Several times in the past RK has opened the can of worms that almost always surrounds the issue of Oriental Rug design origination. However, when it comes to sourcing the design iconographies found on historic non-Classical examples, it is not almost always but always.
Since these weavings often established the mold other later examples copied, researchers can sometimes trace a design element back to them and, in doing so, gain some leg up on trying to establish a source.
Regardless of the occasional successes this methodology returns, there have been precious few of them for researchers to even base opinions, let alone positive identifications.
RK realizes this well, that is the reason for us repeating this bit of introductory palaver to place what we write below into a perspective under which we are content to continue.
There are a number of very obvious similarities between the design iconographies displayed by the two rugs, lots 15 and 17, included in the Christie’s sale.
Well, these design relationships are apparent to us but perhaps not to others; so let’s place pictures of them side by side to facilitate everyone’s seeing what we saw on our first go-thru of the catalog:
Of course once one makes this association, the question of which weaving presents, what we’d call a closer to the source representation, becomes an issue. Regrettably RK doesn't have, nor does anyone else, the magic bullet to hit that target but, that said, we do have some ideas.
We have no doubts most rug pundits would venture the Shield Carpet is closer to whatever was the original source than the Soumak Rug. On the surface, we’d have to agree but we are not so sure.
Today we had our webmaster move a series of posts we wrote several years ago into the Best of RugKazbah.com Topic Area. We did this so readers who are not familiar with that topic can get up to speed with our thoughts concerning not only the relationship the Synagogue Rug presents to Turkmen Engsi but also to Christie’s lot 17, which belongs to a group of early Caucasian Rugs commonly known as Shield Rugs.
And while we have ventured to relate the Shield rug with Christie’s lot 15, the Soumak Rug, it is quite clear the Synagogue Rug’s ostensible relationship is, once again on the surface, far stronger with lot 17 than lot 15.
Here is a picture of the Synagogue rug and a detail of its main design, both of which provide the bridge RK to the Christie rugs intends to take this discussion over.
We will flesh this out as time permits; so stay tuned for Part II, which should appear here soon.
By the way: Happy Easter Sunday to all. Please join us in praying and working for Peace on Earth, it’s surely long overdue.