Home > Archive >Chicken or Egg?
email: rk@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Apr 30th, 2007 01:12:24 AM
Topic: Chicken or Egg?

The notion designs passed from urban/imperial atelier/workshop to village/clan weaver is surely one paradigm. The other, converse one is easily as possible but rarely countenanced; well, not here on RugKazbah.com that is.

In this regard, and as soon as we get the time we will demonstrate why we believe most instances where active/potent icon/amulet are present, the archaic first period example invariably proves to be non-urban.

Just for starters the soumak main rug we pictured in the Christie London preview will be the focus of this exercise, along with another rug from the same sale.

Can any of you bright bulbs out there guess which lot that would be?

Author: jc
Mon, Apr 30th, 2007 01:12:24 AM

A picture is worth a thousand words:

All the ornamentation embellishing the soumak medallion can be seen in the Synagogue rug's complex "shrine".

More to come

Author: jc
Mon, Apr 9th, 2007 09:08:28 PM

Most Shield and Dragon rugs are, in our esteemed estimation, not a whole lot farther up the ladder than what we call airport-art. Granted, they are old so maybe we should call them clippership-art, since no airports were around when they were cut off the loom.

We must say there are some highly worthy Dragon rugs and, we’re sure, a Shield Rug or two of their class as well. But, by and large, Shield rugs are like this one - highly boring, little variance in design with this typical gold, brown and blue palette RK finds rather tedious to say the least.

Granted a lot of Christie’s piece is resto but even what is original never had that brilliant, highly polished coloration the best Dragon rugs demonstrate.

The soumak on the other hand might well have a reasonable facsimile of that wool and could this wool/dye quality be the reason William Robinson catalogued it as 1800?

But we’re not here to discuss handle and color but rather iconography.

We imagine it is easy to see the strong resemblance between the Synagogue rug’s motif and the “shield” from lot 17:

In fact, careful inspection reveals almost every element of the shield corresponds to one found in the far more complex structure in the Synagogue Rug. We have no problem in seeing this rug as the inspiration for the entire Shield Rug group but what of the more complex motifs in the soumak and its relationship with both of these other rugs?

We’ll all get a chance to pursue that soon, stay tuned….

Author: jc
email: jc@rugkazbah.com
Sun, Apr 8th, 2007 01:03:58 PM

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.

Author: jc
Sun, Apr 8th, 2007 11:35:01 AM

Here is a clue as to where we wil be going with this thread:

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