RK does not bother to respond privately to nonsense emails we receive concerning what we write here on RugKazbah.com, especially when those emails are nothing but
venomous upchuck written by fools whose knowledge of oriental carpet would have trouble filling a small thimble.
However since publishing our position on sotheby’s Beshir prayer rug, errors and all, we decided it is in our best interests to further critique this prayer rug, and in doing so we trust we will silence the peanut-gallery and put this deal to rest.
Here is a detail of the Richardson Beshir prayer sotheby’s sold.
We have put numbers 1, 2 and 3 there to avoid any confusion as to exactly what elements of this rug we will discuss.
Before we proceed to prove our position, i.e. that this is an ungainly and ugly piece of workshop weaving, we must illustrate details the same type of flowering-tree from two well-known so-called Yomut main carpets(MC) where it appears in the elem panels.
The first is the masterpiece of the type owned by the textile museum in Washington, D.C.
And the second is a respectably old but nonetheless decorative copy that appeared in 1999 at the Cry auction gallery, a small regional auction located in Maine, USA.
Anyone who knows the textile museum carpet and its version of this pattern could not possibly think the Beshir prayer rug’s is anything but that wet dishrag we called it in our first post.
The weaver of the later, much later actually, chuval gol carpet, as these weaving should be rightfully called, sold at the Cyr auction managed to capture far more of the ‘essence’ and majesty of the flowering-tree the textile museum’s MC so expertly depicts and the weaver of the Beshir prayer rug missed entirely.
Again, sorry we can’t say the same for the weaver of the Richardson Beshir prayer rug, but hell this is what RK’s piece is all about.
We don’t believe it necessary to discuss why the Sotheby rug falls so short – it’s there for all who have open and unprejudiced eyes to see.
However, we feel it necessary to put some icing on this cake we have baked and to do that offer the following analysis.
There are many weak spots we could point out in the Richardson prayer rug and the weakest is the insipid “design” where we placed number 1.
What is this silly and contrived thingamajig?
Well, let RK tell all you who are interested enough to have read this far.
Above is a detail of the textile museum MC’s flowering-tree and along side it a smaller detail of the rosette-flower, we marked A, and its running vine-tendril the weaver inserted at each side of the base of the flowering-trees.
If anyone has doubts, after seeing this analog, the weaver of the Richardson Beshir prayer rug was trying to copy these flowering-trees from the textile museum’s MC we suggest you open those peepers a bit wider. We say trying to because clearly the weaver did not really know the originals, their complexity or grace, so the thingamajig was 'invented' and substituted instead(albeit in a different location but notice on both side of a flowering-tree).
Before we finish putting additional nails into the coffin we are burying the Richardson prayer rug in let us mention a salient comment on rug copying and reproduction.
We see this in two ways:
1. a rug is produced, like the Richardson prayer rug or the Cyr chuval gol MC, at a much later date than an original, in this case the textile museum’s chuval gol MC. The weaver is not trying to cheat or fool anyone. The carpet is being produced with elements lifted from earlier weavings, in a form that is, like the prayer rug or MC, one that is well known.
2. a rug is produced with the sole intent to cheat, fool, and trick a prospective buyer into believing it is the original.
There are of course gradients here but generally this is how we view the later editions of some rugs we come across.
The Richardson prayer rug definitely fooled us in the small black and white photo we saw years ago in the 1932 AAA catalog.
It surely didn’t when we saw the color photo, which could be enlarged, in the Sotheby catalog.
Elements like those we marked on it picture above 1, 2 and 3 are telling signs this rug is all and more what we claim – late, degenerate and ungainly.
Compare the flower we marked number 2 with those beauties on the textile museum MC, or even the far more articulate copies than they are on the Cyr rug.
Look at the simplistic treatment, number 3, the weaver of the Richardson prayer rug used to show the base of the flowering-tree and the incomparably more articulated ones on the Textile museum and Cry versions.
Should we go on?
The main border of the Beshir prayer rug is never seen on early examples, only on later post-period ones.
Those gross 8-pointed stars do nothing to create the visual perspective they could have, had the weaver the skill to vary their size and then carefully arranged them to create that important and missing perspective.
The prayer rug is a two-dimensional weaving, and for 50,ooo plus one should be getting more than wallpaper.
One last comment to answer one of the email critics who quoted the 1932 catalog’s exclamation the prayer rug was “astounding”.
Well now, Shirley, if you think an auction catalog description is anything but sales patter we have a great bridge in San Francisco to sell you for a bargain price.
Are you interested? If so you know our email address.
OK, seriously now, we hope the above critique will now put to rest why RK has dissed the Richardson prayer rug.
And for the final and last time citing our errors, which we readily admitted, will do nothing to change the fact – sotheby’s Beshir prayer rug is a poor example of Turkmen weaving.
Though unique it may be, this doesn’t change the facts it is late, ugly and ungainly.