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Q&A: Bad Red? Fuchsine Dyes

 

Question:

Hi,

Long time reader, first time writing in.  I've been picking up rugs here and there locally and on ebay.  One of my purchases not too far back was an old Sarouk from eBay.  Beautiful design, lot of negative space and good kpsi

The only thing that has me scratchin' my head is this darn "red."  It just doesn't pop like other Sarouks I have.  It looks faded, but it goes through to the other side, and the other colors seem unaffected.  What's the deal with this?  It's horribly blotchy and inconsistent.  Looks like a faded pink!

-anonymous

 

Response: 

Hello, thank you for the kind words!
Although no photograph was provided, (above right and bottom are stock images) you did provide a good description which seems to rule out sun fade or oxidation as you mentioned the color variation goes through the rug. Without actually seeing the example in person, perhaps the following may shed some light on what's got your rug tickled pink.
Two things which may be the culprit. 
1.  If this is a Painted Sarouk, it may at one point in time have been stripped of it's paint.  This often contributes to the "blotchy" coloring you've noted, and would also account for the pinkish tone and "matching" color on the reverse side.
2.  This second thought may require some additional research...  We're not sure what vintage Sarouk you may have, but if it's an older piece from around the turn of the 20th century, it may have fuchsine dye.  From what we understand, fuchsine dyes may have been briefly introduced into Persian weavings in the late 3rd quarter 19th century.  They were phased out quickly, then reappeared around the turn of 1900 as other "experimental" dyes were being more widely used.  From discussion with others in the field, fuchsine was used to attain colors in the "red" family.  However, the long term "strength" of such was not yet understood as through the ages, the original intended color often faded to a peachy pink color.  In some instances, we have heard dealers say it may even be completely absent!
Dyes are a very touchy subject for many rug experts in the field.  While there is some documentation, many say a great deal of assessing dyes and information pertaining to the history of dyes is somewhat speculative.  If anyone has additional insight or comments, let us know!
Thanks for writing in!
Sincerely,

- Rug Rag

Fuchsine Dye Sarouk Sample


Dyes

 

We look forward to talking with anyone who may have questions on or about oriental rugs.  We are an Independent Reviewer, and will give you our opinion for any rug, new or old.  Should you have any questions you would like to submit for a blog entry response, please do so, and be sure to include photographs of your rug.  For more information, please take a look at the bottom of this page, or feel free to Contact Us at Info@rugrag.com

 

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For all those interested in submitting a question to the Rug Rag Editors:  We'd be more than happy to help, please send some photographs of the reverse side of the rug very close up with a quarter placed on the knots, plus a picture of the fringe, the whole face of the rug and detail shot of the pile.  If the rug is worn, please include photographs of worn areas.  For rugs of any age, please be sure to check for dry areas, moth damage, odor, and whether or not the rug is straight/has right angles where called for.  If you have any questions about our assessment request feel free to send us an email.  Otherwise, we are looking for something similar to these images posted here

 

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