We will add some comments besides yours but first we'd like to relate a small anecdote about Mr reuben.
When the auction for Tekke chuval we posted on Ebay was almost finished, we were informed by a clever RugKazbah.com reader there was a similar chuval also for sale on Ebay.
Unlike ours, which was up for auction with no reserve or starting price other than $.01, this one was listed in the Ebay "store" of a seller called "knights-antiques" for $6,500.oo.
In his description, Simon Knight, the man behind knights-antiques, noted his offering was the same piece illustrated in reuben's Gols and Guls catalog and he also referred to plate 9 in the jon thompson sotheby sale as being comparable.
Here is the photo of the piece, and by the way it is still for advertised for sale by Knight.
After taking a good look at it, we emailed reuben the following:
Without beating around the bush, it is easy to deducethe reason simon knight put the following ebay item:
up for sale was the show up the chuval rugkazbah.comhad on offer, as well.
no problem, and since you, or some surrogate someonebelieves that, why don't you debate it's virtues withRK on our board:
i am sure you can find the discussion area and it isthere we could "debate" the two pieces side by side.
Our webmaster will be glad to setup the photos and youcan be assured your views with be equally treated asmine
i very much look forward to proving not only thechuval RK posted was better than yours but, even more,to make the point how RK can run rings around a socalled Turkmen rug expert like yourself
we did meet once, or perhaps a second time, but it wasafter reading your opinions and seeing the pieces youhave/had those thoughts about that the conclusion youknew little proved accurate --
now i would be pleased to prove it because undoubtedlyyou believe your piece, former # 7 in your "gols andguls" extravaganza publication, to be older and betterthan RK's, right?
Sorry but You are wrong and i'll look forward to theopportunity to prove so, and even to you, sir.
We then, rather quickly, received the following reply from reuben:
I sold no. 7 in Gols & Guls sometime ago. I do not know who owns it at present. I do not know which of the pieces you refer to is better and I am not interested.
As to a debate I am surprised that an expert like you will stoop to debate an ignoramus like myself.
Needless to say reuben's self-deprecation is warranted, and his reticence to discuss the chuval with us perhaps part of that?
We mention this to explain our belief reuben, like so many in rugdom(windle, the swindler, swann comes to mind) can talk the talk but when it comes to walking the walk they are nowhere to be found.
But enough of this and now on to your post, John, please forgive the preamble.
The most comprehensive article I have read on Tekke Main carpets was David Reuben's in Hali Issue 145. However, having read it several times (and admired some of the pictures), I am not much wiser - which is probably my problem.
Probably not, John, as many have commented on reubens cockeyed opinions and off the wall conclusions.
We have not read what he wrote, or even looked at the pictures, but we must say in reuben's favor the Tekke carpet he sent a photo to, and that photo's being included in the amazing Tekke main carpet exhibition Siawosch Azadi hosted in his gallery last fall, was in our opinion one of the best of the bunch.
And trust us on this one rugfans, that exhibition was the BEST display of early Tekke main carpets ever staged, as anyone who saw it will rightfully concur.
So, we can congratulate reuben for owning such a masterpiece but we surely will disparage him for the many obtuse and worthless comments that have littered his presentations on Turkmen rugs.
Do not feel poorly, John, about your inability to "follow" reuben's dopey logic and conclusions, you are definitely not alone.
The matrices are "sparse" and there is little obvious clustering.
Some of the comments in the text seem to be contradicted by the data in the matrices.
Having not read the article, we are unable to comment but we do know what we have read of reuben's work would substantiate your finding material errors.
For example, the text states "Few carpets with piled elems were woven before 1875" yet there is a significant cluster in Table 1 attributed to ET.
Once again, he who relies on "rules" when assessing a Turkmen rug's importance, age, etc will frequently only find himself on the wrong end of reality.
We have seen some early Tekke main rugs with piled elem, but none of these are in the earliest group, which invariably have, or at one time had, red plain weave elem with a few closely clustered rows of usually three blue lines of wefting.
There seems to be little correlation between the number columns and age.
We might add there is no proof less gols in fewer rows implies earlier work. It often times does but it NEVER conclusively does. Someone with reubens supposed long time experience should know this and his failure to recognize it bodes poorly for his alleged expert status.
David Reuben has "only" classified 167 carpets. I suspect he has analysed a lot more than any other dealer/collector so it would be wrong to criticise his work.
Again, your logic here is flawed, as the number of rugs one analyzes can never provide proof he who did the analyzing is more knowledgeable than someone who has studied fewer carpets or even none.
Stupidity, prejudice, obstinacy and conceit are always still there for all to see, no matter how diligently someone tries to prove hard work equals results.
RK knows nothing good is ever accomplished without hard work but working hard does not necessarily equate with good results. Thats for sure.
His taxonomy is the basis on which to build a more comprehensive database, but my guess is that reducing the matices(sic) will allow more conclusions to be drawn.
His view that tertiary designs are relatively "late" seems to coincide with your comments but one problem is in defining late.
Whoa, one minute here John. We never said, nor implied, the presence of tertiary motif in Tekke main carpets proves they are late.
The one we formerly owned, which we feel is the elder in the small group now published online, was probably early 19th century, which is a very respectable age for a Tekke main.
We do know of ones that are much older, for instance the one of reuben's mentioned above, and have little doubt a few of these can be pre-18th century.
Yes, that's right pre-1700.
But should you or anyone else start any discussion along those lines, please note, RK will not engage you, as we prefer to keep our views on that issue, as well as many others, to our self, thank you very much.
What is late to you is early to many others. Is there a consensus that DR's plate 1 the earliest Tekke Main?
If you email us a photo of the piece, we do not have any of reuben's catalogs at hand presently, we will be glad to post it along with an answer.
What would be extremely useful would be to conduct a "census" of Tekke main carpets to fill-out the matices.
Well, since we have not read reuben's article and do not exactly know what you are referring to by "matrices" we cannot directly answer.
However, we are 100% in favor of ANY work anyone with competence undertakes in investigating this or any other of the many questions surrounding pre-commercial period Turkmen weaving.