Sample page with the black and white illustrations of plates 129-168 discussed below. Let RK add b/w illustrations of artworks have no place in any art publication and the downside of their inclusion is never worth the relatively small amount of money a publisher saves.
Reviewing rageth’s Turkmen publication is both a labor of love and a complete waste of time for RK.
That we are enamored with historic Turkmen weaving is a given. But since this book makes claims it does not deliver, ie “new persepctives”; that it is physically difficult, truly painful to manipulate to properly read; and full of questionable information, RK wonders if the results of our efforts are worth time expended.
All this said we well realize most, if not almost all, of those who purchase it will never read much, if anything, of the text rageth has written.
So why should we bother when we are also pretty sure more will read and think about our review than his words?
We learned long ago, after publishing our “Image Idol Symbol: Ancient Anatolian Kelim” book, few purchasers read any of it, and in hindsight we could have just as well have forgone producing a text volume and only written some short captions to the plates displayed in volume one.
But we did not write that book for those who bought it, rather we spent thousands of hours researching the relationship between Neolithic archaeological items and the cultural weaving tradition the earliest examples of Anatolian Kelim express to hopefully further future research and interest.
We cannot say the same about the time consuming process our reviewing rageth's almost 900 page book involves.
However, RK hopes doing so will act as a foil for the unwarranted praise ragth’s book has already garnered from those who we are even more sure have not read it in its entirety, or even done more than look at the color plates -- the black and white ones are of such poor quality they are almost indecipherable ghosts -- and some captions.
Unlike our Anatolian Kelim book, which truly did set in motion a completely new perspective to appreciate and understand the flatweaves of Anatolia, jurg rageth and his alleged ‘New Perspective’ approach to Turkmen carpets fails miserably to achieve that goal, or even come close.
Based on unreliable and specious conclusions drawn from C14 testing rageth dates carpets with imaginary certainty.
He also presents nothing that has not already been long known about Turkmen dyeing techniques and, while his publication does list numerous dye tests, their admitted inconclusive results, like the less than believable C14 dating, in reality does nothing to provide Turkmen carpet studies with a body of new, proven, information.
After 15 years of ‘working’ on his Turkmen carpet publication rageth’s goal has not been met, instead his text at best only alludes to achieving any “new perspectives”.
For instance “Finding that the heraldic meaning of the khali designs suggested by Moshkova is rather questionable, the term “main carpet” has no longer been used. In the course of this study, it became clear that smaller items, produced with considerable more care, hold, if anything does, such a primary role”.
Trying to disprove Moshkova’s primary thesis – certain Turkmen gol denoted proprietary group identity – without even one supporting idea, let alone any proof positive, to the contrary is typical of the supposed “new perspectives” rageth claims he has established.
To try and shoot down Moshkova’s idea by implying the finer knotting on smaller weavings, like chuval and torba, makes them more significant and important iconographic tools than main carpet(MC) is misguided at best. At the worse it is blah blah nonsense.
Plus any actual comparison shows only later small weavings are considerably finer, and some of the earliest MC are surprisingly fine (ie produced with what rageth calls “considerable more care”). So much for that “new perspective”.
Statements like this could only come from a writer with little experience in early Turkmen weavings, regardless of 15 years trying to get a book on them finished.
Then there is the reality no one alive today knows what the weaver of any Turkmen object’s group allegiance was, nor is the place any Turkmen weaving was manufactured known, nor has the actual age of any pre-mid 19th century Turkmen weaving been proven.
Worse is the fact nothing is known about the meaning behind any gol iconography, so until genuine facts to address these questions are discovered Moshkova’s thesis still remains the best among anyone else’s guesswork, rageth’s cheap shot not withstanding.
Also, considering this book was 15 years in preparation, the following quotation must strain the credibility even the most faithful rageth adherent might give him.
“Cat. Nos. 1-128 with technical data are illustrated in colour in Vol.1, while cat. Nos. 128-168 with their technical data are illustrated in black and white in Vol. 1, appendix I. This approach was taken to ensure specific documentation of all pieces that were radiocarbon dated, even when an adequate color image was not available for publication.”
You mean to tell readers during those 15 years a color picture could not have been taken? Please, this is as silly as a schoolboy’s my dog ate my homework excuse.
The deeper we delve into rageth’s text the more we become convinced it suffers many drawbacks, perhaps the most grievous a repetitious use of information among the book’s several authors and the numerous presentation of facts when in reality these are nothing but rageth’s opinions or absolutely unproven assertions, like the attempt to derail Moshkova’s thesis.
More to come, stay tuned…