On the cover of the gallery handout RK got when we attended one of the visits we paid to the McCoy Jones Turkmen rug collection when it was on exhibition at the deYoung in 1982/3 is a great Beshir-family chuval.
RK has always favored these rarely seen versions of “gol” rather than the more typical banner gol that grace most chuval.
This example, here, is a champion and one of our favorites from McCoy’s large collection.
RK had no real contact with him, as he died just as the Kelim part of his collection (which rivals his Turkmen weavings) was formed. During the 70’s and 80’s most of our energy was involved with Kelim and not Turkmen, hence our not getting the opportunity to develop a relationship with McCoy.
There’s lots’a water under that bridge and others, especially ms cathy, where’s my commission, cootner, and her charge, garry muse, efforts to keeping RK far away from the Joneses.
We did get to have quite some long talks with Caroline and shared her understanding about her personal, up-close, involvement with the collection.
We firmly believe if she could come back, Caroline would make some pretty interesting moves that would now surprise people who thought they had her under their control.
Shame, cootner misplayed her hand so poorly and in the process turned many people off to sponsoring and supporting Oriental Rug studies at the deYoung (and elsewhere…)
But, that was then and this is now; the major blessing mr cootner is long gone, in her place Diane Mott, someone who genuinely likes, respects and is interested in rugs.
Ms Mott has moved slowly, no fault of her own as the mess cootner left pales in comparison to the monumental task of rebuilding the entire museum to allow it the greatest chance to survive any seismic activity.
RK would like to venture to say if it had not been for Mott and George Hecksher’s strong support and personal interests, and of course, the McCoy and Caroline Jones/ Weidersperg bequests, there would not be much of a Textile Department RK would publicize.
Although, and well granted, the deYoung does have a magnificent Costume Collection, as well as a number of important and major works of European Tapestry.
Mott knows her stuff about these collections, which are, let’s all face it, far more important in the Museum world than carpets and, why not(?).
RK has had some interesting discussions with Mott, hence our knowing she really appreciates, admires carpets and, like all of us, is working to learn more about them.
But we digress – back to the weepy elem.
Pictures are worth more than their weight in 1000 of words so first the pic:
Tekke Engsi Elem detail showing the weepy amulet/element
The smallest group of Engsi we know is a cluster of Tekke Engsi with this elem icon.
We have named it the weepy amulet for no reason other than it reminds us of a type of tree with weepy branches.
Many engsi and chuval have elem panels with a large row of “tree”-like devices, most however, are very similar.
These, clearly, are way out of that mold but this is not the place for RK to open the large can of worms a broad discussion -- where they might have come from, and how they might have developed over the 400 year time span RK uses for our Turkmen continuum – would entail.
But this “tree” icon, weepy or not, needs no further discussion to demonstrate its properties.
There is another engsi, actually its son or grandson, illustrated in Turkmen Studies and we’ll let you highly motivated collectors go to it and see.
We know of no closely related others.
Our reason for posting this is to draw attention to the relationship the “tree” in the elem of Mc Coy’s chuval pays to our “weepy” one.
Comparing these two versions is especially pertinent, as they display opposite ends of a design spectrum.
The engsi version’s pure, simple. Notice each of its 4 pairs of branches ends with the same design; two outlined in white, the other two not.
While the Mc Coy version also has 4 branches but they each have a different solution at their ends.
There are other differences, which follow this schema – simple for the engsi and complex for the chuval. This demonstrates a “purity”, an important feature RK looks for in assessing any weavings importance, provenance and worth.
That said is but one of the many criteria necessary to build credible “proof” in a field lacking any means of positive proof.
OK, then race-fans, to the nitty-gritty: Which is the archetypal version?
Or are they even related enough for one to be one; or for them both to have had a common one?
There is little doubt our stating both are early and prototypical will meet little objection. As to our choice?
The weepy elem icon, and the larger issue of its source and relation to other similar elem motif, is one
RK has been working on for a long time.
View this post as a brief peek at one of our work-in-progress projects and for now we'll leave the question unanswered.