Home > Auctions worldwide >"unusual?" (but late) Tekke engsi
Mon, Sep 17th, 2012 02:00:49 PM
Topic: "unusual?" (but late) Tekke engsi

Long ago, when RugKazbah.com first went online, RK wrote about a soumak bag bought for big dollars from Ebberhart Herrmann by mitchell and rosalie rudnik, aka the rugniks.

They had bought it from Herrmann many years before we wrote about it, and in fact it had been on the cover of one of Herrmann's yearly for sale catalogs.

We titled our comments "Cute Animals Don't A Great Soumak Bag Make" and they can be still read in the Archives @this URL:


We mention this because we could have titled this comment "unusual" does not a great, interesting, important, noteworthy or anything really, Tekke engsi make.

"unusual" Tekke engsi up for auction in New England soon

RK has seen some good pictures and besides for the fact it has a light chemical wash, which has "toned down" the color, we were unimpressed.

First off, the chemical wash would not be a real issue for us if the engsi was really unusual, early, possessing unique or best of type iconography. But absent those virtues are in this Tekke engsi.

The elem and its big-arm trees surely is the only reason anyone could call this engsi "unusual".

However, it is a later style of depicting this ubiquitous Turkmen icon, like the cute animals in the border of that soumak bag, and therefore they shouldn't make any Turkmen carpet collector start wildly waving his paddle.


Well, when all the other design elements are put under the microscope of a discerning eye they convincingly support the "late" identification-tag RK has hung on this engsi in our title.

For instance, notice how the weaver has encased each of the trees in the main border inside a box, which is defined by a thin but easily seen dotted line or border above and below each one.

This and a number of other features we could cite but are not going to -- you figure them out -- would never appear in any engsi we would bother to look at twice or wave a paddle about wildly.

RK does not like to date rug with years, preferring to place them into a four category continuum: Archaic, Classic, Traditional and Industrial, with three sub-category early, middle and late to further define a weaving's place.

According to that methodology we would call the "unusual" engsi middle period Traditional.

It might be "beautiful" in some collector/dealer's eyes and that's fine. But for us it did not rate a second look, and our mentioning it due entirely to a conversation we had with a teppiche-friend who thought it might be pertinent to memoralize here on RugKazbah.com.

Author: jc
Mon, Sep 17th, 2012 02:00:49 PM

Since publishing what we consider to be the archetype of this group -- Tekke engsi with "big arms" elem -- we have received several emails from readers questioning our sanity.

The gist of their emails concerns why we believe this damaged engsi to be the archetype.

Here is a detail we believe makes our position clear, the old picture worth a 1ooo words.

The "big arms" on the auction engsi are no doubt derived from the pair of smaller, far more delicately rendered, ones shown in the detail.

Also, compared to the far more gross drawing the auctioned engsi displays, the jewel-like articulation of many minor details and amulets in the detail above demonstrate its weavers mastery, ability and historical connection to the tradition.

There are numerous other elements we can cite but RK would prefer readers do some elbow work on their own.

Remember, the difference lies in the details of Turkmen weavings, and those details do not lie.

Author: jc
Sun, Sep 16th, 2012 03:02:34 PM

Here is an archaic period Tekke engsi which is the model for the others pictured and mentioned in this thread.

And by the way, RK might suggest taylor refrain from using such banalities as "a delicate saryk touch to them..." or "sickle-leaf main border" when describing a Turkmen weaving.

Such patter is not only ignorant in the former but totally unwarranted in the latter, and Lord knows we already have enough of both in rugDUMB.

And do not need taylor's chiming in with more.

Author: jc
Sun, Sep 16th, 2012 02:32:25 PM

America used to be called the land of the free where anyone could do anything, like even become president.

This was, of course, nothing but hype and publicity, as even in George Washington's time no one became president who was not firmly connected to the centers of power.

But it sounded good and, in fact, America did definitely provided mobility unlike the old country, Europe, where little if any social or economic mobility or liberty existed.

Enough of the history lesson; then came the internet age and the ushering in of a new type of mobility where anyone could put up a website and claim, or appear, to be anything.

Soon upstart, ambitious players, like Amazon, took on and defeated the long established, like Barnes and Noble in Amazon's case.

As far as the oriental rug game goes the internet has allowed anyone to become an "expert pundit" and our readership knows well RK's comments about one particularly sore thumb of rugDUMB, the magpies on professor steve price's turk0tek.com.

A somewhat more recent player john taylor, former rug restorer and occasional contributor to that long buried rag "oriental rug review", has been trying to blog his way into proving his mettle as someone who can lead rugDUMB's sheeple to a corral of rug-knowledge.

Regrettably taylor's talents as an interent rug-wordsmith and commentator are mostly easily forgotten, but his ability to spend the time and energy to scan photos and upload them does deserve acknowledgment.

Too bad his comments fall far short of the excellent pictures he puts alongside his 'views'.

RK knows taylor well, in fact we believe we sponsored his first online appearance -- "The Wealth of Kings" exhibition on the Weaving Art Museum website.

And, let it be known, we did this because we recognize taylor has ability when it comes to classical carpets, an area he should not dwell too far from because when he does, particularly with Turkmen weavings, the results are unenlightened or noteworthy.

Today we noticed his latest efforts centered on the Tekke engsi pictured in this thread.

Like a carnival barker trying to pull you into a circus tent where you will supposedly see the woman with two heads taylor's pitch to get readers for his blog went like this:

"This rare Tekke ensi sold for $17,000 at auction in America lat(sic) week, and here`s why"

Good come on, and RK was curious what rational taylor would offer to explain the ridiculously high price the Tekke engsi brought.

We read his piece, and lo and behold there was not one word to answer the question he claimed to answer.


Well, simply put, taylor has no clue, and while the 15 or more pictures of "similar" Tekke engsi he published might be interesting for a reader who is too lazy, or perhaps uniformed, to do this, it really does not advance any answers to taylor's seductive come on.

Ahhh, but then, the modus operandi of cutting and pasting photographs with little to no cogent commentary, as seen on turk0tek.com and taylor's blog, is basically worthless child's play.

It is unfortunate taylor can't see through the bottom of his wine glass to realize when he offers to explain why a mediocre example of a somewhat common type of Tekke engsi sells for such a sum throwing pictures of "similar" examples on a webpage is no explanation.

So let RK offer what taylor was unable to muster: The first reason the Tekke engsi sold for 17,000 dollars is none other than the lack of real understanding of Turkmen weaving expertise possessed by the two bidders who kited the price.

The second is 17,000 dollars is actually chicken-fed in the real world of "art" collecting, and those in rugDUMB, it's a long list RK could provide, who believe they are "art"collectors or "art" dealers know this.

So when conditions are ripe, as they were in carl nordbloom's Boston salesroom last weekend, these wallets with paddles bid like big boys do for painting and sculpture...albeit with several zeros, or more, missing from the right end of their bids.

And while RK still has not learned who the buyer and underbidder are we are positive neither of them could recognize the difference between the two steps from airport art Tekke engsi they competed for from a genuinely early and important example.

And this, not pasting pictures on a webpage, is what pundit taylor should have blogged.

Author: jc
Thu, Sep 13th, 2012 06:39:36 AM

SO far we have not learned who the two mokes that made this ultra-high, and ridiculous, result. But we are on the scent and our bloodhounds should soon, we hope, get the info.

Stay tuned...

Author: jc
Mon, Sep 10th, 2012 04:49:53 PM

RK just took a look at the prices realized for the auction. And guess what, the late, probable chemically washed mediocre Tekke engsi sold for 17,000 dollars plus buyers premium.

Does this prove the rug was a good one and RK was wrong?

Hell no, and anyone who thinks that is as dumb and stupidly gullible as the two bidders who kited the price.

RK is willing to bet our dollars against the donut holes we have often mentioned those two bidder know next to nothing about Turkmen rugs -- their purchase or the desire to purchase it proves this.

Eventually but probably sooner we will learn their identities and when we do we will be glad to post that information here.

Are we surprised at the result? Not really as rugDUMB rarely disproves the idea few of its participants know anything, especially about Turkmen and Anatolian Village rugs.

Author: jc
Tue, Sep 4th, 2012 01:21:01 PM

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

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