Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Silence is Not Consent or Tekke Torba Part III
email: jack@rugkazbah.com
Mon, Jul 2nd, 2007 10:11:26 PM
Topic: Silence is Not Consent or Tekke Torba Part III

The rational for presenting these comments about Jimbo’s fantasy-land formularizations at this time, instead of when he first made them public, was due to my reticence to glorify them by responding. I still believe this would have been the best option, however, windy’s recent libelous and slanderous assertions, which ran the gamut from baseless personal innuendo to attacking my professional conduct, and the appearance of his new Tekke torba "thesis" have prompted this critique.

Jimbo mistakenly believed his lies and bombastic name-calling would be able to stand but the only thing I can say in Jimbo’s credit is he knows when to throw in the towel. Tuesday after he received a letter from my counsel advising him to immediately cease and desist making these false accusations, attempts to defame and interfere improperly in my affairs, Jimbo removed all the gross, improper references from his website.

He knew when to quit but his twisted and distorted mind would not totally allow him to accept defeat and prompted him to post the following “explanation” for his actions:
“Jack has removed all the slanderous and libelous statements from his website about me then gone to a lawyer and said look what that bad Jim Allen is doing to me. I will take off the more personal information but I maintain nothing ever posted here about Jack is a lie, to the best of my knowledge. By the way Jack has been foaming at the mouth lately, you can bet several of them have hit him squarely between the eyes. Things I write about anything he might once have owned are purely the result of a logical process that I use searching for the hidden truths of Turkoman design. I have not animus towards Jack, who I regard as inane. Jim Allen”

The obvious question - If nothing was lies why did he then remove them? -apparently is beyond a character like Jimbo to face and truthfully answer.

Let it be known I have removed nothing - not one word, sentence or paragraph - from my commentary about Jimbo and again question publicly his powers of observation if he doesn’t recognize this and also the difference between righteous indignation and foaming in the mouth behavior. His excuses remind me of Bill Clinton’s litany of similarly transparent justifications, obfuscations and failures to accept responsibility for his acts.

Plus the absurd notion jimbo’s rambling tall-tales of Turkmen nonsense have any “logical process” behind them or that he would even be able to recognize a “hidden truth” if it fell on him are just more evidence of the same delusionary mind-set.

Enough about Jimbo’s failure to cast dispersions in my direction, let’s now examine one of, if not the most central point, in jimbo’s Tekke torba soliloquy.

The Peter Hoffscheister Tekke torba, which is, I agree, the earliest published example - though I have seen an unpublished one that is different but at least as early – plays a central role in windy’s unintentionally humorous trip thru Tekke torba-land.

The Tennessee windbag concentrates on the borders of this piece in his attempt to prove his keen mastery of Turkmen iconography and its sources, as well as using it to compare various other Tekke torbas. In that effort, which is truly almost impossible to read without becoming lost in the verbiage or laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of it all, jimbo’s references run the gamut from a stretched marked analogy using Neolithic imagery to silly conclusions based on incredibly absurd deductive and patently false conclusions and reasonings.

Here are borders from the Tekke torbas windy chose to illustrate his “thesis”:

From left to right: the Hoffscheister Tekke torba border, the Leigh Marsh Tekke torba, the ex-Cassin Collection Tekke torba.

What follows are some comments on the points that encompassed jimbo’s fractured-fairy-tale approach to mis-understanding the Tekke torba.

1. Here is where it begins:” The vertical border ornaments of the Hoffmeister torba recapitulate some of the oldest known iconography of ancient Anatolia. I am sure this is a shocking assertion to many Turkoman scholars but the Turkomen were in Anatolia in the 13 th and 14 th centuries, and it should not be too surprising to find vestiges of that sojurn(sic) in this 16th century Tekke torba.” Except for the incorrect use of the word recapitulate and the inept, and completely incorrect, substitution of the word Turkoman for Turkman, this sounds reasonable, right?

Wrong, dead wrong. No Turkoman(sic) scholar would be shocked to learn the Turkomen(sic) were in Anatolia in the 13/14th centuries as this is known by any neophyte Turkmen rug collector who has ever read even one book on Turkmen history. The next assertion about “finding vestiges of this sojourn” in Hoffscheister’s 16th century torba is equally incorrect and, besides for the fact there is no proof the descendants of the Turkmen who were in Anatolia in the 13/14th centuries ever returned to Turkmenistan, you will understand the others in a few minutes.

With this as a beginning, as bad as it is, jimbo has no trouble making things worse as he begin to dig himself in deeper into his own failure to understand the mechanics of Anatolian pre-history as it could possibly apply to Turkmen ideology and iconography.

2. Here’s jimbo putting both his feet into his mouth while trying to pray to the “Mother Goddess”: “In the vertical portions of the border of this torba one finds six sided hexagonal shapes with a central box that has lines radiating from its comers in the general shape of upraised arms and outstretched legs. There are also simple lines extending upwards and downwards from the mid-portions of these boxes representing a head and that of possibly a fetus. This motif is well known to students of prehistoric Anatolian iconography and is thought to represent a seated woman. It is the seated "Mother Goddess" giving birth.”

For those readers who are now completely lost in his verbiage, here are the illustrations windy provides to “prove” this point.

On the left is the detail in question - and what a big question it is - from the Hoffscheister torba and next to it is the famous wall-relief from Catal Huyuk. Catal Huyuk, for those unfamiliar with this reference, is an Anatolian Neolithic period (circa 7000-5000BC) archaeological site discovered by James Mellaart, a well-known British archaeologist, almost 50 years ago. This plaster wall relief, which was found in what is believed to be a shrine room, is generally accepted as being a representation of a female Goddess figure. However any relationship or reality to Jimbo’s reference stops here, as no-one in Anatolia during the 13/14th century, especially any Turkmen, would have possibly been able to learn about any aspect of the indigenous pre-existing Anatolian Neolithic civilization, its culture or its religious art-works. Windy’s unbelievably stupid assertion to the contrary is perhaps the dumbest statement he has ever made, and that is quite an accomplishment.

3. Not satisfied with just having stretched the limits of credibility and demolishing them jimbo then declares:
”This (ed. the hoffscheister) is the earliest known tekke torba and was woven during the high point of Turkoman(sic) power and influence in the environs of Central Asia. In this respect it might be like the Rosetta stone was for Egyptian hieroglyphics”

The only problem here is if this torba is “the Rosetta stone” can jimbo “read it”? Answering this question in the affirmative, after his “reading” of the “Mother Goddess”, would take more faith than humankind has ever witnessed. ‘ Nuff said about this point I hope.

4. Jimbo then launches into the “meat” of his argument, apparently oblivious to his choking on what he has just bitten off. Here’s where it begins:
“In the Hoffmeister torba the vertical borders are fundamentally different from the horizontal borders suggesting some primary differentiation in their meaning or a hierarchy of interpretation.”
And here’s where it ends:
” If one accepts this assertion then I suspect the ascending portions of the border are the oldest ichnographically speaking and lead to the establishment of a new order in the horizontal extensiveness of the border, the present tense so to speak.”

Sorry jimbo but most genuinely old, pre-1st quarter 19th century, Turkmen weavings exhibit this trait and the fact it appears in Hoffscheister’s torba is nothing unusual or surprising. But your “suspecting the ascending portions of the border are the oldest ichnographically speaking” is surprisingly unfounded and your following comment that this leads “to the establishment of a new order in the horizontal extensiveness of the border, the present tense so to speak.” just more obtuse meaningless blah blah.

These are typical examples of jimbo’s “logical process” of statement making without providing any supporting proof to back them up. Its hyperbole of the highest order, that is in the end nothing other than intellectual dishonesty .

5. Here’s a perfect example of jimbo-speak, an arcane pseudo-English tongue no one who speaks English could possibly understand, that he presents between his intro and conclusion: “In the Hoffmeister torba the vertical borders are fundamentally different from the horizontal borders suggesting some primary differentiation in their meaning or a hierarchy of interpretation. The basic hexagon is still there along the horizontal course of the border but the central ornament has evolved. The central box is gone and is there replaced by a pair of opposing bilaterally symmetrical ornaments. The laterally projecting superior and inferior lines of this bilateral ornament terminate in triangles or arrowheads while the truncated central projections terminate blindly.” Can you follow that? Believe it or not I don’t think he can either.

But it gets even worse, as impossible as that sounds, as he continues:
“I think that in the here and now of the 16th century that Tekke woman changed the Mother Goddess ornament for one that reflects, on the one hand in simplest terms, a Kufic device and on the other hand one that seems to me to represent a pair of opposing bows and arrows. The ornaments intervening between the vertical and horizontal hexagons of the horizontal aspects of the border seem to me to represent a simple "T" shape, a birds' perch, and the diagonalized(sic) coloring of the space surrounding the "T's", the flashing of birds' wings possibly as they land. Considering the central role raptors played in the fabric of all Turkoman society this interpretation could hardly seem surprising.”

Whew, what a mouthful of gibberish – mother Goddesses, bows and arrows, Kufic iconography, bird’s perches, bird’s landings and their wings- culminating in seeing raptors in this border. And then he says with a straight face this “could hardly be surprising”, is this guy nuts or what??

And if he’s right, which has about the same odds as buying a winning lotto ticket for a 100 million dollar drawing, Turkmen society would have unraveled before it ever began.

If all this isn’t enough mind-boggling nonsense, jimbo then rushes headlong into an equally convoluted and error prone attempt to denigrate the superb drawing of the rare border design found on the Tekke torba I formerly owned as he tries to compare it to what appears in the Marsh example.

His argument is so plainly amateurish and incorrect it hardly bears critique.

Jimbo’s thesis:
“The border of the Marsh torba contains the most archetypal drawing of any large "S" Turkoman border ornament known to me. There are three other examples in the popular literature that have this border, the Amstey, Cassin, and Hoffmeister examples, and all of them except the Hoffmeister example are considerably later and much more de-evolved than the Marsh example….(ed. in these others) one sees the disintegration of the "large S " major border into a meaningless series of simple "X" motifs interspersed with little curled lines.”

Once again jimbo’s ignorance of Turkmen iconography is showing and what he calls a “meaningless series of simple "X" motifs interspersed with little curled lines.” is actually the very archaic and enigmatic border design that is, in reality, the archetype for the design in the Marsh border.

Incorrectly labeled in a chapter of Turkomen(sic) Studies”, written by Robert Pinner and Michael Franses, as the peikam border, it actually is the peikan border - peikan is the ancient Persian word for arrow. This is a small mistake for Pinner/Franses but a giant one for jimbo.

The subtle complexity of the peikan border is unfortunately lost on a self-possessed pissant like jimbo. Here is a good representation of it from a Salor, S-group, kedjebe torba,:

For someone who is always seeing bows and arrows in Turkmen iconography, here was his one chance to actually be right. Well at least linguistically speaking, that is. Is the peikan border a representation of the bow and arrow? I surely can’t positively say but it is sure the word, peikan refers to it. Why did Pinner/Franses label this design with this word? Again I can’t say and maybe one day they will explain their reasoning.

Jimbo’s erroneous claim the Marsh border is a model for it is just another one of his many errors, as the large “S” designs are not a key image but rather derivative of a typical minor border found on almost every early Salor S-group chuval and torba. Notice their inclusion in the Kedjebe detail above. This is no doubt the source for their appearance in the Marsh border, which is, in fact, a pastiche combining those “S” designs superimposed over a somewhat misunderstood version of the peikan.

Jimbo, the goofs and gaffs found in your “ideas” about the sources and meaning of Turkmen iconography are the fodder of legend. Too bad the legend you are so assiduously building will only assure you of the title Turko-idiot Supreme, dwarfing even price=clown’s well deserved turko-idiot moniker.

I could go on and ridicule many other “points” in jimbo’s Tekke torba soliloquy but why bother? What appears here should be enough to convince even jimbo himself not only of how wrong he is but more significantly how little he actually does know about Turkmen weaving and the sources and meanings of the iconographies they display.

So jimbo, better scrap your existing efforts and go back to the drawing board or, better yet, forget rugs and stick to poetry. At least in that genre, there is enough poetic license to excuse the mistakes and crapola you produce but art appreciation does require exactness and expertise, two commodities you have yet to prove you are capable of supplying let alone sustaining.

Author: cryptochip Mon, Jul 2nd, 2007 10:11:26 PM

Jack, you're nimble Jack, you are so quick But my oh my.... You are SO sick get some help buddy... you need it desperately

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