The sale put together by mr bozwell, the one remaining member of the rippon-boswell team now that his partner is longer with us, is one of the best in many years.
There’s no incredible “star” lot; rather this sale has a notably higher than usual quality of goods on offer in many of the areas antique oriental rug collectors gravitate.
Mr bozwell has assembled some “collector” pieces worthy of the name, but if there is one star lot in his eyes is it most assuredly the Mughal prayer rug, lot 133:
Estimated at 170,000 euro (about 260,000 dollars) and catalogued circa 1700, which we’d venture to guess is a bit optimistic, we have to say rugs like this are not exactly RK’s meat and potatoes.
However, having seen a couple of other examples of this group over the years in the flesh, we’d have to say as pretty as bozwell’s example is, it is not the best or even one of the best of this type.
Regardless, it is a rare bird and that quality alone might just make it take flight under the hammer and sell for the estimate or more.
That said, we could also see it not making the estimate, since the euro is presently very strong, especially against the dollar.
We’d also like to mention we do not believe much of the rug-lore, especially as it has been expounded in the long catalog description, that surrounds these mille-fleur prayer rugs.
This one, and the group as a whole, are all beautifully crafted objects but, in our eyes, rather soulless in essence and rote in execution.
We do not have much time today to spend on this review but we would like to mention one other lot before signing off, lot 229:
Called “Yomud” by the cataloguer, a job mr bozwell does himself, and dated “2nd half 19th century”, it carries a 1,400 euro estimate.
While RK will gladly concede the torba is surely a Yomud group weaving, it is surely not an ordinary one and probably would be better described as being Karadashli.
But regardless of how much mr bozwell believes he knows about Turkmen weavings, we do not agree for his inabilities to really identify them properly, as he has done both here and other times in the past, needs no further discussion on our part.
It is clear to RK this handsome, rare and extremely well executed Turkmen torba is nowhere near 2nd half 19th century. We’d date it circa 1800.
As for the pittance of an estimate – 1,400 euro?
Well, we cannot dun bozwell for that, considering how often auctioneers underestimate their goods to stimulate buyer interest.
Such a ploy is often unnecessary, particularly with a piece that is as beautiful, unusual and in good condition as this torba, and bozwell should know better.
We’d be glad to wager this lot will at least double the estimate and we would not be surprised to see it make an even higher multiple of that figure.
Great Turkmen weavings have a je ne sais quoi about them that is impossible to describe.
Perhaps, it is the rhythmic blend of color and contrast that dazzles the mind’s eye. Or is it the deep glow ancient dyeing techniques and amazing wool quality that combine to mesmerize ones feelings of touch and sight?
Long ago RK fell under their spell; one the best and most archaic examples of Turkmen weaving all exude. And, although we have tried to analyze this fascination, we have never found that inestimable quality, or is it qualities, that cause this reaction.
Regardless, this torba has got it and we are sure many others will, and probably have already, fallen under its spell.
Watch it soar on sale day.
We will continue this review and those of the grogan and Sotheby sales asap; stay tuned.