Boswell Speaks: Volume 3

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When available, these are followed by dye and physical analyses to determine age. He refrains from discussing their condition, perhaps because of the detail illustrations provided. Tested dates range from 15th century 1 , 16th century 12 , 17th century 40 , 18th century 40 and 19th century 34 , to the 20th century 1 , with most dating from well into the 17th century to This is significant because the textiles were produced when the speed of travel averaged less than 25 kilometres per day. In the study of dialects, this is not considered a factor that favours intermingling.

We may thus assume that the rugs were produced using autochthonous techniques and design principles. In the past three decades, science has found entry into international art history. Advanced materials science has helped gain an insight into the trade in raw materials, and of course that same science has led to the recent exposure of forgeries. Lending institutions also supplied their own analyses.

Furthermore, he maintained a constant dialogue with scholars at the Abegg Foundation, Riggisberg. Jan Wouters lucidly introduces the subject of dye analysis using high-performance liquid chromatography HPLC with diode-array detection DAD , allowing complex dye mixtures to be separated in a short space of time. He explains the dyestuffs appropriate for different materials such as wool and silk proteins or cotton and linen carbohydrates. In Turkmen weavings, it is especially useful to look at the shades of red.

Methods for analysing these reds are complex, so the large number of rugs of fairly similar age proved valuable for compiling comparative statistics. The biological sources available in a specific area can thus be determined with relative certainty, while at the same time verifying the trade in dyestuffs with neighbouring regions. Precious red dyes were obtained from female scale insects, supplemented by so-called Mexican cochineal from Central and South America, traded in Asia since Armenian, Polish, and Ekin cochineal were also used, as well as kermes and Indian lac.

Madder and sappanwood provided red vegetable dyes. It is possible to separate the various red dyes with a fair degree of certainty.

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Ina Vanden Berghe then explains how this is achieved. A difficulty is encountered in the use of mordants, as these change the dyes and must be separated. The wool and silk samples examined produced varying results.

While it was possible to determine the species of cochineal in all the wool samples, it could not always be established with certainty for the silk. Additional semi-synthetic and synthetic dyes were found in late 19th-century pieces.

Samuel Johnson

The reports have resulted in insights enabling attribution to tribes based on dye analysis. In particular, Salor-Saryk-Tekke weavings can be narrowed down according to the materials used. Intense shades of red were achieved by mixing Mexican and Armenian cochineal as well as lac.


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This study is the first to provide evidence of Mexican cochineal in Turkmen textiles. The Salor only used lac. From the 17th century, intensity was enhanced by a tin mordant. Dye research is particularly effective when combined with radiocarbon dating to determine age. Georges Bonani explains the procedure. All living beings take in C, so their time of death can be determined by measuring the decay of the isotope. However, the massive impact of environmental changes in the past years means that the C results must be adjusted and correlated to other types of material analyses as well as to historic and stylistic evidence.

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Only then is it possible to determine the respective time spans with varying degrees of probability. Age determination has played a central role since Turkmen rug studies began in the 19th century. Differences in condition were sometimes misleading. Scholars were often deceived by appearance and dated the oldest pieces to the 18th century. This changed with the advent of C dating for the genre in Visual assessments and design analyses remained inaccurate, and attempts to assume the use of silk is a more recent technique also failed.

The use of synthetic dyes allows items to be dated to the period after Purchase dates are important since Turkmen rugs only came into western hands in large numbers after In conjunction with statistical evaluations of dye materials, radiocarbon testing has permitted reliable dating of a small number of Turkmen rugs. In the second volume, Rageth devotes five themes to the tribal groups and their weavings. He outlines the history of the tribe and its homeland, then discusses their weavings: techniques, materials, dyes and designs.

Next he examines individual objects. His attention focuses primarily on tracing the origin of motifs, some of which may date back to sources from the distant past. He challenges the view that the Salor were the dominant textile artists. Rather than bringing their art with them, as usually assumed, they probably adopted it after the 10th century from a group living in western Central Asia. However, their weavings are remarkable for the precision and complexity of their designs and materials.

He surmises that Sogdian or Sasanian pieces—in effect, the works of Mesopotamian high culture— served as models, with specific designs passed on until well into the 19th century. After the defeat of the tribe, the Saryk, Tekke and also the Yomut continued to use the same designs. In the case of the Ersari, Rageth throws light on the way in which ancient eastern representations of landscapes relate to ikat designs. He also traces the origins of the mina khani and senmurv designs.

His chain of evidence is convincing and substantiated by many examples. A long chapter is devoted to the origins and development of Turkmen rug designs from the local traditions of the oases of Margiana, Bactria, Sogdia and Chorasmia. Rageth aims to show that settled population groups in those areas passed their designs to the Turkmen tribes.

He proceeds by examining groups of objects.

His initial focus is on ensis, which he identifies as symbols of power and prestige objects used by the khans. He attributes the large number of surviving ensis to commercial production in the second half of the 19th century. A second detailed study considers the ak su lattice see HALI , pp.


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  • The term translates as amulet bag, and there is evidence that it was used as such by the tribes. Great funny insight into the mind of a lovable pet. Can't wait to read the sequels! Wish Boswell was my dog! Nov 26, Amanda Wolfe rated it did not like it. Not my cup of tea. May 21, Valerie Smith rated it it was amazing Shelves: boswell-speaks-volume Very good Robyn rated it liked it Dec 29, Daniel Bundy rated it liked it Jan 24, Niki rated it really liked it Nov 15, Joni Graves rated it it was amazing Oct 19, Shelly Shinevar rated it it was amazing Jan 17, Aubrey rated it it was ok Apr 11, May 22, Judy rated it it was ok Shelves: fantasy , fiction , kindle , read-in Not what i expected.

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    Marcie added it Feb 06, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Richard Grossman.

    Boswell Speaks: Volume 3

    Richard Grossman. After working as a high-level executive for a multi-national financial services company, he left the corporate world in in order to devote his time to writing. For the past two decades Grossman has been concentrating on a trilogy of novels entitled American Letters, intended to redefine the nature of writing.

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