Let's call a spade a spade here and, unlike the ever happy-talkers at over at hali, put the boswell's March sale into proper perspective.
RK has neither the time nor the desire to discuss the boswell's marvelous internet marketing, as it was so-called by whoever wrote the hali review, or the fact cherry-trees are bloomin' many weeks in advance, regardless of the doom-sayers who believe in the urgency of the allegedly brewing global warming disaster.
Fact is, rugfans, there are a number of other far more significant and threatening disasters facing humanity.
How about the thousands of tons of depleted uranium dropped in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and soon to be in Iran? Or the coming generational war our leaders are flapping their lips about? Or the loss of the civil/human rights our Constitution and Bill or Rights supposedly guarantee, just to enumerate a few.
Sorry, let's not get all political here and change the subject but get on back to the hali air-head who penned the review that now appears on their website.
In that review a number of lots were discussed but, quite frankly, we cant seem to see why as almost all of them are barely collectible, forget about important or historic.
But, then again, hali is, and not only in RK's opinion mind you, nothing more than a mouth-piece and lame organ-grinder to those who pass off such goods and, believe it or not, pat themselves on the back for doing so as they bask in their BS belief theyre art-dealers.
Far from it and Ho Ho is all RK has to say about them and halis penchant to go along and to even fan the flames of their ruse.
There were, however, two pieces in the review wed consider close to, but not actually, collectible -- well at least by our high standards.
The first was lot 26 a so-called ShahSevan salt-bag done in soumak technique. In their review, hali informs us
A more exciting lot was 26, a Shasavan sumakh salt bag (1) with a Yuncu look, that strangely looked a great deal better in flesh than on photo. It was the object of a tight battle between two German dealers, reaching 3,360.
By the way those 3,360 euro are equal today to 4,450 dollars.
As RK sees it, like it or not folks, the continuing progressive devaluation of our dollar is another of those looming disasters we believe trump the global warming one sell-outs, like al gore and company, would have us believe is the real issue of the day.
But RK digresses again - back to the boswell sale.
Some years ago we wrote about a soumak piece with somewhat similar cutesy animals sold to the mitch and rozely(aka rugmouth)rugnik collection of Boston, Massachuessettes. It was sold for about $15,000 by the former, now bankrupt and disgraced, rug selling power-house that herrmann ran before his self-induced fall from grace.
Heres a photo for those who do not remember or are too lazy to go search it out in RugKazbahs archive:
The complete post can still be found on our discussion board in the Flat-Weave Topic Area. It is titled Cute Animals Dont A Great Soumak Make and while that soumak bag is somewhat older than the boswell saltbag(and surely more valuable, even in our estimation) we like neither very much and remain in the opinion they are both great examples of early airport-art, with little or no connection to soumaks RK believes are historic, far more interesting and, yes, genuinely beautiful.
While we did not attend the bozwell sale in person, we had no trouble figuring out who the two German dealers battling to own this treasure could have been michael aka I am mr belouch, right? craycraft and bertram aka petty thief frauenknecht.
Clearly, RK holds little personal regard for either of them (and we have the facts to back our position up), nor do we believe either of them knows enough to realize truly how uninteresting and contrived a piece like lot 26 really is.
Likewise, RK doesnt think bozwell is any better but at least he saw lot 26 as circa 1900. We might date it 20 years or so earlier but it is in no way a period piece.
Not to say boswell could not be wrong or even that our assessment could be, too, but honestly after researching and collecting soumak bags for more than three decades we are not so easily convinced fools gold is the real thing.
And fools-gold is the best way we could describe a soumak like lot 26, as well as the grossly overpriced one the rugniks bought from herrmanns defunct shoppe.
As for the amateur rug expert who wrote halis review? RK would just like to inform him/her only someone with little to no understanding old and historic soumak bags could have written the piece strangely looked a great deal better in flesh than on photo.
Wed counter with the probability neither their before or after opinion holds any water and, no matter whether halis reviewer was face to face with the bag or not, any opinion would be worthless.
Same goes for lot 187, the Tekke engsi hali also chose to comment about:
Readers were informed it, too, was the object of a bidding battle between two bidders:
After an intense fight with a collector calling from the US, it finally sold for 4,080 to a Milanese dealer who had a deserving smile afterwards.
RK could probably pin-the-tail on those two as well but, because we like to keep some info to ourselves, we will let our more curious readers do their own gum-shoe investigating.
Here, just like with the soumak, two easily influenced and not very astute bidders decided to scale the heights to own less than important pieces. Such battles dont mean a whole hill of beans, nor do the prices they reached validate the illusion such rugs are important or historic.
The Tekke ensi was, like the grogan piece we continue to discuss, a later example with little or no real connection to history. Wed feel right on in calling it early airport-art, too. We liked it not and were it not for the fact RugKazbah.coms mission is to raise awareness for historic Near Eastern masterpiece weavings, and not to educate our competition, we would be discussing all the reasons why we have taken such a position.
That said, we will gladly state the weavers inability to create anything other than a rather static, two-dimensional work(none of the iconography approaches that important third dimension all great Turkmen rugs demonstrate), plus the lack of an potent icons(all the drawing strikes us as highly repetitive, reflective, unoriginal and boring) support our opinion.
The rug is, what we have often referred to in the past, a pastiche it lacks any genuine magic and is, in our final analysis, nothing more than a piece of decorative art, just like the grogan ensi.
Let us also point out two other factors supporting our opinion:
1.the compressed articulation of the regular design found in the horizontal cross bar between the four quadrants in the field.
2. the crude and somewhat equally as compressed drawing in the lower elem.
Trust us on this one, if nothing else -- both of these drawbacks would surely not be found in any really historic ensi
By the way when making use of this elem design that RK calls the spinning flower icon or amulet, the weavers of all great Tekke ensi were able to do just that make the flowers spin.
Here the weaver was barely able to delineate them, forget about adding any spin.
Well, that said, there was all that typical hali-spin all over this review -- and maybe thats what confused the reviewer into thinking something was actually spinning because this ensi of bozwells surely wasnt.