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Sat, Apr 28th, 2018 01:44:37 AM
Topic: 10 years On LACMA Scientist's Report Still Bogus

(ed. The issue of the dodds/LACMA bellini fiasco has long faded from view, except on RugKazbah.com. We still are outraged and disappointed no comment, public or private, was ever lodged against the two responsible parties -- dennis dodds and the LACMA administration.

Besides the glaring fact the bellini rug was not a 16th century museum worthy masterpiece, as it was presented by dodds to the museum's administration and then by them to the Collector's Committee, the supposed 'scientific report', published in its entirety below, undertaken and published by Dr Mark Gilberg, the museum's head scientist, 10 years ago was equally as flawed, specious and intentionally produced to continue the cover-up and charade the museum's administration chose to promote.

RK thinks it pertinent to remind our readership just how duplicitous and conniving LACMA administration acted, as well as how our comments, also published below, make this patently clear.

There is nothing else to say other than dennis dodds is a liar, a cheat and a thief and LACMA, its administration, legal and science department went along for the ride dennis dodds perpetrated.

Our comments below, as well as our voluminous published investigation findings prove this beyond any shadow of doubt.

We are highlighting this for the numerous new readers who have come to RugKazbah.com's website in the past year or so. We truly hope they and others will register their displeasure and disgust with this situation directly to dennis dodds ([email protected]) and LACMA ([email protected]).

(ed. On April 21st 2007 Dr Mark Gilberg the head scientist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) gave a talk at the icoc conference detailing the scientific testing he and other outside technicians preformed on the dodds "bellini" rug. Several months later in the summer of 2007 RK received a copy of Gilberg's talk and posted it, below, with our comments.

It is clear Gilberg and LACMA's efforts to 'authenticate' the "bellini" rug have done nothing, absolutely nothing, to answer the serious questions RK has raised or to dispel the clouds of fraudulent assertions dodds and LACMA used to convince the Museum's Collector's Committee to purchase the carpet from dodds and donate it to the Museum. His report authenticated nothing othe than the fact the carpet is not what dodds and LACMA originally claimed or the modified version they have since claimed.

Gilberg's scientific report is an esstential part of the cover-up LACMA created to avoid having to deal with the issues of fiduciary responsibility it is liable for, as well as the fact the "bellini" is not anything near what they believed it to be: To wit a 16th century museum worthy masterpiece of the type.

It is now in 2017 an accepted fact the "bellini" carpet is no masterpiece of the type, not a museum worthy object and definitely not 16th century.

The fact it remains in a sub-basement better forgotten than exhibited or discussed by anyone other than RK is enough proof of these facts.

Reading Gilberg's report and RK's comments provides perhaps the best documentation and support for our continuing campaign to bring this issue to public attention.)

In RugKazbah.coms continuing coverage of the serious fraud dennis dodds perpetrated by unloading a late genre reproduction bellini carpet on a trusting, gullible and nave Los Angeles County Museum of Art(LACMA) curator, we present our comments concerning the recently published scientific analysis preformed by LACMAs conservation department in their effort to allegedly determine the rugs authenticity.

It is truly a shame and embarrassment RK has to provide serious, and missing, elements of truth as Dr Gilberg, the principal author of this paper, has used science to present a misleading and highly questionable series of statements to support LACMAs mistaken belief the dodds carpet is museum-worthy and made circa1550-1650.

We can say flat-out: Dr Gilbergs findings have been selectively presented to fit a mold the Museum wishes were fact.

However, anyone who knows the truth, as does RK, could not possible countenance Gilbergs findings without raising concerns for the questions, and their answers, we provide below.

We urge not only Dr Gilberg and his employer, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to read carefully our words; but, on an even more important level, we urge hali, the rug community, and mr dennis dodds, to do so as well.

Here is Dr Gilbergs report with our comments added in bold type:

IN 2004,THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA) acquired a central Anatolian double-niche village carpet in a variant of the so-called Bellini, design with an early 17th century attribution 1.

From the get-go, and in his reports first sentence, Gilberg is spinning hype and mis-information.

Firstly, calling the dodds rug a variant of the Bellini-type is nothing more than trying to coverup the fact it is the worst example of any bellini-type carpet RK has ever witnessed.

Secondly, the very fact this high profile rug languished, unsold, on the international rug market for almost 25 yearsdemonstrates the absurdity of Gilberg, or anyone even more conversant with early Turkish Village rugs than he is, trying to float the idea the dodds rug is a variant, rather than a mediocre, degenerated, mis-understood version of what the Museum thought they were acquiring - a mid-16th century Bellini, aka re-entrant, carpet.

Equally as misleading is Dr Gilberg stating the rug was purchased with an early 17th century date.

Fact of the matter is the Museums original publicity clearly stated the rug is mid-16th century.

This follows the specious, ridiculous expertise and analysis the seller, dennis dodds, submitted to LACMA before purchase.

Many months ago, RK published that document with our comments proving the misinformation, numerous serious errors and flagrant lies dodds conveyed.

And lets all remember, doddss expertise was used to convince LACMAs Collectors Circle of benefactors to purchase the carpet for 250,000 dollars in 2004.

It is, therefore, regrettable Dr Gilberg, his Conservation Department and the directorate of the Museum seem to believe rewriting history, and fact, will assist them in negotiating their way through this fiasco.

It surely will not; but lets continue with our commentary on Dr Gilbergs report.

Almost immediately its age and authenticity were questioned by several rug collectors and scholars, who argued that certain design elements were not consistent with the attributed date while drawing attention to its well-preserved physical condition.1

Here, again, Dr Gilberg is spinning nonsense and hype.

The ONLY person to speak up publicly about the fraudulent nature of, and the highly questionable circumstances surrounding, the purchase of the bogus bellini rug from dodds, was, and still is RK and RugKazbah.com.

We challenge, no we defy, anyone to prove differently.

We make this bold assertion because it would be impossible to do so without perpetrating more mis- and disinformation like Dr Gilberg and LACMAs administration, who are undoubtedly giving him his marching orders, seems so wont to believe.

In 2006, at the LACMA Conservation Center, we initiated a detailed scientific examination of the Anatolian carpet using a number of conventional analytical tools, including ultraviolet fluorescence and reflectance photography, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, x-radiography, and stereo and digital microscopy. It was also sampled for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating.

While all the testing procedures Gilberg mentions and employed are valid procedures, they are not very useful for carpets especially to determine the authenticity of a rug like the dodds bogus bellini.

We will explain why below.

The dimensions of the Anatolian carpet are approximately 1.6 x 2.5 metres (5'3"x8'2"). It has a dramatic open field design featuring opposing niches and a central medallion. The central quadripartite white medallion displays a lobed perimeter defined by four split-leaf arabesques. A geometric floral vine that breaks the red coloured centre field surrounds the central medallion. The carpet has a highly saturated palette and appears remarkably well preserved.

We will avoid comments on Dr Gilbergs assessment of the rugs design qualities, as well as other similar comments. We see them as hear-say coming from someone who knows absolutely nothing about historic Turkish rugs, or even ones that seem to be historic.

The provenance of the carpet can be traced back no further than the late 20th century when, in October 1981, it was exhibited by the dealer Franz Bausback in Mannheim, Germany. The exhibition was reviewed in HALI by Michael Franses, who referred to the carpet as a rare example of an early village rug from the Ushak region in west Anatolia, dating to the 17th/18th century.2

The fact Dr Gilberg so authoritatively states: The provenance of the carpet can be traced back no further than the late 20th century when, in October 1981, it was exhibited by the dealer Franz Bausback in Mannheim, Germany.is another curious bit of deception.

The large and well-known firm of Franz Bausback didnt just find the rug in the street but rather either bought it, or had it consigned, by someone.

Granted 1981 was over 25 years ago but RK is sure Firm Bausback knows where the rug came from.

In another post on this topic, RK mentions our personal call to Peter Bausback, the owner of Firm Bausback to ask him about the dodds rug.

When we asked him where the carpet came from, Peter said he wasnt sure but thought it came from a South German collection..

We felt then, and still do now, the owner/consigner was none other than London dealer michael franses and Bausback was covering for him.

So far we cannot prove our contention but we are positive of it enough to post it here and now.

Sometime between late 1981 and 1983, the carpet was acquired by the Planner Collection in Graz, Austria. Then, in 1983, it was included in the Austrian Society for Textile Art Researchs exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of the Turkish siege of Vienna at Schloss Eggenberg in Graz, and was published in the TKF exhibition catalogue.3
It was later included in the Highstyle to Homestyle exhibition at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia during the 8th International Conference on Oriental Carpets in 1996, at which time it was published in the conference catalogue as being from the collection of Dennis and Zinaida Dodds.4

The preceding paragraph is perhaps the most deceptive account of a rugs history we have ever read.

FACT IS: Heinz Planner returned the rug to whomever sold it to him after the exhibition because he was unhappy with his purchase.

We learned this important fact when we spoke personally to Planner, and then had a German speaking colleague talk to him as well to be sure.

So to recap: The rug remained unsold in the 1981 Bausback exhibition. Planner then somehow acquired it, either from Bausback or directly franses, who weve guessed was the rugs owner back then.

However there are no guesses necessary to confirm after Planner learned what a dud the bellini was, he returned it to the person who sold it to him(again probably michael franses).

By the way, at that time in 1983, Planner had a top flight collection of Early Turkish rugs. And it is no wonder after studying the rug, and no doubt hearing the opinions of other knowledgeable collectors and experts during the 1983 exhibition, he then figured out it was not up to the quality of the rest of his collection and jettisoned it.

Even more curious is how dodds acquired the rug, from who and when?

But the fact dodds, a very high profile rug dealer, then spent the next 20 years trying to sell the rug, with no success mind you, is something Dr Gilberg's history should have stated.

Clearly, he did not because in doing so it would have highlighted facts LACMA wishes would remain untold and unknown.

The carpet is constructed with a supplementary wool weft on a plain weave wool foundation. The knots are symmetrical and the interlacing foundation wefts are in groups of two or three. The structural analysis for the warp, weft and pile fibres are presented in Tables 1, 2 and 3. The results are consistent with the purported provenance of the carpet, particularly the relatively high knot density, red wefts and slight depression of the warps.

While stating the obvious, Dr Gilberg is nonetheless on shaky ground, as the criteria he dutifully cites prove nothing about the carpets authenticity.

Had his tests found some special characteristic the dodds rug might share with other genuine and proven mid-16th, or even mid-17th century Anatolian carpets, Bellini or any other type, RK would accept his conclusion.

However, this was not the case and Gilberg, who is not a rug expert in any manner, should have refrained from presenting generalities in support of his unproven, and impossible to prove, thesis the rug is consistent with the purported provenance.

Sadly, it appears Dr. Gilberg and LACMAs directorate are using generalities and inconclusive test results to prove a thesis they desperately want to see accepted as fact.

RK is sorry to inform them they have failed miserably, and their efforts have only convinced us the Museum is interested in protecting its reputation at the expense of presenting honesty and truth.

However, the colour of the warps (ivory with dark mixtures and barbers poles) is not particularly common.5

Because Dr Gilberg, as well as everyone else in the Conservation and Textile Departments are not rug scholars, or even conversant with them, he, and they, would not realize the important flags these facets, two-color warp and warp depression, hoist.

Were the dodds rug not so pregnant with design and iconographic aberration the two color warp, and the unmentioned but quite noticeable depression of those warps, would not have much import.

But, as that is not the case, such highly unusual structural features gain much ground in suggesting the atypical provenance(factory and not village woven) RK has repeatedly claimed and proven for the dodds rug is valid and correct.

Visual examination of the front and back of the carpet, both with and without the aid of a binocular microscope, reveals evidence of extensive reknotting. This is particularly evident in the red centre field. Close examination also reveals the presence of a coarse brown yarn that appears to complete design patterns that are black (dark brown) to the naked eye. This brown yarn is much poorer quality than the adjacent black yarn, which possesses a higher sheen and is less fuzzy in appearance. 1

Last Spring, 2006 RK visited Dr Gilberg and together we examined the dodds rug.

From even a cursory examination RK was able to show Gilberg, and the other assembled members from the Conservation and Textile Departments present to audit our meeting, the many areas of repair and restoration that were discernable using only our naked eyes.

We needed no microscope, tests or anything else, just expert eyes to point out all the areas of reworking the dodds rug has suffered.

But lets be clear about something: Had the dodds rug genuinely been circa 1550-1650 the state of its preservation, added later repairs and all, would surely not be grievous or detrimental.

Most period Turkish rugs are damaged and their appreciation, value and importance does not suffer.

However, a bogus, late genre copy like the dodds/LACMA rug, that is heavily restored, presents nothing but a mediocre copy with restoration.

Not a very pretty picture, considering LACMA is a major museum with a great Islamic collection.

The fact they have only two other classical period rugs, both of which are champions(the Coronation Carpet and second Ardabil), makes the inclusion of the dodds dud in that small holding even more revolting.

Immediately below are some comments we decided needed to be voiced concerning Dr Gilbergs notes on the three c14 radio-carbon dating campaigns of the rug LACMA has undertaken:

The National Science Foundation-Accelerated Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson conducted radiocarbon dating of the carpet.

RK has had several extensive telephone calls with Dr Timothy Jull, who is the head of the Arizona lab.

After those conversations we have complete and great faith in Dr Julls expertise, honesty and procedures.

However, Dr Jull spent quite a bit of time confirming RK suspicions the c14 test results of this, and any old other weaving or carpet, can be often unreliable because of atmospheric and other forms of contamination these articles were subjected to in their normal usage.

There is no doubt c14 testing is scientific and the results credible for protected archaeological objects and materials. But the use of this testing procedure for oriental carpets and weavings, post or pre-1650, is not positive or reliable.

The fact Dr Gilberg glosses over these significant contamination problems also bodes poorly for believing his, and LACMAs, position the dodds rug is consistent with the purported provenance of the carpet.

The reliability of radiocarbon dating is largely a function of the calibration and less of the age of the object or the amount of carbon-14 it contains, though great care must be exercised for the period after 1650 AD.

Again, RK must question why Dr Gilberg mentions the calibration problem while completely omitting discussion of contamination, which is a factor far more likely to be a cause for any unreliability.

Radio-carbon dating of the carpet yielded mixed results. The date obtained for the pooled pile samples taken from unrestored areas of the carpet yielded a single probability range between 1460 and 1650 AD, which is consistent with the 17th century attribution originally assigned to the carpet. The results for pile taken from restored areas yielded several possible date ranges with different probabilities in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th centuries.
This is not surprising given the carpet has undergone multiple restoration campaigns throughout its history.
The negative radiocarbon date obtained for the pooled warp fibres (sample is younger than 1950 AD)is more problematic, given that no evidence of rewarping along the fringe was observed.

The simple fact these c14 dating campaigns, there were three of them so far, resulted in mixed results should have been enough to signal to everyone, even LACMAs coverup-mode directorate, the probability the dodds rug is not circa 1550-1650. Rather they suggest nothing conclusive or contra to our much later, circa 1750-1800 dating.

We have always said there is no magic-bullet test to authenticate a rug and Dr Gilbergs scientific explorations of the dodds rug have proven that quite positively.

The only credible way for LACMA to determine the rugs importance, or lack of it as RK claims, is to have a competent expert of historic Turkish rugs do an in-depth art-historical comparison with other rugs of the Bellini-type.

And while RK has already done this, and proven doddss rug to be what we claim a late, genre reproduction, we urge LACMA to undertake their own analysis.

Eventually RK is sure LACMA will have to admit their mistakes and, when that day arrives, we also hope they will knock, and knock loudly, on doddss front door with the bogus bellini in hand.

More to come on dodds, LACMA and the bogus bellini. Stay Tuned

1. Muchnic, S., Carpetsold but not quite that old, Los Angeles Times, 21 February 2005.
2. Franses, M., Alte und Antike Orientalische Knupfkunst, HALI 4/2, 1981, pp.166-169.
3. Butterweck, G., et al., Antike Anatolische Teppiche aus sterre- ichischem Besitz,Vienna 1983, no.7.
4. Dodds, Dennis R., & MurrayL. Eiland Jr., eds., Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections, Philadelphia 1996, pl.19 (catalogued as Central Anatolia, 16th- 17th century). The rug was also exhibited by Maqam/Dennis R. Dodds at the 2001 Milano Textile Art Fair; see HALI 121, p.130.
5. Denny, Walter B., The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets, Washington DC 2002
6. Daniels, V., Degradation of artefacts caused by iron-containing dyes, in J. Kirby, ed., Dyes in Historyand Archaeology16/17, London 2001, pp.211-215.
7. Rageth, J., ed., Anatolian Kilims & Radiocarbon Dating, Basel 1999
8. Thanks to Terry Schaeffer (LACMA) and Cecily M. Grywacz (Getty Con- servation Institute) for analysis of dye samples, and to Yadin Larochette (Larochette Textile Conservation) for assistance in interpreting areas of carpet restoration. All photographic documen- tation was provided by Yosi Pozeilov (LACMA). X-radiography was conducted by Jean Neeman (LACMA). Carbon-14 dating was conducted bythe NSF Arizona AMS Facility at the University of Arizona. We also wish to thank Sharon Takeda, Senior Curator and Department Head, Costume & Textiles Department, for her assistance and encouragement in pursuing all aspects of this project.

More Gilberg Notes
The juxtaposition of these two colours suggests that the brown yarn is probably not original and most likely the result of restoration. This is not surprising given the traditional use of tannic acids and iron as a mordant to dye black fibres, which are then particularly susceptible to chemical deteri- oration and loss.6 Inaddition to areas of extensive reknotting, it is clear that the edges of the carpet have been rebuilt with one-inch wide strips rewoven along each edge.
Close examination reveals that the warps exposed at both fringe ends are continuous throughout the carpet except for some small areas of repair in the centre field and a small patch at one end. The central repairs contain gold coloured threads, which appear to have been used both for mending and replacing broken warps. These gold coloured threads are found scattered throughout the carpet where they hold damaged areas together.
Ultraviolet reflectance and fluorescence photography were conducted to confirm visual observations of suspected restorations and to obtain a more detailed picture of the total extent of mending and repair. The rest- orations that can be seen with the naked eye in the red centre field 2
correspond exactly to the anomalies in the ultraviolet reflectance and fluorescence photographs 3,4.Both imaging techniques also clearly differentiate between the reknotted brown pile adjacent to the black coloured pile mentioned above.
In 6,multiple ultraviolet reflectance photographs of the reverse of the carpet have been stitched together using computer software to give a more complete picture of the restoration work. The restored areas, which appear white in the image, are clearly evident throughout the body of the carpet. The restored areas are also clearly evident in x-radiographs of the carpet. Areas of lower density revealed by x-radiography correspond to the restored areas observed in the ultraviolet reflectance and fluorescence photographs. From the radiographs it is also readily apparent that the repairs along the outer edge of the carpet, though visible due to the abrupt transition, are expertly woven. The wefts match up very well on the outer strip and the anchoring is hard to see. The join is butted up with no overlap and the connecting is well done 5.
It is not possible to determine exactly when the reknotting and repair work were undertaken, although it must have been prior to 1981 when the carpet was exhibited in Mannheim and shown to be complete. It has probably undergone multiple restoration campaigns, though it is difficult visually to differentiate one campaign from another. Nonetheless, it appears that the carpet underwent at least two restoration camnpaigns, given that some areas are repaired using a weft-wrapping technique, which is generally considered a restoration of lesser quality.
A limited amount of dye analysis of select regions of the carpet was conducted. The deep red dye, madder, was identified in a single sample taken from an unrestored area of the carpet. The blue colourant, indigo, was identified in various locations on the carpet. Both madder and indigo are natural dyestuffs and their presence is consistent with the purported age of the carpet. No synthetic dyes were identified though the analysis was by no means exhaustive.
The National Science Foundation-Accelerated Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson conducted radiocarbon dating of the carpet. Because of variations in the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere and the resulting irregularities in the calibration curve, it is widely believed that only objects older than about 1650 AD are suitable for radiocarbon dating. However, recent studies have suggested that useful data can be obtained for material after 1800 AD depending upon the shape of the dendrocorrected calibration curve used to convert the radiocarbon age (BP)into a calendar age (BC or AD).7
The reliability of radiocarbon dating is largely a function of the calibration and less of the age of the object or the amount of carbon-14 it contains, though great care must be exercised for the period after 1650 AD.
Pile samples were collected from different regions of the carpet carefully avoiding restored areas. These were then pooled for analysis. Sample pooling was necessary to obtain the requisite amount of sample yarns for testing and to minimise damage to any one area of the carpet.
For purposes of comparison, pile samples were similarly collected and pooled for analysis from restored areas within the red centre field.
Samples were also collected from the warp fringe from both the top and bottom of the carpet. The results of these analyses are given in Table 4.
Radio-carbon dating of the carpet yielded mixed results. The date obtained for the pooled pile samples taken from unrestored areas of the carpet yielded a single probability range between 1460 and 1650 AD, which is consistent with the 17th century attribution originally assigned to the carpet. The results for pile taken from restored areas yielded several possible date ranges with different probabilities in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th centuries.
This is not surprising given the carpet has undergone multiple restoration campaigns throughout its history.
The negative radiocarbon date obtained for the pooled warp fibres (sample is younger than 1950 AD)is more problematic, given that no evidence of rewarping along the fringe was observed.
Pooling of multiple samples (twelve in the case of the warp samples) does, however, increase the risk of contamina- tion. To address the issue of contamination, additional radiocarbon dating will be conducted on samples from multiple areas of the carpet that have not been pooled.
Technical examination of LACMAs central Anatolian village carpet suggests that it has undergone extensive restoration in areas as evidenced by ultraviolet reflectance and fluorescence photography and x-radiography.
The utility of these imaging techniques quickly to identify restoration work and other anomalies not readily visible to the naked eye is clearly demonstrated in this case study.
The results of AMS radiocarbon dating are, however, inconclusive in light of the post-1950 date obtained for the warp fringe fibres, although the latter may be due to the sampling method.8

Author: jc
Mon, Mar 31st, 2008 07:39:58 PM

Recently, RK had the opportunity to speak with someone who professes to be in the "know" on LA's rug scene.

Needless to say the topic of the bogus "Bellini" was front and center during our somewhat extended chat.

A one point the following statement still rings loud and clear:

"LACMA is happy with the carbon date they got."

This dumbass pronouncement rivals nancy thomas deputy director of the museum braying:

"But like a lot of acquisitions, it has gone under a microscope since it came here. That's just part of normal museum business. We now feel comfortable in dating it at 1650 to 1750." LACMA has also established that the carpet was made in Ladik in the Konya region of central Turkey, she said."

Phuleezzze, you don't investigate an object after you buy it, and then when you do and learn you have been cheated by the seller, what do you do?

What LACMA has done, trying to coverup the mess up or pathetically trying to put a happy face on blatant fraud and failure of due diligence?

Well, clearly that's all LACMA's directorate seems to be able to muster, and 'tis really sad and embarrassing for LACMA, or anyone, to hang one's hat on only one of the three C14 dates while ignoring the other two, ones that are completely different.

No, gilberg's pseudo-innuendo approach and the whole idea dodds did anything other than cheat and defraud the museum are both hype and bluster -- the rug is a dud and dodds lied in presenting different to gluckman and she then mislead others to acquire it for LACMA.

Nothing new here, this is typical fraud, nothing but a con(confidence)game.

Had gluckman not been assured, because of dodds's "position", all he said was honest and true, and had she done even the smallest amount of checking - besides getting thompson, mackie and Denny to "look" at a photo - dodds would have been found out, his blatant lies and misrepresentations exposed.

And that would have been long before the Collector's Circle of Donors got sucker punched into purchasing it believing they were buying a rug that was made circa 1550, was a masterpiece of its "type"(Bellini) and was in remarkable condition.

All complete lies and regardless of the happy face or circle the wagons mentality LACMA adopts those facts remain, and remain for all to see.

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