Today we received an email from one of our readers who asked for an opinion on the following Turkmen piece listed for sale on an internet site:
We were told it is listed by the seller, galerie arabesque located in Germany, as circa 1800-1833.
We responded as follows:
”We agree with your suspicions about the bokche you asked us about. However unlike you, we do not harbor any suspicions, we will flatly state this is a recent reproduction. There is nothing we like about it.
We didn’t need to look at the other photos the seller has posted (we include one of those below in this post on RK.com) to make our judgment.
But after doing so, we are even more convinced…”
Genuinely old bokche, pre-1850, are rare items and over the course of the last 35 years we have owned a few and seen a handful of others. There are, however, quite a few post 1850 ones, many with chemical dyes, especially the red color.
With that in mind the sellers optimistic and highly questionable dating of this piece, were it even real, would be quite impossible given the monotonous coloration, sloppy weaving and boring two-dimensional design.
We realize these are points might be considered subjective and call our opinion into question by those who might not have the experience and knowledge necessary to put our comments into perspective.
Let us go further in our analysis then. Here is another photo, a close-up detail of the bokche:
First off notice the area of the photo showing the exposed warps. We have never seen a pre-1850 Turkmen weaving, of any type, with warps that look like those. They are a dead give away this piece is a repro.
Notice also, if you will, the wonky white row of knots below the large red figure. Again we defy anyone to produce a genuinely pre-1850 Turkmen weaving of any kind where such a sloppy bit of pile weaving can be demonstrated.
But the real ringer is the area of high pile just before the warp ends are visible. Supposedly the seller attributes this to the fact the two halves of the bokche were sewn together and this area of high pile is the result of that fact.
Well, that might sound good to anyone who believes in the sugarplum fairy and other tinkerbell tales but, sorry mate, this convention is totally unknown in any other bokche of any age.
Repro “artists” mostly do not have any real knowledge of what they are faking, often working from books and auction catalog photos. Frequently to spice up their work, they screw up and leave tell-tale evidence of their work. Here, dear readers, is such an instance.
Furthermore, the photo about shows quite clearly the wool used to knot this weaving is brand new and not what one would expect to see in a Turkmen piece of the early 19th century.
It is not often we make such a blanket assessment of authenticity when we have not handled nor seen the object in the flesh. But in this instance we are positive this weaving is a new fake.
Everything we see points in that direction and we are willing to back up of statement should anyone want to call us on it.