We have received several emails asking about the age of the shield.
Please note: It has been dated by the Museum to the mid-16th century, a date we would believe to be correct.
While on the subject of dating, let us once again reiterate our belief a few Turkmen rugs we know of also date, or even pre-date, such an early period. We know this flies in the face of "conventional rug-wisdom” but, when faced with the cold hard facts, it appears to us it would be impossible for there not to have been rugs made then and, of course, for some to have ultimately survived.
Albeit, we grant these ancestor Turkmen weavings are very few and far between but to doubt or deny their existence is, once again in our opinion, foolhardy and myopic.
The historical record firmly supports our contention concerning the existence of 400 year old and, even older, Turkmen weavings.
In that regard, and if things go as planned, the next exhibition on the Weaving Art Museum website will present a scholarly examination of the historic record of tribal movement and settlement in south-west Turkestan.
Let us also state: If there has been only one innovative idea established by the past 30 years of investigation in this area it has proven, beyond any reasonable doubt mind you, a number of examples pre-date the late 18th/circa 1800 dating deemed so radical in the mid-1970's when new interest in early Turkmen weavings reached a high-water mark.
While we will admit little has been publicly aired since then to broaden the suggested perimeters of such an ancient weaving tradition, important research has continued and some of this will, we believe, soon become available .
But regardless of the release of this information there will be no proof positive, or anything approaching that level, until the program of intensive, forensic, scientific testing RK and the Weaving Art Museum have lobbied for will be undertaken.
We realize it's a long hard road that needs to be traversed but when, or should we say if, we are given the financial support such a project entails, we are 100 percent positive we will produce results that will make C14 dating for historic rugs look like the parlor game we have so often remarked it appears to be.
The presentation of this shield’s “Turkmen” motif, as well as the other one we have not published, are but tantalizing hors d'œuvre to the feast of fancy RK imagines will be laid out when our Turkmen database of forensic information will one day be completed.