Home > Hot Button Issues >A Minor Border Does not Provenance Make Part 1
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Thu, Jun 18th, 2020 10:23:45 AM
Topic: A Minor Border Does not Provenance Make Part 1

A Minor Border Doesn't Provenance Make

Kurdish rug fragment ridiculously dated by owner James Connell 14th century

Attempting to convincingly date any weaving made before 1850 is an interesting but sticky ball of wax. Yes, there are guide posts to help validate guesstimates. The strongest become apparent in what RK calls art historical comparison.

We need not explain how this works, or why. We have extensively done so already.

However, we will emphasize such a tool does not give any calendar dating but rather only a relative one, which can often be used to support but not guarantee a calendar one.

Very few pre-1850 weavings are totally unique. In fact, at the moment we cannot think of one that has no similars.

By comparing any weaving to others of its type, anyone with extensive experience and knowledge can propose a continuum beginning with what appears to be the earliest and ending with what appears to be the most recent.

The logic, validity and worth of such an exercise is totally dependent on the faith one has in the continuum maker's knowledge and ability to correctly assess each weaving.

Recently James Connell, someone RK does not know or know anything about, posted the Kurdish rug fragment photo above on a faRcebook group page. We have heard Connell has spent big money buying weavings that are, as we have heard it, not what he thinks or what he was told by their sellers.

This one hands down surely proves that allegation.

Its a nice circa 1800-ish Kurdish fragment, if you like funky rather boring eastern Anatolian village sorta weavings. No secret RK doesnt, but we are always willing and able to give respect to one where respect is due. It's just not due here.

This said we would never bother to discuss a weaving like this were it not for the ridiculous, ludicrous and absurd dating Connell gave it -- 14th century.

This is beyond any pale of reality. In fact, so far it could only be appreciated as a joke.

Sadly it wasn't.

Connell and others who we will list below really believe it. Do they also believe in the tooth fairy, Loch Ness monster and Osama Ben Laden single handedly brought down the trade center buildings? Probably, go ask.

Seems this fragment was discovered by peter scholten, sold to Albert Levi and then to Connell. Sorry, this is not what RK considers to be impeccable parentage.

Seems scholten agrees with Connell's 14th century dating, and Levi dates it to the 15th century.

All of them base this idea on the fact the fragment has the same border seen on the youngest of the by now famous four animal rugs once in the possession of Lisbet Holmes and sold by her long ago.

This rug is now known as the Qatar Museum Anatolian animal rug. But it has had several other names attached to it since ever so quietly appearing for sale by Holmes in London 30 or so years ago. RK saw it and the others way back then. Eventually it was sold to Heinrich Kirchheim, published in his Orient Stars book, and then sold by him to Qatar for a quite princely sum.

Let RK teach messers scholten, Levi and Connell something. First off, the Kirchheim/Qatar animal rug is in RK's opinion Kurdish, and we date it circa 1600, not 1300 as it has commonly but erroneously been constantly dated.

Second, just because Connell's fragment and the Kirchheim rug share a minor border -AND ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE - trying to construct a case, any case, they have anything else in common including the sticky slope of of 14th century dating is totally illogical and patently stupid.

Third, Connell's fragment's iconography, design, format and layout is far more like rugs made circa 1700 -1850 than ones made before that period. Forget 14th century.

We could go on and dissect why Connell's fragment is not 14th /15th /16th or even 17th century but our time is short and our desire to beat a dead horse even less.

Belief has nothing to do with fact. Evidence has nothing to do with dream-boat ideas.

And regardless of the results of a c14 dating Connell might undertake, anyone who believes this fragment is older than a very generous circa 1750-1800 needs to wake up and do it fast.

Go read about animal rugs. RK has written about them. Start here:


If Connell wants to learn something and get information he can trust, we suggest he contact us. We'll be glad to help. He surely needs it.

Author: RK
email: [email protected]
Thu, Jun 18th, 2020 10:23:45 AM

There are many things wrong with carpet studies and rug collecting. One of the most obvious is the tissue-paper skin people have concerning anyone who voices an opinion that does not agree with theirs, or that of others.

This hyper-hightened sensitivity makes any possible critical peer review interpreted as insulting, rude and impolite.

People see any critique as besmirching them and their entire being.

This is completely foolish and something that turns RK's position on Connell's rug, and many others we have spoken about, akin to a hostile act against him.

Please now, just because we called Connell's dating ridiculous is not like calling him ridiculous. It's no personal insult.

There is, we will agree, a fine line of difference here but it is there.

Once, quite some time ago, a famous rug collector said to us: "You know I very much enjoy talking about rugs with you. Just not mine"

Need we say more...

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