RKs interest in this rug is purely academic.
We have no skin in the game to guess its date, unlike scholten and Alberto Levi who sold it to James Connell.
The rug had been previously publicly published and as we see it is fair game for our comments.
Of course this is besides the fact it has been so provocatively dated by scholten and Levi to the 15th century and James Connell to the 14th century.
So far scholten has offered the only shred of evidence to support these claims -- that this rug shares a very rare minor border with four fairly recently discovered so-called early "animal" rugs. First let's picture the Kirchheim/Doha "animal" rug, and then the Pine and other Kirchheim collection animal rug fragments.
Left: the Jeremy Pine collection; Right: the Kirchheim collection
By the way these four rugs, and two others the "faces" rug and Met's "anima"l rug, are in RKs opinion quite controversial in their own right. The one least so, at least in regards to age, is the single "animal" rug fragment owned by Italian collector Bruschettini.
Single animal rug bought by Italian collector Bruschettini that is still in his collection.
Since the "faces" rug and Met's "animal" rug, which since its discovery RK has repeatedly called an Afshar that was woven in Iran not Anatolia and dated to the 16th century not 13th as some proponents claim, do not have this minor border we will not mention them again in the scope of this analysis.
Trying to prove a point using a negative is far less convincing than using a positive position to couch an argument. But that is just what scholten has done.
His claim the fact there is no other rug but Connell's that shares this minor border with the four "animal" rugs, means it is in their group and should be dated as early as they are.
Before we get into debunking this notion we should mention our belief, and we have said so for decades, one of the four, the Kirchheim/Doha rug, is not Anatolian but rather a Kurdish rug woven in north-western Iran. Also we date it late 15th/16th century, and not 13th as is commonly believed.
So let's now examine the minor border the other three animal rugs and the Connell share.
First of all, the way it is articulated is not exactly the same. There is a notable difference that can be easily observed.
The minor border on Bruschettini rug, which we believe is the earliest (genuinely circa 1400) and woven in western Anatolia, has no pole like extensions attached to the upper step of the step-terrace. The Kirchheim/Doha rug does, as the photo comparison below clearly shows.
Left: Detail of the Bruschettini single animal rug step-terrace minor border with no pole extension; Right: Detail of the Kirchheim/Doha four animal rug step-terrace minor border with pole extension.
Interestingly, the Pine fragment step-terrace minor border has the pole extension added to the upper part of the border but not on the side, as the photo below shows.
Detail of the Pine fragment step-terrace minor border with pole extension on the top border but not the side one.
The other Kirchheim animal fragment, the one with the highly stylized animal, which by the way we date circa 1500, also has the step-terrace minor border without the pole extension on either the top or side border.
Detail other Kirchheim animal rug fragment with stylized animal and step-terrace minor border and no pole extensions.
The Connell rug does, as the photo below shows, have a step-terrace minor border with the pole extensions.
Detail Connell rug step-terrace minor border with pole extensions
Sorry for the poor quality photos but they are the best RK has in our files.
What does all this mean?
The pole extension, or lack of it, might be seen as a very insignificant factor for scholten and other proponents. However, this is not accidental. It was purposefully done by the weavers and must be recognized as not an insignificant act, whatever the reason.
But there is one more far greater factor concerning this step-terrace minor border.
The Connell rug has it flanking its major border, as a small portion can be seen on the top most right side. While on all the other animal rugs it is only on one side of the major border, the inside.
Placing a minor border on both sides of the major one is a decidedly later design convention.
Not only does this not appear on any of the other animal rugs, one would be hard pressed to find many, if any, pre-1650 Anatolian village rugs with flanking minor borders.
It just doesnt happen in really early examples, and regardless of the similarity of the step-terrace minor border, the fact that it is doubled and flanks the major border provides an insurmountable obstacle for dating Connell's rug to anything but post 1650. And we believe way post that date.
More to come, stay tuned