Home > dennis dodds >RK Critiques dodds's letter of expertise: Part I
Thu, Sep 27th, 2007 02:02:40 PM
Topic: RK Critiques dodds's letter of expertise: Part I

RK has accused dodds of being a liar and a cheat. Proof of our assertions are as plainly visible as the nose on his face -- his calling his late, genre period "bellini" circa 1550, a masterpiece of its type and museum worthy being all the prima facie evidence one needs.

RK has also asserted dodds is a rug know-little whose supposed rug expertise is almost as bogus as the "bellini".

To wit, we have offered over the years ample proof to support our contentions dodds is a quasi-rug-ignorant and now we will prove, beyond any shadow of doubt, how out to lunch dodds's alleged rug expertise truly is.

RK has had a copy of the "expertise" dodds sent to LACMA concerning his "bellini" for several months and now we have decided to make this public.

Not only does it show the unsuportable lengths dodds went to in his attempts to convince LACMA's now ex-curator, dale gluckman, of the importance of his "bellini", but it also shows how little dodds knows about Turkish Village rugs.

We will over the next few days publish dodds's letter of expertise with, of course, our added comments.

So stay tuned here on RugKazbah.com to read and learn about this important issue everyone in rugdom should now be aware and, if you ask us, up in arms over.

Author: jc
Thu, Sep 27th, 2007 02:02:40 PM

RK is sorry but at the moment we are too busy taking care of other matters, and since we cannot presently add our comments to dodds's specious letter of expertise and do not like to keep all our readers waiting, we have decided to go ahead and publish it.

Perhaps over this coming weekend we will be able to add our comments and critique many of dodds's erroneous and incorrect assumptions.

However for now let us state categorically dodds's key statement (that his bogus "bellini" "...is an important document that records a geometric style more prevalent in early Central Anatolian Turkmen weavings...") is about as dumb a statement as we have ever read concerning any Turkish Village rug of any age.

In fact, we have never heard anyone use the term "Central Anatolian Turkmen weaving(s)" before and wonder why dodds would be so stupid as to use it in this instance?

It's quite apparent dodds is not the, or even one of the, brightest bulbs shining in rugdom. The other questionable statements, mis-truths and mistakes dodds wrote to dale gluckman(the now ex-LACMA Costume and Textile Department curator who recommended the Museum's Collector's Committee purchase dodds's rug in 2004) demonstrate this for all to see.

We will, asap, enumerate the others and, more importantly, dodds's lack of honesty and judgment in pawning off his "bellini"rug (which let's all remember remained unsold on the market for 25+ years) on LACMA by bamboozling gluckman into believing the rug was:
2. "from his private collection"
3. "had never been offered for sale before"(this and 2 are verbatim quotes gluckman told us when we first talked to her in 2005)
4. was a "masterpiece of its type"(quote from dodds)
5. in excellent condition with only "expert minor repiling in other areas of the field(the rug is now proven to be at least 30-50% restoration)
6. circa 1550(another totally unbelievable quote from dodds)

All in all dodds's outrageous hype, blatant lies plus the fact the rug is surely not 400 plus years old as he claimed should not be further ignored.

It is high time to remove dodds from his high profile position as president of the icoc and we'd gladly suggest going even further and running dodds out of rugdom on a sharpened rail, asap.

Here is dodds's leter of expertise:


This rare and beautiful carpet is an important document that records a geometric style more prevalent in early Central Anatolian Turkmen weavings than in the floriated interpretations that issued from Ottoman Court workshops in the 16th and 17th centuries.

For this reason, Charles Grant Ellis and other scholars placed the origin for this carpet in the environs of Konya, the seat of the Seljuk empire. Ottoman production from farther west around Ushak was basically well organized with skilled artisans working in the Sultan’s court ateliers, nakashhane.

Their designs, while elegant and refined, were often predictable and consistent within the tradition – to the point of being almost painterly in their precision. This is understandable, for many of the cartoons, or sketchs, for court manufactured carpets were drafted by manuscript painters, who then turned their designs over to wewavers for their interpretation.

Away from these Ottoman centers, however, villages were populated by weavers less familiar with the fluid renderings of courtly drawings. Theirs was an environment in which a geometric style predominated, often as small medallions repeated over the field – more pattern than portrait, more abstract than literal.

Sometimes these medallions were extracted from an overall repeat pattern and exaggerated, with one, or a few dominating the field. Such is the case with this carpet. The dramatic open field design features three smaller medallions. The central ivory one is quadripartite and displays a lobed medallion defined by four split-leaf arabesques on diagonal stems and whose petals gracefully join to form the medallion’s outline.

In this stylized manner, the drawing of this central medallion is similar to a small carpet in the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Central Anatolia, 16th-17th century, the Joseph Lees Williams Memorial Collection, 55.65.18 (Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections, p.17, pl.17). Smaller octagonal medallions are centered in two reserves formed from deeply indented niches at each end of the carpet. These medallions are typical of the “small-pattern Holbein” style of 15th and 16th century Anatolian village carpet design.

The carpet was first exhibited in October 1981 by the noted Mannheim dealer, Franz Bausback. His exhibition was reviewed by the international journal HALI, in Vol. 4, no.2 in that same year. Michael Franses, founding Publisher of Hali and author of the review, is a recognized authority on these early rugs. He wrote “Examples of this rare family of early village rugs have survived mainly in fragmentary condition; by contrast, the Bausback example is almost complete, except possibly for a few rows of knots at each end and some at the sides”.

There is expert minor repiling in other areas of the field.

Sometime between late 1981 and 1983, the carpet was sold and entered the noted Planar Collection in Graz, Austria. It was exhibited at the International Conference on Oriental Carpets, which was held in Vienna in 1983 and was published as Plate No. 7 in the conference catalog, Antike Anatolische Teppiche aus Osterreichischem Besitz. A few years later, the carpet was acquired by Mr. Franses and I purchased it from him in 1987, adding it to my personal collection of early Anatolian village carpets.

Both Franses and the author of the entry for the Austrian catalogue joined Mr. Ellis in pointing to Konya and the Turkmen in that region as the likely geographic origin and weavers of this rug. Certainly the two end panels, with their elegantly ornamented pentagonal medallions and deeply saturated purple dyes, hold clue to this claim. Too, the “wide ribbon-like borders for the mirhab are also seen in Seljuk csarpets and on Timurid tiles”.

In the HALI review, Franses cites that the repeated, small interlace element “within the blue-green field border is a rare ornament although it also occurs in much the same form as one of the ‘Seljuk’ carpets”. The approximate date of ca. 1600 is consistent with current scholarship.

Franz Bausback Gallery, Mannheim, 1981
International Conference on Oriental Carpets, Vienna, 1983
Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, 1996

Bausback, October, 1981, pl.11
HALI, Vol.4, no. 2, `1981 p.166
Antike Anatolische Teppiche aus Osterreichischem Besitz, 1983, p.64, pl.7
Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections, Dodds and Eiland, eds., 996, p.19, pl.19
HALI, no.----?, review of Milan Exhibition, 2001

(Dale, you have a copy of this review that I gave you at the Antiques Show)

The net price is $250,000.

Dale, other knowledgeable collectors and specialist dealers have commented in the past couple of years that this is the best early Anatolian village carpet of its age and type available.

I have tried to document for you some of the earlier published references.

It is an important example of the geometric style that probably originated in the cultural context of westward migrating Turkmen tribes from Central Asia who settled in villages in t he Konya region of Central Anatolia in the 14th and 15th centuries. Thus, the carpet helps establish the existence of this geometric style in that place and time and distinguishes it from Ottoman court workshops in Western Anatolia, such as Ushak.

Subjectively, its large size and overall scale is impressive, with a profound visual impact. The rich, intense palette gives testimony to the very best examples of the dyer’s art. The wool is lustrous and the condition is very good. The spacious composition and spare use of key design elements create an arresting and lasting impact that speaks volumes in an ancient tribal language.

I would be delighted if my carpet found a home in a prestigious Museum where so many people could be touched by its power and beauty – as I have for all these years I have owned it."

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