In another post on RugKazbah.com's dennis dodds Topic Area, RK has made public for all to see the letter of "expertise" dodds sent to LACMA's now ex-curator, dale gluckman, concerning his late period, genre copy, "bellini" rug.
What dodds wrote is both highly questionable and actually quite ignorant.
In fact, it goes far in proving our contention dodds is a rug know-little and his rug-world "reputation" is over-blown and sincerely over-rated.
But, whether they be critical or laudatory, such words are cheap and to prove positive our position about dodds, we will now dissect this over-the-top “expertise” he sent LACMA to prove his "bellini" rug is what he claimed.
We are posting our comments in bold type after what dodds wrote to gluckman.
"CENTRAL ANATOLIA, KONYA REGION, 16-17TH CENTURY, 5’1”X8’0”
“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."
Rarity is nothing to brag about, especially in rugdom where such a comment can be hung on a Belouch bag made in l920, an Afgan war rug made in 1990 or a Turkish Village rug made in the 16th century.
We will gladly admit dodds's "bellini" is a rare form but, as anyone who is expert in this genre of rug knows, calling it "rare" is a non sequitor -- a meaningless comment that is, in this instance, more misleading than it is informative.
RK would have preferred atypical, which is far more descriptive, and honest.
As for dodds calling it "beautiful"?
Well, as we all know, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and, since the "bellini" remained unsold on the market for 25+ years, it might be far more factual to say only dodds, himself, finds it beautiful.
It is not hard to deduce words like "rare" and "beautiful" are huckster's terms and dodds's reliance on mouthing them at the very beginning of his spiel bodes poorly for what follows -- and the rest of what he wrote well proves this idea.
"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."
To say dodds is name-dropping here is a given because to the best of our knowledge Charlie Ellis NEVER commented about dodds's "bellini" publicly.
We challenge dodds to prove Ellis or any other scholar besides michael franses (who seems to have been at least at some time previous to dodds the rug's owner) believed the "bellini" was what dodds claims.
It is also as apparent the "bellini" was NOT made in Central Anatolia(Konya) but rather farther west -- somewhere between Ladik and Ushak would be our rough estimate.
And dodds’s referring to the Seljuk Empire, in the same breath as discussing his "bellini", is nothing but more senseless name-dropping.
The rug has nothing to do with the Seljuk Empire or any weavings ascribed to it -- even a rug know-little like dodds should know this.
But perhaps he does, and only made such references because he KNEW gluckman didn't and was sure his words would never been examined by anyone who does.
The jig is clearly up for dodds, who we are sure never thought his "bellini's" letter of expertise would be published publicly or receive the critical commentary we are now making.
"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 sketches, for court manufactured carpets were drafted by manuscript painters, who then turned their designs over to weavers for their interpretation."
Of course this is factual but what does it have to do with the subject at hand --dodds's "bellini" rug, which has surely not be produced from an artist cartoon?
Nor could anyone, other than a carpet-bagging salesman like dodds, claim his "bellini" is "painterly" with a straight face.
Actually, so far, dodds's spiel says nothing true or factual about his "bellini" and is, once again we defy anyone to demonstrate to the contrary, nothing but innuendo, fluff and a transparently pathetic attempt to describe it as something it clearly isn't.
"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."
Again dodds relies on false parallels -- his rug is demonstrably not a "village" production but rather one made in a commercial workshop.
We have already mentioned the rug's easily noticeable warp depression as far more likely to part and parcel of workshop production than what is referred to as "village".
Adding to this idea is the rather monotonous and limited color palette and highly derivative, and totally unoriginal, design and articulation.
Again, even a rug know-little should recognize these factors and, most probably dodds did, but his overwhelming desire to sell the rug pushed him to mislead gluckman by avoiding reference of these and other unflattering aspects.
"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.”
This paragraph is laughable and, once more, demonstrates dodds’s belief he could kite any idea, no matter how specious, because gluckman was totally rug ignorant and as trusting as a lamb.
For your information, mr dodds, there is nothing “graceful” about your “bellini’s” central medallion. It is clearly a brutish attempt to re-create the medallions seen on many other types of Turkish rugs, both court and village.
And it is especially reminiscent of those found on small medallion Ushak carpets, which is another link your “bellini” shares with Ushak and not Konya.
That’s all we have time for this evening but we will continue to critique dodds’s dopey “expertise” as time permits.