As RK always intones: Better to have a fragment of a great example than a complete example of a mediocre one.
This, naturally, is an opinion but one that is being more accepted as time goes on.
RK does not want to spend time discussing how our positions on rug collecting have gone from being far outside the mainstream to becoming mainstream.
Let's just leave it there, and realize a cut and shut chuval like the Chodor is far more appreciated, and worth far more, today than it was in December 1990, or in 1976 when we acquired it.
RK can't help but remember how foolish buyers were at the Tent Band sale, regardless of the rumors spread about the pieces.
Anyway, the most unusual drawing of the ertman gol at both sides is something we have no explanation for, but in some strange way as gross and disparate compared to the rest of the chuval they are we sorta like them, and see how the weaver might have wanted to tell some personal, and forever unknown to anyone but her circle, history with them.
We would also readily admit their presence adds nothing for viewers removed, as we are, from the scene.
It is just another example how little we know about the "why" of these weavings.
By all other indications, though, the chuval demonstrates all the qualities inherent in pre-1800 Turkmen work, and we will have to remain in the belief this chuval is among the earliest of the type.
You did not mention the minor border, Fahad, one of the aspects on which we base our assessment.
Look carefully at the picture we posted and you can easily see, providing you have a good monitor, the juxtaposition of the small colored squares.
They are, indeed, a masterful touch; one that is as different as night and day to those few ertman gol on both sides.
And, it is not only what the birds are sitting on but the clarity of their depiction that also tells us this chuval is early.
And who, might we ask, is the "expert" you refer to? munkasci?
If so, please now, this guy is at best a regurgitator of what others have written.
So far RK has not read anything he has written that is original, so calling him an expert might be somewhat an exaggeration, n'est pas?
As for the Islamic roots of Turkmen design iconography?
Well that's a rather large and full of obstacle subject we are not going to try and enter, so you are on your own there.
Same with Tanavoli's book, which by the way we have not seen.
We are, of course, quite interested in Shah Sevan work, as we collect and have for three plus decades soumak khorjin many believe were made by them.
However, and this is a however in capital letters, we do not believe this myth(they were made by the Shah Sevan), especially concerning the proto-and archetypal examples we own.
Like Turkmen weavings, just exactly who made these archetypes is completely unknown, so again we'd rather make continuum to demonstrate which examples are archetypal, and prototypic, rather than shoot arrows in the dark and say this group or that made them.
If you like email us a picture of the chuval you bought( rk at rugkazbah.com) -- we'd enjoy seeing it. We will not post it if you'd rather we didn't, nor will we discuss it here on RugKazbah.com if that's your wish.
"Also please note the chuval has been cut and shut and that is why the first set of ertman gol on the left appears to be truncated making the chuval lopsided and misshapen."
Okay, that explains of course my first impression that something was wrong here.
But half Ertman guls to the right and left are also rather strange.
Anyway, "Therefore perhaps what you say might be different were the chuval in your lap", that's a privilege of a few people, I suppose.
The image on WAMRI, which I just found, is excellent (as is the entire site).
Thank you for that.
The birds sitting on twigs in the main gul, well you won't find them easily in other Chodor chuvals where there are sort of blossoms.
Regarding Islamic and prehistoric influences, I got the impression (from your book) that you don't stress any Islamic iconography.
I had an email exchange with another expert (mentioned above; when I bought a respective chuval, which is similar in design to that in plate 28 in Munkacsi's article of 1994) who categorically denied any Islamic influences, which is, of course, indefensible.
Few if any (?) weavings have survived from pre-Islamic, say Sasanid, times but they seem to be different.
I recently got Tanavoli's book on Shahsevan weavings where he draws a link to geometric (Islamic) designs on buildings.
If you know something about Islamic art and architecture, you'll see the analogues in the design.