Soon after posting comments about the unusual Tekke engsi we received an email from a reader who questioned our dismissal and wanted more proof it is, as we said, late and uninteresting.
To answer we offer some detail photo of a several related Tekke engsi, the first we believe generations older and able to demonstrate prototypical, if not archetypal, version of several of its design elements, as well as the unusual one.
Detail, early Tekke engsi showing one of the six hand tree icon in its upper elem; RK Collection
Here, as you can see, the hands are a very minor feature, the iconic tree as it should be the major.
The unusual overly animated hand and arm depiction, which overpowers the tree is, in our estimation, nothing but accretion.
Were there no other signs to support our estimation it would be a toss-up but others exist and demonstrate our example is the earlier and the unusual engsi the later.
Here is the complete right main border, compare it to that shown on the unusual engsi
Complete main border; early Tekke engsi; RK Collection
What is the first thing you notice?
Thats right, good, all of you who see thebox is missing are on the ball.
There is little doubt by the mid-18th century the freedom many groups of Turkmen in earlier times enjoyed started to close in on them, this societal, ie lifestyle, compression was transferred to their weaving iconography.
This is one of the factor that contributed to the loss of roundness, or height, in gol expression, it was both psychological, as well as the result of copying, that caused it.
RK has never heard anyone else forward this idea, it is one we have been thinking about for many years and today decide to make public. Remember where you heard it!
RK is not going to expound on it now but we will, you can be sure, return to visit it again, as the psychology of the weaver can be, unlike almost every other aspect of historic Turkmen weaving, gleaned from inspecting carefully and comparing methodically related, and even unrelated examples.
But back to the unusual Tekke engsi thats not really that unusual, as we could show a goodly number that are, and here are three closely related ones.
The first is rather famous having sold for 40,000 plus dollars in 2006 and bought by Ebberhart Herrmann.
Here is a detail of its version of the hand-tree elem
Tekke engsi bought by Hermann in 2006 at grogan auction
Notice the not coincidental relationships it shares with the unusual Tekke engsi.
Those can be seen as father and son, with of course the unusual being the offspring.
The embellished, accreted version it sports looks just that, artificially over-blown in comparison.
Now compare the hand-tree in the Hermann engsi with the one from our collection illustrated above.
Here are some additional clues to support this trifecta, which might be thought of as grandfather, father and son.
Comparing the main vertical side border we see: The unusual engsi has the aforementioned tree in a box; the Hermann engsi has no thin bi-colored barber-pole border to delineate those boxes but it does show each tree distinct as an element with absolutely no relationship to the others above and below; the engsi from our collection has the aforementioned unitary tree where all the trees are connected in what we see as a cosmic, alive, totem.
This idea of an engsi main border with a tree-totem can be seen in other Tekke examples, but here far more sublime and exact than any other we know, and trust us we have looked extensively and for a long time to find a better one.
Another, and the last, element we will compare is the inner vertical guard borders the three engsi display.
It is any surprise the unusual engsi has the least interesting and most generic?
The Hermann engsi has the more articulated version, with a central curled leaf, but it is far from a best of type, or even excellent, version.
Here is one for comparison
Detail curled-leaf inner guard border from a Tekke gopaz engsi, published Weaving Art Museum Turkmen Trapping exhibition plate 3, @ this URL http://www.weavingartmuseum.org/exh3_3.htm
We know of an even earlier version but none on a Tekke engsi, this is the best of type yet found.
And offering additional proof it is at least the prototype, if not the archetype, of the hand-tree Tekke engsi group is the rarely seen, and best of type version we know, main border of our collection example.
Detail, inner vertical guard border showing rarely seen arrow and shield amulet; Tekke engsi; RK Collection
There are other iconographic elements of the unusual Tekke engsi we can likewise show are late but we hope the above is convincing enough as it stands.
And here are two other related Tekke engsi both from the comments we published about the Hermann Tekke engsi after the sale in 2006.
Those comment can be read @this URL
Two related Tekke engsi with hand-tree elem, both RK would date early Traditional period, 2003 Washington DC icoc exhibition