Soumak khorjin RK has suggested was the source for the Star Kazak medallion; RK collection; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth: Classic Weaving of the Caucasus; 1990
As his usual wont wannabe rug-pundit herr john taylor has published a plethora of pictures under the rubric “Star Kazak Atlas”.
But regrettably the visual smorgasbord contains hardly any edible, forget nutritional, commentary. This is something taylor is becoming famous for, as well as one of the main points of criticism RK has offered about his efforts.
However, in rugDumB, one has to be glad for little things, a comment not out of place concerning taylor. Therefore might RK suggest taylor be christened with a herr little thing moniker if nothing else?
In herr little thing taylor’s rundown of Star Kazaks we found this lack of commentary, even incorrect commentary, to be quite amazing.
Less is often credited with being more but as far as bank accounts, male bedroom equipment and home runs in a season are thought of it surely isn’t.
Add to the list commentary when discussing, or even trying to discuss, antique oriental rugs.
Interspersed between the photos herr little thing does make “a few” comments.
But again unfortunately most of them are either grossly incorrect or frightfully obvious, not even worth mention.
After all taylor’s intended, and actual, audience is, or claims to be, rug literate enough to figure out such rug 101’s for themselves.
RK will leave out their mention but we will take herr taylor to task for the most glaring incorrect ones.
The first taylor lands right at the beginning “It is not inconceivable that different types of Star Kazak were woven by the same weaving-clans”.
RK finds this to be far off the mark and actually absurd, as there are a number of different technical distinctions -- material and dyes – which any, even cursory, examination of Star Kazaks demonstrates.
And those differences belie any possibility taylor’s myopic idea they were “woven by the same weaving clans” has even the slightest chance of being factual.
Worse yet is the next sentence “But to determine this a great deal of technical information would have to be collated”.
Duhhhh, hello herr taylor, had you bothered to do so you would have seen how foolish your previous sentence truly is.
Oh well, let’s forget about being even slightly happy for small things from taylor.
“The origins of the design” taylor then writes “ are difficult to fathom.
Double duhhh, what else is new?
But instead of stating the obvious, mein herr, how about either doing some real study instead of copying and pasting a bunch of photos and pretending it is an “Atlas”.
Yes, taylor might think it one but in fact it’s one that only guides readers nowhere.
To attempt an answer this essential question herr little thing offers up the following: “In an essay from 1985, Eberhart Herrmann traced the origins to the “Crevelli” type medallion, as seen on a fragment in the Hungarian National Museum. The similarities are clear, as is the compound of Animal style and floral Lotus palmettes within the medallions.”
First off citing Eberhart Hermann, The Wildman of rug theories, holds little water since many of his ideas are OTT, over the top, and OTW, off the wall, as far as RK and many others in rugdom have now realized.
And, yes, once again Hermann’s idea is both obvious and lacking in real substance, as the pertinent -- where did the highly evolved and codified Crevilli star come from – is absent and looms large over such a statement.
RK has previously suggested the source of the Star Kazak medallion appears to be the archaic ‘star’ medallion on the now well-known soumak khorjin in our collection.
RK has not revealed our complete theory and perhaps as a reply to this we will delve more deeply into it. But for now we’d like to add our further belief iconography from the ancient trans-Caucasian embroidery below was also part of the mix from which the “Star Kazak” sprang on the scene.
Ancient trans-Caucasian long-stitch embroidery; RK collection; published Kelim Soumak Carpet and Cloth, 1990
Since our intent here is to comment on taylor’s Star Kazak Atlas we will leave for another time more detailed analysis of how we theorize these two powerhouses of ‘Caucasian’ iconography were melded and modeled into the Star Kazak.
So for now gaze at this partially blacked-out version of the soumak’s medallion and the thought the pairs of long horizontal radial arms sticking out of the Star Kazak’s medallion, as well as much of the iconography which fills the medallion itself and the four ancillary smaller arrow-like ones, came from the embroidery.
Back to herr little thing taylor.
RK does not buy taylor’s Hermann citation as anything important to the where did the Star Kazak iconography come from, so naturally we do not candle to “ A further connection to very old Turkish carpets can be found in the borders of the “A” Group, presumably the progenitor of the others.”
And while it is true there is strong, very strong, similarity between the ‘type A border’ and that on the several Anatolian rugs taylor refers we surely do not think it is the “progenitor” of the others.
Simply because the other types of Star Kazak – B, C and D – look nothing like the type A.
So either taylor needs better glasses or he is just writing nonsense.
And just to add some real history to taylor’s “Chosen as a classic example in Hali`s rundown, the Mark Whiting carpet, purchased at Lefevre on 3 March 1972, later surfaced with Eberhart Herrmann.” let RK inform taylor and everyone else RK purchased Professor Mark Whiting’s Star Kazak from him in 1980 and after enjoying it for sometime then sold it to Eberhart Hermann along with the single “Eagle” Kazak recently sold at Sotheby in the “Distinguished Collections” Sale.
Let’s say we sold it because as good as it is, it’s not the best, that distinction belonging to the former Berdj Abadjian example now in the Shein Collection.
But, just for drill, RK needs to say as exciting as we find the greatest examples of “Star Kazak” to be they all pale, in our eyes, to other types of weaving. And believe it or not we prefer our khorjin to any “Star Kazak”, even Abadjians.
Because the khorjin has real mystery and history, while the Star Kazak is a contrived bunch of unrelated iconographic symbols.
We well realize most readers will not understand what we said but go study these weavings and you might. Forget about the fact RK LIVED WITH them and our opinion is based on a far deeper understanding and experience with the idiom that anyone else we know.
OK enough chest-puffing let’s finish off taylor’s Star Kazak Atlas.
Publishing a detail photo of another Star Kazak we formerly owned and published here on RugKazbah.com little thing taylor then states “A last piece was published by Jack Cassin, defender of the D-Types.”
We are not a defender of “D-types” or any types regardless of taylor’s saying we are.
So let us set him and any other readers who think so straight.
RK knows it is not the type of Star Kazak but rather the quality and age of the rug that is important.
This thought, this reality, seems to be lost on those who own, buy, and lust for them.
Unfortunately franses and pinner’s 1980 analysis, which demarcated the A, B, C and D types, has been distorted into people believing the A type is the best. And while the Abadjian example is an A type, and arguably the best of any now known Star Kazak, many other A types are inferior to examples of the others.
So whether a Star Kazak is an A, B, C or D this matters little. What does matter is the execution, the proportions, the material and the dyes.
Perhaps sometime sooner or later we will stake out in detail how elements of the proprietary iconography expressed on the khorjin and the embroidery were instrumental in the development of the Star Kazak format.
One last clue to correctly set motivated readers on this line of thought is the fact there is no “star Kazak” medallion on any early, pre 18th century, trans-Caucasian weaving.
This is no accident or coincidence. It proves our contention the Star Kazak, as exciting and beautiful as some examples display it – like the Abadjian and Whiting – is still is a contrived picture which bears little connection to the historic roots of trans-Caucasian or even Anatolian weaving cultures.