Home > Archive >RK's Ebay Chuval
Wed, Oct 3rd, 2007 10:10:08 AM
Topic: RK's Ebay Chuval

The small minds and big mouths that circle around their leader, the equally as challenged rug-know-nothing Virginia Commonwealth University professor steev price, are continuing the circus act of trying to prove what they clearly can't -- RK's chuval and its description are deceptive and fraudulent.

From the get-go these claims have been laughable and those who have been making them have succeeded in proving nothing -- besides the fact they are rug dummies motivated by an agenda to defame RK.

We are not going to further address their straw-grabbing, bogus, unsupportable, arguments about the Tekke chuval any longer.

We will be glad to discuss the piece in relation to other similar examples. However, we will only do this in response to posts that are intelligent with supportable assertions and posted here on RugKazbah.com.

We never said the chuval was the greatest thing since the discovery of America but we also have not, and did not allow these magpie rug morons to denigrate the piece with dumb, stupid comments motivated solely by a hidden agenda to slander and defame RK.

There is no doubt professor clown, wendle "the swindle" swann and that rug dummy mr williams know next to nothing about what might make a Tekke chuval good or bad. This is about the only thing they have demonstrated.

So until, and unless, there is intelligent comment and discussion about RK's rare cross-center banner gol Tekke chuval and others similar to it, this will be RK's last word in the subject.

Author: Francois
Wed, Oct 3rd, 2007 10:10:08 AM

RK Replies:

Speaking of disingenuous, Francois, why can't you even abide by your own statements for more than a few hours?

How about staying true to yourself and getting lost, as you claimed you would in your last post?

We have had about enough crapola from you, your phony name and oh so polite but transparently obvious agenda based bashing.

Go get lost until you can either act honestly here or say something interesting.

We all have better things to do than respond to your picayune, asinine complaints and continued creation of meaningless false issues.

So now it’s adieu, Frenchy, et au revoir.


Dear Mr. Lewis. Could it be possible that you don't notice how Mr. Cassin treats anyone else who posts on RK or elsewhere who dares to express a view contrary to his own?

You seem very impressed that Mr. Cassin is standing up for integrity in the rug collecting field.

Ironically, he publicly represented the chuval sold on EBay (in excellent condition for $1200 and then for $2400) as "extraordinary and important", with one of the positive criteria being incorrect structural depiction.

Since he sold it, he seems to have backed down on the hype.

Perhaps his integrity and fairness is in the eye of the beholder.

Since you value his opinion so much, please directly ask Mr. Cassin more about your "waving gul" theory.

He seems to think that you have abandoned it and therefore hasn't pursued it. If Mr. Cassin thinks that taking drugs and looking at old chuvals to see if they "wave" is a good scientific way to judge the age of Turkmen weavings and is willing to try it himself and report his findings publicly, then perhaps I might even try.

If he doesn't, then I suppose you will criticize him as you criticized everyone else for speaking without personal experience.


Author: John Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Wed, Oct 3rd, 2007 04:16:18 AM

Bonjour Francois, I suspect RK and a small number of other experts have forgotten more than I know about Turkmen weavings but fortunately I am willing to learn and do not have any agendas.

I have never met JC, he has always been polite to me and I to him.

I confess to supporting the under-dog and my brief foray on to ****(ed.Virginia Commonwealth University professor steven price's internet rug romper room) in support of someone who was being "mobbed" resulted in me being banned.

Having seen several examples of mobbing on ****, the ridiculous comments made about JC's integrity when he was selling the chuval and the unwillingness of Price et al to take any stance on the controversial issues such as LACMA (presumably in case they upset the rugdom club), I am led to conclude that RugKazbah is a site that has a lot more integrity than ****.

JC will explain his reasons for his 1880 dating and I will probably learn something.

On the "waving" - unless someone has undertaken the experiment themselves, I do not understand how they are qualified to comment. There is plenty of evidence that the Turkmen were extensive users of a range of narcotic substances. Perhaps I also find the idea of all the old guys getting stoned and staring at their chuvals to see if they wave amusing.

Have you tried the experiment Francois?

The British are often accused of having a warped sense of humour.

Author: Francois
Tue, Oct 2nd, 2007 09:12:02 PM

RK Replies:

Why bother. So what. That basically all we have to say to you.

But do you really believe you are too "rough" for RugKazbah.com?

Yuk, yuk, go put on your hockey helmet and come on back, "Francois". We'll then see who cries "uncle" first...


Dear Mr. Cassin:

You are being disingenuous. You know full well the substance of Mr. Lewis' theory and there was a discussion of John's "waving gul" theory at some length on RK. You can find it at this link: http://www.rugkazbah.com/boards/records.php?id=1254&refnum=1254.

As far as I can tell the best rejoinder to his theory was "so what"?

I am sorry if you thought I meant anything personal about my mentioning of your affinity with Mr. Lewis.

I meant only about intellectual companionship on line, not any other sort of relationship. I suppose that my questioning nature is a bit too rough for discussion in the "Kazbah".

I didn't know how sensitive you are. This is my last post, so please fire away with your last shot. Francois.

Author: Francois
Tue, Oct 2nd, 2007 06:56:22 PM

RK Replies:

As expected "Francois" has again proven his desire to forward an agenda(whatever that really may in fact be) rather than face the fact he has little to say about Turkmen rugs.

1. Had John Lewis pushed his "waving" gol theory further here on RugKazbah.com, we would have spent more time trying to figure out whether or not it is valid.

But he didn't and we left any further discussion aside for that reason.

2. "Francois's" heartfelt concerns about Lewis's age guesstimates about his pieces, and his assertion RK has supposedly ignored them, are nothing but premature, as we stated we would continue to discuss Lewis's rugs. And we will as soon as possible.

But let's face the most salient fact: RK could care less if "Francois" continues to post here or not and, in that regard, we admonished him to avoid continuing to push his private agendas here, as well.

So far, it appears this is all "Francois" is interested in doing -- this post being a perfect example.

So, yessshhh, "Francois", face it that your dopey comments, especially those implying Lewis and RK have any "relationship", do nothing other than demonstrate either how desperate and lonely you are, how jealous you are or, what we believe, that you, like price, have nothing of value to add and are only seeking some type of ridiculous notoriety by posting on rug internet sites.

Lastly, we did not insult you for having "incorrect opinions" but rather mentioned your opinions are personal in nature and meaningless in reality.

How ya like them pommes, monsieur?


Dear Mssrs Lewis and Cassin.

I find it interesting and capricious that Mr. Cassin chooses to insult me and others, and not Mr. Lewis, for opinions that he thinks are incorrect. Actually, my estimate of the age of Mr. Lewis' second piece is closer to Mr. Cassin's than is Mr. Lewis'.

Mr. Lewis estimated that it was 1850 or earlier, which is a generation earlier than Mr. Cassin's estimate of the 1880's.

Imagine Mr. Cassin's reaction if someone who is not a syncophant had presented that rug as pre-1850.

Also think about if someone who doesn't bow to Mr. Cassin presented Mr. Lewis' strange theory that the Turkmen weavers deliberately wove rugs to look like they were "waving" when observed under the influence of drugs. Mr. Cassin would surely have poured on the scorn, but instead chose to politely disagree with the obedient Mr. Lewis.

(Ironically, Mr. Lewis only now showed his best evidence for the use of mind-altering drugs by the Turkmen -- his third weaving posted previously).

Perhaps Mr. Cassin could cite one example of an enlightening comment by Mr. Lewis, other than his agreement with Mr. Cassin on the age of his chuval.

So I hope that you both very much enjoy your mutual admiration society.

I won't bother to intrude on your elevated discussions in the future, since it seems like Mr. Cassin has all of the companionship he desires in Mr. Lewis.

Congratulations on finding each other. Au revoir...

Author: John Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Tue, Oct 2nd, 2007 03:33:18 AM

RK Replies:

We'd have to agree with John about the foolishness of believing the second piece, the Tekke small format rug as we like to call these pieces(we don't think they all are marriage rugs as the trade seems to call them), is Soviet era.

We guess it is earlier, probably 1880's.

We will be back to make some other comments about John's rugs but can't manage the time to do that just now.

Stay tuned...


Bonjour Francois, I do not claim that any of them are masterpieces, but your suggestion that the second is Soviet era production is IMHO nonsense; I think it is contemporaneous with the Tekke chuval - same colours, good wool.

Later Tekke pieces are very different.

The Weidersperg piece has similar colouration (and faults - one end of the elem is more crowded). It does not show up in my photograph but the blue in the second piece is the same as that shown in Plate 14 of Wiedersperg (see the full page picture of Plate 14 on page 124). Note also, that the second piece has the same border as plate 15 and 16. This seems to be common on earlier pieces (also Salor main carpets). regards

Author: Francois
Tue, Oct 2nd, 2007 01:44:14 AM

RK Replies:

What Francois, or for the matter anyone else, likes or doesn't ain't worth a whole hill of beans as far as we are concerned.

Such likes or dislikes, especially those coming from posters whose opinions are "amateur", as Francois readily admits his are (too bad others like Virginia Commonwealth University professor steven price have yet to make such an honest assessment of their "opinions") are frankly not only worthless but rather uninteresting and droll.

Having a discussion board for rugs, or any other art genre, dominated by comments of such likes and dislikes from the ignorant and inexperienced, as is the case on price's board, accomplishes nothing other than allowing these rug dummies to see their names and dopey ideas in print.

RK doubts John posted his pieces to elicit this type of response, and although we knew "Francois" probably couldn't mount a response that was even slightly enlightening he surely proved that idea in spades.

RK will post a few comments about John's three pieces in a follow-up post and perhaps those will demonstrate what we consider to be a higher level of response.


Bon soir John.

Thank you for posting those pieces.

Here are my amateur opinions on the three pieces.

I like the first one best, though I would say it is by no means a masterpiece. It might be the picture quality, but I think the colour of Mr. Cassin's looked better.

Based only on design, I can see it might be in the same era as Cassin's, which I suppose could be before the later part of the 19th century.

I like the elem on yours better than Cassin's. I don't find your second one to be very compelling, though I suppose we could say it is "rustic".

I think the extreme variations in the gul dimensions probably speaks to sloppy weaving or bad planning more than anything else.

The elems are also sloppy, crowded and uninspired. The bit of white ground edging on one edge of the rug is often associated with manufacture from the Soviet era.

The last one is a bit of a curiousity, but the weaving is just a mess. To me the messed up design is too distracting to appreciate the piece in other ways.

I am only guessing, but it looks like a Yomud weaver who didn't know how to make the Tekke guls. Merci bien et au revoir.... Francois

Author: jc
Mon, Oct 1st, 2007 12:00:58 PM

Here are the three jpeg photos John Lewis sent in for posting.

We will, asap, add some comments about them, but for now, perhaps John, Francois or some other readers might wish to add their own.

Author: John Lewis Sun, Sep 30th, 2007 02:47:48 PM

Bonjour Francois, I have sent JC a picture of the Tekke chuval I have. Sorry for the delay but I have been away and I needed a day when it was not raining (it rains a lot where I live) to take a photo. To me, it appears to be of the same age as the one JC posted but I do not claim to to be an expert. I have also sent a couple of other photos; one of a small rug that has guls at one end that are 2.5cm higher than those at the other end - with apparently the same knot density i.e. the weaver deliberately wove it that way (perhaps she was running out of space/wool?) and the third, a wreck, that appears to be an amalgam - Tekke with Yomud borders. Any thoughts on the third one would be appreciated - the second one seems to be similar to the one illustrated in Wiedesperg Plate 15. The knot density is the same throughout - relatively loose.

Author: Francois
Fri, Sep 28th, 2007 01:56:56 AM

RK Replies:

Francois: It appears, from your rug related and other "concerns", that you, just like Virginia Commonwealth University professor steven price, are a nit-picking pedant who is not really interested in the subject other than to try and prove some pointless position related to your personal agenda.

FYI: RK puts little to no credence into the belief the "ratio" of horizontal to vertical knotting is an "important” indicator of age in Turkmen weavings.

PLUS we never said it was an "important" indicator.

Here IS what we said:

"The knot is asymmetric open right, which is the typical configuration for Tekke weaving. There are 24 warp per inch and 28 weft per inch, which translates to 168 knot per square inch(granted we erred in this multiplication).
This weave is also typical for earlier Tekke weaving; later examples tending to be finer but with higher vertical to horizontal structural ratio.
Here the ratio is close to 1:1.2, which is also an indication of earlier Tekke weaving."

It should be abundantly clear we have expressed refusal to continue to discuss the ridiculous accusations about this “ratio” that you have again asserted -- just like the rug idiot professor price and his cohorts, particularly that equally dumb-bell rug poser jack Williams have posited.

So let's finally get this right, Francois.

All that said, and said again and again: We did mention our version of it in the Ebay description (**NB: only to illustrate our somewhat different process to formulate such a ratio--The number of warp per inch compared to the number of weft per inch**) because this ratio is, at least in our opinion, more indicative than the "traditional" way, which was, let's also remember, promulgated by the late and not so great ruggie robert pinner.

So Francois, RK suggests if you wish to initiate, or take part, in discussion here on RugKazbah.com you do so honestly and leave behind your totally uninteresting and boring personal agendas.

As for John's sending his photos here?

Perhaps, if you get off your high horse of sarcasm and quit trying to be “the man”, maybe he will.


Dear John,

No need to commiserate about living in Ottawa. It's a great city in a great country.

Too bad the great Kingdom had to shrink back to the island and leave behind all of this. You are still missing or evading the point... it was Mr. Cassin who claimed that the low vertical:horizontal knotting ratio was an important sign of age.

It sounds now like you disagree with Mr. Cassin on this point, which would be a first.

Anyway, we still anxiously await the unveiling of your pre-1850 chuval. Mr. Cassin has expressed an interest in seeing it too. Also, in the past you have mentioned that you have a number of other pre-1850 chuvals (the "waving" ones).

I am sure that Mr. Cassin and his readership would like to see those examples too. A la prochain... Francois

Author: John Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Sun, Sep 23rd, 2007 12:34:46 PM

RK Replies: Happy Monday to you, John:

Yes, by all means send a photo of your chuval and any others you might like to discuss.

We'd prefer you post it in the "for discussion" area of the kazbah here on RugKazbah.com.

But if you'd prefer to email it to us, please do that instead.


Salutations Francois, je suis desole that you are from Ottawa - my commiserations. However, at least you have a sense of humour, so to answer your questions. First, as JC says "It is possible to have an impressive vertical to horizontal count(one close to 1:1) and still have a later piece and, also, the visa-versa." Second. To be honest, I did not pay it much attention, I formed my view as to the age from the piece from the aesthetic. I can agree with you that there is no mechanism for precisely dating such pieces but the "design continuum" is fairly effective and since no recognised expert has said "JC has misrepresented this piece by claiming it to be circa 1850 or earlier" - I assume that you take JC's as being correct. To me the question is "did JC misrepresent the dating?" and the answer has to be no. Third - There are quite a few early Tekke chuvals around. There was one posted on **** a few months ago that David Rueben had said was old - (that was also rubbished by the guy from New Orleans). I am quite happy to send JC pictures of the one I have if he is interested. regards

Author: Francois
Fri, Sep 21st, 2007 03:34:16 PM

RK Replies: Greeting Francois:

We felt it pertinent to address some of your questions but by doing so we are not trying to trump any response John might wish to forward.

All the squawking about the "ratio" our Ebay description elicited was just that - squawking.

We clearly EXPLAINED our particular way of qualifying the "ratio" and if everyone had carefully read that it would have prevented most of the dumb comments.

To explain our position it might be best to say any such ratio is not nearly as significant as the PROPORTIONS a weaving exhibits.

It is possible to have an impressive vertical to horizontal count(one close to 1:1) and still have a later piece and, also, the visa-versa.

But, unlike a ratio, proportions don't lie.

So for RK a weaving's proportions are far more important than any ratio could ever be.

By the way, when we speak of proportions we are referring to all the proportions not just one type, like for instance, how round or compressed the gols might be.

Determining how good, or old, a Turkmen weaving is requires considering many facets and among these proportions are as important as any other.

The chuval we sold was a good one.

Was it a masterpiece?

Surely not but compared to others of the type we have seen we felt it was a superior one.

As we mentioned some time ago in discussing this chuval, we have some fragments of a similar but much older example.

Sorry no pics will be posted but if you come to New York when we in town we will be glad to show them to you for your edification.


Bon jour, John.

Mr. Cassin's unquenchable curiosity in these matters has indeed clarified that I hail from the Canadian capital of Ottawa.

You might remember us... we are a former colony of your great United Kingdom. You fought bitterly with the French for the right to harvest the pelts of our beavers and other animals to keep your heads warm. So we have two founding nations, and exist next to the world's "hyperpower".

A humorous Canadian once remarked that Canada had the potential to be the world's greatest country, with British the polital system, French culture and American business acumen.

Instead, we have a French politics, American culture and British business acumen (a nation of shopkeepers, indeed).

Please consider that most of the discussion about the chuval formerly owned and sold by Mr. Cassin was not centred around the age. Instead, many (myself included) didn't find it a particularly compelling example of that genre, especially if compared to presumed pre-1850 examples.

I hope you can agree that none of us can say for sure whether the chuval is 1850 or earlier, since there are no certain criteria for precisely dating these pieces. However, one criteria that was proposed by Mr. Cassin (who you acknowledge as one of the world's foremost experts) is the vertical:horizontal knotting (or weft/warp) ratio.

One of the controversies was that Mr. Cassin's description of this ratio was wrong, so logic dictates that his inference that this ratio was an indicator of early age for that chuval must also be called into question.

I have three final questions for you, and then I will remain silent.

First, do you agree with Mr. Cassin that the vertical:horizontal (or weft:warp)ratio is an important indicator of early age?

Second, do you agree with Mr. Cassin's analysis of the weft:warp ratio?

Third, considering the relatively few examples of early chuvals in this format, could you post a picture of your chuval so that we can compare it to others? I am sure that many others, including Mr. Cassin, would be interested in seeing any new examples of pre-1850 chuvals of this type. Francois.

Author: jc
Wed, Sep 19th, 2007 10:02:47 PM

Several emails have questioned why we have not mentioned the final sale price the chuval garnered the second time around the Ebay block.

Actually we were not surprised it made more, almost double, which shows it's not the piece but the seller that matters to many buyers.

Author: John Lewis
email: John_lewis@mac.com
Sun, Sep 16th, 2007 12:35:56 PM

RK Replies:

Hello John:

FYI Francois's IP address appears to be from Ottawa, Canada not France.


Salutations Francois, As you are aware, many English people believe France to be a wonderful country that is spoilt by being populated by the French. I have several good French friends but it seems that you are one of those French people that encourage such beliefs. But then perhaps, you are not French, just someone who is too insecure to post under your own name? I already own a similar chuval and it would stick in my throat that I had not purchased it first time around. We are after all, a nation of shopkeepers. I only contributed to the first posts because I found it hard to believe that anyone with any knowledge of Turkmen weavings would challenge JC's assertion that the chuval dated from circa 1850 or earlier. It seems that I was right to do so since no-one has. My dating method had it pre-1850 - I never disagreed with JC.

Author: Francois Sun, Sep 16th, 2007 09:48:38 AM

Dear John, What good news that you now have another chance to purchase this piece that impresses you so much. At last glance, it is still available for less than $2300 which should be a great deal for a historic pre-1850 chuval in such excellent condition. Please let us know if you are successful in your bidding. The only disappointment for you and Mr. Cassin must be that you will have to pay a bit more than you would have paid to Mr. Cassin. If you purchase the chuval, perhaps you can verify the age by submitting it to your special dating technique (taking recreational drugs and seeing if the guls "wave" at you). Cheers, Francois.

Author: OMFG!
Sat, Sep 15th, 2007 01:31:27 PM

Be very careful John. It's a trick question.

Author: john Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Wed, Sep 12th, 2007 05:03:13 PM

RK Replies:

Well, besides yours truly, the only person who's opinions we put much credence into is Siawosch Azadi. But we don't believe everything he or anyone else might suggest. And, as we said, we trust our own far more than his.

The rest of the supposed Turkmen "experts", like Eiland, pinner, thompson, etc, surly know something but they are not exactly the "Gods" many believe they are.

But, while Azadi is in reality one, few bow to him.

As for the rest of those we mentioned? In fact, we'd be glad to take them on anytime and prove their less than godly status as Turkmen experts.....trouble is they know this and have used a variety of "excuses" to duck our challenge.

The Dylan quote is cute but we'd prefer know an expert by what he does and not what he claims he knows.

And, let’s face facts: The best way to prove one’s expertise is by "collecting" as far as we are concerned. On that basis thompson should surely deserve to be called an "expert". However, his gaffs, like the Imreli BS, and even more so his lame excuse for it did not exactly fill us with faith in his judgment.

But frankly, John, we are surprised you did/do not fully credence our opinion about the chuval....and why not?


Who is an "acknowledged expert" (in Turkmen weavings)? It is clear that some people who like to think they are - are not (and I am especially thinking of the likes of Jack Williams, Steve Price etc.). One or two dealers I have met clearly know a lot and if one of them were to call your chuval out as substantially later than 1850 then I'd listen to them. The best private collection I have ever seen was owned by an ex-dealer but he claimed to know little about his pieces he "just liked them". The auction houses seem to make a lot of howlers so I would question their expertise. I guess to quote Dylan "It takes one to know one she cried" - so who would you nominate?

Author: jc
Wed, Sep 12th, 2007 11:54:39 AM

It is a fact Michael Phillips bought the piece on Ebay.

The fact he is not a shill should also be seen as a reality as well.

The fact the dumb comments made by williams and others should also be seen as such is also a given.

The fact "buyers" now want the piece because Philips and not RK owns it also points up a fact we have been speaking about for many years: Few rug buyers actually know what they are buying and instead use "other" means, like who the seller is(etc), to predicate their purchases upon.

This is a major flaw in rugdom and will not remedy until far more "scientific" means are employed.

And RK would like to ask John Lewis who is an "acknowledged expert"?

Author: OMFG!
Mon, Sep 10th, 2007 06:22:36 PM

Two buyers willing to pay much more than Phillips' "winning bid" came of age this month. A reliable source told me that that exactly 5 people believe that Phillips wasn't a shill and that the bidding going on now is legitimate. I wonder who the other 4 are.

Author: John Lewis Mon, Sep 10th, 2007 12:16:31 PM

There are good ebay sellers - imokub2 is one of them - his descriptions are usually pretty accurate, he offers a buy back and his customers seem pretty satisfied. I was just having a chuckle at the likes of Jack Williams who has yet to find anyone to support his view that the chuval is 20th century. The Professor will maintain of course that we cannot "know" which of course is true. Jack Cassin's comments (above) hit the mark and whilst he does not need any support it is nice to see his opinion vindicated. I am still waiting for an acknowledged expert to date the chuval after circa 1850.

Author: OMFG!
Mon, Sep 10th, 2007 10:05:00 AM

Good work, John. If an eBay seller says it's good, it's good for sure. Those guys know everything and they NEVER lie.

Author: John Lewis Mon, Sep 10th, 2007 04:15:37 AM

The chuval is for sale again on Michael Phillips site. He seems to rate it too, and puts it 1850 or earlier.

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