Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >More on the "Karapinar" Myth
Part IV
Author:jc
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Fri, Feb 11th, 2011 12:00:18 AM
Topic: More on the "Karapinar" Myth
Part IV

A vibrancy of color and its combination, a depth of design with a somewhat too ‘large’ sense of proportion, along with a slightly kooky and irregular off-centermark placement of motif, plus an almost brutish thick design outlining are some of the characteristics separating genuine early Anatolian Village rugs from those made in ateliers, be they court or privately funded, or those made in ‘organized’ town workshops.

There is also a perceptible and quantifiably spontaneous, yet controlled, quotient of design the best Anatolian Village rugs exude -- rugs like those we have illustrated in Part III.


This side-by-side comparison of the Alexander “pink panther” rug and the similar but, in fact, very different in all regards earlier carpet from the Ala Din Mosque in Konya well illustrates our words. The most obvious of those differences is the proportions but there are many other more subtle ones as well. There is little doubt in our mind the Alexander rug is not in all senses a Village Rug but rather a town workshop product where the diminished perceptible qualities of originality, spontaneity and other aspects we just described become quite apparent in such a comparison. These are fine line differentiations, which nevertheless exist and are, to use an old American expression, what ‘separates the men from the boys’. The Alexander rug is a wonderful example, we are not trying to diss it, however, it can not transcend its roots; for it is a copy and not an ‘original’, as the one to its right so eloquently proves.

Seeing small pictures in books, magazines or on webpages cannot convey what RK is speaking about. One must experience this in the flesh; and it is these qualities that separate a rug like this one we have gushed over, and now illustrated for the third time, from an artist designed and atelier produced weaving like the Casper-Foy-Brunk, aka Sinan rug.

Look carefully and intently at these two rugs and even the most novice of you readers should be able to get it and understand what we have been talking about.

Granted this has little to do with our “Karapinar” myth busting but we just could not help sharing with RugKazbah.com’s audience our admiration and fascination with historic masterpiece Anatolian Village rugs, like those few in Oakley’s article we have mentioned.

While a rug like number 9, illustrated just below, in that article is an interesting and old enough weaving it pales in comparison to those we have already discussed.


from the Ala Din Mosque in Konya

Oakley dates this rug once again with her now proven oft’ incorrect and ubiquitous “17th/18th” century guesstimate, one we again must shake our head and disagree.

Frankly, no one really knows how old any of these rugs are but to lump ones, in a 17th/18th century catch-all, that are clearly older with ones that are clearly younger is something RK would have to call myopic, if not stupid.

We’d date this rug circa 1750 and should Ms. Oakley or any one else try to prove us as incorrect as we accuse her of being rest assured RK can not only defend our position but we can substantively disprove, with strong examples, why our position is correct.

Just for starters, compare the main border of number 9 with those you can see on the other Anatolian Village rugs we have already illustrated.

We can mention other criteria but, sorry, we are not going to spoon-feed our readers proof today.

We expect those of you who truly are etudiants to roll up your sleeves and get down to do some work on your own.

Here’s one of the few weavings Ms Oakley almost, datewise, gets right.

number 7 in the article; from the Ala Din Mosque, Konya

Here is the most obvious clue, and there are others, this rug is not really “17th” but rather “18th ” century: Notice the two-dimensionality the field exhibits, a quality expressed even more so in the major border.

This is a very excellent rug, no doubt, but it just not in the masterpiece class like the others we have cited, or as early.

Let’s remember Oakley has dated them all 17th/18th, a giant fly in her “Karapinar” soup, if you ask us.

And by the way the article’s spouting off about some of these rugs being produced in “Ladik” might have a far-out chance of being valid, but why Oakley did not state this rug could be the poster-boy for that designation is something we can’t fathom.

If we had to we’d venture number 7 was woven in Ladik, the highly corrosive dark-brown/black field a stone giveaway for such an attribution.

However, regardless of where it was produced, this rug’s noticeably stiff and almost mechanical appearance precludes it was made in the 17th century, even during the last days of 1699 such a rug would never have come off a loom in an outback, non-commercialized, area like Ladik.

All that said, the rug does have a modicum of charming and eminently redeemable aspects--for instance the tiny red and white bi-colored square boxes scattered about within the main border’s meandering vine, tulip, and are those other blossoms budding poppies?

The erroneous dating Oakley gave number 7 could not have been more emphasized by then illustrating it next to this rug, number 8.

Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum

RK can well understand that rag hali’s desire to run interference for and uphold the questionable hype, and now demonstrable over-dating, its new major shareholder michael franses used in his efforts to sell rugs to trusting Middle Eastern buyers, like Al-Sabah, and here is some good proof of that practice.

This rug is nothing but a late, mediocre town workshop “copy”, stiff as an over-starched napkin, boringly droll in design and articulation, weak and wimpy of borders – in fact there is nothing redeemable or noteworthy here, except probably the price greedy little lord franses extracted for it, or for his pre-purchase ‘expertise’ and advice.

Shame franses abused the trust he was given, and no doubt franses should be ashamed to have recommended or sold a piece like this to anyone, let alone someone of Al-Sabah’s station.

Furthermore, Oakley and that rag hali should also hang their heads low to have illustrated such a blatantly post-1800 rug on the same pages as those few masterpieces RK has cited and furthermore to have so blatantly over-dated it.

Number 22 looks to be a somewhat similar example but, in fact, it is world’s apart and genuinely is an 18th century weaving.

number 22

But in no way is it a 17th century one; not by a long shot even from a pea-shooter like Ms Oakley’s wild-west namesake Annie once wielded.

And once again it is too bad, and too sad, Ms. Oakley’s overused and fallacious “17th/18th”century string-tag ended up on it, when calling it mid-18th century would have done it no harm or malice.

We date circa 1750, and compared to number 8 this rug is a masterpiece.

That said, please note, it is only a masterpiece compared to a mediocrity like 8 and surely can not in any department hold its own against the genuine masterpieces we have culled from this article’s illustrations.

But give credit where credit is due and number 22 is, for its time and period, a wonderfully composed and executed artwork.

That’s it for today’s installment, stay tuned for more “Karapinar” myth busting and Oakley critique here on RugKazbah.com.

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