RK is not surprised at the information you have posted.
Both craycraft and frauenknecht are rug-clowns, however, each for different reasons.
The former, mr craycraft, is someone who believes he can pull attributions and provenance out of his hat like a circus magician but regrettably his rabbits are mostly imaginary.
While frauenknecht mostly refrains from similar prognostication his claim to rug-clowndumb is his penchant for petty and sneak-thiefing.
He is also prone to, as in your case, making silly and stupid claims
to entice buyers to open their wallets and purchase his wares.
How and why after some many years both are able to continue to perpetrate their games is remarkable, but typical for rug dumb, for in any other art collecting field RK is sure they would already have been long shown the door.
Thanks for demonstrating your experiences and providing evidence for what we have often said.
Regarding the “latent prayer rugs” and our recent discussions on pattern evolution and phylogeny of tribal textiles I have contacted Dr. Jamshidi Tehrani of Durham University in the UK who has recently published a couple of articles on that using cladistic methods of phylogenetic analyses of Turkmen textiles (J Anthropol Archaeol 2002; 21: 443-463)and Iranian tribal crafts traditions (Phil Trans R Soc B 2010; 365: 3865-3874). From my email:
"The discussion [with you] circulated also around the colorful descriptions of another American dealer […]. It was for instance about a red Hazara "latent prayer rug", a term which seemed to be hilarious for both of us, which he assigned to the 18th century mainly due to the red color (I would have called it "in the tradition of" Baluchi, anyway. But I am not an expert).
In essence, this particular American dealer attributed the rug to the Qala-i Now Hazara and speculated, since he had found an Afshar design pattern in the kilim part, that these Shi'ites (Hazara, Afshar tribespeople of Kabul) intermarried and had therefore produced such a hybrid. I mentioned to him that the Hazara of Qala-i Now were Sunni, […].
My question is, Do you see, from the results of your larger studies opportunities to infer to certain cases such as this particular rug? […]."
Dr. Jamshidi Tehrani's response:
"Thank you for your email and your interest in my work. I am afraid I have not carried out any analyses of Hazara or Afshar traditions, so would not be able to tell you about their phylogenetic relationships.
In the absence of such knowledge it is hard to tell whether the kilim pattern you mention represents evidence of blending between their traditions (via intermarriage or some other process, such as contact, trade, etc.), or alternatively, a "missing link" that would indicate descent from a common ancestor.
Having said that, my ethnographic studies of Iranian tribes suggest that intermarriage is a fairly unlikely explanation, since it only occurs under very restricted conditions, namely, when members of different tribes settle in large towns and cities and basically abandon their previous way of life (including weaving), or when their populations dwindle to the point that their survival as independent endogamous entities becomes unsustainable. If you think these conditions might be met in this case then intermarriage might explain the presence of the Afshar kilim pattern on a Hazara rug.
Otherwise I would suggest that other explanations - either descent, or borrowing (perhaps via participation in commercial production?) - are more plausible.
Sorry not to be of more help, and I wish you luck in your efforts to solve this mystery!"
His mentioning a "missing link" possibility is interesting as is his questioning the "intermarriage" issue.
The two “latent prayer rugs” in question have been removed in the meantime from the webpage (so I won't be able to send him a picture which is regrettable).