Like many other pseudo-rug experts who ply their trade as dealers or pontificate as collectors, detlef maltzhan, aka bozwell as we have lately been calling him, would put up one helluva squawk in disagreement with anyone, especially RK, referring to him as a dealer or pseudo-anything.
But bozwell is a dealer, only he uses a podium, gavel and salesroom to ply his trade rather than an open-door gallery.
Regardless of the methods used, most rug dealers have enough talk to run circles around their ‘clients’ but not enough walk to do the same with RK, and maltzahn, squawk or not, falls squarely into that quite humongous group.
In our previous look-ins at his auctions, we have demonstrated his penchant for either making up wildly questionable fantasy provenance or applying ones that are dubious to us but acknowledged by others of his ilk.
He is also what we call an over-dater and at times an under-dater as well.
This particular sale has some lots we feel are under-dated but not by enough to warrant our noting them here.
We will say this, though, we are skeptical of dating Turkmen pieces, that for all intents and purposes appear to be circa 1880, as beginning of the 20th century, something bozwell has repeatedly done in previous sales, and this one is no exception.
Considering in the first 5 year plan, the Russian Government instituted soon after seizing power, there is a stated intention to revive the practice of weaving rugs during that period (the early 20th century), why would they take that position if there was a substantial amount of weaving already going on. If that is so, why did they want to revive it?
We will leave this matter to those who interests are in the historical records of this period, as that does not interest us, and we only mention it to counter bozwell, and others, who habitually credit rugs to this time-frame.
Honestly, and on the record, we think maltzahn is not a bad guy and he really likes rugs but, like many in this field, he thinks more of his knowledge than RK would ever give him credit for.
Why? Here is a perfect example:
There is little doubt this is a late Tekke small rug that is often referred to in the trade lately as a ‘marriage’ rug, a sobriquet we think is prosaic at best.
Regardless, it is not a chuval and bozwell’s calling it one goes a long way to support our feeling he is not the expert he claims to be.
We’d be pretty sure he’d protest and provide some dopey reason(s) why he deemed it to be one but, frankly, we could care less.
It is but another of his wacky ideas he’d be better off keeping to himself, or whispering into the ears of his gullible clients but surely not putting in print, be it in a catalog or on the net.
In any event, we need say no more about that or the piece itself, or any of the other mediocrities this sale is so suffed full of.
That is the reason we decided not to bother discussing anything other than a couple of other Turkmen bags in the sale, as they were the only few pieces that even modestly interested us.
Perhaps the best piece in the sale, in our estimation is this chuval:
Called Ersari by bozwell but we’d prefer, at this point in time, to say unknown Amu Darya group.
One caveat we must mention at this point: RK has never been shy to make positive judgments about some pieces based only on photographs and we know this irks some readers.
However, we only do this when:
1. the piece is early or
2. the piece is late.
Those that fall between are far more difficult to assess based only on lousy pics, be they on the net or in a catalog.
This chuval is one of those ’tweeners and unless we were holding it in our hands, we’d prefer not to comment too much about it.
That said, we feel it is pre-1850 and do like it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the faithful and quite brilliant articulation of the flowering tree skirt and excellent proportions.
The estimates in this sale are all, well at least the ones we looked at, very reasonable and we would have listed them here but lost, in cyberspace, the list of them for the pieces we planned to discuss.
We are too busy to go back thru bozwell’s website to note them again and will leave that to any interested reader to do for themselves.
We illustrate two aina gol torba to round out our look-see at this sale.
The first is called “Salor” in the catalog
and the second “Tekke”
Again both of these fall in that ’tweener nether-zone and, without handling them, we will not say much.
The Salor we’d bet is open right and only partially depressed. Along with the lot numbers, we also lost the estimates but we do slightly remember the price was very reasonable for a weaving of this quality and apparent age (circa 1860’s).
We doubt it has any synthetic dyes and would be pretty sure of that but not 100% positive without, naturally, seeing it in person.
It is competently drawn and the proportions are respectable, though the boxes in the field, the aina gols, are a bit too large.
This feature is often indicative of later weavings but not the latest end–of-the-line ones.
We much prefer the second piece, the Tekke, where the proportions are righteous and far more convincing.
It will be interesting to see what these two torba and the Ersari chuval make on sale day and we all can revisit the sale then…