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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10362/5146

Title: The discovery of three lost ‘Salting’ carpets: science as a tool for revealing their history
Authors: Santos, Ana Raquel Martins dos
Advisor: Hallett, Jessica
Sousa, Micaela
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia
Abstract: In 2007 three „Salting‟ carpets were discovered in the Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, in Guimarães. Two are prayer rugs with central niches, while the third has a central medallion. Finely knotted in wool on a silk foundation, and embellished with metal threads, this is the largest collection of these carpets known outside the Topkapi Saray (Istanbul). For a century, their origin and chronology have been the source of considerable debate. They take their name from the collector George Salting (1835-1909) who donated a significant example to the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), which was originally attributed to 16th-century Iran. However, the vivid colors of this and other carpets, and existence of similar examples in the Topkapi, led later historians to argue that they were Turkish rugs from the 18th or 19th centuries, and possibly even forgeries of classical Persians carpets. Wool and silk were confirmed in the knotted pile and foundation, and the Medallion Carpet was found to have an extremely high knot count. All colours present were analysed, and a more detailed study was applied to the reds. Lac-dye (Kerria spp.) was identified and as this is the predominant dye of the red ground of classical Persian carpets, it appeared to offer a possible clue to their provenance. The first High Performance Liquid Chromatography-Diode Array (HPLC-DAD) data base was created for lac-dye insects (Kerria and Paratachardina genera) with the support of Principal Component Analyses (PCA), statistical analysis. Historical insect sources (87 samples) from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (London), as well as other entomological sources, were analysed and compared with historical textile samples taken from the Guimarães carpets. The preliminary results revealed that probably the red dye is related with insect sources from Pakistan or a nearby region. However, narrowing the provenance further will require more rigorous taxonomic study of the wide variety of insect species known to produce lac dye (over 20), followed by chemical analysis and comparison with a wider range of carpets. A luteolin-based dye, possibly weld was identified in the yellows, which also appears in the greens with indigo and in the oranges with alizarin, respectively. The browns as well as beige colours were obtained with natural wool, with the exception of the browns in the Medallion carpet in which ellagic acid was identified. All of the colours were applied to the textile fibres with alum, with exception of browns in the Medallion Carpet (iron),beiges (natural wool), and indigo (no mordant). SEM-EDX revealed a distinctive method of manufacture of the metal threads, involving a hand-cut silver lamina of fine gauge covered with a gold coating. The AMS Radiocarbon dating confirmed a date between the late 15th- and mid-17th century for the Medallion Carpet, excluding the possibility of either a late date or forgery. Overall the data point to a 16th- or 17th-century date and Iran as the place of manufacture for the carpets. The Medallion Carpet is revealed to be an exceptional historical discovery.
Description: Thesis presented at the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, to obtain a Master degree in Conservation and Restoration,Specialization in Textiles
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10362/5146
Appears in Collections:FCT: DCR - Dissertações de Mestrado

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