Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >skinner's acor sale Part II
Thu, Apr 27th, 2006 02:54:08 PM
Topic: skinner's acor sale Part II

Last week a reader asked about lot 185, a rare torba mistakenly labeled as Ersari when Golkan would have been more exact. We decided to republish his post here and start this thread with our answer.

We went to the preview and, naturally, were most interested in examining this lot.

It was hung on the stairway entrance and we were able to take it outside into the sunlight, which always facilitates this process.

Here is the photo:

It was symmetrically knotted with no cotton or silk in the pile or foundation.

The condition was quite good but, being a rather late one, we decided to forgo the pleasure of trying to buy it.

The $7,000 hammer price it made was not unrealistic considering it was the best collector piece in the auction. We are sure the new owner is, and can rightly be, proud to own it.

Examples done by the various groups who made torba like this one are still quite rare, although it now seems each year one or two new and unknown ones are showing up in the trade.

We liked it better than anything else in the sale and, perhaps had it been at grogan’s or another saleroom, we would not be surprised to see a $10,000 plus sale result.

Once again, here is another example of the lack of any real market for genuinely old collector rugs and weavings.


RK Replies:

Greetings Matthias: Yes, we have seen the picture and what appears to be another of skinner's cataloging errors.

We have heard from a few readers, who saw the piece before it got into the sale, the piece in question is late and has poor colors.

We cannot confirm this, as we have not personally seen it.

This coming week, when the preview is open, we will undoubtedly view and then be able to determine if that is true or not.


Hi Jack,

What about your comments concerning lot 185 ("Ersari torba") in the Skinner sale? That's the one I wanna be informed about - having the "prototype" in mind which used to be yours... thanks, best regards, Matthias

Author: matthias wohlgemuth
email: wohlgemuth@arces.ch
Thu, Apr 27th, 2006 02:54:08 PM

It might be 'supposed' for you but not for us.

Your citing the xRK/deYoung torba is astute and an issue we did not really wish to explore.

But we will a bit.

You see, Matthias, it not necessarily who made a weaving but where and when it was made that is important.

Clearly, the skinner torba and the deYoung's have some grandfather/grandson connections, especially their coloration and wool quality.

This implies to us they were made in the same locale -- but by the same people?

Again testing would be very pointful and, as we firmly believe, able to provide the proof positive needed to advance our understanding.


Thanks, Jack, for sharing some of your thoughts and experience and images of beautiful pieces - despite of our being competition! The supposed "archetype" of the "eagle gül"-torba is downright breathtaking. As is the one with the flower box border you labelled Tekke in the S.F. De Young Turkmen review...

Author: jc
Tue, Apr 25th, 2006 05:26:08 PM

RK Replies:

The intricacies involved in Turkmen pile weaving comparison is a subject RK has been studying for a long time and these “eagle-II” torba are an interesting group that garnered our attention way back when.

They were once called Yomud, then “fine brown” and finally some of them have been segregated and successfully grouped as Golkan and eagle – both terms we recognize and use.

Over the years, we have owned a couple and handled a number of others, none of them ever impressing us into believing they were really old (pre-1750).

The one at skinners forms a sub-group on its own; the symmetric knot, creamy light brown field color and electric blues unlike any others we remember.

Actually, we were quite tempted by its charms but, alas resisted in the end.

Was it as old as some of the others we’ve seen? No, answers that one but all things considered it was well worth the price it brought.

OK, then, Matthias, you asked about the border and if there was any “importance” to its presence.

Sometimes the intricacies of the Turkmen weaving vocabulary are important to note as they can, on occasion, lead to some important conclusions – like the segregation of “S” or “eagle-group” weavings .

Other times, and this is most times, those small idiosyncratic aberrations of design are unimportant and insignificant to the larger identification picture. So much is unknown and probably always will be.

However, by making continuum of similar examples and noting those intricacies, no matter how small, we can, occasionally, draw some interesting references and insights.

RK loves to discuss historic weaving but we are leery of disseminating what has taken us decades to develop and, more importantly since buying rugs is our trade, revealing our ‘trade-secrets’ to our competition.

Yes, Matthias, even you are competition!

But RK also knows how happy we are to share so in that spirit please enjoy the following:

The torba at skinners is, once again, another pastiche – its pattern made up of aspects lifted from the earlier generations of weavings made in this format.

As far as RK can ascertain from the available data, the archetype for this ‘family’ of torba is this ancient masterpiece:

We know this piece and almost got it but the owner sold it right out from under us in Vienna many moons ago. Too bad, ‘cause it is a major statement and, in our estimation, the archetype for all the eagle II torba.

Its main border is the older rendition of the single border the skinner piece, and others, ape and, though the gol are unrelated, the special format of cutting them in half is no accident and provides additional evidence of connection.

RK has also identified the prototype for the eagle II torba group:

Here we have a direct comparison of major and minor gol, half and whole gol format and the main border design. This torba is far older and more significant than any of the eagle II ones we have ever seen.

This Tekke torba might also be considered a tangential archetype for the eagle II’s:

It is without comparison the best and earliest Tekke torba extant -- shame it belongs to a thief and miserably dishonest person like peter hoffmeister.

Interestingly, not only is it the best piece in hoffscheister’s collection but it was the first Turkmen weaving he bought.

Called dumb-luck, an idea that is not alien in this instance, hoffscheister didn’t have a clue when purchasing it he had gotten a masterpiece – he bought it because it was damaged and therefore cheap. At least that is what he stated when first showing it to RK in 1982 when we met in Coburg, his hometown.

Regardless of what a creep hoffmeister is, his Tekke torba is archaic enough to have provided the extremely rare secondary gol used in the skinner and other eagle II torba.

This once again demonstrates the indelible connection even seemingly unrelated Turkmen weaving cultures must have maintained.

So, Matthias and all our other astute readers, we hope these few words and pictures will enlarge your vision about the eagle II torba and let you glimpse a bit of RK’s rugworld.

Author: matthias wohlgemuth
email: wohlgemuth@arces.ch
Tue, Apr 25th, 2006 02:07:46 PM

Hi Jack -- it would be nice to have the "prototype" again for comparison here:-) There's another "eagle group II" one at Rippon-Boswell (lot 36) right now that you commented last time around when it was bought in. The Skinner example is the only one I found that has this particular border as a single border. What do you believe this could mean? -- best, Matthias

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