Hi Robert: Your questions are as excellent as your post. Congratulations and please do post here whenever you want!
First let’s state: RK cannot answer your queries with anything but an emphatic "We Agree".
However, LACMA seems to feel by doing these tests something positive might come out that will make them feel more secure about the piece...or, perhaps, the results will make them feel more insecure.
Since we do not put any weight behind the use of carbon-dating for any non-archaeological material - and then only for material that has been scientifically extracted and protected from contamination - let's leave the C14 issue aside.
As for dye testing and your database comments? Well, since Jan Wouters is, according to LACMA, conducting the dye analysis there might be something that will be discovered. Wouters is rumored to have created a large, proprietary database of dyestuff results from his extensive testing experiences. In fact it is supposedly the best extant, and if that is true (we believe it is) then the results of the analysis of the rug he is running could be compared to that database of samples.
Needless to say, even with that caveat we don't feel LACMA will be, in reality, any more in the know about dodds's dud when the test results are in than they are now.
We do not believe there are any synthetic dyes there -- remember we saw it in Philadelphia many years ago and, even with it having been hung high on the wall in a position that made it impossible to handle or view up close, we surely doubt there are synthetics there. There could be some repairs, both old and new, that utilized synthetic dyes but we doubt there were any originally.
So will these test really help LACMA to decide on whether or not to keep it? In our opinion, no, but the testing will allow them to feel confident they are now, at this point in time, doing everything possible to learn the truth.
We have spoken to a number of people at LACMA and stressed from the beginning the only way to determine what this rug is all about is from the vantage point of utilizing an art-historical approach , i.e. comparison with others of its type.
RK.com has done that for them and published it here months ago. Reading our analysis proves, for all intents and purposes, dodds's rug fails miserably when compared with every genuine pre-1650 "Bellini" and even with all the later "Bellini" rugs made from 1650 - 1800.
It is apparent LACMA now realizes this and, in our estimation, the dye analysis and C14 dating are just perfunctory moves LACMA is making as it progresses to the point of returning the rug to dodds.
There is no doubt dodds's pawning his rug off on LACMA is a disaster for not only the buyer and seller but also for the rug world in general.
Yet there is a silver lining here.
Although it might sound optimistic we feel, because this episode has highlighted the abysmal lack of science available for vetting Oriental Carpets, maybe soon everyone will realize how necessary it is to develop the specialized forensic techniques that will able in the future to circumvent the bogus "My rug is circa 1550" BS that caused the problem in the first place.