Home > BULLETIN >The New and Improved issue of that rag hali
Fri, May 17th, 2013 05:41:10 AM
Topic: The New and Improved issue of that rag hali

Several months ago RK wrote about that rag hali's news of the decade: A "new and improved" magazine and website were on the way.

This clarion call, like most other "new and improved" ones RK has witnessed from countless firms wishing to re-invigorate stale products, usually turns out to be far less important than the announcement portends.

And more than sometimes that which is being re-upped and "improved" ends up being either worse than the old or in fact no better.

In this case, as you perhaps have read below (we are republishing those comments we made when we heard the "news") we predicted the same for that rag hali's big news and now that the new "improved" issue of that rag hali is out our prediction is right on.

Our "Is michael franses an honest broker of information" being the first of several articles RK intends on reviewing.

Calling this issue "new and improved" is about as accurate as believing franses' article actually says something important.

There are some cosmetic layout changes but finding the heralded "new editorial approach" escaped RK's purview, and doesn't every issue have the "new articles" mentioned in the "Breaking News" bulletin?

Of course it does; why franses and the dwindling number of minions who toil at that rag hali's office would suggest different is, quite frankly, beyond RK.

As for the new sections? Well, if anyone wants to see franses' idea of turning that rag hali into a 'tribal art' magazine as a good one, then perhaps those "new sections" will be welcomed.

And once again RK believes, no race-fans we know, charging less for the magazine is ridiculous, as the demographic readership profile clearly shows two facts:

1. there is an ever decreasing audience for a magazine focused on antique and historic oriental rugs and related weavings

2. what remains of that audience will gladly pay more for the 'pleasure' of holding that rag hali's glossy pages in their hands four times a year, and giving it to them for less is just plain stupid.

To any savvy reviewer it shows franses does not understand what he is doing, and probably like the captain of the Titanic will go down with the ship because of this.

And where is that wider distribution? So far we have not seen or heard peep about it and any changes or additions to the the hali website are equally invisible.

Lastly, RK also sees removing the parting shots party picture section that has graced the back of each issue of that rag hali for so many years is another miscue and dumb as a box of wet rocks idea.

RK is sure it will be missed by rugDumb's clique of swells and holier than thou hoi polli whose pictures constantly remind one of how poorly most of them are aging.

No, no any real "new improved" that rag hali will need far more effort, and insightful and brilliant effort at that, to turn to the upside its obvious to all sinking fortunes.


The next issue of HALI (Spring 2013, no. 175), will be new in many ways: a newdesign, a new editorial approach, new articles and new sections, a new website andmore than 25% off subscription rates.

The next issue will benefit from a widerdistribution and will be available to over 10,000 readers."

Ha, Ha; that rag hali's problems are not going to be fixed by a facelift, a "new" website, or "new" sections.

No, not at all.

That's like giving a terminally ill patient a new pajama and ergonomic toothbrush.

What's wrong with those twits?

That rag hali needs to get serious and realize its future is bleak, and "new improved" this or that, usually an aphorism for meaningless improvements, ain't gonna cut it.

And who, pray tell, are those 10,000 readers the trumpeted "wider distribution" will reach?

Guess they're planning to give away 6,000 or more copies, because that's the only way RK will bet they could possibly reach that number.

Oh well, glad RK's ship ain't tied to that rag hali's rusting pier.

And by the way, let RK be the first to inform michael, aka little lord, franses lowering the price is a major stupid move.


Because that rag hali has a core readership of maybe 2,500-3,000 who subscribe, and these folks will pay basically any price to hold it in their hands.

Smarter move would have been to raise the price.

By lowering it dummy franses and company will not attract many new readers. This is for sure and you can quote us.

No, lowering the price will only lower receivables, not increase them, as that core readership will now pay less.

In the good times, now long gone and never to return, a magazine like that rag hali could turn a profit but now it's a new world, and with the drastic shrinkage rug collecting and home decoration buying has experienced and will continue to experience in the foreseeable future there is no room left for a high priced coffee-table mag like it.

Best bet, and here's some more free advice for franses and company, would be to turn that rag hali into an internet only bi-monthly, thereby cutting the cost of producing a magazine which is the major financial drain.

RK believes that rag hali could successfully make the transition and in doing so save itself and, yes, turn a profit.

But since franses has never shown any real business prowess we are sure he is too stupid to realize the merits this suggestion carries.

Author: jc
Fri, May 17th, 2013 05:41:10 AM

In their so far rather feeble attempts to make the new improved website actually new and improved those at that rag hali are republishing articles from old issues of their magazine.

If this is the best they can do, RK suggests they throw in the towel and forget it.

RK took a look today, after several days of not bothering to see what if anything was new and improved, and we spied a republished article on C14 dating written by Dr Christine Prior entitled A Carbon-14 Primer

A primer it surely isnt, well at least any primer that has extensive information, which is after all what a primer should convey.

Dr Priors article provides a very brief description of the technical workings of C14 analysis, concentrating mostly on the interpretation or calibration of an actual calendar dating range produced from the analysis.

There is nothing new in what Dr. Prior writes, and it is in fact nothing but a regurgitation of what can be read in numerous places.

The one main criticism RK wants to levy in Dr Priors direction is the complete absence of any discussion, or even mention, concerning what is called in the c14 trade the decontamination issue.

This is the procedure all c14 laboratories must complete before any worthy analysis can be undertaken.

And it is also the weakest link in any chain supporters of c14 dating of non-archaeological carpet, textiles or other weavings are trying to construct.

The main problem being there is no standard procedure to decontaminate, and different laboratories use different procedures and techniques.

In RKs opinion until there is a standardized procedure one that has proven to be 100 percent effective - any c14 date for such materials is surely less than scientific and positive.

Rather it is nothing but well constructed opinion.

Dr. Priors avoidance of the contamination issue is unfortunate and does not lend a great deal of confidence to her article.

However, we did appreciate the following sentence the good Dr. Prior chose to end the article:

Calibration (ed. of c14 dates) is an enormously useful tool for the interpretation of radiocarbon analysis but it can also be enormously frustrating.

RK agrees, and the enormously frustrating characterization of c14 dating results is both a very truthful and honest comment, especially when it is comes from a scientist whose career is in c14 dating.

RK has long been a critic of those in oriental carpet studies who put great emphasis and faith in c14 dating for carpets and textiles, and an article like this does absolutely nothing to change or negate our position.

Author: jc
Tue, May 7th, 2013 10:13:59 AM

RK looks at the Editorial:

In trying to explain away the truth why the Corcoran Gallery is selling the carpets -- the fact they obviously do not care about them or see any future in carpet studies or exhibition -- the twits who write for that rag hali as the editor offer the most flimsy and bogus excuse in a blatant attempt to hide that truth on their editorial page of the latest issue:

The carpets are the unfortunate victims of the institutions well-publicized financial difficulties, including a dwindling endowment, and the efforts of the board to formulate a plan that would secure the future of both the museum and its art school

Please now even if the 25 carpets bring 25 million in the sale, an extremely unlikely event, in reality 25 million is chump change to affect any real new security for the Corcoran.

But perhaps worse than that rag halis excuse making is their exaggerated opinion how great the sickle leaf carpet might be.

The fact it has a cotton warp goes a long way in telling all it is not a major masterpiece of Persian, aka Safavid, woven art.

And going by that rag halis commander michael franses own checklist of what makes a Safavid carpet great it also comes up lacking.

Those criteria, which RK wrote about in our Is michael franses an honest broker of information article, are the bells and whistles of animal hunts, or complex borders or exquisite details.

Anyone besides love-struck as a cow mary joe otsea of sothebys carpet department, who called the rug iconic and one of the greatest rugs to ever come up at auction, can easily say the sickle leaf carpets lack of these criteria makes it a lesser example.

By the way, ms otsea, if ever to come up at auction means during your tenor working at sotheby then you might be on target; however, if this is not the case then your statement is nothing but hype and cheap publicity aimed to mislead gullible laymen.

And while we thought we remembered seeing the Corcorans sickle leaf rug when we attended the exhibition The Eastern Carpet in the Western World at the Haywood gallery in London in 1983, we had to look it up in the catalog to see if we were correct.

Lo and behold, it was and here is the commentary in the catalog:

This exquisite rug has the same technical characteristics as the vase rugs and its field and border designs are closely related to the earliest examples of that class. But the swelling blossoms of the vase rugs are here reduced and the energy of the design has been transferred into the pairs of sickle-leaf leavesThe present design lacks the severe internal logic of the vase designand is a sophisticated hybridizationthe main stems bearing the sickle-leaves and large blossoms meander inconsequentially, intersecting with a variety of trees and shrubs depicted on a much smaller scale, as if the garden landscape were glimpsed through a tangle of briars.the quarter-flowers in two of the corners and the half-medallions at the opposite end seem to hint at a medallion-and-corner design and it may be that this rug represents one half of the design for a longer carpet in which three complete medallions would have appeared at the center.The rug is generally assigned to the first half of the 17th century, but earlier dates have sometimes been proposed. Rotatory or spinning motifs, as in this carpet, become prominent in European textile design about the middle of the 17th century.

After all is said and done theres no doubt the Corcorans sickle leaf rug is a rare and highly desirable item.

Considering the paucity of classical Safavid rugs that have in the past four decades come up for auction, or been sold by private treaty, or the possibilities for others in the future to come into the marketplace, its sale will stir almost feverish competition among the few, and we mean the few, possible buyers.

Therefore we reiterate our opinion the 5-7 million estimate will be greatly eclipsed and we would not be surprised to see it sell for between 10 and 15 million including buyer premium.

Thats a lot of lucre to pay for some cotton, wool and silk, especially since it is not a real masterpiece of the oeuvre.

What would a real masterpiece, a 16th century wool warp, silk weft, wool pile small size complex design Safavid carpet in good condition sell for?

Let RK make an amazing prediction more than 50 million dollars.

What are the chances of one coming up? If you guess 1 in 50 million youd probably be on the money because, as far as RK knows, one has not appeared since the 1920s.

Author: jc
Mon, May 6th, 2013 05:04:30 PM

As promised some months ago,that rag hali has put a "new improved" website online. RK just finished perusing it.

And, as we said months ago, it appears commander franses' idea how to right the good ship hali is turn it into a defacto 'tribal arts' magazine. Not a very good idea, as RK is still sure it will prove.

And while the layout has changed, seems to us little else has.

Perhaps the most major change is offering a digital edition for a slightly reduced price 49.94 pounds per year, or 14.95 pounds per issue.

Eventually, we are sure that rag hali will become a digital only magazine when commander franses realizes printing it costs to much for the dwindling number of subscribers still willing to pay for the privilege of holding one in their hands.

But that's the future to come, and this is now.

Author: jc
Fri, May 3rd, 2013 12:10:29 AM

RK has now published comments about two articles in thenew issue, the first on michael franses tells rugDumb what a classical carpet is worth is the "Stupidity in RugDumb" topic area.

The second, in "JC's Corner", gives our view of their portrait of Roman Zaleski.

The third, which we will put online sooner than later, will take a look at the Boston Fine Art Museum's decision to mount an exhibit of 6 rugs from the rudnick collection.

It will appear in the "Caucasian Rugs" Topic Area in the next few days.

As we have written, the heralded "improvements" those at that rag hali have seen fit to publicize are still as non- existent as Iran's ability to nuke their alleged 'enemies".

Either the hali twits are so inebriated with their on kool-aid punchbowl contents or they are just plain fabricators and hypothecators.

But evidence has just emerged both of these suppositions might be incorrect and the real reason is just incompetence.

That evidence arrived yesterday in RK's mailbox -- the hali newsletter number 85, which was nothing but a word for word repeat of another recent one, number 82, and therefore completely out-of-date advertising events in March.

Yesshhh, can't franses and company even turn the pages on a calendar properly, and stay informed as to what date it is?

Any wonder RK calls them morons, twits and ignoramuses?

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