Evidence Surfaces to question our Baluch provinance for lot 71 at skinner auction.
lot 71 skinner auction: December 9th 2018, ronnie newman collection
At first glance lot 71, that is according to us an early Baluch pile weaving, appears to have strong similarity to this rug.
so -called eastern Anatolian Sarkisla village rug RK dates circa 1750
More significantly this comparison appears to destroy RKs its a Baluch theory for lot 71.
However, closer inspection reveals several material facts to render this conclusion debatable at best.
The first and most obvious is the far better proportions rounder and fatter medallions for lot 71, whereas the so-called Sarkisla on the left below shows flatter more eliptical ones, ie somewhat compressed. Lot 71's finer and more detailed drawing is another. Loss of smaller details is another typical sign of a later copy.
The rug on the right is most probably a near end of the line 19th century, but still genuine village rug, version where almost all the iconography has become simplified and codified.
There are other mentionable criteria, enough of them to negate what first appears to be a conclusive relationship. One of the strongest the 'western Anatolian' style border iconography these two rugs have , ones rarely if ever seen on far eastern Anatolian weavings.
Principally, the dyes used are much too different, all but guaranteeing it and a later example above/below were woven in different locations.
These two rugs and lot 71 are believed by many, including the authors of both the skinner and old sotheby catalog descriptions, to be from the Sivas/Divriği region.
RK knows better. They were most likely made considerably farther west, and we would attribute them to not that far north of Konya in the Obruk/Cihanbeyli area. This is where the coloring they display can be most easily found.
This might also explain why their main field design is called rumi. This moniker is undoubtedly associated with Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a 13th century Persian Sufi mystic interred in a mausoleum, now the Mevlana museum, in Konya. The Obruk/Cihanbeyli region being a whole lot closer to Rumis eternal resting place, and its association with this design iconography, than anywhere out by Sivas/Divriği hundreds of kilometers distant.
None of these three weavings have any similarities with actual eastern Anatolian ones, once again especially their dyes. Wed opine all that orange and lack of red is very rare, particularly that unusual orange-grey tone field the complete carpet has.
As to whether or not lot 71, the newman fragment, is a Beluch, or just an earlier version of the so-called Sarkisla rugs with the rumi pattern?
One thing for sure it is not similar to these other two with the same but later rumi style medallions.
The widely accepted story concerning the origins of the Baluch people has it once upon a time circa 1000AD they inhabited parts of the northern shores and foothills of the Caspian Sea. Then at some point they migrated south and east to where they were living during the later part of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
We think lot 71 is a rare survivor made perhaps by some small unknown group of Baluch people who never left this area and were still weaving in the 18th century or earlier. This is pure speculation, however, what is not is our belief it is not from Sarkisla.
Lastly, even though we only had the opportunity to do a hands-on examination of lot 71 in the 2001 during the sotheby sale preview, where newman bought it, we cannot positively state these three have significant differences in materials, dyes and handle. But wed be willing to bet on it.
PS: Its by far the best weaving in the sale, and while we sincerely doubt the price will exceed the $26,050 including premiums, newman paid at the sotheby sale in 2001, we think might come close, surely around $15,000.