Archaic period Anatolian Saf Kelim; collection Islamic Museum, Berlin, Germany
In December of 2009 we decided to memorialize a good portion of the thought, research and musing we have done about Anatolian Kelim since 1988 when we finished the text to our “IMAGE IDOL SYMBOL: Ancient Anatolian Kelim” publication.
Here is the url:
In that 20 chapter opus we laid down our position there exists a very small group of Anatolian Kelim, actually only 11 known examples, from which all other extant Anatolian Kelim can be shown to have been derived.
We named this small group the archaic group, and then defined three others: classic, traditional and industrial into which all other Anatolian Kelim can be divided.
To support and bona fide this we published numerous examples with a voluminous text to explain and prove our thesis.
We also wrote about what RK calls the social history of Anatolian Kelim collecting in the West, which detailed how pre-1800 Anatolian Kelims literally burst on the oriental carpet collecting scene in the late 1970's.
And though we told some of this so-called social history there is lots more to tell. But until RK publishes that autobiography we have mentioned before, the rest of the story, as the radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, will remain untold.
As many readers know the deYoung Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco recently dusted off and re-exibited about half of the Anatolian Kelim collection, donated Caroline and McCoy Jones, which was shown in its entirety in November 1990.
Plate 27; Anatolian Kilims; Fine Art Museums of San Francisco; 1990
We wrote a short mention of this several days ago, but since then we have had the opportunity to see the latest issue of that rag hali wherein mr alan marcuson has written a “review” of the exhibition entitled “still got mojo: The deYoung's Kilims Revisited”.
Before RK delves into marcuson's comments we must mention our amazement anyone, even that rag hali, would turn to someone like him, forget about why the deYoung would bother to, as marcuson writes “arrange for (him) to view half a dozen or so of them”.
RK has chronicled marcuson's more than one crash and burn landings in his rug business “career”, which we are sure in any other art field would have relegated him to permanent cold storage in Siberia.
But not in rugDUMB and, as revolting to us as it appears, it seems marcuson is making his way back in after about a decade of absence post the last disaster he piloted, www.cloudband.com.
The collective memory rugDUMB possess is shorter than that of the American voting public and, while marcuson is someone who has been on the scene since the mid-1970's, RK wonders, and we are sure we are not alone, if he still possesses his mojo?
First off his rather cursory and derisive comments aimed at what he calls the “Catal Huyuk Mother Goddess” hypothesis are unnecessary, pompous and ignorant.
If he was going to mention what RK agrees was the completely foolish hook, line and sinker swallowing of “bogus scholarship” rugDUMB was completely guilty of, at least marcuson should have not only included himself as one of the suckers but also the deYoung's ex-textile department head and curator, ms cathy flying penis cootner and the alleged uber-Anatolian Kelim-collector, mr garry muse.
But no chance of that as rugDUMB's never ending penchant for revisionist history is alive and well in everything that rag hali publishes.
There is little doubt some very few Anatolian Kelim are genuine “masterpieces of the weaver's art”, to use marcuson's words.
The only problem is which really are masterpieces, and which are only so-called in the eyes of those who either do not know enough or are trying to profit from calling them masterpieces?
Based on the ones marcuson chose to have published with his comments we would only agree one, number 4, qualifies and another, number 1, is a certified close miss.
Number 4 in marcuson's review
But the other two, in our opinion, don't even hit the target, let alone score bulls-eyes.
While RK can forgive marcuson's less than correct choices, we surely cannot condone the revisionist history he tries to forward when mentioning mr garry muse, his former business partner.
RK knows muse well, in fact we introduced marcuson to muse in 1977.
We also know why their partnership dissolved.
So we know what we are talking about when we say marcuson is only billowing smoke when he claims muse was in the 1970's rummaging “...through dusty stacks in the Kapalicarsi for the few good examples(of Kelim) among the mountains of dross”.
When RK met muse in 1976 we can positively state muse was collecting nothing and was only a bedroom-dealer selling mediocre, one step above airport-art Anatolian weavings out of a small one bedroom flat in San Francisco’s NoeValley district.
And, about six months later when we introduced him to marcuson, muse's rug expertise was no better, nor did he have a collection of anything.
But this is not the time and place for RK to further puncture the myth of muse's alleged uber-collector status, which we have already done in our opus and will be glad to further document in that autobiography of ours.
There is, however, no doubt muse would eventually go on to buy great Anatolian Kelims and rugs.
And neither is there any doubt muse did not always know which really were great and which were not.
These are strong accusations and ones RK has the evidence and documentation to positively prove.
Clearly marcuson is in the same boat, and since we have, in our Anatolian Kelim opus, supplied ample evidence of muses's over-baked reputation as a Kelim expert by carefully critiquing what he wrote in the deYoung Anatolian Kelim catalog, let's show how marcuson's comments are equally as easy to disprove.
Like muse did in the deYoung Anatolian Kelim catalog, marcuson showers number 1, the red and blue saf, with high praise, calling it “magnificently austere”, “perfectly proportioned” and the “superstar of the collection.
early Classic period; Anatolian Kilim: The Caroline and McCoy Jones Collection; Plate 1
As opinions these are unassailable, but when presented as fact they surely are.
Although marcuson believes this saf is “...without doubt the saf kilim against which all others must be measured” RK has demonstrated this is nothing but baseless opinion.
The example that is the one all must be measured against is illustrated below
Archaic period Anatolian Saf Kelim; collection Islamic Museum, Berlin, Germany
In our Anatolian Kelim opus we not only explained why the Berlin Saf is “...without doubt the saf kilim against which all others must be measured” but also specifically explained why the deYoung's Saf is not nearly as laudable, forget an archetype.
We direct interested readers to Parts VIII and VIIIA where that discussion is lodged
Also in Part VIIIA readers can see RK’s critique of the say nothing and provide no evidence or supporting documentation comments uber-Anatolian Kelim collector garry muse wrote in the deYoung Anatolian Kelim catalog about the Saf (Plate One).
There is little doubt muse and his co-author cathrine cootner’s contributions to Anatolian Kelim studies are basically nil, and worse even more laughable 20 years on than they were when published.
Anatolian Kelim studies needs no more glib and posturing catalogs like the deYoungs or the recently published ‘Prammer Collection’ and several others which have accompanied the renewed interest in Anatolian Kelims; nor reviews like marcuson’s, or press releases like that issued by the deYoung to announce their exhibition.
No, what is need is real scientific research focused on forensic analysis of the best extant kelims and their in depth technical analysis.
Until this is done the field will continue to wallow, like that of all non-Classical carpet studies, in the mire created by pundits like marcuson whose comments, no matter how flowery, contribute absolutely nothing to advance the body of knowledge necessary to prove which Anatolian Kelim really are masterpieces and which are just pretty things.