Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Tertiary Gol Tekke Main Carpets
Fri, Sep 7th, 2007 09:12:44 AM
Topic: Tertiary Gol Tekke Main Carpets

As everyone who has ever tried to learn about historic rugs and textiles knows, there are few hard and fast rules to go by.

In fact, the supposed rules concerning Turkmen rugs that have been developed over the years since collecting them became fashionable are probably the least conclusive among all other weaving groups.

Besides the alleged importance of the ratio of vertical to horizontal knotting in Tekke weavings, the idea Tekke main carpets with 4 rows of 10 gols each are earlier than ones with 11 gols or even 12 is, according to RK, not something you can take to the bank.

Yes, sometimes this rule is effective, but not always and anyone who doesnt believe this is either inexperienced or a fool.

A propos to this situation a discussion on Virginia Commonwealth University professor steev, the rug clown, price's website centered around a Tekke main carpet with tertiary gols:

As usual, professor price, the leading rug clown magpie, had nothing to say to answer the questions the owner posed along with the photo.

Neither did any of the other rug-midget brains who, like price, believe they are knowledgeable enough to answer questions the public poses about old, antique oriental rugs.

RK monitors prices rug romper-room playground a few times a week and after seeing the rug above, and reading the questions the owner posted, we answered by emailing price directly.

We will not comment, presently, on the comments he made when he posted the information we sent him about the similarity of the carpet in question and one that was published in the small catalog of the stratka collection some years ago.

Here is a photo of the stratka carpet:

After more questions were raised we emailed price, the rug-clown from Virginia Commonwealth University to answer them and also sent along photos of another similar Tekke main carpet RK used to own:

Now as far as rules go, particularly the one which states 4 rows of 10 gol main carpets are earlier than those with 11 or even 12 gols, in this instance it proves to be not valid.

Here is a detail of the Tekke carpet we used to own:

While the primary, secondary and tertiary gol in all three carpets are quite similar and comparable, the articulation and choice of motif in the main borders are different.

From comparative study of these factors and their execution, it appears the oldest of the three would be the one we used to own.

We would then rank the stratka carpet as the next oldest and the one posted on professor price=clowns website the youngest.

Here is a black and white photo of that one for comparison with the stratka and ours.

We have chosen to publish both ours and this one in black and white to facilitate comparison with the stratka main carpet photo that is only available in black and white.

We will be willing to discuss this issue further should any readers have cogent questions about the tertiary gol or any of the other aspects of Tekke main carpets a discussion like this can raise.

Author: jc
Fri, Sep 7th, 2007 09:12:44 AM

Igdyr, Camel Dung and Flap-Jawed Magpies:

RK has been occupied for the past week or so and have not had time to post or to visit Virginia Commonwealth University professor steev price's rug clownland website.

We did today and from our brief visit we gather the rug magpies have become mired in camel dung and even more unmentionable thoughts about "early Turkmen chuvals".

With rug blowhard, jim aka jimbo allen, leading the "discussion" and steev, the pedantic rug freshman's dumb as a box of rocks retorts, you can be sure it'll be nothing but a waste of time to try and follow their mini-minded take on what constitutes an "early Turkman chuval".

One other sure thing is the lack of possibility anyone, who is unfamiliar with such a topic, will come away with any inkling of enlightenment from reading their pathetic musings, which included a totally serious camel dung comment tendered by that other rug moron, jack williams.

If williams, or anyone else, believes the presence of "original dirt" or "camel dung" on a rug can be used as any indication for "dating", we'd have to say they are even more idiotic than they appear.

And that's pretty hard to imagine, now aint it...

Author: Martin Andersen
Sat, Sep 1st, 2007 12:42:11 PM

RK Replies:

The profusion and haphazard placement of what you are calling "pitchforks" would imply to us they are not "amulets" in the most narrow sense of that term. In a broader sense, well yes, probably they had some meaning. They were not put there by accident, this is sure.

However, by the time such rugs as these were produced it is very possible there were no real amulets, but rather just motifs with some sort of significance to the weavers and users.

Were earlier rugs more substantially imbued with magical amulets and potent motif?

We'd have to say we believe so; but that is only belief, as there is no proof for any such supposition.

One thing is sure: We all know next to nothing about any of these motifs; their original meanings or later significance.

Enjoy your rug, Martin, and keep an open mind as to any "ideas" you or anyone else forwards. This is the most important suggestion we could make...


Hi RKI would be very interested if you could explain a little more on how look upon the difference between an ornamental design and an amuletic design (what ever that may be). Perhaps you could look at the pitchfork designs on the lower left corner of my rug and the lower left corner of your ex-rug ? :[IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s69/martinerikandersen/signature.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s69/martinerikandersen/ex-Cassinpitchfork.jpg[/IMG]Would you say that these pitchfork designs are some kind of signature, an amuletic design or something else ? I am sorry if the question is trivial and stupid, I sure am a happy amateur in the field of rugs, I have seen only a very limited number of main carpets in real life, and I certainly respect yours and others experience.regards Martin

Author: jc
Fri, Aug 31st, 2007 09:01:11 AM

Trying to "figure" out what the iconography found on these Tekke carpets, or any other Turkmen weavings, means is an amusing exercise.

But past the parlor game such activity always proves to be for any pre-commercial period weaving, there are absolutely no known facts on which to base any suggestions or ideas.

And then, of course, some who might credence the few late 19th to early 20th century alleged references drawn from ethnographic reports made during this end of the line period for the Turkmen are, according to RK, on no firmer ground.

We mention this to put into proper perspective the silly "meanings" a turko-clown like jim, aka jimbo, allen often uses to pepper his pseudo-academic carpet-oriented musings.

The real drawback rugdom suffers in allowing those, like allen, to run with free reign through this motif identification minefield is it encourages others to join with him.

Such is now the case over at the amateur hour rug sandbox website Virginia Commonwealth University professor price insists on maintaining online.

Go check out the pitch-fork wielding thunderbolt chucking professor prices band of rug-magpies are now engaging in to attempt to "explain" the appearances of some common icons and amulets found on these carpets.

As far as RK is concerned publishing such malarkey for public consumption is not only foolish but detrimental to any real attempts to "understand" the possible underlying meanings of these designs.

Plus, its just plain ignorant and stupid. Need we say more?

Author: Martin Andersen
Sat, Aug 25th, 2007 05:34:45 AM

RK Replies:

Hello Martin:

We posted the photo of the tertiary gol from your carpet and the detail from the one we formerly owned to see if you or anyone else wished to discuss them in comparison.

Should that be the case, RK will be glad to reply to anyone who wants to further the discussion.

Should no one reply, we will probably not further any comparisons that can be demonstrated on our own.

And yes, Martin, studying historic Turkmen rugs is terra incognita and although there are now readily available invasive scientific tools to investigate the physical properties a rug possesses, so far no one has applied them.

This is our ultimate goal and to do this we will need the cooperation of rugdom.

Is it a possibility? Probably not a very good one but we are still here waiting....


Hi RKThe facts about the rugs seems few and the questions many. So I try to read all thoughts and information (yours also) with an open mind, and perhaps one day I will have some kind of understanding of the material.(sorry for the gramma, and misspellings, English is not my native language)regards Martin

Author: jc
Fri, Aug 24th, 2007 02:27:36 PM

The Url in Andersens last post leads to the following detail of the tertiary gol from his carpet:

Here is a detail photo of a few of the tertiary gols in the carpet we used to own:

Soon, we intend to add some comments about them.

Please feel free to add your won and stay tuned

Author: Martin Andersen
Fri, Aug 24th, 2007 01:05:19 PM

RK Replies:

We have posted some comments after Mr. Andersen's in italics:

Hello RKSorry what I meant was that none of these 3-4 rugs were archaic.

That's what we thought at first but just in case you did not we presented that answer. Glad to know we were clear enough, and your English is good enough, to have understood what we wrote.

And I agree that the border element looks contrived from the main gul. But Its still strange that the tertiary gull seems be connected to the border element.

You would rather be more correct at this point in saying seemed, as in reuben's article there are two related rugs.

Of course, reuben is not concerned with these features, he illustrates them for other reasons.

By the way, both of these two carpets have the border amulet but no tertiary gol.

There is a third one in reuben's hali article with a "related" tertiary ornament but no border amulet.

So, any thoughts these motif(border amulet and the particular tertiary gol) are cemented together historically is now not looking likely.

The photos of these rugs are not good enough to draw any firm conclusions concerning actual ages as compared with either the stratka, yours or our former example.

However, that said, they appear to be on the later end of any continuum.

I suppose that when you have 2 unusual elements only appearing together, then the carpets with these unusual elements must be related, and that's what I meant by a local development.

Well, Martin, even considering there are now three, not two, examples with this combination, any thoughts about the significance are guess-work at best.

After looking carefully at your piece and the stratka as they compare to our former example, we'd venture to say the earliest, which coincidently appears to be ours, is pre-1850 but post 1800.

The stratka and yours both appear quite similar in their use of proportion and design and based on those factors and others we'd guesstimate them to be somewhat later but made before the later 1870's.

However, we realize our age guesses hold no real water but we feel very confident in the relative dating continuum we have created.

Regarding the amuletic motifs I was referring to the large amount of "pitchforks" on tertiary gull, which I understand could be seen as protective motifs.

We do not ascribe ANY meaning to any amulet found on any pre-commercial period weaving.

We prefer to only recognize them as amulets but not to try and state what their amuletic meaning or powers were.

By the sounds of some comments you have made, Martin, it seems to us you have read, and put some faith, in the ridiculously posited "writings" of jim, aka jimbo, allen -- a turko-idiot, liar and cheat.

Are we correct in such a thought?

It is unbelievable, to us, anyone would even bother to re-read, let alone countenance, allen's fantasy island approaches to Turkmen rugs that include pseudo-psychological myths he finds in the bottom of bottles of scotch or god knows what other types of inebriation necessary to invent such poppycock.

But when again your right, its guess-work.[IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s69/martinerikandersen/tertiary-gul.jpg[/IMG]

I have tried Rugbooks, but unfortunately 145 is not in stock.Regards Martin

We just looked on the hali website and they are selling issue 145 for $34US. Sounds like there is where you should go to get the issue.

Author: Martin Andersen
Fri, Aug 24th, 2007 02:24:57 AM

RK Replies:

Howdy, Martin:

We have a few things to say about your post and will include our thoughts after yours in italics, in our usual fashion.



I think you are very right that carpets aren't archaic.

Where did you ever get that idea.? We said "the group of carpets under discussion in this thread(those with the amulet border and particular tertiary gol motifs) are not archaic".

However, other Tekke main carpets, as well as almost any type of weaving made by Tekke or those made by almost all the other Turkmen groups do have examples we would categorize as archaic.

I suppose its fair to say that these carpets represents some kind of local development which didn't survive the Russian invasion.

Well, we'd have to agree with you here but such a generalized statement is, of course, true but in fact a meaningless one.

And by local development, what are you really saying?

You know, Martin, trying to unravel the myriad of socio-political, economic, historic and who knows what other influences combined to produce rugs, like this cluster of Tekke tertiary gol main carpets, is impossible.

Instead of trying to "explain" what is incomprehensible RK decided long ago to avoid such dead-ends and concentrate on what the weavings themselves(physically) can tell us.

By investigating the changes certain types of weavings, as well as certain types of designs, underwent we believe far more "information" about them will be forthcoming than trying to "explain" underlying factors, like those we list above.

Plus to complicate these issues even further, there is the reality the makers of early, pre-1800 let's just say for arguments sake, examples were by and large definitely living in a completely different world than their descendents circa 1850, forget about 1880 or 1900.

Almost all of the field work often cited in "carpet studies" results from investigations made post 1880 and for this reason, as well as others we do not feel like citing, RK holds little faith the myths and "rug-lore" that now surrounds these weavings is anything but fantasy.

The rugs don't lie or tell stories and while their "voices" are very difficult to hear -- they are speaking to us.

Regrettably, few in rugdom are sensitive enough to realize this and far fewer have the right "ears" to even hear what they might be relating.

My own first impression (which of course is 100% subjective) was something like "holy crap, this carpet was made under some kind of stress" - and that stress could perhaps be war/victory/defeat, that would account for someone's need for an extraordinary amount of protective signs and patterns. Pure speculation.

Frankly, we do not agree with what you are saying.

These carpets, yours included, have no more or less amuletic references than any genuine Turkmen main carpet.

And let's face facts, calling any motif an amulet is totally guess-work, as the makers of such rugs may have had completely different motivations in/for reproducing them.

All and all this subject is very mysterious, a veritable slippery slope for anyone trying to negotiate it.

Best off, as we just said, not flying off on tangents trying to understand or decipher their "meaning"

Hope you will post some photos from the Hali 145, I haven't been able to find a copy of the issue.

Kind regards Martin

Finding a copy of hali 145 is easier than falling off your couch - order it from our friend Dennis Marquand, who is the best source (stock and price wise) for any rug books.

Order it today and we are sure Dennis will get it to you faster than a speeding bullet!

Author: jc
Thu, Aug 23rd, 2007 11:40:35 PM

We haven't had a chance to read, ugh, reuben's magnum opus Tekke article and until we do here's some food for thought for those of you who seek such nourishment.

We described the border amulet in question as a type of banner gol ensconced within a football gol, however, actually banner gol is not the better guess at its derivation as another reference seems to be.

Notice the outline of the white, quartered center of the Tekke main carpet gol

and compare it with the border amulet.

This veritable similarity is no coincidence and if you think different you missed the boat.

OK, lets move on: RK doesn't believe any of the Tekke main carpets (those with the amulet and particular corresponding tertiary gol - including the two additional candidates for possible inclusion we found among reuben's illustrations) are first/archaic period weavings.

Far from it, these rugs have a contrived feel to them.

They do not compare well with the oldest and best examples, like some in last fall's Azadi Gallery masterpiece exhibition.

Fact, one of those was reuben's but it was only pictured, as he did not want to send the rug to Hamburg, and he foolishly did not attend.

As for the tertiary motif?

We can imagine it, like many second period/classic Turkmen design conventions derived from far earlier, urban work.

In this instance we see a two-dimension, highly simplified and attenuated, double helix grid that mimics a three-dimensional fret work style other earlier Central Asian and western Chinese pile carpets, and flatwoven textiles and tapestries developed.

These rugs look rather garish next to archaic-period Tekke main carpet weaving, which have a purity of form and function these pieces lack.

We surely do not mean to imply studying them is not worthwhile and we view them, though it might seem otherwise, as eminently respectable weavings in their own right.

Author: jc
Thu, Aug 23rd, 2007 11:26:11 AM

We now have a copy of the reuben Tekke main carpet article from hali #145 and will be commenting on it soon.

Author: jc
Wed, Aug 22nd, 2007 04:37:27 PM

We have found several more photos of the teritary gol Tekke main carpet we used to own and are publishing them for comparison with the now three others identified as members of the small this group of weavings.

Author: jc
Wed, Aug 22nd, 2007 10:48:16 AM

We have just been informed another Tekke main carpet with this border amulet has been posted to Virginia Commonwealth University professor steev price=clowns website. Here is a detail photo:

This detail shows an area of the border with a patch containing the amulet.

Significantly, it also shows one of the tertiary gols in the border as well(just above the patch to the right).

It was somewhat comical to read the opinions professor clown and his cadre of forlorn ruggies have disseminated concerning this discovery.

In fact, none of them have been able to scratch the surface of this new development, which is childs play for anyone who has developed critical thinking about Turkmen rugs.

Since we have not handled the rug in question, wed like to ask the owner if he has inspected the rug carefully enough to determine whether or not the patch is actually from the rug?

From the photo above the weave, wool quality and color surely point to this being the case.

If not, then it is plain and clear all probabilities suggest the patch came from a rug that was very similar, if not almost exactly the same.

Why did the weaver of this rug, or whatever other one the patch did actually come from, not use a tertiary gol?

Why, instead, was it placed in the border?

These questions have no positive answers but, please note, RK has been, for a very long time, investigating groups of rugs and other related flat-weaves where a migration of motifs from field designs to those used in borders and visa-versa appears.

So far, there has been nothing to suggest either occurrence can be ascribed to earlier weaving or to later production.

The migration of motifs seems to have no rhyme or reason but it is a fact such displacements do occur frequently enough to be questioned.

We can get closer to an answer, in this instance, if the owner will carefully inspect the Tekke main to see if, in fact, the patch was lifted from someplace else on the carpet or not.

Should that not be the case then, of course, the patch would have to be from another weaving.

Wed also suggest the owner remove the patch and check to see how close the structure is to the carpet.

If they are the same, then we can easily imagine the patch being from a very similar carpet perhaps a twin?

Author: John Lewis
email: [email protected]
Wed, Aug 22nd, 2007 04:10:12 AM

RK Replies: John, we are trying to locate a copy so we can see the ilustration you reference and look at what reuben wrote.

We will weigh in on this as soon as we locate issue 145.


Plate 3 in the Hali article - Issue 145 - shows a similar tertiary gul (as far as I can see, it is not a detailed picture).

Author: jc
Tue, Aug 21st, 2007 05:58:42 PM

Never willing to leave well enough alone, the turko-idiot of Virginia Commonwealth University professor steev price=clown's inability to say anything real or right about any pre-commercial period Turkmen, or any other group for the matter, weaving prompted him to state the following nonsense:

"I agree that what appears to be an association between using that odd motif once in the border and using the tertiary gul in the field is interesting and suggests that these rugs belong to the same group (whatever that means; probably that they were done at about the same time and place).

Clearly, these three rugs were not all made in the same place and price's foolish belief they were demonstrates, for the umpteenth time, his inexperience and miniscule amount of rug expertise.

How do we know they werent made in the same place?

Well, for starters, the dye palette of Andersen's and the ex-ours example clearly show major differences that were the result of their being produced in different locals.

And although the stratka piece is not illustrated in color, when and if it ever is, it too might show another palette and therefore be from even another place

The sorrowful state of price's rug knowledge, and that of his rug sandbox discussion board associates, assures anyone venturing in there with a question will have nothing more than a powerball lottery chance of getting the correct answer.

This is nothing new, and the failure of price and company to up the ante of their knowledge, or to finally realize they can't, are reasons enough for them to throw in the towel and take their little circle of rug chatterboxes private and away from public access.

Author: Martin Andersen
email: [email protected]
Tue, Aug 21st, 2007 01:23:56 PM

RK Replies:

Greetings, Martin

Welcome to RugKazbah.com -- the place where rug questions of merit find real answers!

So far the small(but now growing!) group of Tekke main carpets like yours(and ex-ours) with the that "X"-type tertiary gol all have the amulet, which is a better descriptive term than what you call a "cartouche", reproduced in the border.

Another interesting factor is the single appearance of this amulet in their border, as all of these carpets appear to have only one.

By the way, this "border amulet" seems to be based on what has become known as a "banner-type gol" placed inside what is also now known as a "football-type "gol.

We do not know of any other uses of this exact amulet, the most probable explanation for this being the border amulet and the tertiary motif remained as some sort of proprietary symbol others weavers respected.

It's also possible succeeding generations of weavers never even saw it to copy!

One thing is sure though: The reasons weavers of different Turkmen groups chose not only their main motifs but also the ancillary ones, like the tertiary gol and border amulet, remain shrouded in mystery.

Will they ever be uncovered and explained?

RK has to say we doubt it and also whatever this combination(tertiary gol and border amulet) meant will, likewise, remain unknown.

To surmise this combination had meaning to the weaver, or those for whom it was woven, is a given. However, what that meaning was remains unanswerable.

When we bought the Tekke main we published, the only comparable rug was the stratka one.

In fact this is why we acquired it, as we remembered the photo of stratka's and knew it was up to then unique.

We held onto it for a long time, about 10 years, and for much of that time it was for sale privately. It remained unsold and then, finally, we traded it off for something we felt was more saleable.

Actually to tell the whole story we traded it for a Belouch main carpet, which might surprise some as RK is not exactly known as a belouch-o-phile.

So to finish our little trip down Tekke tertiary gol memory lane, lets just say we never intended to collect the Tekke main rug but originally purchased it for inventory, which was back when we used to have one.

Finding a buyer for the Tekke proved difficult, in fact, so difficult we ended up doing the trade for the Belouch.

Why was it hard to sell? Was it the condition, well maybe.

Was it because there are not many who buy main carpets versus small format rugs, bags and trappings? Well, maybe that too.

To finish, and to explain where we have been going with all this, the Belouch main carpet sold instantly and at a good margin above the price set for it against the Tekke main.

Moral of the story? More people seek antique and interesting belouch main carpets than Tekke mains, even ones with tertiary gols and unique amulets hidden in their main borders.

Make of all this what you will, Martin, since you now own one.


Thanks for pointing out the Starka Carpet on the other tread.I Think It looks like the carpet of RK also have one of the strange(?) cartouches :[IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s69/martinerikandersen/RK-main-carpet_2.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s69/martinerikandersen/cartoushe.jpg[/IMG]Did the carpet you had also have it ? I think its very interesting if the cartouches is linked to the tertiary gul.And here a frontal photo of my carpet (a bit more square than your perspective correction :-)) :[IMG]http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s69/martinerikandersen/tekke-main.jpg[/IMG]kind regards and no offenceMartin

Author: John Lewis
email: [email protected]
Tue, Aug 21st, 2007 10:02:28 AM

RK Replies: Greetings John:

Well, first off, if telling the truth about someone is giving them an earwigging, then, of course, I am guilty.

It does seem to us almost everything in this upside down, politically correct (lame) world of ours is coming up anti-truth, right?

But if one believes the truth is important, more important than being politically correct for instance (and RK is in this group in a major way) then, of course, we stand exonerated.

RK always tries to maintain a high level of reality in what we do, and in what we say. This should be clear to anyone who is a reader of this website.

Fact is Mr reuben is but one of many who are thought of by most ruggies as being an "expert" or, at the least, someone whose opinions deserve respect.

Regrettably reuben, and these many others, are in our estimation and clearly in that of some others as well not worthy of much consideration, as your difficulties with what he published aptly demonstrates.

As for "challenging him?

Well, we do not believe offering to "debate" him concerning the chuval was anything other than a way to set the record straight, as when we learned of Knight's listing we were told it had just been posted.

So, if your info is better than that so be it.

Our offer to reuben was, naturally, based on the idea he was posting the piece himself and just using Knight to do it.

Regardless of when or why the ex-reueben chuval was posted on Ebay, we believed starting a dialogue comparing the pieces with reuben might have proven to be an interesting exercise.

His refusal to take part is nothing new -- look at all the rug shysters, like dodds for instance, we have really challenged.

Have any of them take the bait and tried to discuss their rugs or questionable dealing?

Of course not, and while some of RK's detractors would say it is because of our "attitude" or propensity to call a "spade a spade", RK and others with experience know they remain silent because they have nothing to say in their defense that is real and right.

RK had some face time with reuben in his wholesale rug shoppe in north London years ago and while we found him to be extremely pleasant and agreeable personally, we did not find his rug expertise to be as well developed.

In fact, we were under whelmed by it, his stock of Turkmen rugs for sale and his scholarship.

He might make a great next-door neighbor but we'd avoid, at all costs, spending any time discussing the fine points of Turkmen weavings with him.

Hope that answers your questions, John, about why we emailed reuben.

As for studies of Tekke main carpets?

Too bad you missed the Azadi gallery exhibition of those great mains from private German collections last fall.

It was really the best ever staged and RK doubts it will ever be topped.

We were not allowed to make photos of the rugs, as Azadi had promised many of the owners he would prevent anyone from taking photos.

We have heard there was a photographic "record" of the show made but so far who did it and what will be the possible outcome are yet decided.

Once again, John, if you send us a jpeg of the Tekke rug you asked about we will be glad to post it with our comments.


I do not understand why you are giving David Reuben an earwigging or feel the need to challenge him. The Knight piece has been on offer for a while (it was posted before your piece) and as far as I am aware no-one is saying it is better or worse than your piece. I am surprised that you have not read David Reuben's article on Tekke Main Carpets. If you know of a better one I would be very grateful if you could send me the reference. My points were, firstly; that a 23x17 matrix populated with 167 data elements is sparse (hard to extract information/conclusions from the data) - it would help if there were more than 167 elements.DR posits a date of around 1650 for his earliest piece (ET) - which seems quite credible - but no end date for the later (ST) pieces (1850, 1875, 1900?). My comment about the piled elem is based on the fact that 11/43 pieces with piled elem are classified as ET and only 7/124 of the later pieces have a piled elem. I do not find that consistent with the statement that few carpets with a woven elem were woven before 1875.

Author: John Lewis
email: [email protected]
Mon, Aug 20th, 2007 04:34:13 PM

RK Replies:

Howdy, John.

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:

"Mr reuben:

Without beating around the bush, it is easy to deducethe reason simon knight put the following ebay item:
number 160139841705
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:

"Mr. Cassin,

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.

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