Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Milestones: Tabibnia and thompson Part II
Thu, Sep 8th, 2011 06:38:11 AM
Topic: Milestones: Tabibnia and thompson Part II

While we stated we are not going to discuss thompsons rug career we need to mention the following that bear witness to dr jon thompsons credibility.

In thompsons introduction to the Milestones book two sentences stood out so far RK must mention them and provide some comment.

This is the first

it has become clear to me that for people to have an opinion that is genuinely their own is a rarity.

And here is the second

In the academic world the endless rehearsal of what this or that person said on the subject in the past carries the risk of stifling fresh and independent thought. While at the same time it assists the process whereby constant repetition slowly transforms hypotheses into accepted facts

It is fine for thompson to make these claims but how does one judge him in such regards?

Years ago when he was still a Turkmen rug collector dr jon thompsons discovery of S group, and the evidence he presented to support that discovery, was a great accomplishment. In fact it made his career.

However, some years later his discovery of Imreli weavings was a huge mistake and his attempts to cover-up the error even worse.

This event would have, in any other academic or collecting universe, served to diminish if not destroy a reputation.

But in RugDumb this was not the case, and thompsons fame and reputation grew go figure.

Then soon thereafter thompson was involved in a messy affair when he and several other high profile rug-dealers gave their approval for an important American collector to purchase at considerable expense a supposed dragon-phoenix rug fragment.

the fake dragon-phoenix fragment dr jon thompson and several other rug experts claimed was genuine and counseled an important American collector to purchase

The fragment in question turned out to be an old forgery.

Then, of course, there is thompsons role in approving for purchase the late genre-period reproduction bellini carpet dennis dodds sold to the Collectors Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Late genre period reproduction bellini carpet dennis dodds sold to the Collectors Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2004 claiming it was circa 1550 and a masterpiece of its type. Three rug experts, including dr jon thompson, agreed with dodds appraisal and were instrumental in convincing the buyers of the rugs supposed historical importance.

So how would one judge dr jon thompsons track-record of opinions, and how do they stack up in reality?

RK would have to say pretty poorly.

Long ago, also in the 1980 Turkmen catalog for the Washington textile museum exhibition where the Imreli fiasco was published, dr jon thompson also presented the cloud-collar idea.

And although this one, unlike the Imreli, does have some substance, it surely does not have the all-purpose import thompson claimed in that publication, nor does it have the import he is again trying to give it by reusing it in the Milestone text.

Trying to explain the many varied and unrelated appearances of a medallion outline pattern like a cloud-collar, both in the Turkmen publication and now in Milestones , as being derived from cloud-collars, is nonsense and for dr thompson to continue to harp on this idea bodes poorly for his ability to judge his own ideas.

These ring rather hollow and one must ask: Do dr thompsons comments only apply to others and is he, himself, immune?

Apparently from the facts one would have to say yes.

One additional quote from thompson is rather telling, though surely not in the way he meant it.

In discussing the Salting group of Persian carpets thompson states:

Such was the status of Kurt Erdmann was an expert in the field of Islamic art and a pioneer in carpet studiesthat his opinions readily passed into the realm of accepted wisdom(pg.220)

Anyone who knows thompsons work could rightfully ask if his situation in carpet studies is now similar.

RugDumb is synonymous with self-importance and over-arched egos and in RKs opinion none are greater than dr jon thompsons.

OK, enough of measuring dr thompson by his own words, lets start to review what he says about the rugs Tabibnia has published.

Stay tuned for more...

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