Home > Archive >The Met's animal-style rug
Author:jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Sat, Oct 5th, 2013 03:09:17 PM
Topic: The Met's animal-style rug

(In the mid-1980s a group of four early "animal-style" rugs presumably appeared somewhere in the Near East. But, in fact, no one who is talking has ever revealed just where this happened or how, or by who, they were initially discovered.

One thing is sure: These rugs were a very significant find and whoever was behind their entrance into the market made alot of money.

Stories abound, one of them even ridiculously included these rugs were found floating in a river where they had been thrown by ďmonksĒ who were cleaning their monastery.

As patently absurd as this story is it was nonetheless one of the more touted ones floated by certain individuals who were in on this ďfindĒ or involved in their sale.

Another tall tale places the rugs in the hand of a small ďdealerĒ of new Tibetan rugs in Kathmandu, Nepal.

And it is there, supposedly, they began their rather quick trip to $tardom.

Regardless of the lack of evidence as to their true origin, the rugs eventually appeared for sale in London in the hands of a well respected and now deceased textile dealer, Lisbet Holmes, who lived in a private house in the northern suburbs of central London where she had her gallery on the ground floor.

As soon as we heard she had them we immediately phoned and asked to visit.

She said OK but by the time RK arrived she had already sold, for a purported 750,000usd, the in our opinion best of the group, a ďsingleĒ animal fragment that was basically complete but missing some of its borders.

Single animal rug bought by Italian collector Bruschettini that is still in his collection.

However that day we did get to see, study and handle the three others.



The three early ďanimal styleĒ carpets RK saw for sale in the Lisbet Holmes Gallery

The one in the middle is, of course, now in the collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA).

The one above is presently in Doha's Islamic Museum collection, but formerly was in the Heinrich Kirchheim collection, after it was purchased from Holmes by John Eskanazi and his partner in the deal michael franses for Kirchheim.

And the one below was also purchased from Holmes by ebberhart Hermann for Kirchheim and is still, allegedly, in his collection that is now the subject of a legal fight between his heirs.

Needless to say, the Met's (MMA) is the least significant of the bunch and the subject below.)

Since we first laid eyes on the animal rug the Metropolitan Museum in New York purchased in 1990 we have seriously doubted what has now become accepted lore about this weaving.


(ed. the museum description follows in quotes)
"Animal Design, 14th century; Ottoman period (c.1280-1924)
Attributed to Turkey Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, Louis V. Bell Fund and Fletcher, Pfeiffer and Rogers Funds, 1990 (1990.61)"

We do not in any way agree that it is Turkish, nor do we agree with the absurdly early dating dan walker, the former curator of the museumís Islamic department, has published ad infinitum about his purchase.

The fact walker, and other alleged rug experts, believe repeating their questionable ideas about carpets will somehow make them fact is ludicrous and typical behavior for many who write about historic weavings.

However, we have decided to offer the following at this time not to dun walker or others but to publicly stake out a position we have maintained in private for more than 15 years.

In brief our position is as follows:
1. the rug is an Afshar made in Iran and not in Turkey
2. the rug dates from sometime circa 1600 not circa 1300.

We realize our position flies in the face of that held by everyone who is anyone in rugdom but, really now, how many times has the ďconventionalĒ wisdom in this art field been proven false or seriously flawed as time marched on?

Anyway, as our time is brief at the moment, let us end this first chapter of discussion by publishing the following photo:

Clearly this rug is a late 19th or early 20th century Afshar and we do not think it is necessary for us to explain the obvious design parallels it holds with the Metís rug.

We will expound further as time permits on this topic so stay tuned.

Part Two

As any student of historic rugs knows design similarity is the least conclusive factor to prove relationship but, in instances where little other more substantial information exists, design congruity will have to suffice.

Such is the case here and, until real scientific analysis can be instituted on the Metís rug, RK is confident enough the following will establish some further degree of validity to support our proposition.

After making a very cursory search of Afshar rugs it was easy to see how the rather unique design form the Metís rug established remained part of the design vocabulary used by much later Afshar weavers.

Here are two more examples that are, as anyone who undertakes a similar investigation will realize, pudding proof of this statement:

The reality Near Eastern weavers, who were working in indigenous traditional social and cultural frameworks, used archaic designs, which often were unique and special to their collective consciousness, should come as no surprise to anyone who has even briefly explored this topic.

It is one of the milestones of carpet and textile studies and anyone who is dumb enough to doubt this deserves to be hung out to dry after an aniline dye bath.

Weaving was the most isolated and proscribed artistic endeavor and, thankfully, this was the case, as it has enabled researchers to draw conclusions that would be otherwise unavailable from the historic record.

Therefore, when one sees with eyes open the parallel between these later Afshar rugs and the Metís archaic one, the conclusion we forward should be almost unquestionable.

But let us go further.

The Afshar were originally a clan of the Turkic Oghuz confederation, who migrated from the Qibchaq plain in Turkestan to certain areas in Persia(Iran) beginning in the 12th century.

There is no doubt this is fact, as their language, which is still spoken by the way, is a Turkic one and numerous historic documentation exists to support the fact of their migration from Turkestan.

Here is another Afshar weaving with strong design congruity with the Metís rug that displays a very familiar Turkmen emblem, a Tekke torba gol, within the unique field design the Metís rug established:

But this design coincidence with later day Afshar rugs is not the only reason we have doubted walker and others provenancing the Metís rug to Turkey.

First off the rugís coloration is not in line with any type of early Turkish village weavings we have ever seen. The dye tonalities, and even their combination, are far more similar to those found in Afshar rugs than those of Turkish rugs, especially ones made prior to 1600.

Incidentally the fact walker and others believe the Metís rugs is a 14th century weaving stretches the pizza dough so thinly one would have to question not only their expertise but also their sanity.

Regardless of the rugís date, the fact it is dissimilar to any other early Turkish animal rug should be enough to dampen any ideas it could possibly have been made in Turkey or be one of the earliest rugs on record.

Granted, many Turkish rugs can trace their origin to the various Turkmen clans, like the Afshar, who migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia. However, the fact the Afshar ended up in Persia trumps any argument the Metís rug is Turkish, this fact rather implies it is Turkmen.

We whole-heartedly agree with calling it Turkmen but we do not, in any regard, believe the word Turkish should be used to provenance it.

Another fact leading us to dis-believe the rug is an early Turkish rug is the reality the main border is one never seen on any early Turkish rug, animal style or otherwise.

Rather, once again, it has such strong affinity to what we would like to call the Turkmen design vocabulary we canít possibly see how anyone could possibly demonstrate the contrary.

In fact weíd welcome walker or any one else to try.

Just one additional point of reference, another late Afshar rug with, yes you guessed it, that border design from the Metís rug used as an elem:

Sorry, but thatís about all the time we can devote to this interesting and important discussion today. Actually, we feel we need not flesh this out any further but we will be delighted to do so if, and when, any readers care to continue this by writing in to provide their views -- be they for or against our argument.

Author: jc
email:
Sat, Oct 5th, 2013 03:08:25 PM

"Jeremy", whose post appears below seems to think RK is 'juvenile', i.e. not a grown-up', because we doubt the alleged 14th century c14 date the Met, well dan walker it's former curator, claimed.

Were that date viable RK is sure:

1. the Met would be publicizing it -- fact is they are not

2. the Met would have at least gotten a second opinion, i.e. a date from another lab -- fact is they haven't, or at least they haven't publicized it if they did

Fact is c14 dating is not reliable for rugs and textiles which are contaminated through centuries of use-- a point RK has discussed before at length,

And on top of all that the rug is, in our opinion, an Afshar that is maybe 16th century. And wonder why no one, besides RK, has bothered to question it?

Ah, RugDumB's silence of the lambs.

Nitey, nite "jeremy"

Author: jeremy
email:
Thu, Oct 3rd, 2013 11:28:08 AM

grownups have a thing they call Carbon 14 dating.

Author: A Reader
email:
Sun, Nov 19th, 2006 11:24:44 AM

RK Replies:

First off, we doubt highly you are small-brained.

And, yes, the Met's rug has been carbon dated. Based on those findings, dan walker "concluded" it is 13th century.

(Originally, walker announced it was 13th century but now, it seems, the Met has backed off that ridiculous claim and is calling it 14th. Regardless, it is neither according to us.)

If you look at the Met's description, which we published in quotes just below the photos of it, you will see the large spread -- 1280-1924 -- the c14 analysis revealed.

Naturally walker went at first for the gold, hence his dating it to the 13th century.

Fool's gold as far as RK is concerned.

The alleged "story" of where this rug came from is one we know well but, to tell you the truth, we don't feel like publicizing it right now.

Suffice it to say it is as dubious as walker's dating the rug to the 13th century and we have always thought the "story" was complete nonsense, created to obfuscate the real story and that's one even we don't know for sure.

So thanks for the kind words and, don't worry, we will not print your name, as we don't have a clue who you are.

However, weíd like to ask, why are you so shy?

==================================================

Hello Jack, Nice work! Your theory is certainly more plausible then the Walker theory.

Do you know if any test results such as c14 or dye analyses have been published for the rug. Even a detailed structural analyses would be interesting.

I would also love to hear the provenance of this piece. Unless it was stolen from a mosque I would love to know where it was and how it stayed so nice for 600 - 700 years.

Thanks for publishing something that even a small brained person like me can understand. But please do not publish my name. best wishes, A Reader

Author: Cevat Kanig
email:
Thu, Nov 9th, 2006 09:43:27 AM

Jack, You think that people can not copy and paste the links thAt i Sended and See the significant minor border design in both two rugs, I can also send other design but your egos will reject them too,i suggest you, first, try to fight your egos and when you win the fight let me know so we can discuss the things, have you ever seen circa 1600 afshar rug? DUMMY!! Why don't you admit that you are wrong again.

Author: Ben Maxi
email: BenMaxi@hotmail.com
Thu, Nov 9th, 2006 05:32:36 AM

Oy Bennie:

We are willing to have our webmaster play with you a bit. He has more time than I.

We know you have had some trouble getting this post on the board and we have now put some other software on you. Soon we will be behind you. So enjoy yourself, chump, while you can.

And by the way, say hi to the Golden Gate Bridge for me while yer at it.

=========================================

Hi again, Jack. Siberia? Tsk, tsk, I am in Hawaii! And I can post here whenever I want.%D%ADonít forget your medicationsÖ%D%A

Author: Cevat Kanig
email: Time-is@timeless.org
Wed, Nov 8th, 2006 10:58:39 PM

Ahoy, Mr kanig: The first link you posted goes nowhere and although the second does in fact bring up the photo of a well-known Seljuk rug what you claim about it is, like almost everything you write, far off the mark and basically meaningless. Actually it is incomprehensible in relation to the matter at hand.

Again, you truly do not belong here, as your reasoning abilities are nil and the nit-picking responses you seem to believe are important are as worthless as sand on the Sahara.

If you persist in this activity you will be banished from RugKazbah.com once more.

======================================================

Hi Jack, If you donít have time then why you build a web site and have a discussion board? is it for satisfied your egos? If you donít want to discuss the things then why here is discussion board? My English is poor but my rug knowledge is better than yours for sure. I don't have to prove you any thing but to show your readers that you are wrong,let me begin saying that all design on that rug is Seljuk designs even the lions are Seljuk lions, let me start from the minor border of Met's Animal rug, the rug is 14th c. Ottoman Beylik Carpet probably woven during the Karamanogullari period in Konya, below images are one of them is Met's carpet minor border the other is Ottoman rug early 14th century in Turkish Islamic Arts Museum, Istanbul, if you carefully check the minor borders of the two rugs then you will see the same minor borders. The other design on Metís rug they are all Seljuk designs, I can post them if you like one by one, with my pleasure. My question is to you; how did you came up with the idea that Metís rug is an Afshar Rug and circa 1600, Are you using drug and Seeing things? Or you think that we are so idiot to believe you without showing us any evidence. To tell you the truth you were funnier last years, now it is boring, cant you make up better storys please! http://members.cox.net/ckanig/ottoman.JPG http://www.iath.virginia.edu/~jmu2m/gp/GP2.jpg

Author: Cevat Kanig
email:
Tue, Nov 7th, 2006 07:19:35 PM

RK Replies:

We have already stated your knowledge of historic rugs and textiles is as poor as your English. So please take your foolish and dopey opinions elsewhere.

When and if you ever have anything cogent to add please do but until then get lost -- we have no time to explain to you the A B C's of historic Near Eastern weavings or to counter your patently dumb assertions about them.

===============================================

Hi Jack, could you let us know that how many avhar rugs that you hAve Seen Similar to that age? the colors and the design is after seljuk period, it has been woven during the ottoman Beyliks . it is a central anatolian rug not an avshar rug, got it?

Author: Ben Maxi
email: BenMaxi@hotmail.com
Tue, Nov 7th, 2006 05:50:08 AM

RK Replies:

Bye Bye bennie boy, you're dumb as a rock, cretin. You're not even clever or funny - only pathetic and stupid.

Enjoy Siberia where we have now consigned you to.

=========================================

Hi Jack, Obviously you are out of medication. Sooner or later theyíll have to put you in a straitJACKet. Better sooner.

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Sun, Nov 5th, 2006 11:15:03 PM

As any student of historic rugs knows design similarity is the least conclusive factor to prove relationship but, in instances where little other more substantial information exists, design congruity will have to suffice.

Such is the case here and, until real scientific analysis can be instituted on the Metís rug, RK is confident enough the following will establish some further degree of validity to support our proposition.

After making a very cursory search of Afshar rugs it was easy to see how the rather unique design form the Metís rug established remained part of the design vocabulary used by much later Afshar weavers.

Here are two more examples that are, as anyone who undertakes a similar investigation will realize, pudding proof of this statement:

The reality Near Eastern weavers, who were working in indigenous traditional social and cultural frameworks, used archaic designs, which often were unique and special to their collective consciousness, should come as no surprise to anyone who has even briefly explored this topic.

It is one of the milestones of carpet and textile studies and anyone who is dumb enough to doubt this deserves to be hung out to dry after an aniline dye bath.

Weaving was the most isolated and proscribed artistic endeavor and, thankfully, this was the case, as it has enabled researchers to draw conclusions that would be otherwise unavailable from the historic record.

Therefore, when one sees with eyes open the parallel between these later Afshar rugs and the Metís archaic one, the conclusion we forward should be almost unquestionable.

But let us go further.

The Afshar were originally a clan of the Turkic Oghuz confederation, who migrated from the Qibchaq plain in Turkestan to certain areas in Persia(Iran) beginning in the 12th century.

There is no doubt this is fact, as their language, which is still spoken by the way, is a Turkic one and numerous historic documentation exists to support the fact of their migration from Turkestan.

Here is another Afshar weaving with strong design congruity with the Metís rug that displays a very familiar Turkmen emblem, a Tekke torba gol, within the unique field design the Metís rug established:

But this design coincidence with later day Afshar rugs is not the only reason we have doubted walker and others provenancing the Metís rug to Turkey.

First off the rugís coloration is not in line with any type of early Turkish village weavings we have ever seen. The dye tonalities, and even their combination, are far more similar to those found in Afshar rugs than those of Turkish rugs, especially ones made prior to 1600.

Incidentally the fact walker and others believe the Metís rugs is a 14th century weaving stretches the pizza dough so thinly one would have to question not only their expertise but also their sanity.

Regardless of the rugís date, the fact it is dissimilar to any other early Turkish animal rug should be enough to dampen any ideas it could possibly have been made in Turkey or be one of the earliest rugs on record.

Granted, many Turkish rugs can trace their origin to the various Turkmen clans, like the Afshar, who migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia. However, the fact the Afshar ended up in Persia trumps any argument the Metís rug is Turkish, this fact rather implies it is Turkmen.

We whole-heartedly agree with calling it Turkmen but we do not, in any regard, believe the word Turkish should be used to provenance it.

Another fact leading us to dis-believe the rug is an early Turkish rug is the reality the main border is one never seen on any early Turkish rug, animal style or otherwise.

Rather, once again, it has such strong affinity to what we would like to call the Turkmen design vocabulary we canít possibly see how anyone could possibly demonstrate the contrary.

In fact weíd welcome walker or any one else to try.

Just one additional point of reference, another late Afshar rug with, yes you guessed it, that border design from the Metís rug used as an elem:

Sorry, but thatís about all the time we can devote to this interesting and important discussion today. Actually, we feel we need not flesh this out any further but we will be delighted to do so if, and when, any readers care to continue this by writing in to provide their views -- be they for or against our argument.

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