“Oh how the market has changed”
This quote appears on that rag hali's website in reference to the fall London auctions, specifically concerning the uproarious success of some commercially produced 19th and 20th century Persian city rugs.
It also, we imagine, refers to the wallet-busting prices several Classical carpets brought.
There is little need for RK to discuss why Classical carpets bring big prices, as even the dullest dullard who ever read that rag hali, or attended a rug auction/conference, or bought a rug for anything but keeping the feet warm on a cold winter night, knows this type of carpet is quote/unquote important.
RK needs not debunk that notion as some few of them are important, but most of them are not.
It is shameful some of those dullards work at hali and write the hyperbolic nonsense that affirms the lowest common-denominator 'myths' of rugDUMB -- one of the biggest being all Classical rugs are important and few, if any, non-classical one are.
But before we get into the meat of this missive we must comment on one of the only non-Classical rug the dullard who penned that rag hali's review mentioned.
lot 97; Christie, London, October 7, 2010
The silly low estimate was only superceded by the rather incomplete description the cataloger offered.
RK is very familiar with this rare type of “eagle” kazak as we have owned the best one, besides the one in the Victoria and Albert Museum that is in a league by itself, as well as the one in that rug conference whore jim big-mouth burns’ Caucasian rug book.
Just a few bon mots concerning the overblown and stupidly believed reputation jim burns maintains in rugDUMB.
The book he authored and published with Caucasian rugs from his collection has a text even the dullards at that rag hali could have done better. And the Kurdish book was, according to prima facie evidence RK knows, mostly written by a ghost writer whose initials are W and M, just to keep you gossip-hounds guessing.
Big mouth burns has nothing to say about rugs, even his own, that is anything but warmed-over generalities or tired, worn out homilies.
We know burns since the early 70’s and while he is an educated man and a sharp business person these abilities are not part and parcel of being a rug expert—surely something he proves almost every time he opens his yap.
But back to single “eagles”.
The one burns published and Christie’s mentioned was originally purchased by RK and berge andonian at a small auction about 30 years ago.
To make a long story short RK’s ‘partnership’ with andonian, like another one we entered into with him, allowed andonian to cheat us and profit unfairly from our trust.
This is not the place to recount andonian’s sleazy and duplicitous character or business ethics but we can state for the record after he cheated us a second time some years later we stopped talking to him and still to this day shun him when he comes over to say “Hajji, why don’t you ever come to see me?”.
To say andonian is just another carpet-bagging sleaze-bag might be giving him too much credit.
Anyway, the single “eagle” burns published is very similar to the Christie example in every regard, other than its coloration.
Lot 97 has the typical rich madder red, while the one RK partnered with andonian was more light salmon ‘pink’ than red.
The other one RK owned, which was an earlier and far more beautiful example, was purchased in Paris in 1982 and after owning it for several years we sold it, and a star kazak we had purchased from a wonderful English collector and gentleman named Mark Whiting, to Ebberhart Hermann.
It is published, along with the Whiting star kazak in, if our memory serves us well, volume number eight of Hermann’s annual gallery catalogs.
The Paris example is the only one RK has seen, and we saw and handled the other one Christie’s credits to Hermann, as well as the archy robbins/clive loveless( not Rogers) blue ground shrimp of a single eagle, that can compare favorably but not equally with the Victoria and Albert example.
Long story short, we are surprised Christie’s cataloger missed the ex-Whiting/Cassin example, as well as so foolishly underestimating lot 97.
We are also sure the price was held down by not only the condition and lack of higher estimate but by, perhaps, collusion on the part of a certain number of players.
Also worth a mention is the fur-collared and cuffed robe sold at Christie’s on October 5th.
While it is a pretty thing, we seriously doubt the 11/12th century date, regardless of the fact a c14 dating has supposedly confirmed this.
Not to get into a long debate, the iconography, perspective and proportions of the textile do not at all adhere to other pieces of that period and we would date it several centuries later.
In fact, we would not be surprised if it were made circa 1500 in eastern Iran, or even someplace farther east like western China.
We see it as a later genre ‘copy’ and not the real thing, and we are sure those who allegedly are the acknowledged experts would poo-pooh our position.
Which bring us to the meat of this missive: The ridiculous difference between the business of selling rare rugs and textiles and research and scholarship into the real history of these objects.
The quote we began with is absurd, for in reality there is no actual market for rare rugs and textiles, nor was there ever.
There is, of course, a real market for decorative rugs and textiles of all ages and this is why Classical carpets in any shape that are useable on a floor sell for buckets.
It well explains why the 19th and 20th century Persian rugs Christies sold brought good prices.
In explaining why non-Classical rugs, a term RK has surely not invented but popularized rather than the inane “tribal”, do not bring buckets is easy.
There are far, far fewer of them than Classical rugs and the ‘scholarship’ around them is basically nonsense or non-existent.
The historic rugs and textiles made outside the confines of large-scale societies, read Safavid and Ottoman, rarely reach auction, but when they do, as even a mediocre example like the Christie’s single “eagle” shows, they out perform expectations.
But time is growing short and the dichotomy idiots like michael franses and jon thompson have created to push the Classical rug at the expense of the non-classical ones is criminal.
We call them idiots because both of them were unable to really dig deep enough to find anything to say about these small-scale society, or khan rugs as we also like to call them, so they decamped to the far more easily researched Classical rugs.
After all they appear in western paintings done by the masters from the 15th to the 18th century and no non-classical rugs ever graced those studios.
Ever wonder why?
Let RK inform the two idiots, the dullards at that rag hali, and all you rugDUMBers: It is because the early period, circa 15th-17th century, non-classical rugs were not available or plentiful enough for merchants to find and bring back to Europe.
One thing is sure, Turkmen and Turkish Village Rugs existed then but the protected and non-secular weaving environments that produced and treasured them ensured western merchants never saw, let alone got the opportunity to buy them.
So while those dullards over at that rag hali are squeeking about “Oh how the market has changed” fact is there never was a market to change.
Fact also is hali, franses, thompson and others were too lazy, too greedy, too self-possessed and yes too pompous to roll-up their sleeves and cause some scholar’s sweat to roll down their now aging brows.
Time will tell who is right – RK or them but we are sure, and we have staked our professional life on our position, we will come out on top before the fat lady sings.
A wise man once said “truth always trumps falsehood” and this, rather than the ludicrous “Oh the market has changed”, should be something those dullards and pompous pseudo-rug experts might be better off taking to heart than squeeking about the surging market for decorative weavings.