For the past two weeks an online debate has been raging, well not forest fire hot but more than a smoldering bunch of cigarette butts in an ashtray, concerning the authenticity of the trans-Caucasian embroidery pictured above.
It is being offered for sale in Paris, consigned by parvis nemati former sleaze-bottom NY City carpet dealer who's been living the high life outside Paris, France for the past almost decade. Guess NY got too small for him after his 30 year plus legendary reputation as a slippery character must have become too much to live with, forcing the transcontinental move.
RK does not follow, nor are we interested, in such time-wasting internet discussions. In fact we're completely disinterested in what goes on at these punditeries where those who less than half know something about antique rug argue with those who know almost nothing.
Well, it's a free country and on the net anyone can voice an opinion pretending to be, or is it just wanting to be, part of the action. Ninety-nine point nine percent of these people have nothing rug-wise to their name other than that desire.
RK had already seen the online auction catalog but we did not know of the swirling dust-storm of nonsense it had riled up until a good friend of ours who spends time perusing several of these internet dens of rugubiquity emailed us.
He, regrettably for his carpet-dealing resume, declared the embroidery an 'obvious' fake. And when we mentioned he was wrong and we believed it to be not a fake, or repro, but just a later, circa 1750, example that was rather ugly and probably laden with several periods of restoration he dug his heels in and tried to convince us we were wrong.
Afterwards several other rug buddies emailed us portions of the ongoing discussion, which by the way, began with a number of participants oohhing and ahhing.
That all soon changed as someone raised the spectre it was a "F-a-k-e", causing major recanting of those ohs and ahs.
One lumper who had just some hours before thought the embroidery was great wrote " it doesn't pass the smell test", like it was a glass of vintage chateau neuf de pape that suddenly became an odiferous miasma of dankness.
He was not alone.
These online discussions located mostly on what we call farce.book have a small group of scribblers, like turk0tek.com, that are considered the big guns, ie those who know their stuff, by a larger group of responders.
The is it fake embroidery brought out one of them, michael bischof, someone who we are sure is familar to long time avid RK readers.
Anyway, misguided michael offer up a sack full of reasons why the embroidery was the fake he claimed. Too bad none of them were bullseyes, or even hit the target. Misses were as good as miles here.
Anyway, one of those who emailed us parts of the discussion asked if we wanted to wade in, and we said no. But after reading more of the blind leading the deaf and blind we decided, foolishly, to offer up our opinion formerly expressed only in private.
Immediately we were accused by bischof, aka big mouth mike, of not knowing what we were talking about, as well as his claiming we go around declaring fakes but do not document or explain why.
Calling us guilty of "charlanatry", his English ain't the Kings, he went on to even claim the two remarkable, and quite famous, trans-Caucasian embroideries in our collection were 'faded', a claim he half-wittedly forwarded was a sign of authenticity, and unfaded colors a sign of fakes.
See, the one in the Paris auction had color that, to misguided mike, looked suspicious, ie unfaded. And the only reason we brought our two pieces into the discussion was because their dyes are still vibrant and rich, surely not in any way "faded"
The sale is tomorrow but, regardless what the embroidery sells for, nothing about its authenticity will be proven or decided. It could sell for alot, a dummy with a fat checkbook could buy it. Or it could sell for a cheap price, which would not surprise us as it is late and ugly. Or it could remain unsold.
We are willing to bet our opinion is correct, but could care less what happens, for "Were it an early example, we would be trying to buy it and not talking about it".
Here are our two embroideries
Corner fragment "trans-Caucasian" embroidery, circa 1500 or earlier, RK collection; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic Weaving of the Caucasus, 1990
Archetype, fragmented and cut-in-half-horizontally, cross-stitch trans-Caucasian embroidery with cartouche and box border, as well as most probably a large cartouche type central medallion; RK collection; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic weaving of the Caucasus, 1990