the 
Persians. A rug appears best upon the floor. 



CARPETS, SADDLEBAGS, PILLOWS i o 3 

The collector of small pieces to-day 
will do well to buy every bag or pillow of 
Bokhara or Beluchistan which may please 
his fancy. They are to be had now at 
modest prices, but unless all signs fail, they 
will soon become as rare as any of the 
other miniatures. You will look in vain 
for them with the vanished Anatolians 
and diamond Sehnas. 



AUCTIONS, AUCTIONEERS, AND 
DEALERS 



Chapter X 

AUCTIONS, AUCTIONEERS, AND 
DEALERS 

jk JUSTIFICATION of the method 
/% of selling rugs by auction has 
/ % been offered in many forms and 
phrases. It is perhaps best expressed some- 
what thus : Every number has a certain 
intrinsic value, and that is a basis price 
at which it should sell. But beyond that 
it may have an extra value, which, like 
beauty in general, is in the eye of the 
beholder. The beholder, therefore, who 
sees a rug to covet it should name his 
own price for it. It may be one of the 
specimens he lacks in his collection ; it 
may fit this corner or that. Anyway, 
it is worth more to him than to the 

107 



io8 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

lower bidder. Incidentally, the seller 
and the auctioneer gain the fair profits 
of competition. 

Other arguments in favour of the auction 
have been advanced by the head of a great 
department store. His opinion is that 
the auction gives every one a chance to 
get the rug desired at a fair price. Tastes 
differ and prices differ, but the average 
of an auction is fair to both buyer and 
seller. 

Regardless of theories, rug auctions, by 
whomsoever fathered or sponsored, thrive 
and flourish. 

If the auction be the collection of such 
and such an Oriental, whatever his name, 
there will be a great deal of cheap stuff in 
his stock, and there will also be many 
choice pieces which he holds as the apples 
of his eye. 

He buys from the wholesaler so many 
bales at so much per bale of say twenty 
pieces. In the bales of ordinary qualities 
the several items will average about the 



AUCTIONS AND DEALERS 109 

same. But in the more expensive bales 
there is a good general average, with a 
few prizes added. They are like the two 
or three green firecrackers in the packs of 
our childhood. These special pieces in 
the high-priced bales give the seller his 
legitimate opportunity and profit. If these 
odd firecrackers please your fancy more 
than mine, and I am contented to choose 
the conventional red ones, it is for you to 
fix the value of the greens. 

At an auction the apparent authority 
and ruler is the auctioneer, while the 
owner weeps cheerfully on one side and 
shrugs his shoulders in half-pathetic res- 
ignation at the sacrifice. In reality the 
auctioneer knows pretty well what he is 
about, and, if not, is quickly posted by the 
owner. It is no harm to say that if we 
cannot believe all that we read in the 
Bible, no more is it safe to take literally 
all that the auctioneer asserts. A recent 
skit in " Life " is pertinent (quoted from 
memory) : — 



no THE ORIENTAL RUG 

" T'he wife. Look at this splendid bargain 
I bought for twenty dollars to-day. It's worth 
two hundred. 

" The husband. Indeed ! How do you know 
it is worth that much ? 

" The wife. Why, the auctioneer told me so." 

A new plan of auction has been recently 
tried. You may buy in one or more lots at 
your own price, and if you do not wish to 
keep any, they may be returned within a 
certain number of days. You may bid ad 
libitum, recklessly as you choose ; and if 
your choice be not all that your fancy and 
electric light have pictured it, you are 
under no obligation to keep it or pay any- 
thing on it ; you may elect to change your 
mind and send it back. How this plan 
works in practice and finance has yet to be 
demonstrated. It would seem to be all on 
the side of the buyer and against the seller, 
who must lose many a bid from a bona 
Jide purchaser at a lower figure. The 
matter of human nature doubtless figures 
in the problem, because there is some little 



AUCTIONS AND DEALERS m 

feeling of shame about returning an article 
bought in under competition, no matter 
what the guarantee may be. 

As to the auctioneers, they are always 
glib of tongue, good-natured, and persua- 
sive. That they are not canonically and 
absolutely truthful is perhaps not their 
fault. They certainly cannot know more 
about rugs than the few authorities who 
have made a study of the subject ; and, as 
said before, they are generally prompted 
by the " consignor " of the collection. If 
only they would not call every rug an 
" antique and priceless specimen," their 
individual consciences might be happier, 
and their audience less bored. 

However, no matter what the audience, 
or how small it may be, there are always 
some there who will appreciate the differ- 
ence between a four-dollar and a forty- 
dollar offering, and bid up the former to 
seven dollars and the latter to thirty dol- 
lars. Thus the auctions go merrily on 
and strike a general average. The skilful 



112 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

auctioneer will feel the pulse of his audi- 
ence with a quicker touch than the most 
renowned of doctors ; and once assured 
of their class and position, wealth and 
condition, and what grade of merchan- 
dise they are willing to buy, the game 
is in his own hands, provided only 
that his audience is large enough. He 
should have at least a regulation pack of 
fifty-two in order to do justice to his 
own hand and skill, and in order to 
play off one card of his audience against 
another. 

The auction has its own particular fas- 
cinations, and its own habitues and devotees 
in every city. The chronic attendants 
should be the most careful and conserva- 
tive of buyers. But the artful auctioneer 
soon learns to know them, to recognize 
them among his clientele, and to humour 
their whims, moods, and fancies. Sooner 
or later he will wheedle them into a bid 
against their better judgment, and then 
make good capital of the fact that such 



AUCTIONS AND DEALERS 113 

and such a connoisseur had bought so great 
a bargain. 

The question might be asked, imper- 
sonally and perhaps impertinently. What 
was the auctioneer's influence at the Mar- 
quand sale ? Was his the power ? Was it 
due to the catalogue ? or was it in the air ; 
and the zeal of an eager audience ? 

The retail trade in rugs throughout this 
country is largely in the hands of Arme- 
nians, both fixed and peripatetic ; but of 
recent years much of their business has 
been annexed by the department stores. 

These various Armenian dealers are uni- 
versally known for their shrewdness and 
cleverness as well as for other ingenuous- 
ness and natural courtesy. Except the 
heads of the carpet departments in some 
few large concerns, they know much more 
about their wares than other salesmen, and 
their personal, live knowledge gives a fillip 
of enthusiasm to the purchaser. They 
would control the retail trade in rugs, 
were it not that the department store has 



114 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

brought against them its powerful weapon 
oi per cent. The store asserts that it wants 
only its modest per cent on the cost of any 
article, no matter what its sentimental value 
may be. This may not be truth in its 
stark nakedness, but it has availed to draw 
to them a great deal of the trade in Orien- 
tal textiles. 

The wholesale dealers are the most im- 
portant factor in the question of distribu- 
tion, for almost all the rugs sold in the 
United States must first pass through the 
hands of one or another of a dozen New 
York princes of the market. Large or 
small retailers may import some pieces 
directly from London, Paris, or Con- 
stantinople, but even the most important 
retailers buy heavily from the great Arme- 
nian wholesalers in New York City. 

It is difficult to estimate and impossible 
to state absolutely the number or even the 
value of the Oriental rugs annually im- 
ported into the United States. The reason 
is that in the reports of the U. S. Treasury 



AUCTIONS AND DEALERS 115 

as to " Imported Merchandise," etc., Ori- 
ental carpets and rugs have no separate 
classification, but are included under the 
general heading of " Carpets woven whole 
for rooms, and Oriental, Berlin, Aubusson, 
Axminster, and other similar rugs." It is 
quite a mixed company, but Oriental 
weaves as herein considered are at least 
distinguished as such, and differentiated 
from carpeting by the yard. They have 
also the distinction, with the others of 
their group, of paying a tax of ninety 
cents per square yard and forty per cent 
ad valorem, as against from twenty-two to 
sixty cents per square yard and the same 
forty per cent ad valorem for the vari- 
ous Brussels, Wilton, and Axminster floor- 
coverings coming by the yard, and not in 
one piece. And the duty on Oriental rugs, 
be it observed, is measured by the square 
yard, and therefore no record is kept of 
the number of pieces, or how many indi- 
vidual items of the four classes have been 
imported. 



Ti6 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Nevertheless, the statistics for the year 
ending June 30, 1902, show this general re- 
sult : The total value of that year's import 
of these " whole carpets, Oriental, Berlin,'* 
etc., was a trifle below three million dollars. 
Two and a half millions of this value came 
to New York with only half a million left 
to divide between Chicago, Philadelphia, 
Boston, San Francisco, and other ports of 
entry. The supremacy of New York City 
as the Oriental rug mart for this country 
is easily manifest, although it is not so easy 
to estimate what proportion of the two and 
a half millions of value was in Oriental 
rugs and what in modern carpets. One 
expert figures the value of the Oriental 
rugs imported that year into New York as 
more than half the total, or perhaps two 
millions. It is as fair an estimate as may 
be had. Considerable as this amount may 
be, it seems much less than might be 
expected. It may perhaps indicate the 
cheap grade and low quality of most of 
our present acquisitions in this category. 



AUCTIONS AND DEALERS 117 

The gathering of the rugs by the 
buyers, in the first instance, involves great 
hardships, endurance, and even danger ; 
and the deeper their incursions into new 
and strange territory and unopened and 
unexplored sources of supply, the more 
profitable their spoil, but the greater their 
toil. Beluchistan, as previously suggested, 
would appear now to be one of the re- 
motest regions yet remaining to yield up a 
few new treasures to the persevering buyer. 

These rugs so gathered to the centres of 
trade in Constantinople, Tiflis, and other 
distributing points, quickly find their way 
thence to New York, and help to make 
the magnitude and seeming wonderful 
complexity of the large wholesale depots. 
Whoever is fortunate enough to have the 
entree to any of these great New York 
storehouses will be first among those who 
understand the importance, value, and ap- 
preciation of the Oriental rug. 



INSCRIPTIONS AND DATES 



Chapter XI 

INSCRIPTIONS AND DATES 

IN addition to the many patterns, figures, 
devices and symbols, which are used 
for ornamentation, rugs and carpets 
are often embelHshed with hieroglyphic 
writing, somewhere in their field, and 
commonly at top or bottom. Not unfre- 
quently complete borders are thus com- 
posed, as is evidenced in old Kirmans, 
These designs are so graceful in their many 
angles and occasional curves that they 
scarcely suggest mere lettering. Such 
they are, nevertheless ; and our English 
script, with all its loops and turns and 
recurrent " lines of beauty," would hardly 
avail for like effective results. It is but 
another proof of the artistic possibilities of 
angular lines and geometric figures, so 
often demonstrated by Oriental weavers. 

121 



122 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

With few exceptions, all of these hiero- 
glyphics are in the Arabic language, and 
are quotations from the Persian poets, with 
flowery sentiment, or from the Koran, in 
proper precept. But, as is more important, 
there will frequently be found in the 
corners of a choice piece, or elsewhere 
unobtrusively woven, the signature or 
cipher of the maker, with the date of the 
making. This at once gives distinction 
and value to such a specimen and exalts it 
above its fellows. It also calls loudly for 
an answer to the question of what such 
name and date may be. Very rarely can 
the dealer inform you, because he does not 
know. Here, then, is a great stumbling- 
block in the path of the collector. It may 
be worth while to go around it by way of 
a brief explanation. 

The Arabic language has been the lingua 
franca of the East from the time that it 
succeeded Greek in the seventh century. 
It still retains its universality wherever 
Mohammedanism rules. Turkey may be 



INSCRIPTIONS AND DATES 123 

excepted from its sway, but, none the less, 
it is a most necessary language to-day in 
Constantinople. Its use by carpet- weavers 
is by reason of its catholicity ; that it may 
be understood where their varying lan- 
guages and unknown dialects would tell 
no story. 

That Arabic is so generally known 
throughout the Orient is doubtless no 
greater marvel than that mere children in 
Paris speak French. But, however con- 
venient, as an inter-racial and commer- 
cial language, Arabic may be to those 
accustomed to it, or naturally conversant 
with it, it is most difficult to learn by 
Western races. With ten years' study one 
may become a good scholar, and proficiency 
may follow for the persistent few. This 
will explain why inscriptions, texts, and 
verses on rugs and carpets are meaningless, 
except to the most erudite ; and except, also, 
to those who see in them only another phase 
of Persian ornament, strange, mysterious, 
arabesque, and beautiful. 



124 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Regarding the date, often woven into 
an example which the artist thought espe- 
cially worthy, it would seem that some 
simple formula might be given for its ready 
translation. This may be approximated, 
although it is not so easy a matter as might 
appear, and requires a few words on the 
subject of Arabian numerical notation. 
Their general system is similar to ours, 
and, corresponding to our miscalled "Arabic 
figures" of: 

o, i» 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 
their digits are represented by 

Both are read from left to right. These 
Arabic digits, however, are not always 
easily to be deciphered on a rug, on ac- 
count of the spreading of the wool and con- 
sequent irregularity of outline, and also 
because they generally appear in modest 
size. The back of the rug will show the 
figures much more sharply than the face. 



Plate XII. 

BERGAMA 

Thirty to forty years old 

From the Collection of the Author 

Size : 3. 1 X 3.5 



INSCRIPTIONS AND DATES 125 

when there is a doubt. When the Arabic 
numerals are made clear, it remains to 
reduce this date to the corresponding one 
of the Christian era, by means of a com- 
plicated table. 

All Mohammedan dating (with excep- 
tions not to be considered here, however 
interesting historically) is from the Hegira. 
The reckoning is not from the time of 
Mohammed's " flight " from Medina 
(September, 622), but from a day about 
two months earlier ; namely, the first day 
of that Arabian year. This beginning of 
the epoch, according to the best modern 
authorities, probably corresponds to July 
16, 622. 

Mohammedan chronology, however, is 
often expressed in other ways than by clear 
figures, and such florid records are most 
difficult to interpret. Again, in old manu- 
scripts, on coins and on a few rare antique 
carpets, the date is written out in full, in so 
many words ; as, for instance, " two-hundred- 
and-five-and-twenty- after- the- thousand." 



126 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Intricate dates like these are to be solved 
only by an expert. 

But when the year is in question, with- 
out regard to month or day, and when 
the year is written in legible figures, a 
rough formula for computing the corre- 
sponding Christian date is as follows : Sub- 
tract from the given Mohammedan year 
one thirty-third part of itself, and add to 
the remainder six hundred and twenty- 
two. Thus: A. H. 1 1 96 = A. D. 1 1 96 — 
36 + 622 = A. D. 1782. This is accu- 
rate enough for all practical purposes, and 
involves no difficulty except the decipher- 
ing of the Arabic digits. The failure 
to subtract this essential one thirty-third 
part explains frequent misreadings by the 
ignorant dealer or uninitiated amateur. 
That six hundred and twenty-two must be 
added to the given Mohammedan date 
explains itself. But it must be remembered 
also that the Moslem year is lunar, and 
thus a little more than eleven days shorter 
than our solar year. Their reckoning 



INSCRIPTION.S AND DATES 127 

therefore gains one year in every thirty- 
three of our computation. 

Modern commercial rugs of ordinary 
quality are occasionally provided v^ith a 
date or other calligraphic figure to simulate 
the real signed and dated masterpieces. 
This trickery should never deceive even 
the most unwary, unless the piece is 
of exceptional merit ; and then, there is 
no deception ; or at least there is value 
received. 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND 
PARTICULAR ADVICE 



Chapter XII 

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND 
PARTICULAR ADVICE 

MANY kinds of rugs are made in 
part of camel's hair, generally 
undyed and of a soft brown 
tone. They are praised as particularly 
desirable and durable, and antique speci- 
mens often showed a distinguished beauty. 
Modern examples are seldom improved by 
this addition to the wool. Camel's hair, in 
the muggy days of summer, has the great 
fault of offending the nose and proclaim- 
ing not only that the " Campbells are 
coming " but that the circus and the whole 
menagerie is already here. If the camel's 
hair part of your rug is soft and silky, it has 
been taken from young camels or from the 
camel's belly, and the odour is hardly ever 

131 



132 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

noticeable. Of wool in rugs generally it 
may be said that the best is from the 
younger sheep, and the silkiness and sheen 
of the wool give those same characteristics 
to the rug. 

Silk rugs, both antique and modern, 
fairly dazzle the eye with their beauty, 
but he who may afford one will needs af- 
ford also to furnish the surroundings for 
it in like magnificence. Otherwise all 
else grows pale and dull and leaden beside 
their refulgent glory. Place a piece of 
modern Dresden china side by side with a 
fine antique specimen of Chinese porcelain, 
and the garishness of the modern ware 
will give a pallid tone to the soft whites 
of the Oriental artist. But the fault is 
not with the older and perfect art ; it 
is simply the old truth, in a new form, 
that evil colours corrupt and kill good 
colours. 

Be that as it may, old silk rugs are 
almost priceless, and of value to a million- 
aire collector for their originality of design 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 133 

and for their soft harmonies of colour 
which centuries alone can give. Modern 
silk rugs are mostly machine made, in part 
at least ; are a detriment and a blot on any 
scheme of household decoration, and are 
always worth less than the price paid for 
them. 

By experience we may best learn how 
to choose a rug. As, for instance : never 
buy a rug, least of all at an auction, with- 
out thoroughly examining it. See its back 
as well as its face, and so be sure that it 
has not been cut, and that there are no 
serious holes in it. Quite one-third of the 
good old rugs will show some rents or 
tears, often made by the grappling-hooks 
as the bales are shipped and transhipped. 
If these are no bigger than a silver dollar, 
a skilful repairer, of whom there are 
plenty, will readily remedy the defect. 
Also hold the rug up to the light to know 
that the moths have not eaten it. Look 
at the nap and see that it is not worn to 
the warp. Lay it on a board floor, if 



134 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

possible, and apart from other rugs, and 
see that it lies flat and straight. None but 
those that are firm enough to lie well are 
desirable for use and general comfort. Of 
course many fine antiques are their own 
isufficient excuse for exception from this 
rule. 

If in doubt as to whether a rug has 
aniline dyes or been doctored or painted, 
a handkerchief moistened with the tongue 
may sometimes discover the truth. Paint- 
ing a rug is a device not unfrequently 
practised when the nap is worn down and 
the warp shows white. 

Bear in mind that a good example 
may be so dirty as not to show half its 
merits. A sharp patting may scatter 
enough dust to display it in its proper 
colours, and you may thus, literally, un- 
earth a treasure. 

Remember, too, that rugs never look so 
well or show as clear and bright when 
hanging on the wall as lying on the floor. 
Therefore, test a rug spread out flat before 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 135 

you in broad daylight. It is a trick of the 
trade to hold up one end of the piece ex- 
hibited and keep it waving to show its 
sheen. This is often a mere device to 
conceal its bad shape or other defects. If 
you are buying a rug for use on the 
floor, you should see it so displayed. 
Its sheen should be judged by walking 
around it and considering it in various 
lights. 

Note that with few exceptions the fringe 
and selvedge on a rug were not made for 
beauty but for protection. When the 
fringe is ropy, long, or uneven, or the 
selvedge eaten into or ragged, do not leave 
the rug to its unkemptness, but trim it 
religiously. A man should have his hair 
cut and put in order at proper times ; and 
the propriety of this observance is com- 
monly preached on very many prayer rugs, 
where the comb is prominently pictured, to 
remind the devout that " cleanliness is next 
to godliness." Indeed, the comb in vari- 
ous forms is so common a feature in the 



136 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

angular arch of most prayer rugs that its 
suggestiveness almost detracts from their 
beauty. The counsel is most persistent. 

Even the clean white fringe of a fine 
Persian is often so long as to need clipping. 
Two inches or so is a plenty. If more is 
left, the strings only curl under and show 
a ragged and broken line, and the rug 
never appears trim and orderly. 

When the selvedge is gone, and the end 
borders or sides of the rug itself are en- 
croached upon and sawed by the tooth of 
Time, more than half of the value and 
beauty of the piece is lost ; but to pre- 
serve its usefulness it should be overcast 
and further damage prevented. Never 
buy a rug as a perfect or even choice 
specimen if any border at the sides or 
ends is gone beyond repair. Every border 
should have its corresponding end, and vice 
versa, or the piece is imperfect. Selvedge 
is of slight importance, but, like a woman's 
skirts or a man's trousers, it is unforgiv- 
able if worn or frayed. The side edges 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 137 

which are otherwise still perfect are apt 
to become more or less ragged with 
wear. That is a detail, if the borders 
themselves are intact ; and the edges only- 
need overcasting before it is too late. 

When the good housewife has the rugs 
and carpets beaten, let it be done on the 
grass, if possible, and not when they are 
hung on a line and so allowed to break 
with their own weight. Also let the 
severity of the beating be tempered with 
kindness and discretion. In winter, sweep- 
ing with snow will clean and brighten 
them most wonderfully. 

This whole matter of cleaning is a 
neglected science and worthy of a thesis 
all to itself. The face of a rug will stand 
the slapping which is its usual punish- 
ment for being dirty; but do not forget, 
in the end, to stroke it, with the nap, 
and so soothe its feelings. Do not beat a 
rug or carpet on the back. That has no 
defence of nap, and you are liable to break 
the warp and loosen the knots. Frequent 



138 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

sweeping is far better than the brutality of 
constant beating. The wool of a rug is 
really a sentient thing. However dead 
it may seem, it has a life and vitality 
all its own. It can be quickened, re- 
juvenated, and made alive again by proper 
washing. 

Rugs in our modern houses easily accu- 
mulate dust and grime and smoke. But it 
is absurd to think that a rug is antique be- 
cause it is dirty ; or, more foolish still, that 
because it is dirty it is both antique and 
beautiful. Wash some of your treasures 
and you will wonder at their real glory 
and colour. Generally speaking, every rug 
should be washed about once a year. It 
is the Oriental custom ; and carpets there 
are otherwise kept much cleaner than with 
us, by reason of many usages and observ- 
ances. That the Orientals wash their 
rugs in cold water is not so. Wherever 
and whenever their laundering is done, 
the water is as warm as can be had, 
naturally. 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 139 

Milady washes her laces with her own 
fair hands, and delights in the task. The 
rug collector will do well, perhaps, to fol- 
low her example ; except for the tender 
specimens, which must needs do without 
it, and the carpets, which are unmanage- 
able. At all events, he will do wisely not 
to send his valued specimens to the ordi- 
nary carpet-cleaner. They may come back 
expurgated, but some virtue has gone out 
of them. The wool has lost its oil and 
life. 

It is hardly within the province of this 
volume to prescribe the exact methods of 
washing. Wool soap will do wonders, 
it being always remembered to stroke 
softly with the nap, while the rug is dry- 
ing. In Kurdistan and neighbouring prov- 
inces the rugs are first soaked in milk of 
some kind and then rinsed, cleaned, and 
rubbed dry. The milk gives back to the 
wool its essential oil, and it becomes at 
once soft, shining, silky, and alive with 
glowing colour. This process, simple as 



HO THE ORIENTAL RUG 

it is, is kept as a profound secret by the 
few who know it in this country. Another 
Eastern method is to rub the rug with a 
mixture of rice-meal and oil, but the first 
recipe is by far the better. 

Rugs must be cared for particularly as 
to moths. When they are in general use 
the moth will not corrupt, rust, or break 
through and steal, as may be paraphrased 
from the Scriptures. The criminal in- 
dictment against the moth in this regard 
cannot be drawn too strongly. He is the 
collector's great enemy, because he destroys. 
Age and even wear only ripen the perfec- 
tions of fine modern pieces. Carpets and 
rugs stored, or laid aside, are not moth- 
proof, wherever they may be ; unless they 
are treated as in the great wholesale houses, 
where they are lifted and moved once 
a week and protected with the odorous 
moth-ball. 

When rugs have to be moved and 
packed frequently they should be folded 
differently each time, and not always in the 



GENERAL OBSERVATIONS 141 

same creases. Otherwise, wear and tear 
will soon show in the folds. For many- 
obvious reasons they always should be 
folded away with the nap inside. 

Experience should teach the collector to 
appreciate and care for all fine examples 
which he may already have. There are 
few others to take their places. " Going ! 
going ! going ! " has been said of them too 
often. Time, as auctioneer, now says 
of them, as of old Chinese porcelains, 
"Gone! " And that they should be even 
rarer than old china is quite understand- 
able. The ravages of time deal more 
gently with porcelains than with rugs. 
Only breakage, not wear, moth, and abuse 
affects the former; and it is generally 
guarded in glass cases and dusted by the 
mistress herself. Your rugs are neglected, 
or left to the gardener's heroic care and 
treatment. Use and abuse encroach upon 
the ends and edges of a glorious old master- 
piece, and ere it is too late, it becomes but 
"a king of shreds and patches." 



142 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

If there were new rugs to take its place^ 
we might say : "The King is dead. Long 
live the King!" But there are no new 
ones worthy of succession. The royal line 
is virtually extinct. 



INDEX 



Sntrex 



Afghan rugs, 82 

" ** , modern, mineral dyes in, 83 
Anatolian rugs, 73 

*' , commercial term, 73 
♦♦ mats, 73, 74 
Angles, mystery of, 2 

'• , use of, 62 
Angular ornamentation, 96, 121 
Antique carpets, 94 

" rugs, not to be had, 6 
** ** , term abused, 43 
** ** , tones of imitated, 81 
** *• , valuable for design, 44 
Arabian digits illustrated, 124 
" Arabic figures," miscalled, 124 
Arabic language, 122 

** " , catholicity of, 122, 1 23 

Armenians, appreciation of, 3 
*' , as dealers, 1 13 
" hoard Anatolian mats, 74 
Auction, arguments for, 107, 108 
" , caution in buying at, 1 33 
" , fascination of, 112 
[*• , ways of, 109, 1 10 
Auctioneer, 1 09, 1 1 o 

" , powers of, iii-i 13 
Authorities, few available, 4 

145 



146 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Babylon, first rugs woven at, 69 
Bale, rugs by, 108, 109 
Bead-bags, 23 
Beluchistan rugs, 83 

•' ** , silkiness of, 54 

Bergama rugs, 75 

" " , defect of, 76 

'* " , lavender in, 75 
Bokhara camel-bags, 99 

" rugs, 80 

" " , browfn, 81 
*' , Yamoud, 82 

" saddle-bags, crooked, desirable, 100 
Border, Caucasian, Persian, 23 

* , classifying rugs, 27, 28 

* , crab, 29, 30 

* , dotted, Gheordez, 71 
' , Koulah, 27, 72 
' , Ladik, lily, 25, 72 
' , must have end to correspond, 136 
' , Rhodian or lily, 25, 72 
' , Serabend, 29, 50 

* " , in Mousuls, 53 
Borders in Khorassan rugs, defective, 49 

Camel-bags, 99 

** <* , crooked, desirable, 100 
Camel's hair in rugs, 131 
Cashmere, see Soumac 
Carpet, 93 

** , room should fit, 94 
Carpet-bag, 100, 101 
Carpets, modern Persian, 94—98 

" ** Turkish, 97, 98 

Caucasian rugs, characteristics of, 62 



INDEX 147 



Caucasian rugs, Persian influence on, 61 
♦* •• , varieties of, 16 

Chichi rugs, 61, 62 

** ** , ordinary specimens of, 66 

Chinese figures in Melez rugs, 75 
*' old, rugs, 88, 89 
** weaving transferred to Persia, 69 

China, first rugs from, 69 

Collector encouraged, 76 

Colours, brown, to be rejected, 81 
" , chemical in carpets, 95 
** , dark, of Beluchistans, 83 
** , flaming red, of Karabaghs, 64 
'* , green and yellow, in Bokharas, 8z 
" , lavender, heliotrope, &c., 75 
•* , magenta, to be avoided, 75, 87 
" of Beluchistans, 83 
" " Bergamas, 75 
** " Ladiks, 72 
" ♦* Gheordez, 70, 71 
** , red, of Bokharas, 80, 81 

Comb, as symbol, 135 

Cossack, like Kazak, 65 

Crooked rugs, poetical version of, 21 

Daghestan, confusing term, 61, 62 
" rugs, 6 1 

'* ** , term distinguished, 63 

Dates on rugs, i 24, i 27 

tt €t it ^ Arabian digits for, i 24 
'* ** ** , formula for reading, i 26 
" ♦* ** , intricate forms of, 125 
Dealers, uncommunicative, 2 

*' , wholesale, 108 
Design, checker-board, 75, 76 



148 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Design, comb, i 35 

•* , Feraghan, 24, 53 

** , four roses, 54, 55 (note) 

*' , Koniah, 26, 72 

" , lamp, 72 

•' , mosque, 70 

** , no pattern for, 26 

" , ** palace pattern," 64 

** , "palm-leaf," "pear," loop, 50 

" , "shawl pattern," 64 

" , ''sunburst," 64 
Designs, as trademarks, 26 

" , animals for, not on Turkish rugs, 46 

•• , geometric figures for, 80 

«' , Kazak, in Killims, 86, 87 

♦• , mosaic- work in, 64, 76, 80 

** , palm-leaf, in Mousuls, 53, 54 

" , tile, 82 
♦* Dipping " rugs to imitate antique, 81 
Donkey-bags, 98 

Dyes, aniline, mineral, 35, 36, 38, 134 
" " " , test for, 39 

*' , black, 36 
•♦ , brown, 37 
" " , imitated, 81 

♦« , green, 37, 50 
" , magenta, 36, 49, 87 
" , secret in Kurdistan carpets, 96 

Edges, should be overcast, 137 

Ends, importance of perfect, 136 
♦* , in Khorassan rugs, defective, 49 
** , should have corresponding borders, 136 

Experts, disagreement of, 56 
" , no, 3. 



INDEX 149 

Feraghan carpets, 96 

** *' , small figures of, 97 

" rugs, 52 

** ** , characteristic design of, 29, 52 

«* *' , " " " illustrated, 24 

Figures, j^^ Design 
Fringe of rugs, not for beauty, 135 
" " " , trimming of, 136 

Geography of carpets and rugs, 79, 80 
Gheordez rug, 70, 71 
Gorovan carpets, 96 
Gulistan carpets, 97 
rugs, 56 

Hall rugs, desirable, 45, 93 

*• ** , Persian term for, 44 
Hamadan carpets, 98 
Holes in rugs, cause of, 133 

India carpets, i 7 

Inscriptions on rugs and carpets, i 2 1 

" Iran," as descriptive term, distinguished, 15 

" , a trade term hke "Anatolian," 73 
Ispahan rugs, 56 

Jewels, mats like, 74 
Joshghan rugs, 51, 52 

" ** , like Ispahans, 57 

Kabistan rugs, 63 

'* ** , distinguished from Shirvans, 64 

Karabagh rugs, 64 
Kazak rugs, 65 

" " , plush of, 84 
Killims, 86, 87 
Khorassan rugs, 49 



I50 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

*' Kinari," Persian term for ** hall rugs," 44 

Kirman rugs, 45—48 

Kirmanshah carpets, 95 

" rugs, trade name for Kirmans, 48 

Kiz-Killims, see Killims 

ELnots, kinds of, 25 
" , numbers of, 26 

Koniah rugs, 71 

" *< , characteristic design of described, 72 
'* " , " *' " illustrated, 26 

Koulah rugs, 7 1 

** " , characteristic border of described, 72 
tt <t ^ (t (< << illustrated, 27 

Kurdish rugs distinguished from Kurdistans, 55 

Kurdistan carpets, 95, 96 

rugs, 55» 56 
Kurds, " a band of robbers," 55 

Ladik rugs, 72 

** " , characteristic border of described, 72 
" " , ** '* " illustrated, 25 

Lamp, Aladdin's, 71 

Lamps like tea-pots in Koulahs, 72 

Malgara rugs, 88 
"Mats," Anatolian, 73, 74 

" , Beluchistan, 85 
"Mecca" rugs, doubtful term, 3 

" ♦' , Shiraz, so called, 51 

Melez rugs, 74, 75 
Mohammedan dating, 125, 126 
Moth holes to be looked for in buying rugs, 133 
Moths to be guarded against, 140 
Mousul rugs, 53 

'* " , shimmer of, 84 



INDEX 151 



Museums, best rugs in, 6 

" , brown Bokharas only in, 81 

" , guide-posts to, 73 
Mysterious inscriptions, 123 
Mystery of the rug, 2 

Names of rugs, 8, 9 

(( *< " , commercial, 56 

'« " " , importance of, 14 

(< ft <( ^ unknown and fanciful, 14. 

OusHAK carpets, 98 

Pattern, see Design 
Persia, inspiration drawn from, 69 
"Persian Iran," ignorant term, 15 
Persian, means splendour, 6 
Persian rugs, best to buy, 45 

" " , order of, 15 
Pile, depth of, in Mousuls, 84 
Pillow, shown by selvedge, loi 
Pillows, Sehna, loi 
Prayer rugs, 71 

" ** , comb in, 135 

Rose, conventionalized, 53 

" , Oriental origin, 54 

" , Persian, 52 
Rugs, beating of, 137 

*« , cheap, uses and value of, 66 

'* , cleaning of, 137 

" , firm, that lie well, desirable, 134 

" , folding of, 141 

<* , holes in, 133 



152 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Rugs, hung on wall, criticised, 102, 134 

'* , moths in, 140 

** , much worn, to be avoided, 133 

•' , neglect of, 141 

" , number annually imported, 114, 115, 116 

** , painted or doctored, test for, 134 

** , retail trade in, 113 

'• , tricks in selling, 135 

** , washing of, 138, 139, 140 

" , wholesale dealers in, 114, 117 
Russian, types of, in Caucasian rugs, 63, 65 

Saddle-bag, 98 

*' " , shown by selvedge, loi 

" ** , term confusing, 100 
Saddle-cloth, 102 
Samarkand rugs, 87 
Sarak rugs, 57 
Selvedge, cutting of in Beluchistans, 85 

** ** ** *' Bergamas, 76 

" of Bergamas, 84 

" '♦ Beluchistans, 28 

*' " Bokharas, 82 

** *' pillows, 10 1 

•' " saddle-bags, loi 

** " Yamoud Bokharas, 82 

** should be trimmed, 135, 136 
Sehna rugs, 48, 49 
'* pillows, 10 1 
Serabend rugs, 50 

" *' , characteristic border of, 29 

" " , " " illustrated, 50 

Shiraz donkey-bags, 98 
rugs, 51 
** , defects of, y6 



ft ■ 



INDEX 153 



Shirvan donkey-bags, 98 
" rugs, 64 

" *< , distinguished from Kabistan, 64 
Silk rugs, antique, 1 3 2 

" " , modern, to be avoided, 48, 132, 133 
Sizes of carpets, 44, 94 

<» « rugs, 44 

" *' *' , almost square, 82 
Smyrna carpets, 97, 98 
" Smyrna " carpets, so called, 98 
Soumac rugs, 86 

*' Strips," or " Stair-rugs," proper name of, 44 
Sultanabad carpets, 97 

Tabriz carpets, 95 
" rugs, 57 

Teheran rugs, 56 

Tjoshghan, see Joshghan 

Tree, cypress, 75 
, " of Life, 46 

Trellis, rose, 53 

Turkestan rugs, 79 

<* *' , varieties of, 16 

ft " , «' " , order of, 16 

" w^eaves, like rubies, 70 

Turkoman rugs, 79 

Tzi-tzi, see Chichi 

Washing of rugs, essential, 138 

<< *' ** , methods of, 139, 140 
Weaving, done by w^omen, 22 

»' , method of, 24, 25 
Wholesale dealers, buyers from, 108 
Wool, camels', 131 

" from young sheep, desirable, 132 



154 THE ORIENTAL RUG 

Wool has life, is sentient thing, 138 
♦' , like plush in Kazaks, 84 
" , soft and silky, in Beluchistans, 84 

YoURAGHAN rugs, 5 I 

Yourdez, see Gheordez 
Youruck rugs, 65 



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tWfn 



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^„ 3 5002 00384 2585 

Ellwanger, William De Lancey 

The oriental rug; a monograph on eastern 



Art NK 2808 . E5 1909 

Ellwanger, William De 
Lancey, 1854-1913. 




The oriental rug