While we stated we are not going to discuss thompson’s rug career we need to mention the following that bear witness to dr jon thompson’s credibility.
In thompson’s introduction to the “Milestones” book two sentences stood out so far RK must mention them and provide some comment.
This is the first
“…it has become clear to me that for people to have an opinion that is genuinely their own is a rarity.”
And here is the second
“In the academic world the endless rehearsal of what this or that person said on the subject in the past carries the risk of stifling fresh and independent thought. While at the same time it assists the process whereby constant repetition slowly transforms hypotheses into ‘accepted facts”
It is fine for thompson to make these claims but how does one judge him in such regards?
Years ago when he was still a Turkmen rug collector dr jon thompson’s discovery of “S” group, and the evidence he presented to support that discovery, was a great accomplishment. In fact it made his career.
However, some years later his “discovery” of Imreli weavings was a huge mistake and his attempts to cover-up the error even worse.
This event would have, in any other ‘academic’ or collecting universe, served to diminish if not destroy a reputation.
But in RugDumb this was not the case, and thompson’s fame and reputation grew – go figure.
Then soon thereafter thompson was involved in a messy affair when he and several other high profile rug-dealers gave their approval for an important American collector to purchase at considerable expense a supposed “dragon-phoenix” rug fragment.
the fake “dragon-phoenix” fragment dr jon thompson and several other rug experts claimed was genuine and counseled an important American collector to purchase
The fragment in question turned out to be an old forgery.
Then, of course, there is thompson’s role in approving for purchase the late genre-period reproduction “bellini” carpet dennis dodds sold to the Collectors Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Late genre period reproduction “bellini” carpet dennis dodds sold to the Collector’s Committee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2004 claiming it was circa 1550 and a masterpiece of its type. Three rug experts, including dr jon thompson, agreed with dodds appraisal and were instrumental in convincing the buyers of the rug’s supposed historical importance.
So how would one judge dr jon thompson’s track-record of opinions, and how do they stack up in reality?
RK would have to say pretty poorly.
Long ago, also in the 1980 Turkmen catalog for the Washington textile museum exhibition where the Imreli fiasco was published, dr jon thompson also presented the “cloud-collar” idea.
And although this one, unlike the Imreli, does have some substance, it surely does not have the all-purpose import thompson claimed in that publication, nor does it have the import he is again trying to give it by reusing it in the “Milestone” text.
Trying to explain the many varied and unrelated ‘appearances’ of a medallion outline pattern like a cloud-collar, both in the Turkmen publication and now in “Milestones” , as being derived from cloud-collars, is nonsense and for dr thompson to continue to harp on this idea bodes poorly for his ability to judge his own ideas.
These ring rather hollow and one must ask: Do dr thompson’s comments only apply to others and is he, himself, immune?
Apparently from the facts one would have to say yes.
One additional quote from thompson is rather telling, though surely not in the way he meant it.
In discussing the Salting group of Persian carpets thompson states:
“Such was the status of Kurt
Erdmann was an expert in the field of Islamic art and a pioneer in carpet studies…that his opinions readily passed into the realm of accepted wisdom”(pg.220)
Anyone who knows thompson’s work could rightfully ask if his situation in carpet studies is now similar.
RugDumb is synonymous with self-importance and over-arched egos and in RK’s opinion none are greater than dr jon thompson’s.
OK, enough of measuring dr thompson by his own words, let’s start to review what he says about the rugs Tabibnia has published.
Stay tuned for more...