When RK first heard the sad and somewhat pathetic story how krikor markarian and jim aka generous jim burns overcharged and basically did a dennis dodds on michael black, a former Baluch collector who decided to his deteriment to jump into the big time and begin to collect "village rugs", we were somewhat surprised considering our long relationship with him.
And then when we heard the prices he paid we were even more surprised. He spent real money and he could have gotten real weavings instead of a group of over-rated and over-dated ones.
We have now confirmed there was one additional rug black bought from markarian. It is illustrated below:
North-West Persian (NWP) rug published in Kirchheim's Orient Stars Collection but now heavily and poorly "restored" by krikor markarian who sold it to michael aka mr Shanbo black
Unfortunately for black the rug he bought does not really look like this. Here it is in its unrestored, original state -- damaged but still possessing what might in some people's eyes (not RK's BTW) have a modicum of beauty, as well as with its original integrity as portrayed by the weaver.
However, it no longer does thanks to markarian's overly gross restoration, and poorly done at that, work which has rendered the rug as we have heard from several people who saw it to now be far less interesting and assuredly less valuable.
In today's rug climate over-restoration is a cardinal sin and this rug exempifies the error this type of supposed improvement carries.
Seems krikor had also been trying to sell this rug for a number of years without success, that is until black walked in and stupidly opened his wallet.
Tongues are wagging about the prices black paid but really this is not, like with the dodds bellini, the main issue. It is the inferior quality of the rugs black bought, and LACMA is now saddled with, that is the major issue.
Neither of the two rugs black bought from krikor or any of those from burns besides the sotheby's white field harshang Kurdish rug have any place in someone's collection who is trying to form an "important" one and paying prices to acquire weavings commensurate with such an appellation.
In the final analysis the blame does not ultimately come down to markarian or burns, though they are surely culpable.
It is totally on michael black, who was stupid and naive enough to trust the opinions of the sellers and the group of dummies he thought of as advisors.
Speaking of these advisors RK has heard a so far unsubstantiated rumour one of them received a generous under the table 'commission' from both krikor and burns.
Frankly we are not surprised.