RK has continually been asked why we spend our time rebuking rug-morons like dodds or steev price rather than discuss oriental rugs.
We always reply our demonstrating factual proof of, say, doddss deception and thievery or prices dopey opinions serves to set the record straight, and since RK is the only person knowledgeable and gutsy enough to speak out we feel impelled to do so.
There is another reason why RK has refrained for some time from discussing the rugs themselves, and that has to do with ourdesire to keep what we know to ourselves and not teach our competition to be better competition as we are still actively collecting.
We have been and still are, however, interested in spreading knowledge as we believe only through better scholarship will historic oriental rugs attain their correct place in the art world.
In that regard we decided, since as we just mentioned it has been quite a while since we spent sometime discussing rugs, we would critique some of the lots in the rippon-bozwell sale by explaining what we dont like about them rather than what we would like to see in a piece we would purchase.
Before we do, we must mention our association with two lots, as we believe we need to before discussing them.
The first is a soumak khorjin, lot 83, which we formerly owned over 20 years ago; in fact we owned the pair.
Since we already owned the archetype bag of this design we bought them to trade or sell.
During this time period when we owned it, the late 1980s, we were still talking with a german dealer whose name we are sure is familiar to most ruggies bertram frauenknecht.
However, RK has not spoken with frauenknecht in about 15 years on account of his dishonest, sneak-and-petty thief business practices and, even worse, miserable personal ethics and morals.
To say frauenknecht is a junkyard dog of a rug-hound would be kind, and RK will stop there but realize we could go on and factually roast frauenknecht to a crisp in his own juices.
Anyway, frauenknecht ended up with the pair of bags and then sold one of them to Kirchheim.
RK was very friendly with Kirchheim (this was before we had our problem with him) and we could have easily interested him in the bags had we wanted to.
But we refrained because:
1. we knew they were not champions and
2. we did not want to see something in Kirchheims collection that came from us and was not a champion, or masterpiece, of its type.
RK relationship with Heinrich Kirchheim was a long and complex one that we are not going to discuss here and now, as we have already breeched this and furthermore it is not germane to today's discussion.
But we will mention RK eventually forgave Kirchheim for his indiscretion that ruptured our friendship and several years before Kirchheim passed on we renewed our relationship. In fact, we spoke with him frequently while he was in the hospital and on the day he died we had a very interesting talk with him.
Kirchheim was an complex man whose lack of higher education was perhaps, in our opinion, an obstacle he never was able to surrount or buy his way out of.
So here is why we let the soumak bags go.
1.the ungainly proportions notice the far too large hooked-element and hexagons above and below the central panel.
2.the flattening of the small central medallion, the unusual motif surrounding it and the white background central panel itself.
3.while the main border is interesting and highly unusual the fact it is unrelated to the border iconography khorjin of this type always express makes RK believe this, like the wonky out of perspective proportions, demonstrates this bag is derivative and later example compared with the archetype. It is, though, an interesting if flawed example.
4.Lastly, those two insipid little critters in the central panel compare poorly with those depicted in the archetype, as well as those seen in some other later bags of this group.
5.We also dont like the two stiff and lifeless vertical rows of simple rosette flanking the central panel, which have been by the way lifted and copied from another type of soumak khorjin -- can any astute readers out there in cyberland identify the type we refer to?
The second piece RK has association with is this extremely colorful one-panel engsi, lot 225.
RK has known it for years as it was formerly in the collection of a dear friend of ours.
We prefer it to any of the small number of others of its type; one in Schurmann "Central Asian" and the other formerly in the collection of marvin amstey, who is in our opinion a turko-idiot of steev prices stature regardless of the fact amstey published a book of his Turkmen collection authored by that flatulent poseur and rug clown george obannon.
The engsi amstey had is the best piece in that book and there are hardly any others RK would compliment, let alone want to own.
We also agree with the former owner of lot 225 it should be provenanced to Beshir and not Ersari, but since maltazhns knowledge of Turkmen rugs is, again in our opinion, limited and often questionable what else to expect.
The engsi preformed well on sale day -- it definitely should have and we congratulate the new owner on his purchase.
There is little to critique about it, other than the fact we believe it is mid-18th century and our tastes, and collection, seeks earlier examples of Turkmen woven art.
Age is, for us, a very important criteria -- one we are willing to accept even if the weaving is damaged or very damaged and while we understand this orientation is not for many other collectors, who seek beauty, it is nonetheless where we are at and will always remain.
After all beauty is in the eyes of the beholder while a weavings history, and place in history, is not subjective.
RK intends to comment about a number of lots in the bozwell sale, quite a few of them ex-Kirchheim collection, before we finish up this thread at another time.
However, before we close today we would like to mention lot 82.
We first saw this rug on our initial visit to Kirchheims place in Stuttgart in about 1987/8.
It used to be placed on the floor in the entry way, which was an area large enough to have the rug sitting on the floor far enough away from the foot-traffic all entry ways receive.
We marveled at it then and still do now; its an amazing and unique survivor made, we believe, in Iran and not in the Caucasus.
Regardless of where it was made, or when --we believe it to be circa 1750ishthe stark appearance, camel-field, super-saturated red and blue dyes, and archetypal central medallion and two flanking ones present a unique archetypal ancestor of many types of later Caucasian rugs like Karagashli, Karachov Kazak, Shirvan, Kuba, etc.
Thats it for today, stay tuned for the next installment of RKs closer look at bozwells spring 2010 sale.