Proscribed vs Perscribed
Since we have a winner in our pin the tail on the kelim contest, RK has decided to switch things up a bit and begin the proof is in the pudding part of our kelim examination with Plate 86 in Yanni Petsopolis’s book Kelim, published by Rizzoli in 1979.
Archetype kelim saf; collection Museum fur Islamische Kunst; Berlin, Germany
There are a number of interesting and, might we say, quite unusual, elements to the story of this saf and its relationship to the one in our collection.
Early Classic Period saf; Plate 6; Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim
Those elements make a great story as our retelling it will prove.
However, comparing the Berlin piece and ours -- an archetype and an early classic period – would not have been our choice as the way to begin proving our kelim chronology and the much larger issue of proscription vs prescription.
There is no doubt, though, the story of how RK acquired ours does in great regard provide some explanation to what, in Part III, we called “tons of power”
Archetypal weaving, whether kelim or pile, soumak or embroidery, always strikes us as possessing some je ne sais quoi quality, and while we cannot put into words what this quality is we can occasionally substantiate its occurrence.
And we can, as will be proven by the end of this examination of Anatolian kelim, substantiate our chronology and the reasons for placing all known type of kelim on and within it.
The story, which we will now tell, doesn't exactly do that, we know.
Remember we have switched-up the order but, even standing alone, it does more than imply what we will far more concretely prove later.
And trust us what we write in this installment actually happened as we are retelling it, as fantastic and unbelievable as it might sound.
Just as an aside here, we need to reiterate RK does not lie, we do not exaggerate, nor have we ever – we believe in telling the truth and expect the same of others.
This is, perhaps, the main reason we have had difficulties with those in rugDUMB and elsewhere.
We believe when you lie you only destroy yourself, and while many believe different we could not agree less.
So please note everything we have ever written, or said, is the truth – not as we see it but as it is.
Hope ‘nuff said on this subject.
There number of ‘powerful’ incidents we can recount concerning our relationship to these two saf makes it hard to know where to begin, so we will begin at the beginning.
It’s interesting to note what our winner of the pin the tail on the kelim wrote with his guess:
“...initially I didn't think that any of the pieces illustrated by Petsopoulos could compare to the spectacular examples in the WAMRI Anatolian Kelim exhibition, or to those in the Caroline Jones collection at the de Young Museum.”
Honestly, we could not have scripted that response any better had we written it.
Let’s flashback here 31 or 32 years to London England and the home/office of michael franses on Castelain Road, Maida Vale, W9.
Believe it or not RK and franses were far more than cordial way back then, and RK remembers well the first time franses told us about the kelim book he was making with Yanni Petsopolis.
Being friendly with franses, who is a cold fish by any stoke of imagination, was not like being friendly with other rug people RK knew and liked.
As we have written recently, in our exposée of Dr. jon aka the con thompson, franses was only all about business, buying pieces, or trying to buy pieces, from RK so he could resell them to his “clients”.
This never went down particularly well with RK but because franses was reasonably open with us; like inviting us to visit his home when we wanted, and to let us interact with his charming and lovely wife Jacquelin, as well as sharing certain tidbits of information with us and showing us rugs he had purchased, we went along with his business-first attitude.
We never shared a meal in a restaurant with franses, we never were invited to his home to eat, we never went to a club or an event with franses, we ‘never did nothing’ with franses. All we did with him during those years we were on speaks was talk about rugs and agree to sell some to him.
A relationship this ‘don’t make’, and RK was well aware in showing us rugs, and in our discussing rugs franses, he was as guarded as a poker player at the tables in Vegas.
Now don’t get the wrong idea here, readers, franses was not in any way, during the 1970’s when we first met him and afterwards up until 1984 when RK stopped talking or interacting with him, anyone who knew more than we did.
Far from it; RK, in fact, knew more than little lord franses, as we are now wont to call him, about the non-urban rugs RK collected then and still collects now.
And today should franses ever take up our challenge and meet us on a stage to debate historic Turkmen rugs, historic Anatolian rugs or kelim we will make him look to be the rug-poseur we claim he is.
Granted franses dropped interest in most of these weavings long ago, so he might should we say be a bit rusty. If so we’ll be glad to oil those little wheels in his uneducated brain for him, all he has to do is ask.
Why might you ask did franses drop interest in these types of rugs?
Simply put because he wasn’t intelligent, educated or intuitive enough to continue with them and so he retreated, as did Dr. jon lazy boy thompson, to the far easier to understand ‘classical carpet’ world.
Sure, sure those rugs are big money fish and since both franses and thompson are dollar sign types, their departure makes sense in those term$.
But, quite frankly, the race for the gold ring is not over yet and RK is 100 percent positive when we get enough funding to start our forensic testing program we will prove the value archetype non-urban, small scale society rugs and kelim we collect will equal and maybe even eclipse many of those now touted classical carpets.
We digress here, so let’s get back to Anatolian kelim but allow us to have this last word or two about the apparent prejudice many, like franses and thompson, express towards the weavings in RK’s world.
As far as seeing any real scholarship, which means original work, in non-urban rugs franses’s career demonstrates he has done absolutely nothing.
He was a cut and paster, at best, relying on the skills of Ian Bennet for many years to do the heavy lifting.
Someday, when it serves our purpose, we will expose him as the academic poseur he truly is.
What about in the classical carpet realm?
Well since reading franses post-Bennet work is like sleeping on sandpaper sheets, RK can honestly say we have never delved very far into it, so we reserve comment until the day comes when we turn our attention to see what he really has done besides write voluminous footnotes of other people’s work.
At least thompson gets immense credit for his taxonomical identification of “S” group; but since then he has fallen into an abyss of presenting pseudo-to-bogus research when done in any other field would have relegated him to Siberia, if not an academic dungeon.
So it is no wonder lazy boy jon and little lord franses are nowhere to be seen on the scene that interests most of rugDUMB.
Back to franses home/office in 1977 when franses showed us a big box of 8x10 color transparencies of the pieces he and Yanni had selected.
Detail; archetype Caucasian kelim; Weaving Art Museum exhibition Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth; Plate 17
As RK looked through them, we could not help wondering why franses had not spoken about the project, as we had spent many hours with franses and never heard peep about it.
We should mention during this time, prior to the mid-1980, we knew Yanni but did not spend time with him.
All that soon changed, but that part of the story will not be told here.
Hindsight is 20/20; and after thinking about franses’s silence on the kelim book over the years in light of our long-time reassessed opinion, RK figured out why he waited until the project for the book was almost complete to discuss it with us.
It is clear, and has been since 1981, franses fears us, in fact, he once told someone, in our earshot, “Cassin is a loose cannon.”
Right he was -- we were, and still are, a loose cannon with anyone who tries to bullshit his way through our corner of rugDUMB or tries to con, cheat or suppress us and our ideas.
This is not a discussion about franses, or thompson, it’s about Anatolian kelim and we only mention these two carpet-bagging clowns to put what we are recounting and will recount about the kelim scene into proper perspective.
Readers need to realize we cannot present our positions without documentation and reference; to do so would be academically dishonest.
Sullying them, and others like frauenknect, with the truth is not our purpose but we also will not avoid telling the truth to get our position and message across.
Whew, now back to the East Berlin saf and what happened.
So when franses told us about the kelim book he was making with Petsopolis, and showed us the color transparencies, we were quite unimpressed.
For while we did not yet own an Anatolian kelim, we did already have the small collection of hand-spun white cotton ones from, we believe, the southern Caucasus.
Quite frankly, we found, and still find, them far more interesting, evocative and important than any Anatolian kelim in the box of trannys franses showed us.
archetype Caucasian kelim; Weaving Art Museum exhibition Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth; Plate 17
Someday, if no one else does, we will tell the unexpurgated story of the kelim book authored by Yanni Petsopolis but not today.
While viewing the trannys of the kelim, we asked franses if he wanted any of our kelim for the book project.
As Shakespeare wrote “here in lies the rub” why franses never told us about the kelim book project before it was almost finished.
“Well” he said “Yes I would be glad to take a couple but, as we have already allotted all the color plates, your pieces would have to be printed in black and white”.
To say this didn’t seem like a good idea is an under-statement, so we declined and that was that.
RK didn’t hear anything from franses about Petsopolis and the book until after it was released in 1979.
RK doesn’t have a copy of Kelim and the reasons we don’t need not be enumerated here.
But we did, prior to late1980 look at it a few times and, like our pin the tale on the kelim winner wrote, were never much impressed with the illustrated pieces.
However and now, dear readers, who have suffered through the many paragraphs of set-up, there is a punch line, and its forthcoming.
In late 1980 we were still talking with franses, although we were not doing much business with him as we did not wish to sell pieces from our collection at the high “wholesale” prices franses wanted to pay.
We must reiterate we only sold because of our desire and need for dollars, and we never sold many pieces but we did always get strong, high prices for them.
In fact, this failure on our part to offer franses what we were willing to part with strained our relations but, since RK was not losing, and franses was trying hard to get back into the saddle with us, on the surface the rapport we formerly had still existed.
One late morning in the fall of 1980 we went over to franses home/office --now remember by this time we already owned Plates One, Two, Four, Five and Eight in the Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim book -- to say hello and see what he was up to.
Later that afternoon RK had arranged to take the train out to the countryside on a mission that is germane to this Anatolian kelim discussion but unfortunately for the story’s sake we are not willing to discuss.
While we were at franses that morning, he took some phone-calls in the other room, leaving us to our own devices.
The part of his home/office where he left us had his extensive collection of rug books in wooden and glass cases lining the walls of the room.
So during the interludes he left us alone we picked-up several books and one of those was the Petsopolis Kelim book.
When we left an hour or so later later to go have lunch with a girlfriend, and then catch the train, we asked franses if we could take the Kelim book along with us to read, as we had never really done anything but leaf thru the pages.
The train ride was about two hours each way so we thought we’d have plenty of time to finally read what was written between the covers.
Well, wadda ya know, on that train ride we noticed the Berlin saf and were truly dumbfounded we had never really concentrated enough on the book to see its picture before.
The next day we went back over the franses’s place to return the book and while talking to him asked if he had a color tranny of it in the box he had shown us that day in 1977.
He said he had one but didn’t know where it was, and had no time to look for it, giving us a black and white photocopy he did easily locate.
RK then asked him if he knew the director of the East Berlin Museum, and franses said yes he knew Volkmer Enderlein and was, in fact, on great terms with him.
Since we now realized the saf was a great kelim and wanted to examine it personally, and since we had never even seen a later example and neither had franses when we queried him, we asked franses if he could set up an appointment with Enderlein for us to visit the Museum, as we had never been to east Berlin, or the museum, or met Enderlein.
One thing about franses is his desire to always want to show how well-connected and important he is, so he picked up the phone, called freidrich spuhler and arranged for us to meet spuhler in west Berlin and he would then arrange a trip to east Berlin and Enderlein for us.
During this period RK was living in London but we were frequently traveling to France, Germany and Austria both for rug business and for pleasure.
To jump to the chase we visited Spuhler, and Enderlein and saw the saf.
But we must place this event into history, and to do that we need to back-up here a bit, leave little lord franses behind, and get back to RK the big-game kelim hunter.
As we mentioned, once we bought the two first archetype kelim in NY in 1979, we even more seriously went on the hunt for others.
Now then because RK did not want to move to Istanbul -- preferring life in Paris, London and Munich to the dirty streets, no star restaurants, broken furniture Pera Palaces of Istanbul, regardless how interesting, oriental, and ‘historic’ Istanbul was, and we are not being sarcastic it truly was a very special place circa 1980, just not for us -- RK became, for the first time, an arm-chair collector.
Prior to our seeking archetype kelim and early Turkish Village rugs, RK only collected first-hand, frequenting antique auctions, markets and all types of antique dealers.
We did this first on the east coast and then in about 1972 added California to our purview; and then, in 1975, we started going to England and Europe.
But to bag archetype kelim we realized we had to either move to Istanbul or get very friendly with the American and European dealers who were willing, and in fact loved, to go there.
There is one other point we need to explain: RK did not want to be a rug-smuggler, and since exporting historic rugs from Turkey was absolutely forbidden RK did not want to join the carpet-mafia, who had the connections to illicitly move old rugs out of the country.
These are the reasons RK never moved to Istanbul even though we knew we could get great pieces for our collection and probably make some serious cash selling what we didn’t want.
But, quite honestly, RK doesn’t care about money, we are not rich but we are clever enough to have always provided for ourself, and on top of that we did not want to be a smuggler or live in a third world country.
We hope this will put to rest the vicious rumors of alleged nefarious activities RK supposedly perpetrated while in Turkey that still drip and dribble-off certain people’s tongues.
Because we have been on the old rug scene as long as anyone, and in fact longer than almost anyone who is still alive today, we knew who was going to Turkey, and, more important, who had enough rug-sense to buy something we would want.
Remember we did not by accident get Plates One and Two, we set-it up like a movie director, as well as acting our part like Marlon Brando.
Being no stranger to the set-up, we then set our sights on bagging more kelim, and bag them we did.
Sometime after seeing the east Berlin saf on that train ride to the country, we cornered one of the guys who was frequently traipsing to Istanbul.
We met him at his apartment and, going over to his bookcase where we knew a copy of the Kelim book was resting, we took it out, opened it to the page where the east Berlin saf was and said very confidently to him “Hey, man, on your next trip to Turkey when you find a kelim like this one you had better offer it to me.”
His mouth opened wide enough to drive our 450 through and gazing at the picture for a few minutes he then said “Gee, I’ve never even seen anything like it.”
Please remember this is in the fall of 1980 when not many historic, forget about archetype kelim, were known.
Over the ensuing years a number of saf kelim, resembling the east Berlin example, have appeared but not one can even kiss its boots.
Here’s that punch line, and the end of Part IV.
On the very day RK was in Volkmer Enderlein’s office in east Berlin holding the saf in our arms, our dealer operative found and bought ours in Istanbul.
Detail Plate Six; Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim
Now what are the odds and chances that could happen?
RK believes that was lottery lucky.
If readers are not astounded by that occurrence, and the fact our saf, while far inferior to its archetype in east Berlin, remains the next best example, we suggest you re-read what we have written or have someone explain it to you.