Greetings 'wonderer' and thanks for your continued interest in discussing your minor border question by referencing an engsi sold at rippon-boswell in May of 2012.
However before we comment, and we are not denigrating your view, picking out only one aspect of the engsi we published, and a most minor one at that, and extrapolating from it the engsi is not as early as we have suggested is in our view inconsequential.
Granted we have said in the past all aspects of early, pre-1750, weavings, particularly Turkmen and Anatolian, are distinguishable from the later copies.
Sometimes the differences are in your face and blatant, other times very subtle and very hard to differentiate.
This instance, the minor border you pointed out, falls into the latter category, and while we will attempt to show it is not the same as what appears in the Broido/rippon-boswell engsi we can promise were you to view both in the flesh you would more than likely see what we are talking about.
Incidently that engsi, lot 2 in the rippon-boewell sale 80 (80/2), made an appearance here on RugKazbah.com in our RugKazbah.com review shortly after the sale.
Here is the thread in which we discussed it and several others lots in that sale.
So before we deal with your border question let's republish what we wrote about this engsi back in June of 2012.
From several reader's reports, some who attended the sale and others who didn’t, we have been able to put together a pretty good picture of what happened at rippon-boswell’s “major spring” auction. It was a success although much of the mediocre material that predominated, and selling for low to mediocre prices, will never return much real profit or eyeball enjoyment for the buyers.
Afterall, does owning a closet full of mediocre second rate examples of Turkmen weaving give anything other than a type of gluttonous satisfaction.
The story of lot 2, the ex-broido engsi, is a perfect example. We discuss its price degeneration below, here we mention a far less obvious but far more salient point.
Lot 2, a Yomud family engsi recently sold at the Doctor jonathan broido sale at Nagel, lot 10, March 22, 2011.
The past forty year history of the market for antique, collectible, oriental rugs is a pyramid, which is getting progressively smaller at the top.
Regardless of the prices for certain exemplary and very early examples, which is an inverted pyramid with a top that is getting larger, the audience is shrinking. This is fact and anyone who disagrees is either an idiot or in denial.
We are not going to try to explain why this has happened, nor why we believe this trend will continue.
We will unequivocally state it is going to get harder and harder to sell mediocre and second-rate Turkmen and other oriental rugs, so whatever “success” one wants to herald from recent boswell, and grogan, sales RK sees this as only hype.
The story of lot 2, the ex-broido engsi tells it all.
Do we need also mention ten years ago many of the lots in the boswell sale would have brought (significantly) higher prices?
The reason is the aging demographic of collectors, the inability of those who are in charge of rugDUMB to generate significant sizzle to get a new and younger audience interested, and the inherent cronyism, deception, and yes deceit, visible to anyone with good eyes who might consider venturing into rugDUMB.
To continue: As we wrote the estimated prices were all over the board, but most pitched at rock bottom.
We certainly do not know who the consignors were but either maltzahn brow-beat them into submission to get such low prices or they were desperate as a ship-wrecked and out to sea in a dinghy for two months sailor is for a canteen of water .
Again, this is another very visible result of the shrinking market.
That said most of the material deserved the low prices, and considering the shape of the rug market even more so.
However, there were some prices for equally mediocre and barely collectible merch in the sale pitched at old time (for boswell) high estimates.
Apparently, and not surprisingly, the audience of buyers was willing to pay more for some of the far too cheaply placed lots, ignore others and do the same for the minority carrying far healthier price expectations.
RK has repeatedly maintained there is no real market in the truest sense of the word for antique oriental rugs, and if we are wrong(but we are not) that market is definitely shrinking. Once more this sale, and almost very other one we have ever witnessed, prove it admirably.
So let’s take a look at the few lots we previewed, and a couple of others but remember the “official” prices have not been published so what follows has been gleaned from the reports of several trusted and reliable sources.
The first lot we discussed, lot 2 the ex-broido collection engsi, made 1500 euro, more than we expected but definitely not enough to cover its original cost let alone profit for the dealer who purchased it, were he the consignor.
It’s not a bad example; it’s ‘good’ in a loose meaning of the term, but it’s far from great. Considering its wacked condition, lack of outstanding color or iconography we are rather at a loss why someone would want it at 1500 plus commission..
Being a rather common type, along with the deficiencies noted above, it demonstrates there is a market for older Turkmen pieces (remember we never said there wasn’t), albeit at quite distressed prices.
The fact it sold at Nagel’s broido sale not so long ago for 1700 euro and then appeared at boswell selling for a bit less shows the difficulty in selling pieces like this anywhere but what we call a hand-holding auction venue(the underbidder being the hand-holder).
As we said after purchasing it at Nagel the dealer who purchased it (michael craycraft) tried hard to sell it and whether or not he actually did, and at what price remains unknown to us. The engsi then appearing at rippon-boswell and selling for less surely bodes poorly for its alleged virtues and any real market for it.
OK enough on this uninteresting engsi and on to others.
Dated mid-19th century in the rippon-boswell catalog -- we were not able to find out what it was dated at the Nagel sale -- is, we believe, rather too conservative and calling it circa 1800 far more correct and plausible.
Regardless, it is not as early as the engsi we published, that's for sure.
Nor does it have any of the features -- materials, color, iconography -- that support dating the one from our collection circa 1700.
OK enough beating around the bush. Let's try to explain what we see as essential to prove our point and disprove 'wonderer's'.
Yomud engsi; ex-Broido/craycraft/rippon-boswell; and detail of the top right section showing the in question minor border.
Now here is a side-by-side comparison of the minor borders on it and ours.
Naturally the first comment has to do with the age of the Broido engsi surely being notably earlier than late 19th century.
Let's all remember, 'wonderer', you set up this discussion by stating it looks the same as in late 19th century weavings.
Moving past that, overall the coloration of the Broido engsi is not in any way as strikingly rich and crisp as our engsi.
This pertains to the way the border in question is depicted.
Also the proportions of this amulet on the Broido engsi are somewhat elongated, ours are a visibly less so. But the less dynamic depiction of the amulet, especially its reciprocal/negtive space iconography, is definitely worth mention.
Frankly, these are rather nit-picking when any comparison of the two engsi -- the Broido and ours -- cannot help but conclude the latter is the unmistakably earlier.
So it appears it's back to the drawing board for you, 'wonderer', to go find this border amulet on a late 19th century Turkmen weaving, as you initially set this up.
In the final analysis and in fact we think your position is rather pointless, as this border amulet is far too nondescript and simply articulated to base any age guessing of the weaving(s) in which it appears.
And BTW: Our comments written back in 2012 about the state of the rug market and its future were right on. It was not hard to forcast, and actually since the early 2000's RK made it clear to everyone this is what was going to happen.