Home > The Beat Goes On >Blind Men Telling Tales
Author:RK
email: [email protected]
Tue, Feb 11th, 2020 03:13:13 PM
Topic: Blind Men Telling Tales


Western Anatolian Holbein village rug copy; reportedly seen at 2019 Sartirana; posted on faRcebook by francesca 'the plagiarist, liar' fiorentino

FaRcebook carpet group discussions almost always remind RK of an old Sufi teaching story, which talks about a village of blind people.

Seems one day the villagers were awakened by incredibly loud thumping noises and great thrashing in the vegetation surround their village.

As the noises grew louder they cowered in their homes hoping their homes and lives would not be destroyed.

After several hours suddently there was a noise so loud the earth shook, and then just as suddenly complete silence.

No knowing if the disturbance would continue they remained in their homes, but again after several hours passed without any thing unusual happening they began to come out into the village square.

They then discussed what to do and decided to send the four wisest men out to try and find out what had happened. Remember, they are all, including the four wise men completely blind from birth.

So the four wise men left, each going a separate direction one west, one east, one north and one south all agreeing to return to the village square after they had done their investigations.

Several hours passed, and when they returned all the villagers could not wait to hear their report.

The first told them the thing was a beast that was like a snake long, with tough skin with a furry tassel at one end.

The second wise man said No, the beast was like a giant clam, hard as rocks with a shiny smooth surface.

The third said No, no you both are wrong. The beast was a great soft thing that was warm and wet.

The fourth wise man said You all are wrong. The beast was huge, smooth and hard but at one end it had a razor sharp point and at the other side just got wider and wider.

Hearing their divergent reports the villagers were confused, so were the wise men.

But when nothing else happened they returned to their homes and by the next day they all resumed their lives and forgot all about the beast, which happened to be a rogue elephant. The first wise man felt its tail, the second its foot and toe nail, the third its tongue, and the fourth its tusk. So even though each of their differing reports were accurate the truth of their conclusions were completely inaccurate.

Case and point concerning the faRcebookers patter about the west Anatolian rug.

It is not 16th/17th century as some of them have tried to float.

It is at best middle 18th century, but RK would date it early 19th.

Its holbein medallion was perhaps the easiest part, of the genuinely early package of related holbein designs real examples of this type display, to copy by a hundreds of year later town workshop weaver.

But its ancillary motifs and doo-dads were never part of it. Nor was its later, 19th century, major border.

Forget trying to pin an age down based on color, which was one of the major points of discussion on faRcebook. Same with the weave, which some saw as depressed when it fact the one picture of the back clearly shows warps on the same level.

One particpant, the most vocal Michael Bischof, wrote the following. RK's added comments in bold type

Michael Bischof: One thing one should keep in mind. => Theoretically it can be that in the 16th or 17th century in well established workshops with rich enough customers the real Holbein pieces were made and that in the same area lower quality copies were done either by people at home or in smaller, poorer workshop-settings. In this the lower quality product would be of the same age. If it concerns to Holbeins a C14-test would be appropriate. - As far as i know there is only one such case known but to present it needs some time. It will not be done before end of October 2020 (after this Istanbul conference). But it will be done here, promised.

This is patently absurd. There is absolutely no documentation, forget logic, that high atelier and court rugs, like the earliest Holbeins (large and small pattern ones), were copied by people at home or in smaller, poorer workshop settings. Yes, in the later part of the 18th and throughout the 19th century this was the case but trying to state it happened hundreds of years earlier is just plain poppycock.

Concerning its age to his credit he said second half 18th but then should have stopped instead of continuing with: Michael Bischof: Second half 18th century. Or, possibility 2, as written above, 16th/17th century but in this case a C14 test would be necessary, unavoidably. - A C14 based expertise would amount ca. half of the last selling price. Who wants to insist on 16th century has no option left.

Bischof is a true-believer in c14 as an accurate age determinent analysis tool for carpets and kelim. It is far from being one, and RK is on record for decades as a non-believer because of contamination/decontamination issues. C14 does not work accurately for objects, like carpets especially those made in non-urban environments and preserved in places like mosques and houses where coal and other organic materials were burned and contaminated the air and then the weavings.

Finally there is this from him: Michael Bischof: Camille Khairallah Counterargument: if you give to an educated weaver who learnt her skills in her tribal environment such more complex designs and the tiny workshop is less able for design supervision help she would apply a lot of smaller motives that her muscle memory can do. This thing has nothing to do with age. There are 14th cent. fragments known that show such design aberrations. I repeat: one must study rugs and kilims from the processes and environments of their make, under no circumstances from interpreting the artifacts in far away environments.

This is comical. No 14th, forget 15th/16th/17th century weaver or weavers produced even one weaving under such circumstances. Bischof is dreaming and his fantasy is about as accurate as his iron-clad belief he, or anyone else, can do contemporary field work in Anatolia and then transpose the finding to explain how weavers in the 14th/15th/16th or even 17th century were weaving and what types of weavings they produced and where they produced them. And the rug in question's "design abberations" are not abberations but degenerations of earlier icongraphy and way after the fact reinterpretations and inventions. Notice them splattered around the holbeinesque medallion.

Bischof's ideas are just wishful thinking with absolutely no substantial basis or fact.

So faRcebook wise men, and women, like Bischof, fiorentino, scholten and toehrs are as lost as the blind men in the Sufi teaching story.

They might know what they see but because what they see is only a small part of the big picture they cannot possibly get it right. And they hardly ever do, as this episode proves.

Author: Argentina Tue, Feb 11th, 2020 03:13:13 PM

I see, since when are attested these patterns in the region?, I mean, they appear with rugs or they have some previous existence (as in pottery, etc)

Author: Argentina
email: [email protected]
Mon, Feb 10th, 2020 05:34:03 PM

RK Replies:

Go do an internet search for large and small pattern Holbein rugs. and you will see what we are talking about.

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Many thanks for your reply, could you please paste some links to the earlier center iconography?

Author: Argentina
email: [email protected]
Mon, Feb 10th, 2020 02:43:43 PM

RK replies

Hey there "Argentina":

What appears in its center is a degenerate interpretation of the center iconography on the much earlier group of Holbein, small and large meddallion, carpets that are this ones ancestor.

So the answer to your question is no, not really. But as this later interpretation does not convey the same design coherence as the original RK does not see any real point to your question.

It's an interpretation, not a creation. We should add one RK finds simpliatic and purely decorative.

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Sir, are there older carpets with the same figure this one has in its center?

Kind regards

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