Detail, Large pattern Holbein carpet, Plate One, Milestones
Unlike any other time in the western world's history of oriental carpet appreciation the post-1990 era has not generated the number of top oriental carpet dealers and scholars seen in former times.
Presently Moshe Tabibnia is the leading dealer and dr jon thompson is the leading “scholar”.
RK might rightfully suggest both have inherited these mantles without much competition, but that discussion is well outside the confines of this review.
We likewise feel our critique of thompson’s text makes clear our somewhat depreciatory feelings, both personal and professional, for him and his position in oriental carpet studies are justified.
They also make clear thompson is surely no “carpet-god” beyond reproach or criticism – actually far from it, as we believe we have demonstrated here and elsewhere.
As for Mr Tabibnia and his quest to, as he states in his “Milestones” forward, “…begin an intensive search for the best examples…”?
Surely by normal standards Tabibnia has been successful but how successful has he been weighing his efforts against the imposing title of this book: “Milestones in the History of Carpets”?
RK would have to honestly say not very, as in our estimation only Plate One, the large pattern Holbein purchased in 2002 at the Finearte auction and Plate 24, the so-called, and incorrectly as we have proven, “Karapinar” carpet purchased in 2003 at the Brunk auction could be considered veritable milestones.
There are surely some other pretenders in his catalog but pretenders are just that, not the real thing.
The dictionary defines milestone as a significant event in history, and while publishing this book might be that for Mr Tabibnia and his gallery, it surely is not that for the larger world of oriental carpet studies.
Had Tabibnia followed the old adage “less is more” it surely might have been, but as it stands there is a lot of filler of less than milestone proportion, both text-wise and examples illustrated, between its blue and gold covers.
There is also no doubt RK is a hard taskmaster, but the whip we crack at others we surely have proven we are not afraid to turn on ourself.
So, please understand, while we respect Tabibnia and thompson’s efforts we do not believe they are of “milestone” proportions, something the title would lead a reader to expect.
Perhaps we are wrong, but the lack of review it has so far engendered cannot be interpreted as implying we are.
Rather, this should be seen as part and parcel of the epidemic of silence inherent in oriental rug studies today.
Something RK believes must be remedied before the ever hoped wider appreciation for oriental carpets will materialize.