Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Engsi Comparsion
Tue, Sep 17th, 2019 12:34:17 AM
Topic: Engsi Comparsion

RK has frequently mentioned our belief the most reliable method presently available to determine the age and importance of any antique/old oriental rug is to make an art historical comparison of the piece in question with others of its type/genre.

This methodology is reliable, and short of any scientific tests that may some future day be discovered/developed, the results garnered by any competent art historical comparison are sure to provide, if not an absolute result(which is only possible in some few cases, like that of the LACMA "bellini" mentioned just below), one that is both indicative and highly useful.

RK has discussed the need for LACMA to find someone to do this for the rug dodds swindled them into purchasing.

When and if LACMA gets this done we are sure they, like the many readers of RugKazbah.com who have already seen our efforts to compare doddss rug with others of its genre, will have to agree doddss rug is nothing more than a late period genre reproduction.

The results of our long time published comparison prove beyond any shadow of doubt the dodds bellini has little in common with even the worst examples of this type of weaving and, in comparison to the best, it is not even mentionable.

But we did not start this thread over the LACMA fiasco but rather to illustrate three engsi, which share some unusual design features, and to set up a small exercise wed like to call: Identify the archetype.

Here are photos of the engsi and details of their elem.

Engsi 1:

Engsi 2:

Engsi 3:

Soon we will add some of our comments and, of course, reveal which engsi is, in our estimation, the archetype.

Stay tuned for more

Author: jc
Sat, Dec 29th, 2007 03:57:55 PM

As expected, yesterday the pastiche Kizil Ayak engsi that self-professed rughound of Germany, bertram frauenknecht, owns did not sell on Ebay.

It did not even make 500$; so much for frauenknecht and his lopsided belief it was anything but the mediocre, later example we declared it to be.

Like many other former rug "students" and "buddies" of ours, we could write quite a bit about frauenknecht, his selfish and sleazy business practices as well as his dopey ideas about rugs but our time is short and, frankly, frauenknecht is hardly worth any more effort than we have already expended.

Let's just say when dealing with him, like they say when supping with Satan, be sure to make sure you have a spoon with a long, long handle.

Author: jc
Fri, Dec 28th, 2007 02:51:54 AM

We recently heard one of the engsi discussed here, the one we called a pastiche, is once again up for sale online.

This time it's on ebay, offered by the same aptly named rughound of Germany peddling it last time on a different website.

It's comical to read frauenknecht's fractured interpretation of what was written about his engsi, let alone his puerile spit-ball reference to us.

And by the way, mr frauenknecht, there are a number of other features, besides the elem, to demonstrate your engsi is a later and not even comparable version (save the slavish reproduction of the form and some details;i.e. a copy) of one published at the beginning of this thread:

Regardless, we're pretty sure even a color-blind rug dealer like frauenknecht (what; there are others) should be capable of recognizing this, right?

Author: Dinneen
Thu, Nov 29th, 2007 01:21:51 PM

RK Replies:

Ahoy there squeeky anonymouse. How's the big apple treatin'ya?

You know reading and posting to our website is a privilege, not a right.

So get that clear first, regardless of our anything goes appellation, which by the way is far more democratic and egalitarian than any other website dealing with oriental rugs.

Once you've got yer mind right about that, Luke, then you can moan about our unwillingness to publish, or engage in, inane chatter with the likes of Mr. Hunt, yourself, or any other dinneen dingo who believes he can litter our board with the same meaningless dialogue Virginia Commonwealth University professor steve the rug clown price invites and encourages over at the rug sandbox he administrates.

Clearly Hunt belongs there and not here.

And you, "Dinneen" most probably know as little as Hunt and belong there also.

But, you can go and prove us wrong by posting something original or worthwhile about any of the topics we are presently discussing.

Should you have nothing to add, you can then return back into the dark hole you ventured forth from to post here just now.


Right on, JC! If you don't block his IP you have to censor him, and you don't do that - anything goes! You da man, JC!

Author: George
Wed, Nov 28th, 2007 02:59:37 AM

RK Replies:

Gutten Tag Jorge:

Oh, was RK not gentle enough with Mr Hunt for yer?

Should we all get out the crying towel to wipe those crocodile tears dripping from Hunt's chiny, chin-chin??

Come on, man get real.

We asked Hunt quite politely, and several times, to refrain from posting his regurgitated nonsense here but he persisted.

So we had no choice other than to place him in a dark corner with the proverbial dunce-cap on his noggin.

Are you angling for the same treatment, George?

If so be sure to bring your own cap -- we only have one and hunt's wearing it presently. And don't forget the cryin'-towel, OK, you'll need it.


Hi David,I'm glad you enjoyed your stay on RK. It didn't look very pleasant from this angle. A bit of a rough ride from JC. I thought he was rather rude and unhelpful to you. Do you still plan to send him 10 percent of the proceeds of any future textile sales? If so, why?George.

Author: David RE Hunt
email: david [email protected]
Sat, Nov 24th, 2007 04:40:38 PM


Next time you feel like telling us what we were saying 25 years ago, get another IP address.


HI RKWell, you could approach a grad student at an apopro university, such as our U of Md., which has both an excellent animal husbandry, as well as bio science program, in which they have standardized procedures for the collection and analysis of animal fibers. Tt's is my understanding that genetic analysis is pretty much routine these days. By comparing the results from assorted pile samples, you might be able to arrive at some "clusters of consanguinity" among various types of carpets (i.e.,Holbein,Lotto,Turkmen,). Just an idea, don't know if dyed carpets can be typed as such, but an idea. I enjoyed my visit here on RK .com.David RE Hunt

Author: David R E Hunt
email: [email protected]
Sat, Nov 24th, 2007 12:45:14 PM









HI RK Actually, this is the quote to which I was referring,"The shaman was the intermediary between man and the world beyond and this cult respected and worshiped his ability to do so. He communicated directly with the gods on behalf of ordinary individuals through his ancestor shaman and special animal spirit guides. At all stages of existence, from birth to death, his connections, power and knowledge were indispensable. These Turkmen engsi clearly express an iconography related to this spiritual environment and display symbols derived from the cult of the shaman, from related mythology and the supernatural" and, "the shamans powers and connection to the world beyond separated him from the group and the shamans yurt must have been a sacred, special place. It is only fitting his yurt entrance had a covering decorated with sacred symbols. The engsi was the shamans curtain separating his world of spirit from the ordinary. This context not only explains the original use and purpose of engsi but also how the engsi became known as door-rugs and, in post-archaic times, became portal coverings", so I really don't see how my use of the term " spirit door" is so far off. But look, enough of the hair splitting. I'm here to discuss rugs, not semantics.You possess this core sampling of carpets, these bagfaces and engsi, which, owning to dye and fiber quality, you ascribe to a distinctive class, a class which in your opinion constitutes the earliest Turkmen carpets. All well and good, you are the Uber Picker and much experienced in the field. Theories are fun to play with, but the artifacts speak for themselves.Rageth had recently given a presentation to the IHBS, but I had a previous engagement and failed to attend. Shame. But more to the point, what types of tests do you envision performing, and at what level of funding? How much will this testing cost, how much money do you need?Dave

Author: jc
Thu, Nov 22nd, 2007 08:55:57 PM

And by the way, Mr Hunt, our basic premise does not include the concept of anything like a "spirit door", as the engsi's meaning.

Not only are your ideas about rugs droll and boring, forget about accurate, but you can't even paraphrase what someone else has written.

Get lost, Hunt, and do not come back.

Just for the record, here is part of what we wrote:

"These Turkmen engsi clearly express an iconography related to this spiritual environment and display symbols derived from the cult of the shaman, from related mythology and the supernatural."

So learn to read, Mr Hunt, and you will learn: We don't ascribe to the spirit door or axis mundi catch-all concepts.

Author: David Hunt
email: [email protected]
Thu, Nov 22nd, 2007 06:37:52 PM

RK Replies:

Mr Hunt. Please go take a shower and straighten your sock drawer out before turning out the lights.

Good night, gracie.

We do not need your extensive regurgitation of what we wrote years ago, nor are we interested in your sophomoric, and that's kind, ramblings about nomadism in the Near East.

Please refrain from posting here again and as you close the door, please remember, there were nomads long before there were urbanites.


Hi RKFirst off, Happy Holiday and Seasons Greetings.

Sorry it has taken so long to respond, been out of town for a few days.RK, please don't be too fast to dismiss my observations as anathema.

You have developed an interesting hypothesis regardingthe history, function, ond origins of Turkmen trappings and the symbolism of their design motives.

Let me see if I understand this properly. Your basic premise states that the Turkmen engsi, as fixed to the yurt of the Shamenand interperted as a metaphysical or "spirit" door, is the origin of, to quote WAMRI, " the most archaic and interesting visual iconography found on any type of Turkmen weaving. Their individual designs, symbols and icons are often the archetypes for those found on other types of trappings, like chuvals and torbas, and naturally for those found on the many later examples of engsi as well",and then continues to differientiate between the various periods of Turkmen weaving; the Archaic, Classical, Pre-conquest, and Colonial periods.

I have just a couple of questions regarding your theory.

1.In your description of the Yomut type Engsi on WAMRI, you assert that "The incredibly rich and saturated colors seen here have resulted from materials only available to a weaver from an archaic nomadic group. Living in high steppe, foothills and mountain valleys, their animals produced special coats of wool and underhair with extraordinary high oil content as further protection against the extreme cold weather present in these areas. Examples made from these materials have, after several hundred years of oxidation, developed the unique surface patina present in all archaic period weavings. Knowledge of ancient dye formulas, dye stuffs and access to uncontaminated, mineral rich water supplies were the other components required for the creation and fixing of the special colors seen on these engsi and other archaic period trappings" There is a Salor trapping in the Textile Museum collection, reputed to have the best quality dyes of any Turkmen weaving known, and to be of too large a dimension to have been woven by nomads. The consensus seems to be that this Salor trapping was woven by sedentary people ( in keeping with your own opinion that the Salor were sedentary). By what process did these sedentary people come to achieve "rich and saturated colors", "available only to a weaver from an archaic nomadic group"? Or are the dyes of the Yomut engsi superior in quality?

WE have seen the Jenkin's chuval several times over the years and have seen better dyeing, more complex, on some ancient engsi.The Jenkins piece is old for Salor. However, the quesion of which came first, chuval or engsi, is unimportant and immaterial.

2. You had ststed(sic) above that "Living in high steppe, foothills and mountain valleys, their animals produced special coats of wool and underhair with extraordinary high oil content as further protection against the extreme cold weather present in these areas. Examples made from these materials have, after several hundred years of oxidation, developed the unique surface patina present in all archaic period weavings".

Have any of these archaic weavings been examined or tested by scientific methods, and if so, what were the results?

THAT"S what the Weaving Art Museum is all about and as soon as we are funded we will produce the results. By the way, we recently read rageth has adopted the methodologies we intend on using. That's good, we are always glad when we see others following our suggestions.

3. You had stated above that these Archaic Turkmen engsi contain, "the most archaic and interesting visual iconography found on any type of Turkmen weaving. Their individual designs, symbols and icons are often the archetypes for those found on other types of trappings, like chuvals and torbas, and naturally for those found on the many later examples of engsi as well".

This question is of antecedence.

Am I to assume that the use of the pile woven storage bag proceeded that of the engsi in nomadic culture?


If use of the engsi and the pile woven storage bag are of contemporaneous origin, it could suggest other methods of design transmission, and render this assertion of archtype void. What of this possibility?

I think it worth mentioning that nomadism, pastoral or otherwise, is not representative of some primal state of man. It is a reaction to, a consequence of urbanization. Nomads didn't just wander the plains of Central Asis for centuries, as if some repository of ancient cultural purity. Nomads are people who have marginalized, and as a consequence share much in common with the people by which they have been pushed to the margins. They were in many respects dependant upon the settled people for their livlihood. Most all had base camps or seasonal encampments, which provided trade partners and some ordered sence of property rights....Dave

As we said above, there were nomads long before there were urbanites.

Author: jc
Mon, Nov 19th, 2007 12:16:42 PM

We have had our websmaster post the photos of Matthias's chuval in a new thread located in the Turkmen Rug Topic Area.

Please post any further comments on the chuval shown in this thread over there, and continue to post comments about the engsi here.

Author: David R.E. Hunt
email: [email protected]
Sun, Nov 18th, 2007 11:37:29 AM

RK Replies:

Say, David, it is clear you know little about Turkmen weavings.

How about keeping that to yourself until you have mastered at least enough knowledge to realize few outside Virginia Commonwealth University professor steven, the rug clown, price's circle of magpie rug chatterboxes would want to read, let alone respond to, your sophomoric musings?

RK can see you apparently like rugs and are interested in the subject but, and it's a big but, we do not need, or want, you spouting off on our discussion board.

Ask a question, make an observation that is way beyond what you write here and you are always welcome to post.

Failing to reach that level, silence would be appreciated.


Greetings RK and All

Actually, the beauty of this structurally generated design theory,if you will,lies is it's simplicity. A near universal applicability lends further credence. It's not my theory, more at my understanding of conventional wisdom,to be honest.

Please take note that,as I had stated in my last post,that this theory of design generation is "not mutually exclusive of a symbol driven interpretation of same",and at the most fundamental level is not in conflict with RK's Archtype. However,it is plausible the entire repetoir of Turkmen weaving consists of set and sub set of associated patterns which had evolved through rote and independant of any symbolic import.

There is a principal of the scientific method which states,to some affect,that a more complex idea should be discarded in deference to a simpler idea or theory which satisfies all the criteria.

We have raised another interesting question during the course of this discussion, namely that of what determines the desirability of a Turkmen weaving. To be honest,I myself just want something cool lookin'(beautiful) to hang on the wall,more less, but if it's exceptionally old, rare, or somehow special that's a plus.

I quite like my Kizil Ayak chuval,and most all who have seen it have held it in some regard, it seems. As for the so-called Yomud chuval,a beauty (but a better photo wouldn't hurt)! Large amount of blue and saturated dyes say to me professional dye bath. While of course the selective process by which the raw wool was spun could have been effected by nomads,the blues were produced by sedentary people.

You gotta love that bird border. I especially like the versions which morph into different things as they progress around the perimiter of the weaving. I've seen some with horseflies,ladybugs and butterflies all in the same border. Saw it at Silk Road in Bethesda some 10 years ago. A beauty, in pristine condition, complete with back and closure system. Colors sparkeled like jewels... Dave

Author: matthias wohlgemuth
Sat, Nov 17th, 2007 05:23:03 PM

RK Replies:

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

You are obviously correct in your thinking about it BUT we disagree with your comment about our comparing it to Hunt's chuval.

Actually, there are other points of reference between them besides the "dog", the word as you seem to like to refer when mentioning the so-called running-dog border.

Perhaps if you, and other readers who are similarly inclined, study the two chuval carefully, you will see the relationship.

As for the dog? Well, in the mid-1970's when we first met johhny-boy thompson he frequently repeated if there was an "extension"(ie beak) in the dog, then that piece was early.

Today such an exclamation would be far harder to support, as some not so early ones with that characteristic have come to light but, in general, it still holds true.

We suspect the chuval to which you are referring to is this one:

And yes, Matthias, it's quite a venerable, ancient piece of weaving.

We particularly admire the elongated major gol which demonstrate the supposed rule #1 of Turkmen rugs - square proportions denote earlier gol - is not a rule but nothing other than a statement of norm.

The other rule, #2, "spaciousness" is equally as un-positive.

But we believe you know that and are not following such fool's rules, right"?


Hi RK:

I was talking about the WAMRI chuval and it's secondary gl, not James's yomut chuval. To my taste it's tellingly obvious that the WAMRI one is the one, but what I actually wanted to say is, that it does not make much sense to compare it to an Ersari/Kizil piece.

But still: I wonder about the running dog, yes I do. Everything is greatly designed and proportioned in the WAMRI, not however the dog. There's just one chuval on the WAMRI site which has a specially articulated dog/bird. Why, I wonder, is the dog, even with pieces that seem early, so rarely given in a way that makes us think of an archetype? And, on the other hand, why do the several versions of a more detailed rendering (including points and dots) well appear on pieces that do not seem really early...

Greetings, Matthias

Author: matthias wohlgemuth
email: [email protected]
Fri, Nov 16th, 2007 04:48:43 PM

RK Replies:Hello Matthias:

Actually we see the secondary gol being a pastiche created from the aspects of several different related ones.

These are all rarely encountered gol found on earlier chuval that undoubtedly, and significantly, predate John's example.

The reason there are few examples of these "original" secondary gol is probably related to the reality the Turkmen groups who used(owned) them were merged, voluntarily or through force, with other groups and their emblematic gol designs lost or, like we see with John's chuval, turned into ones RK refers to as pastiche.


i guess that it is just the very secondary gl - a rather rare bird related to the ones in so called eagle group torbas/trappings and gurbaghe in tekkes - that makes this chuval somewhat arche... but then, it seems to be somewhat like what we, without any evidence, are used to name yomut, whereas the other one seems to stem from much further east.

Author: john Lewis
email: [email protected]
Fri, Nov 16th, 2007 03:15:47 PM

RK Replies:Here is the chuval detail John Lewis thinks "appears to be similar" to the detail we posted:

Frankly the Lewis chuval is only on the surface at all "similar" to the other. Sorry, fans, but because we do not have the time, patience or desire to enumerate the myriad of difference, don't believe we are just shooting hot air. We are not and these "differences" are there for all with open eyes to see.

The Lewis chuval, unusual secondary or not, is a later 19th century work; the one we pictured far older, rarer and undoubtedly much more significant.

So much so we bristle at the idea they would "appear to be similar" to anyone who might call themselves a Turkmen rug collector/appreciator.

We did follow the link John posted and know well all these engsi.

They were included in the "exhibition" plagiarist and thief, peter hoffscheister, "curated" some years ago at an icoc.

In the group he gathered, there are only a few RK would bother to take a second look at.

But let's explain here a bit of our position on these engsi.

RK does not think much of any Salor engsi, we'd rather have a great chuval any day than either one of these ghastly pastiche creations.

All Salor engsi we have ever seen fit that bill not just these, so please note.

The Saryk engsi shown are way ho-hum in our opinion, and we like none of these either.

Again we don't think much of them, Saryk engsi as a group, either. They are nothing but late entries, like the Salor versions, in the engsi world as far as we are concerned.

So, too, with Tekke "animal tree" examples; they are late, ghastly interpretations -- none are genuine as far as we are concerned.

Likewise with the Ersari examples hoffscheister included, but we do like #15 called Kizil Ayak:

This example, as you can see, is "similar" to the second engsi we posted. Perhaps not as old but nonetheless an impressive weaving worth discussion and serious admiration.

It is, by the way, the first engsi in hoffscheister's "exhibition", worth that second look.

Numbers 18 and 26 are likewise even more impressive, earlier, and thoroughly genuine, examples of engsi worth those second, and third ganders.

In the runner up category, we place numbers 17, 19,20 and 21. These are excellent pieces, just not as impressive as the others we singled out for commendation.

However, all of them in the exhibit were above Hunt's piece and actually not comparable in any sense.


Here is the link that I believe David Hunt was referring to.http://www.****.com/ensi/engsi.htmlRegarding the chuval that RK posted - I would be interested to know why it is considered to be "a somewhat closely related archetype". I own one that appears to be similar - a different secondary gul. I will send you a picture.regards

Author: David R.E. Hunt
email: [email protected]
Thu, Nov 15th, 2007 10:15:42 PM

Hi RKsorry about the typo, had been out with a friend and had a few Bass Ale. When I had stated something to the effect of "my interpretation of the origins of Turkmen weaving here", I had intended to post this link http://www.davidrehunt.com/KizilAyakorErsariTurkmenChuvalorBagface.htmlto my kizil Ayak chuval. A more structural/technique interpretation of the origins of turkmen weaving, but not mutually exclusive of a symbol driven interpretation of same.I realize that the a Tekke engsi is not an early example, but better than a lot (natural dyes,less busy)seen out there. Formulary,yes, but less so than many I see offered for saleMy site is not intended primairly as a sales venue, just a fun project. A glance at my gallery shows some of my interests,and the site is a work in progress. I've more to post when I have the chance. The engsi isn't for sale, but if I do make any sales within the next 30 days I will give you 10 percent of my sales as a good will gesture, since you ask.And last, aside the relevance to Turkmen weaving in general, what are your impressions of this Kizil Ayak chuval?David R E Hunt

Author: John Lewis
email: [email protected]
Thu, Nov 15th, 2007 03:36:14 PM

RK Replies:

Howdy John

We are still lost, or is it just confused, when you mention the "Tekke ones" in the "second url" "Nos 6,7 and 8".

We have yet to see these images?

Should we even bother?


"One clue to the domesticity of it all are the large areas separating the "clandelabra" repeated in the four quads.

When these elements are too far apart or too close, which is believe it or not better, it proves their purpose was lost on the weaver."

Interesting...looking at the engsi in the second URL, the tekke ones (Nos 6,7 and 8) all seem to have a fairly large separation but look to be be archetypes - at least pre 1850?

Are they candelabra or two-headed birds (they look more like the latter to me)?

Author: David R.E. Huntd
email: [email protected]
Wed, Nov 14th, 2007 09:33:20 PM

RK Replies(and again below Hunt's post):

Greetings David:

First off it's RK not Rk!

Thanks for the links but at the moment we do not have time to read your interpretations. But we will asap and if we believe they are worthwhile we will be delighted to open discussion about some of your points.


Hi Rk,If you check out my website you will find (I believe) a pre synthetic Tekke chuval with all natural colors (rare,to judge from what I have seen on the internet,and also a redundancy)at http://www.davidrehunt.com/TekkeTurkmenEngsi.htm,, and my interpretation of the origins of Turkmen weaving here http://www.davidrehunt.com/TekkeTurkmenEngsi.htmlSincerely. David R.E. Hunt==================================

RK Replies:

We could not get the first link to open but the second one did.

The engsi you picture is a good one of the type.

And a specific type it is.

This leads us to the notion it is, like 99 percent of the engsi we see, not genuine.

Perhaps if you read the text to the engsi section of the Weaving Art Museum Turkmen Trapping exhibition you remember our dividing engsi into several broad categories: settled/nomadic; domestic/cult.

The cult/religious practices of the Turkmen are unknown, sure it is they had them.

Logically it is then easy to believe some weavings were intended for such an environment. These are the only engsi we consider genuine.

It's our opinion, you can countenance it or not.

Since we'd like to say something, and reiterate about engsi as well, your asking provides a convenient vehicle.

The Tekke engsi you picture has dryish wool and pinky tones to the red.

It reproduces an exact form repeated by many different weaving circles living in different areas.

One clue to the domesticity of it all are the large areas separating the "clandelabra" repeated in the four quads.

When these elements are too far apart or too close, which is believe it or not better, it proves their purpose was lost on the weaver.

OK, then. How do you know when they are correct?

Study 1000 old engsi and presumably you'll get it.

As soon as the engsi became a de regieur accessory for wealthy Turkmen, as some groups amalagated and prospered, it is easy to correlate this fact with the proliferation of engsi.

In many regards, we see the engsi as being, like the tentband, a non-utilitarian weaving decorated with a complex design of cult/religious/spiritual patterns of significance.

Sure the tentband and engsi fulfilled "fuctions" but only ceremonially, they were surely not purposefully domestic.

So, David, we hope you understand where we are coming from... and going.

By the way and FYI: If you're selling the engsi you illustrate, please feel free to mention the particulars here. You can put your contact info and price in a post.

Unlike rug sandbox 101 run by Virginia Commonwealth University professor steve, the bugeyed rug freshman, price, RugKazbah.com doesn't prohibit commercial reference.

We do ask for a 10% commission, as per the Kazbah area's rules and regulations.

However, David, in your case we'll be glad to leave it up to you should someone you met thru RugKazbah.com buy it.

Anything else on your mind?

Author: Samuel
Tue, Nov 13th, 2007 08:37:39 PM

RK Replies:

Well, Samuel, we made our estimation and thought our explanation showed we believe it is Kizil Ayak but are not 100% sure it is.

That said, and the fact we are rarely 100% sure about anything that relates to pre-commercial period Turkmen weaving, we are not backing off our opinion about this engsi. Rather, we were just trying to put it into perspective.

The fact the seller did not list any structural info shows he, like many, is not very concerned about it.

Frankly, this is not very bright as the only real tools we have presently to differentiate Turkmen weaving is structural analysis.

The engsi, compared to the others we have published in this thread, is not very interesting from any point of view and unless some new info about it emerges RK would prefer ending any further comments.


I do not know who made this. It is a stylistic pastiche, which makes it difficult to tell. Bertram gives no structural information. No knot type, no weave ratio, not even a photo of the back. I am amazed that you can be sure that it is Kizil Ayak from so little information. But that is what makes you the expert that you are.

Author: Samuel
Tue, Nov 13th, 2007 01:29:47 PM

RK Replies:

Without revealing too much, let's just say there are some specific clues that would lead us to make that attribution.

Are we going to bet your life on it, Samuel?

No, we are not that sure but we are willing to wager a goodly sum on our position.

And what, pray tell, do you think its attribution is, or isn't?


How can you be so sure that it is Kizil Ayak?

Author: jc
Tue, Nov 13th, 2007 12:25:05 PM

We have just been informed by one of our astute readers another, similar, engsi has just appeared for sale on the internet.

Here is a photo of that piece:

Our reader asked where we would place this piece in the comparison.

Frankly, and even though it is probably also a second half of the 19th century product, this example is not what we would call genuine.

Perhaps, we should now explain what exactly we mean when using the word genuine in this context.

We have spoken before, and often, about what we call pastiche, and pastiche rugs. The example above could be a poster-boy ( or is it girl) example of this designation.

By the way the seller, who is a German dealer, wasn't sure of the attribution -- he wrote "possibly Kizil Ayak".

Well, we can assure him it is Kizil Ayak. However because of the commingling of design iconographies from other groups, notice the elem for example but note there are others RK could point to as well, our calling it a pastiche has concrete support.

For us any pre-commercial period Turkmen weaving like this one displaying a variety of "alien" designs deserves to be designated a "pastiche".

OK then you might reply: How do we recognize "alien" iconography from genuine?

Again, this is where a competent and cogent "art historical comparison" of similar pieces can be useful and demonstrative.

That said, RK recognizes the propensity of some weaving groups to exhibit more "freedom" in their weavings than others. However when we can see an "alien" amulet/design, one usually and often exclusively associated with one group used on the weaving of another different group, it is easy to surmise its alien nature.

RK has seen many pre-commercial period Kizil Ayak engsi and we own some as well. But until seeing the example above we had never seen this elem design used by the Kizil Ayak, or made in the various areas they inhabited.

Therefore, it is not rocket science to state its presence is nothing more than pastiche.

The historic roots of Turkmen weaving, and the weavings themselves, are shrouded in mystery and the only real information remaining are the weaving themselves.

RK knows, and laments, the grievous lack of scholastic and informed effort rugdom has so far demonstrated to attempt at answering these mysteries.

Quite honestly we believe buying more rugs, especially in the rather uninformed way rugdom goes about it, will not really make any difference.

Time is now to initiate scientific, academic, research on the extant examples of early Turkmen weavings and, we are afraid, unless this happens rather soon, much important information will be lost, and never recovered.

Author: jc
Tue, Nov 13th, 2007 09:33:33 AM

Actually, we originally planned to discuss these engsi in some detail. However, because of the lack of response and our somewhat occupied schedule we have decided this post will be the last on this thread.

We rank the relative ages and importance of these engsi as follows.

Number two as the best represention of the archetypal version.

Then number one as second best and number three being, what we'd call, a last genuine grasp, or is it gasp, at this particular engsi form and layout.

Let us add engsi two is far and away much earlier than engsi one whereas engsi one and engsi three are probably quite close in age. We'd opine they both were produced in the second half of the 19th century.

RK would be glad to further this comparison should any readers get their courage up to initiate discussion on any one of the numerous points it demonstrates.

If not, then enjoy the pics and our brief explanation.

Author: jc
Sun, Nov 11th, 2007 03:45:01 PM

Interestingly, all three of these engsi were offered for sale on the internet; all from different sellers, using different website venues.

Sorry, but we don't have time to flesh out, and add more to this thread, but we will asap.

Stay tuned.....

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