Home > Archive >Read & Learn: The Bokche Is A Fake
Wed, May 25th, 2005 05:50:34 PM
Topic: Read & Learn: The Bokche Is A Fake

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.

Author: the truth
Wed, May 25th, 2005 05:50:34 PM

It's only half a bokche, Jack, two dismembered flaps. My guess is that's the reason no one stepped up to pay the $3500+/- asking price.

Hi there, the truth:

Yes, what galerie arabesque was hoping to sell is, of course, only two of the four "flaps" a complete bokche would have originally had. That fact not withstanding doesn't change the reality it is still not circa 1800-1833 as the seller claims. Nor it is 19th century or, for that matter, even old.

I am sure RK.com's readers knew this but you are 100% correct in mentioning it is actually a fragment.

Because the sellers tried to present it as a complete piece, or at least didn't bother to mention the two other "flaps" were absent, doesn't exactly put them in the best light, now does it?

And by the way, since you are in California and, presumably didn't fly cross country to see it for yourself, your conjecture as to why it is still unsold, i.e. because it is fragmentary, is surely not definitive, or in our opinion factual.

Author: jc
Wed, May 25th, 2005 04:49:57 AM

We have heard that when the tribal show ended, which was last night, the bokche was still in galerie arabesque's booth.

So much for the assertions of all the pundits there who claim RK's declaration about it was wrong.

Seems to us all of them were too quick with flappping their jaws and way to slow to put their wallets where their mouths are.

We also know rug biz there was not exactly brilliant and few if any dealers walked away with sacks of money but considering the bokche's price was cheap - even for a late 19th century example - if it really were real one of those pundits should have pulled the trigger on it. The fact no-one did speaks volumes in support of our position.

This is typical for the mini-minds who inhabit the rug world, big mouths little brains....tsk tsk

Author: jc
Sun, May 22nd, 2005 03:45:28 PM

Just for the record let us state we are not picking on galerie arabesque, nor do we have any motive or motivation for picturing this bokche or the several other offerings from them we have commented on in the past.

RK.com could spend all day writing about bogus rugs that are offered on the internet, however, we only are intersted in commenting on rugs that interest us, especially when there is an egregious attempt to trample reality, as in this case.

And by the way, this same galerie recently offered a yomud chuval and described it as 18th century. Here is the photo:

The only thing that is 18th century here is the seller's hopes someone, anyone, will believe their claim. Please now what could possibly lead any competent dealer of Turkmen weavings to make such an outlandish assertion?

Here is what they say in regards to their dating guesstimate:
"No doubt an early and exciting example with great contrasting color and a rare elem. There is a supplementary Chodor chevron braid attached at the top. "

Maybe there is no doubt in their minds but there sure is in ours.

RK knows age sells but when sellers go over the top in trying to stretch the age of their offerings way past what is likely it looks foolish and, in our opinion, stupid.

This is a nice yomud chuval anyone would date to mid-19th century and some might say even early 19th. But this ain't circa 1800 nor it is pre-1800.

Here is a closeup of the borders and a corner:

This, dear readers, is not the style or articulation, let alone proportions, we should expect to see in pre-1800 Turkmen weaving.

Clearly galerie arabesque pinned their hopes on the rarely seen elem design this chuval sports. However, a few minutes of checking through a good library of books with photos of Turkmen chuvals would quickly prove the version seen here is not the best of this quirky elem design. In fact it is far from the best and while RK readily concedes the rarity, we just can't possibly countenance galerie arabesque's out to lunch conclusions.

Well, looking on the bright side, at least this chuval, unlike the bokche, is actually old.

It's a free and open rug market place and anyone can claim whatever they want about their pieces but we believe it is unfortunate that no-one comments when dealers consistently over play and emphasize their offerings.

Frankly, RK.com thinks it is about time for the rug community to begin some attempts at self-regulation and vetting. After all it would benefit all of us.

Author: jc
Fri, May 20th, 2005 10:52:39 PM

Today the tribal show opened in NYC and while this writer didn't attend the festivities we heard the bokche was there in the booth of galerie arabesque.

Supposedly - we heard this from someone who was in attendance - a number of rug pundits who have booths at the show have passed judgment that it is "right" and RK is wrong.

Well that might cut the mustard on their Oscar Meyers but it surely doesn't impress us.

One of the people we spoke to told us " that bokche is 1860 to 1870" and that we were "way off and had to back up".

Again RK knows what we know and frankly could care less about what others who claim to "know" think about that piece.

One thing is sure, bokche are a rare commodity, especially ones that are pre-1850. Clearly it seems we are not the only one who doesn't believe galerie arabesque's bokche is anything but a recent copy made to deceive - were we, rest assured, it would still not be for sale.

And, by the way, we are not the only buyer who would have instantly picked it off, after all 2850 euro would be a bargain price were it actually what galerie arabesque claims.

As for all those pundits at the show? Why hasn't one of them stepped up to the plate to buy it if they are all so sure it's "right"?? Go ask them and while you're at it tell'em RK.com sent you!

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