This year's Turkmen symposium is now over and we are sure, from the 75 plus pictures of it now posted on the internet, not much of substance happened.
Most of these photos show the Turkmen weavings that were displayed and frankly there was not one RK would want to put in our collection.
The best of them were textbook examples of Salor "S" group weaving, which as all RK readers know we believe are not really old, nor are they anything but workshoppe rugs made in the Turkmen style.
We need to once again clarify what we mean by workshoppe since we well recognize some of these weavings, and by the way not those on exhibit in Leipzig, are circa 1800 and perhaps the best of them a half a century or more earlier.
By using this term we are implying these weavings were made by (most probably) a certain group of weavers who were citified, and removed from the far more rural, village, transhumant clan and sometimes nomadic environments where other, far more genuine, Turkmen rugs were produced.
We have already a number of times cited the unnecessarily complex structure, at times lavish use of exotic materials and dye, as well as the unbelievably homogenous iconographic similarities all the various type of these weaving dislay and share.
In no other pre-commercial period group of Turkmen rugs does this appear and RK defies anyone to prove different, or attempt to successfully make a case to negate what we claim.
The weavings on exhibition in last year's symposium were way and above more interesting, earlier and important.
Since we were not allow to attend we cannot report any first-hand comments, however, we did speak to several knowledgeable people who did attend and they shares our view.
Also the 'lectures' presented were considered by those we spoke to as basic and surely not cutting any new cloth.
We would like to see the 'paper' jorge rageth, who we believe and have demonstrated is a barely functioning turko-illiterate and magpie, presented as it is on the same topic our Weaving Art Museum presentation ANIMALS, PEARLS AND FLOWERS: Synthesis of Turkmen Iconography debuted almost two years ago.
Turkmen weavings are presently the most sought-after type of non-classical oriental carpet, and perhaps even more so then they, and this sudden interest has not been without a commensurate amount of nonsense and ignorance.
One needs only to witness the absurdly over-priced auction of the WH engsi several days ago.
RK has been publicly touting the importance and history of Turkmen rugs for more than 25 years, and sadly in that time few if any of the numerous publications and exhibitions have been able to ascend through the glass ceiling that separates real research and scholarship from the generalist patter and classic comic-book style writing most of them demonstrate.
One thing is sure, there are some (few) very early, archaic period in our terms, Turkmen weavings worth the type of prices a few have lately achieved at auction.
And there are many later, boring, derivative, copies and wanna-be seen as early Turkmen weavings, like the WH engsi and for instance the ben fernandas Saryk engsi that recently graced the cover of that rag hali, that rugDUMB just can't see for what they are.
Identifying the earliest Turkmen rugs is a skill that's very difficult to learn and unfortunately, and regrettably, the symposia held in Leipzig, like most of the publication and exhibition mentioned above, have done little to facilitate.
This is something RK, as an interested buyer, is surely not upset about. However, we have a large interest at stake here and that is to see the Turkmen rug, and other non-classical weavings, held in the same regard and light as those classical carpets produced in the court of the Ottoman and Safavid dynasties.
It is only complete ignorance of history and prejudice of social environments that pretends these court rugs, and their royal associations, are better, and yes more important, than the rugs which were their indirect source, and in all probability at times their original source.
For these and many other reasons, not the least of which was the refusal of the organizers of the Leipzig symposium to allow somelike like RK to attend because we are not going to applaud for and nod our head in agreeement with more say-nothing nonsense passed off as manna from God-lips, a symposia like the Leipzig one is nothing but a meeting to allow a bunch of turko-gadflies, poseur and scheisters like hans sienknecht and peter hoffmeister to rub elbows, take face-book pictures of each other, and further their passionately held false belief they are doing something more important and significant.