Home > BULLETIN >Einstein on...
Mon, Oct 3rd, 2011 04:12:49 AM
Topic: Einstein on...

Albert Einstein is famous for a number of reasons but perhaps his best, and most easily understood, is this quote:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

We mention this because a number of those in rugDUMB need to take it to heart, especially those who plan as well as those who attend selling exhibitions like the icoc Dealer's Fair, the just finished Sartirana event and the upcoming roach-motel Capri "arts" show in San Francisco.

It is patently obvious attendance by the rug buying public is/has, and will continue to, dramatically decrease; and the level of purchases by rug collectors, and those who are better described as interested parties, is and has followed suit.

One does not need to be an Einstein to see this because the proof is easily determined by any even casual observer.

In the last days RK has learned there is a "new" show already being hawked around -- the "Textile Art and Tribal Art Fair" scheduled for March 2012 in Milan Italy that is being organized by, as we have heard it, the man who did the first "Italian oriental rug website", whatever that was.

And no it is not the event RK has written about being planned by michael franses.

We have also heard the organizers of the roach-motel Capri event, mssers craycraft and frauenknecht, are now planning to bring their "arts" rug caravanserai across the Atlantic and set up in Amsterdam.

No doubt craycraft and frauenknecht have chosen Amsterdam so they can pop around the corner and have a coffee and narghile break whenever reality get too heavy.

Yesshhh, what is wrong with these folks? The business of selling collector, and decorator rugs as well, is sinking faster than the Titanic and just as predictably after it has become clear the iceberg of the world financial "crisis" isn't going away any time soon.

RK is still chuckling over the spiel michael franses continues to spew at anyone who will listen that his planned Milanese rug extravaganza will be the remedy for all rugDUMB's ills and the recipe to make everything well again.

Sorry, but there is only one real remedy, and no rug selling exhibition whether in a roach motel like the Capri or a palace in fashionable Milan will do the trick.

And what's that?


The public awareness of oriental rugs is at a low point but this can be turned around by scheduling and organizing interesting antique oriental rug exhibitions.

It's a simple equation -- the mainstream media covers museums and their exhibitions and no advertising can equal editorial coverage.

Also, we have had enough rug exhibitions of "classical carpets" and it is time to give equal coverage to the village and clan based weavings the majority of rug collectors collect. And, by the way, RK can vouch for the fact the public at large is very interested in these types of rugs from the continuing interest in the exhibitions on our Weaving Art Museum website.

This bring us to mention the Islamic wing of the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, which has been closed for renovations for the past 8 plus years, will reopen on Nov 1, 2011.

This will be a big deal for Islamic Art but it is totally disgraceful there will be no examples of village or clan based weavings in, what our former friend dr walter denny, referred to as the first rotation of objects. Nor according to what denny told us in the second or third rotations that are already a fait acomplii.

The long and short of this foolish decision by denny and others is the result of their ass-kissing obsequious pandering to the presumed wishes of several chief benefactors who put up the much of the cash used in the renovations.

You will all get the learn their names, though RK is positive the good juicy parts of the behind-the-scenes curatorial shuffles, and intrigues over just which objects will be in that "first rotation"(or the planning for the subsequent ones), will never be publicly known.

We find these, and a number of other choice goings-ons we have heard about on the hsh-hush, to be specious. And speaking of speciousness, what about the Met's renaming the former "Islamic Department" "Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia".

The Met's snobism and highly prejudiced court art centered approach to displaying Islamic art for the public is revolting. Their curatorial approach to completely ignore what happened outside the confines of the Safavid and Ottoman dynasties, as well as the former large-scale societies, like the Umayyad dynasty, is truly as barbarically bigoted as South African apartheid and the former "colored" laws in the American deep-south.

Naturally, this bigotry towards the small-scale Middle Eastern societies, particularly those involved in weaving, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY furthers has many roots; the inability of "curators" like denny and others to understand the simple fact much of the carpet and textile court art originated in these nameless cultural centers as well as their inability to do the difficult research to understand just how this process occurred.

We could go on revealing the revolting cold-shoulder the Met has given to Anatolian Village and Turkmen weavings but why bother as trying the stop the dazzle and continued bent of hyping Ottoman and Safavid weavings at their expense would be like stopping a TGV (French: Train Grande Vitesse, meaning high-speed train) by putting two pennies on its tracks.

The die is cast and appreciation for Anatolian Village rugs and Kelims, as well as Turkmen pile weavings, is but a dream and will, most probably, not happen in any of our lifetimes thanks to rug bigots like denny, thompson, franses and others we could name.

So remember, dear readers, rugDUMB does not need any more rug selling shows -- we need museum exhibitions but regrettably not like the reopening of the politically correct renamed former "Islamic Department".

Author: jc
Mon, Oct 3rd, 2011 04:12:49 AM

We have moved this discussion to the Turkmen topic area.

Please post all further comments there.


Author: Fahad
email: [email protected]
Sun, Oct 2nd, 2011 11:16:18 AM

"Also please note the chuval has been cut and shut and that is why the first set of ertman gol on the left appears to be truncated making the chuval lopsided and misshapen." Okay, that explains of course my first impression that something was wrong here. But half Ertman guls to the right and left are also rather strange. Anyway, "Therefore perhaps what you say might be different were the chuval in your lap", that's a privilege of a few people, I suppose. The image on WAMRI, which I just found, is excellent (as is the entire site). Thank you for that. The birds sitting on twigs in the main gul, well you won't find them easily in other Chodor chuvals where there are sort of blossoms. Regarding Islamic and prehistoric influences, I got the impression (from your book) that you don't stress any Islamic iconography. I had an email exchange with another expert (mentioned above; when I bought a respective chuval, which is similar in design to that in plate 28 in Munkacsi's article of 1994) who categorically denied any Islamic influences, which is, of course, indefensible. Few if any (?) weavings have survived from pre-Islamic, say Sasanid, times but they seem to be different. I recently got Tanavoli's book on Shahsevan weavings where he draws a link to geometric (Islamic) designs on buildings. If you know something about Islamic art and architecture, you'll see the analogues in the design. Nice chat. Best, Fahad

Author: Fahad
email: [email protected]
Sun, Oct 2nd, 2011 03:52:00 AM

No, absolutely not.

You are not a bother and RK enjoys discussing rugs with anyone who comes here without an axe to grind, especially one aimed at yours truly.

Looking at a picture of a chuval like the one in question is far different from handling it.

We have reproduced it below from the Weaving Art Museum exhibition "Animals Pearls and Flowers: synthesis of Turkmen weaving" where we published it once more as Plate 10.

You might be interested in our comments, Fahad, so here is a link for you to follow:


And here is the link to the page where Plate 10 appears:


Chodor ertman chuval, ex-JC collection; published in "Tent Band Tend Bag- classic Turkmen weaving"; sold Tent Band Sale, December, 1990

RK does not have any idea what exactly your knowledge state about Turkmen, and specifically Chodor chuval, might be. Therefore perhaps what you say might be different were the chuval in your lap.

The minor border juxtaposing tiny multi-colored boxes between simple parallelogram is a brilliant piece of weaving, one that occurs in no other Chodor weaving we have ever seen or heard about.

Of course that in itself is not prima facie evidence of older vs younger but it is something that, along with other factors we mention below, establishes the basis for such a statement, ie it is early.

The coloration of the chuval, particularly the clear orange-yellow; a purple, not brown, purple ground; and a vibrant orange-red also substantiate the early dating.

And the articulation of the ertman and secondary gol motif are also among the best of their type.

Here's a good tip for you and others to study, and use to identify early Chodor, ie ertman, pieces.

Notice the thin "lightning" trellis that surrounds the ertman gol is not equidistant from top to bottom -- rather is closer at the middle and farther away from them at the top and bottom.

This electrifies the iconic ertman pattern, taking it from a two-dimensional representation to a three dimensional one.

Also please note the chuval has been cut and shut and that is why the first set of ertman gol on the left appears to be truncated making the chuval lopsided and misshapen.

So, Fahad, please go study the piece with our comments above in your mind's eye and report back here...if you like.

The other questions you raise -- concerning Islamic or pre-historic influence are not so neatly and succinctly addressed, so we will not enter that fray.

However, we are pretty sure the ertman gol is not among the earlier Turkmen icon -- it is far too complex and at the same time too simple. It is no doubt based on the two bird flanking a tree, which is an ancient Persian metaphor surely not lost on the Turkmen who inserted it into their visual vocabulary.

In brief, we'd put our bet down that it, the ertman gol, is more an invention, ie lifting of that two bird/tree metaphor, and the associated secondary gol, with the star and four-point 'compass', the earlier pre-Persian icon.


Exactly. I like your approach.

And, there are no scholars among dealers.

It's about lack of evidence. Thanks for clarification.

As regards the specific Chodor chuval, I beg to disagree with your description, in particular, "This is one of the few Chodor chuvals from the earliest period (sic!). It has the spacious and clear drawing, wonderful color palette and very rare border patterns that should be expected from examples of great age ..."

I suppose, these women created these bags for thousands of years.

So what is the "earliest period" here.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and the composition (I suppose you know what I mean) might be considered awkward by some.

It is special, but why should it then be older?

BTW, do you identify any Islamic influence in the design, certain symbols? In general, in particular. What is pre-Islamic, what pre-historic?

If you feel bothered, just dump me. Best, Fahad

Author: Fahad
email: [email protected]
Sat, Oct 1st, 2011 10:19:36 PM

Hey there Fahad:

There is some rhyme and reason to the concept of dating Turkmen weavings based on historical factors.

However, that validity rests on two legs that are not really able to be positively proven.

The first is the "known" history of tribal movements in SW Turkmenistan and related regions.

And the second is the particular coloration, due to different dye-stuff(mordants particularly) and water, found in those areas Turkmen weavings exhibit.

Both of these factors are far from positive, ie scientific, fact and this renders any such attempts at provenance and dating as really nothing but intelligent guesswork.

And then of course there is the big banana of what Turkmen group made what weaving.

So, in the end, for Turkmen weavings made prior to the middle 19th century, no one, and surely not a kurt munkasci, could possibly assign a date, provenance a weaving to a specific region, and lastly even to a specific group of Turkmen people.

This is one reason why RK rests our work on forming continuum of similar examples -- those with similar weave structures, materials, coloration, and design -- and then using those continuum to 'relatively' date.

Yes, yes, we do use terms like Tekke, Yomud, etc and talk of circa 1800, 18th century, etc but honestly we do this for convenience, using these terms for what is called in social science "operational definition".

This is also why we have been a long time proponent in trying to convince rugDUMB of the necessity to build a database of forensic analysis, which will allow the establishment of other continuum, or clusters, based on scientifically demonstrable criteria.

But alas rugDUMB has the foresight of a blind man and is dumber than a box of wet rocks when it comes to understanding the importance of such research.

RugDUMB is, in reality, a business: A business of selling rugs as "art" and "importance", and RK is pretty damn sure forensic analysis will destroy many of the myths rug dealers have built and milked for cash like cows on a dairy farm.

So where does this leave us?

RK would have to say in no man's land and the munkasci's, who mouth the far from proven "lore" of Turkmen studies as if it were fact, would be far better off getting behind the forensic analysis research RK has been squawking about for more than two decades than continuing to make their pronouncements, no matter how seemingly intelligent those guesses are.


Jack, thanks for your response.

Well, I doubt whether it is possible to assign age to such a piece mainly based on some of the historical facts (that was one of Munkacsi's approaches in his article: he starts with the partly forced movements of the Chodor and Yomut in the 17th and 18th centuries).

I have always been amazed (or should I say amused) by how some experts mention age (even provenenance of certain bags) with such confidence, and then just err.

Thanks again, Fahad

Author: jc
Sat, Oct 1st, 2011 02:44:30 PM

For the benefit of new readers who might not know RK prefers to answer those who post here with questions, or comments we feel moved to reply to, by adding ours in the post they have made.

So let this be notice to those who might not realize this is our preferred method, and a reminder to those who already know.

Author: Fahad
email: [email protected]
Sat, Oct 1st, 2011 10:12:27 AM

Greetings Again, Fahad:

Glad to see you are a careful and diligent reader of RK's comments.

As for the age of the chuval you mention?

Stating it is 1760 is a bit, well, too precise and, might we say, pedantic forRK's taste but it is surely not hot-air.

That Chodor chuval, tho fragmented, was one of the best examples we ever saw and that is why we owned it for a long time.

The drawing was superb and exceptionally original -- was it older? Yes, could be.

Was it younger? Doubt it highly...

Just out of curiosity why are you so interested in it, and even more so in its age?


Jack, I had read the story about him already.

But that doesn't answer my questions. In particular, what do you think about assigning age according to his Chodor chuval "groups".

Would you agree with him, that yours (plate 10 in your book, plate 12 in Munkacsi's article in HALI 1994;77) is "ca. 1760(?)"? Still interested. Best, Fahad

Author: jc
Sat, Oct 1st, 2011 12:03:33 AM

One doesn't need to be an Alfred Einstein to understand his quote about insanity, nor our comments about our experience(s) with kurt, my wife says i paid too much, munkasci.

So here for Farhad's, and anyone else who's interested, benefit is republication of what RK wrote a number of years ago about mr munkasci.

Have a read and please note every word is fact and true... no wonder munkasci has not commented or tried to make RK remove what, some might consider slander, were it not the absolute truth.

RK has written about munkasci and related the story how he once began to look through our computer without our authorization, and to answer publicly the several emails RK has received concerning our reportage and outing of kurt munkasci we have decided to briefly tell the story of why RK has it in for him.

Several years, in fact in 1993, several years after the disastrous Tent Band sale at sotheby's, in december of 1990, RK was approached by munkasci and asked if we would sell him the two "S" group chuval, which did not sell.

We told him, yes they could be for sale and we struck a deal with him.

He gave us three checks -- two that were post-dated for 30 and 60 days and one that could be cashed immediately.

We turned the two chuval over to him and went with him to his bank to cash the first check.

Then about a week before the first post-dated check was due to be cashed munkasci called us and told us "The deal is off, I paid too much, have already stopped payment on the two other checks, and I want my money back."

To describe this as unprofessional and unfriendly are too kind, as this is nothing but down-right dirty, disgusting and greedy -- three traits that are clearly well-developed in mr munkasci's personality.

RK then met munkasci to voice our objections to his unilateral cancellation of our agreement, and after realizing there was no hope, and only a court-case left, we decided to agree to his offer to "renegotiate" the deal with the gun at our head.

Obviously RK only agreed to the "renegotiation" because we had been forced to and the 35% discount munkasci forced us to accept was something we will never forget or forgive munkasci for.

This is not the first time a sleaze-bag ruggie has taken advantage of RK by employing underhanded, devious and revoltingly unethical business practices.

While RK is far from gullible or naive, when someone like munkasci or his partner mr david d'heurle, who tried to pull the same "I want my money back" renegotiation after buying a Turkmen weaving from us some years later, takes advantage of our honesty and trust by abusing us like these two dishonest creeps did what can we say other than shame on them for blind-siding and cheating us.

In munkasci's case RK had no choice but to agree (after all a stop-payment check, or two in this case, is totally worthless except in a court of law and we all known what a mess a court case is) and the 35% 'discount' munkasci extracted from us hurt.

In d'heurle's case the fact we would not accept post-dated payment was the only reason d'heurle did not get away with the heist like his partner munkasci did.

Interestingly, d'heurle used the same bogus argument his partner, and obvious mentor in this instance, munkasci used "My wife says I paid too much"

By the way, neither munkasci nor d-heurle's wife knows anything about rugs nor they do not participate with them in rugDUMB, so hiding behind their women's skirts is nothing but further proof of munkasci and d'heurle's punk-ass and severely damaged morals and ethics.

There are other comments RK could forward and substantiate to support our position munkasci is nothing but a greedy, sleazy, insecure, turko-moron but we do believe our recounting these two -- munkasci's sneek-peeking into our computer without permission and his unilateral refusal to honor the deal he made with RK for the two "S" group chuval -- provide ample evidence and proof of just exactly who mr munkaasci really is.

And don't forget mr david i paid too much and want my money back d'heurle is equally challenged when it comes to honesty and ethical business and personal practices.

'Nuff said?

Author: jc
Tue, Sep 27th, 2011 12:11:08 AM

While no one in rugDUMB we know of plays the fiddle, the expression "Rome burned while Nero fiddled" is quite a propos to describe what is happening.

Next week Christie's London will have their rug and carpet sale.

Included are a number of lesser quality classical rugs -- watch and see how well they sell.

It is no secret the antique rug market is gaga over classical rugs because they have "established" provenance based on reproductions in paintings and what RK sees as chancy C14 datings.

There are no Anatolian or Turkmen rugs of note, or even half-note, in the sale, something RK also sees as demonstrating these rugs are far rarer than the majority of post-1500 classical carpets.

It is truly a shame little real research has been done to establish provenance for these small-scale society weavings and the result being the market for them remains basically non-extent in comparison.

Rarity is a marketplace killer rather than the opposite as it would seem to the casual observer.

So until that research is done these rugs will continue to take a back seat, or is it a place in the truck, or as bumper-stickers, to even the most worn, mediocre "classical" carpet.

Keep fiddlin' rugDUMB, to avoid doing and supporting real research, all the while dumping loads of cash to kite mediocre classical rugs, like those at Christies, to unthinkable and unsupportable auction prices.

Author: Fahad
email: [email protected]
Sun, Sep 25th, 2011 03:49:17 AM


Greetings Fahad:

Please call me RK, JC or Jack....

anyway a bit about the Chodor chuval you mention

1. I did not sell it to to kurt, the weasel, munkasci, and have written about mr munkasci here on RugKazbah.com and suggest, should you be interested why we call him a weasel, do a search on the site for what is written here

2. the Chodor chuval sold in the Tent Band sale at sotheby in 1990, which was a disaster thanks to the underhanded, unprofessional and duplicitous actions of william ruprecht, who was the rug dept head at the time; along with the stupidly untrue rumors started by franses, bernheimer, sailer and hermann about my supposed offering the pieces to them for cheap prices, etc

Anyway it sold in the sale and munkasci i believe got it from the buyer

It is surely circa 1800, but i have strong suspicions it is 50 or 100 years earlier

Sorry but this is not the time or place for such a discussion and perhaps sometime if we meet more will be forthcoming

The reason munkasci and others do not mention RK is something we might call the "jack factor", which actually boils down to the fact they are scared shitless of me, both for what i know about them and about Turkmen, Anatolian village carpets and kelim.

RugDUMB is populated with morons with degrees and fat wallets who act like little school girls while posing as playground bullies.

RK can, with truth, destroy their reputations, both as carpet collectors and people, and that's why they do not wish to mention us.

'Nuff said, and RK hopes you will disregard the bullshit of rug collecting and enjoy the weavings themselves and the rare, but surely findable, good work and research that does exist.


Hi Mr. Cassin,Like your site. First, I am an interested layman having just started to collect. Seems to be a minefield, though. Too much greed and dishonesty (so, I basically agree with you). I read about your Hoffmeister story and had recently bought your book on Tent Bands-Tent Bags (1988). Your Chodor chuval (plate 10) is published again in Kurt Munkacsi's article in HALI 77 (Oct./Nov. 1994; I found a reprint on Thomas Cole's page). Plate 12. Did you sell it to him? Wouldn't it be more correct to make a reference if it had been published before? What do you think about assignment of age based on his "groups"?Interested.Best,Fahad

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