Star Kazak, like Tekke Torba or Senna Kelim, are a group onto themselves. But, like Tekke Torba or Senna Kelim, there are many variables individual examples share and do not share with others of their group.
The categorization, done by pinner/franses that we cite in the previous Parts of this discussion, was published twenty-five years ago in 1980. In common with 99.9% of all old research, it is not fair to judge it against what we know today.
However, even for its time period it can be criticized on a number of fronts, the most serious being a lack thorough structural analyses or details.
The authors make a lame excuse towards the end of their article:
“Since most Star Kazaks are scattered throughout the world in private collections, we were unable to collect sufficient technical data to tell how well the design groups correlated with significant differences in structure.”
This sounds like BS to RK considering they pictured 18 pieces in the article and most of the owners were personally known to franses, at least, if not to pinner as well. A simple series of phone calls could have easily collected enough “technical data” to be very useful.
We believe, especially in light of the quote above, pinner/franses knew they were not doing the right thing so they thought to cover their butts with ‘a dog ate my homework’ type of excuse.
Regardless, they did include some good structural analysis of a few pieces, including the Met’s piece that graces the “Kazak” book cover.
This Star Kazak has blue dyed weft, something that is highly unusual for Star Kazaks, as well as for a few examples of other types of Caucasian rugs.
Why this almost unique feature was glossed over is, to us, equally as foolish as their “excuse”.
Back in 1980 the only published blue-wefted Star Kazak was the Met’s, thanks to the “Kazak” catalog and, before that was printed, Diamand/Malley’s classic book “Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art”.
There was another known to us even way back then in a private collection in San Francisco. Actually, we missed being lucky enough to buy it, and for a very reasonable price, by about 3 hours. That’s another story for another time.
Anyway, ten years later in 1990, a small catalog entitled “Trefoil” was published after an exhibition held in Mills College, located near Oakland, California. The Star Kazak we just missed was in the show is published in the catalog.
There is a third in a private American Collection yet to be published, except for a brief appearance here on RK.com a couple of years ago when the owner kindly allowed us to publish a detail.
We are republishing it here and for comparison the same detail of the two other ones.
We have the full picture but have been asked not to publish it and with that in mind here are the only three blue-wefted Star Kazak we know about:
These three rugs are Type D in pinner/franses ‘classification’, and we use that term loosely -- very loosely. Not only because they ignored the all-so-important data structural analysis provides but for a number of other reasons we will explain in the rest of our look at the Star Kazak question.
For the record, there are a number of other Type D Star Kazaks but none of them have blue weft, nor do any other examples from any of the other groups pinner/franses named, i.e. Types A, B, and C.
Also these three Star Kazaks are the oldest of all the Type D’s we have ever seen and, in our estimation, older than all the other examples from the other groups as well.
Remember, we don’t think any Star Kazak is older than circa 200-250 years old at best. Two of the Type D’s we illustrate above are before 1800 in our judgment and the third from the first quarter of the 19th century.
With those declaration we will end Part IV.
In the next installment we will focus quite closely, something pinner/franses didn't, at the ‘unique’ iconography and unusual individual designs all Star Kazak display. And we will also draw some conclusions to help explain our provocative statements in the preceding paragraph.