Engsi sold at a Boston area auction during the final acor event before its belly-up demise
It sold for 35,000 dollars hammer price to eberhart herrman, and RK did not miss the opportunity to put some facts next to the myth-making many made of this weaving.
Any interested readers unfamiliar with this story can bone-up here:
Unlike that one, lot 60 at rippon does not have the highly unusual knotted warp finish remaining. If so, it could be suggested they were both from the same original weaving source, aka workshop. Since this is not the case, and we highly doubt they are related by anything other than the obvious design similarities, it is easily assumed they have no real relationship other than they are both Tekke weavings and share what we can only call cutesy drawing of what we long ago named and formerly called the “dancing girl” flowers in its two elem and main border.
Left: Detail ashik flower head icon Lot 60; Right: Detail ashik flower head icon from 2006 Boston area sale
It is on these fanciful Turkmen icon, which we have of late begun to call the “ashik flower head”, we will rest our case neither of these two engsi, or others of the type like these two from the Washington icoc Turkmen engsi presentation (shown below), are much earlier than circa 1800.
Number 6 from the Washington DC icoc catlog on the left; and number 7 on the right.
It’s clear these two engsi, and others easily cited, are not as old or interesting as the one from the 2006 sale or Lot 60. However, all that said and appreciated, no example of this group of Tekke engsi are what RK considers to be ancient, aka pre-1700.
These engsi, like the more well known and renown Tekke animal tree engsi, are nothig but later additions/creations grafted onto a much earlier group of iconic weavings, like the bird asmalyk and in this instance a far older version of engsi with the ashik flower head (b/w detail shown below).
We are not going to publish a dissertation to explain why, only show the archetypal version of ashik flower head icon from an engsi we consider to be not only pre-1700, but pre-1600.
Detail ashik flower head from an ancient western Turkmen engsi; RK collection, unpublished
There is one major but subtle difference between these two types of `ashik flower head` icon.
Those, like lot 60, have little ‘three fingered hands’ at the ends of the arm(s) below the ashik.
As far as RK is concerned this is a later accretion/addition to the earlier hand-less iconography, like the ancient version in the b/w photo above.
Fortunately we also have in our collection a Tekke engsi that is appreciably earlier than lot 60 and any other of the ‘three-finger hand’ type we have ever seen. Its ashik flower head, detail shown at the beginning and below, provides what we see as one of the transitional iconographic steps between the earlier (hand-less) and those with the ‘three finger hand’ icon.
Detail Tekke engsi trasitional ashik flower head, circa 1700; RK collection; unpublished
To put the cherry atop this comparison we’d like to speculate on the source/origin of the three-finger hand.
As far as our experience tells us this icon is unique to a very particular type and group of weaving where it only ever appears. We wonder how many readers will recognize it?
One additional comment: It had great longevity, as we can trace it in this group from circa 1400 to the very late 19th century. That’s about 500 years.
And while we have no proof it is the source, the fact it appears only in these two groups of weavings makes this far more than a blind shot in the dark.
OK, let’s just drop this here and mention two other lots in minister maltzahn’s upcoming June 2nd evangelical where his ignorance is hung out to dry.
Lot 125 receives a definitely unwarranted canonization from the pope, aka detlef maltzahn, when he christened it a “saf” in the catlog entry. “A saf design kilim of impressive graphic effect.”
This kelim has as much to do with saf as pope maltzahn has with the Vatican.
Long ago, in our 2009 Anatolian Opus, RK put to final rest ideas any Anatolian double-niche kelim were ever made as a saf, or originally used for prayer. Regardless of how thin or broad the double-niche might be it is now past stupid to keep calling them saf.
We have no doubt somewhere, sometime, someone could have used one of these weavings for prayer, but this and a winning powerball ticket does not entitle anyone to claim, as dopey detlef contiues to, they are saf.
What is far more probable and supported by some ethnographic field work is these always large, at least 3 meters and frequently longer, double-niche kelim were made as wall-hangings to hide the contents of the niches often found in village and town mud-brick houses. Their lack of ancient icon, amulets and symbols, their uncomplicated overall patterns, added to their large size pretty much guarantees these kelim were secular and not cult weavings.
That secular nature once again implying they were never meant to be, or were initially produced as, saf.
By forwarding the prosaic idea a kelim like lot 125 was woven as a religious, and not a domestic, object all maltzahn does is demonstrate either he knows little about these weavings or he is just to greedy a carpetbagger to correctly portray them.
The second and last lot we will mention is a Turkmen MC lot 136.
Detail Lot 136 questionably called 'Karadashli', and even more questionably dated 17/18th century, in maltzahn's catalog description
“A very old Karadashli main carpet presenting a spaciously conceived field design of three rows of large tauk naska gols and a palmette border.”
There’s enough issues we could raise with maltzahn’s description to keep us busy for paragraphs, let’s just mention the most egregious.
First and foremost if we have any pet peeve with the turko-ignorance of many pundits it’s their feeble and misguided oft-repeated ‘spaciousness’ meme.
Granted, early Turkmen weavings have major and minor gol that are much larger and squarer than later examples. They also display well proportioned breathing room between them. However, the use of that word is more often than not applied to weavings that have too much distance between their major and minor gol – like that frequently seen in middle to late Ersari chuval. Or to weavings like this one that do not really have it properly created.
Too much or two little space are both signs, as are gol that are far wider than high, not of an early weaving but a later one.
The latter case and point here because Lot 136 does not have the ‘large’ size Tauk Naska gol a 17th/18th century Turkmen MC would have.
Any carpet that, like it, is 2.5 meters long and has three vertical rows of 10 gol each could never qualify as having large gol. There simply ain’t enough room.
By the way, the minor gol which are large appear to us to be out of proportion with the much too narrow height of the Tauk Nauska majors. This imbalance is another giveaway this is not a 17th century MC.
In fact, this is the sole reason for the ‘spaciousness’, which is ersatz, phoney and not what appears in genuine 17th century Turkmen MC.
In addition the ‘palmette’ main border does not in any way, shape or form have the detailed articulation and sinuous drawing skill a weaving of the 17th century displays.
We sincerely even doubt calling it a Karadashli is correct, but thanks to maltzahn’s lack of providing even a mention of the type of knots used we cannot definitely say so.
But the color palette, use of the Tauk Nauska major gol, and the so-called ‘boat aka palmette’ main border -- all rather unusual features for a Karadashli product – tend to lead us to discount this provenance.
The rug is beat-up and damaged enough to make someone of detlef maltsahn’s limited skills, or one of his ministry believers, think it is 17th century.
Sorry to rain on that parade but condition is never a valid criteria of age. Assessing this carpet’s age based on genuine ones, and not fairy-tales, it is quite apparent to RK it dates at best circa 1800.
What is not speculation is that it is rather ugly and ungainly, with elements that are out of proportion. And in the final analysis three rows of ten somewhat compressed vertically major gol is not an early format, most assuredly not one to expect to see in a 17th century Turkmen MC.
RK is quite sure of something else – maltzahn hopes by the end of his sermonizing his parishioners will fill up his collection plate. This is a reality we sincerely doubt will happen, although we do think he will have a 50-60% sale rate if he sells at or somewhat below the lowly estimates many lots in the sale carry.