Age Question re: a Saryk Main Carpet
In the latest edition of that rag hali a letter to the editors, written by Milan dealer David Sorgato, questions their dating of the rare Saryk MC now in his possession that was sold in the sotheby NY “distinguished collections” sale.
Lot 138 Saryk MC ex-Robert Hendrikson collection; sold at sotheby NY "distinguished collections" sale
Sorgato believes it earlier than the circa 1860 date in the sotheby catalog, or the mid-19th century dating that rag hali’s report of the sale advanced.
We wholeheartedly agree with Sorgato but part company with him concerning his opinion it might be 18th century.
We’d say it’s 1800 at the earliest.
In his rebuttal Sorgato mentions a number of caveats to support his position. Some are valid, others not.
For instance Sorgato states were the carpet actually mid-19th century there would be others around for comparison.
Maybe there are others that are still undiscovered. Or maybe there aren’t but this type of tautology -- there are none so therefore it must be older – is worthless.
He then cites the carpet’s “extraordinary size” (8ft. 8in. by 7ft. 10in. (2.64 by 2.39m.) but fails to mention why.
It surely is somewhat smaller than most other Turkmen MC but it is not really that small to imply it was made to be used in a nomadic yurt and not in a village house, which is where Sorgato is surely going with this line of reasoning…or trying to.
Several years ago a far smaller and definitely earlier Saryk MC, but with the Timurjin gol and not a gulli-gol, appeared at Austria Auction Company in Vienna.
On account of its small size (6ft. 3in. x 5ft. 10in. 190x178cm) any idea it was made to be used in a nomadic yurt are far more plausible.
Also having only 18 far larger major gol versus the Sorgato MC’s 36, ie twice as many, adds further evidence that carpet is 18th century or earlier.
Sorgato also mentions his Saryk MC’s ground color, the weaver’s treatment of the diamond secondary gol, the unusual tertiary gol and the narrow “kufic-esque” main border as further proofs.
For pre-commercial period carpets comparing color is a none-starter and anyway doing so without dye testing furthers this avenue’s worthlessness.
And what exactly is this “treatment” of the diamond secondary gol Sorgato is talking about?
We have seen several photos of his Saryk carpet and have yet seen anything unusual about them.
As for the “unusual” tertiary gol?
We might agree it is unique but under careful inspection we see a gol that is not early but later, one we would date 19th century surely not earlier.
Plus the weaver’s use of so many of them and in such a regular grid also implies to us 19th century designing not something earlier.
And while the main border of Sorgato’s rug is narrow -- often an early sign and feature – its use of five minor borders, three between the selvedge and the main border and two inside the main border and the field, negates thoughts his Saryk carpet’s borders might indicate pre-19th century production.
We do agree with Sorgato’s belief his Saryk carpet is a link to “Salor” carpets but this is obvious; and, in fact, since no one can prove the Salor ever made one RK would prefer the use of term “S” group, as this carries factual import the word “Salor” distinctly lacks.
Being challenged, naturally that rag hali’s editors had to answer Sorgato letter with their comments.
We surely agree with their statement “dating Turkmen carpets” is “at best a subjective art rather than an objective science”. But might we add what isn’t in the carpet and textile field?
We also agree some of the similar Saryk gulli-gol MC examples they listed are earlier than Sorgato’s, but not all of them are.
For instance the so-called Leverhulme/Reuben carpet appears to RK to be at least contemporary with Sorgato’s, if not somewhat later.
All in all that rag hali’s editors did a poor job of proving their point that Sorgato’s carpet is mid-19th century.
In fact they failed to because it’s not.
But so did Sorgato in trying to evidence his carpet is pre-19th century. It’s not also, but it is a great example of Turkmen MC that sold at sotheby for a dirt cheap price.
And in the end, regardless of it being 19th century, it's a rare beautiful Turkmen weaving and David Sorgato should be congratulated both for recognizing this and for buying it.