Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >pinner collection@rippon-boswell Part III
email: jack@rugkazbah.com
Thu, May 20th, 2004 05:49:24 AM
Topic: pinner collection@rippon-boswell Part III

Let’s now leave the world of make-believe behind and examine a few of the lots in the pinner sale. Just as an aside you should realize we will encounter some additional fairy-tale spinning in the catalog descriptions, after such a beginning expecting anything different would be way too optimistic.

Perhaps the top lot in the 110 up for grabs is number 1 an embroidered asmalyk. Here is the photo:

Did maltzahn know this and was choosing it his idea to get the sale off with a bang? Probably so, but no matter how well this does it will not be able to ignite the rest of the mostly dud lots that follow. Watch and see if RK.com’s prediction holds.

I do agree with the cataloguer’s statement: “These embroidered decorative hangings have traditionally been attributed to the Tekke, although there is no conclusive proof if this.” However I do not agree with the reasoning provided for it: “The various design concepts indicate that by no means all of them should be given this provenance.”

Design differences are assuredly the weakest criteria useable to question the Tekke attribution and although technically all genuinely old embroidered asmalyk are so similar as to suggest one provenance, there is nothing to actually suggest they were, in fact, made by the Tekke. So who made them is still a mystery but the fact they were all probably made by the same group appears, at least from the available information, to be much more of one.

The presence in this example of a substantial amount of woolen embroidery thread implies it is early, which is also a conclusion readily supported by the wonderfully graceful drawing of the borders, particularly the major one. The bold and sinuous drafting of the five large flowering plants, which are reminiscent of similarly depicted but more naturalistic large flowering plants on second half of the16th century Kashmir shawls, provides just one more clue in supporting the belief this piece is about as early and good as they get. The quite low, and I must say somewhat silly estimate of 8,500 euro will be shattered and expected to see it at least doubled if not trebled.

Lot 1 is a masterpiece, too bad for pinner, it’s the only one he managed to capture in all the years and after all the money he spent on this collection.

Estimations are always the trickiest part of any cataloguers work. It is the one area, which is most telling concerning the expertise and intelligence the cataloguers bring to bear in his job. Since this sale is a one owner one, where different consignors wishes do not have to be catered to, it especially tells us a lot about rippon’s cataloging abilities.

It is pretty sure maltzahn made the estimates but as the catalog mentions both Azadi and the Rautenstengles did the technical analyses, which by the way did not make it into the catalog – a real dumb move on maltzahn’s part RK.com must say. Did these folks also contribute to the catalog descriptions and if so which ones or what comments?

Looking at the estimate for lot 11, a nice but surely not pre-1800, as the catalog quite mistakenly states, Tekke aina gol chuval one immediately questions the expertise of the cataloguer as well as this estimate. Here is the photo:

Pegged to sell for 5,000 euro, this makes lot 1 look ridiculously cheap or this lot stupidly expensive. As we say in New York, looks like the estimator better get his sh+t together. The description of this lot begins “Among connoisseurs this magnificent chuval is considered absolutely first class.” And just who are these connoisseurs, mr maltzahn? The ones you hope will troop into 45 Fredrichstrasse next weekend with bulging check books? Sorry but RK.com begs to differ with you and this chuval should struggle to make the estimation, if it even gets off the block. Why? Because the border structure is middle 19th century and the skirt a pastiche of yomud origins added to this Tekke product for starters. Plus the old dampening dislike of the aina gol on collector desires will combine to prove what Rk.com predicts, unless of course a maltzahn sucker client gets hyped up and bids against another equally lost soul. Or maybe maltzahn will only need one sucker and will pull some bids off the back wall??

This chuval is a nice colorful mid-19th century piece, nothing more nor nothing less and 5,000 euro is already a price, especially when there are 99 more lots to go. Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottlers of beer, if one of those bottles should happen to fall, 98 bottles of beer on the wall –all sing now, 98 bottles of beer on the wall…

Ok chorus, lot 15, a Chodor main carpet fragment holds some special connotation for your favorite inkslinger. The main carpet this fragment came from formerly belonged to yours truly and the choicest, high pile and largest extant piece of it still resides in my vault. Here’s the photo of pinner’s snippet:

When the carpet came into my possession in 1973 it was already fragmented and severely damaged – the reasons why it was cut up into a number of fragments. This one here, that pinner ended up with, is, believe it or not, one of the larger of those but surely not the largest one of them. I gave a number of these fragments away to my collector friends and sold others to those who I did not hold so dear. Surprisingly, or should I say not so surprisingly, a number of those folks who got them for free eventually turned around and sold or traded them away– reverse Indian-givers if there ever were ones.

Anyway, I don’t remember if pinner was given this piece by me but it is sure he didn’t buy it as money never passed between us. My story with the pinners is briefly mentioned in the “pinner’s Gamble” post and rest assured, dear readers, there’s lots more to tell but this is neither the time or the place for that.

In addition a noveau Turkmen Chodor collector from NY has assiduously attempted, and is still attempting, to garner up all the remaining pieces of this main carpet and watch him outbid all comers for it. By the way, this mukcrazy poser only splurges out at auctions or public exhibitions where he can showoff his checkbook so all you fans be warned to have your pens ready if you want a piece of this baby.

Lastly this piece is far older than the 1800 date the cataloguer guesstimates and further more it is the oldest and most archaic member of the mythic proto-Chodor group, two other points the cataloguer’s expertise just wasn’t quite able to regurgitate. Tsk Tsk. As for the 400 euro estimate? Time will tell but you folks should know single gol fragments of this piece have, in the recent past, sold for even more(and not by me I should add as the large fragment mentioned is the only piece I retained post 1985)

The next lot, number 16, which is so ugly I dare not illustrate it, again shows the brain-dead cataloging the pinnner collection has received. Described as follows “Such early Chodor main carpets always appear somewhat monotonous on account of their restrained palette and tranquil, not spectacular designs.” What superb blah blah, especially since the previous lot, number 15, should be considered even more worthy of the monotonous label in anyone who’s in the knows estimation. Besides being brain-dead the cataloguer must also be blind because lot 16’s white outlining around all the main and minor gols and the white ground main border make a picture that is surely not restrained – it’s so in your face it hurts, better wear your sunglasses when gazing on this monstrosity. The 5,000 euro estimate will, RK.com is sure, float as high as a lead balloon and maltzahn better hope it don’t fall on the auctioneers table and crush him flat as a pancake.

Lot 17, an extremely credibly and genuinely old, darnyk gol main carpet carries the same 5000 euro estimate. Here it is:

Again another sign the cataloguer’s estimations are screwed up big time.

This rug is earlier than the 1st half 19th century date it is given and while the toss-up Tekke/Yomud attribution the cataloguer guesses at might also be erroneous, I’d agree with the “unusual main carpet” tag he more confidently placed on it. Without handling the piece I’d offer a pretty positive Tekke attribution as Yomud is nowhere nearly as possible. Regardless, this is truly an excellent and rare main carpet. Granted darynk gols pieces are not exactly sought after but this is one that should be. Watch it exceed the estimate. Why? because its beautiful, exciting and in good shape. These are all qualities most of the pinner pieces dearly lack.

The hyperbole of the catalogs introductory “essays’ and in the pre-sale adverts and accompanying editorials is fortunately for readers not as present in the catalog descriptions. Lot 24, the Tekke animal tree ensi provides an exception, probably the most noticeable one. “Repeatedly published and discussed(mostly I should add by pinner himself, ed) this ‘animal-tree’ ensi is considered to be the oldest surviving example of its kind, a hypothesis that remains based on art historical research methods(comparative style critique, design analysis{again mostly by pinner,ed}) until we have the results of C-14 carbon dating.”

I will resist opening the C-14 dating of Turkmen rugs turkey-shoot here but suffice it to say the journey rageth, jimbo allen and company are taking into tinkerbell fairy-land at the hands of bonnani’s C-14 get rich quick games are laughable and highly specious at best and totally unreliable at the worst. Period.

This ensi might be the oldest of the group, however, the group itself is not very old and dating this one pre-1800 is extremely optimistic at best, but perhaps opportunistic might be a far better characterization?. Here is the photo:

The truly indolently designed lower elem is no different than those found on almost every mid-19th century Tekke ensi, the poorly proportioned central columns and the typical, and I must say exceedingly monotonous and poorly drafted sainak outer borders preclude any possibilities of this being pre-1800. The upper elem’s pairs of cutesy animals flanking “trees” along with the designs that a nutty rug dealer formerly from Theatinerstrasse 42 in Munchen believes are mythic winged-birds might dazzle the fans and have delighted pinner but this is pure Turkmen flash and not substance. Lastly the nearly ghastly drafted ‘curled-leaf’ borders positively support my mid-19th century dating for this alleged penultimate Tekke ensi. No way, Jose, as my southern-California chums might cheer. But I have no doubt some stuffed-wallet pseudo-collector or two of maltzahn’s might get sucked up into the vacuum of all the hype surrounding this mediocrity and battle it out past the way over-estimated 29,500 euro price tag he hung on this amateur-status Turkmen thingamabob. Ugh is all RK.com can grunt out about this one.

The Tekke torba, lot 26, doesn’t on first glance look similar enough to lot 19 to be its twin pair but after some thought I’d make a guess to say these were both made by at the same time and in the same place by two different weavers from the same family. Here are their photos:

lot 19

lot 26

I know this might seem far-reaching but I’d almost be willing to bet they are a pair. This fact, like most others that aren’t terribly obvious, were missed by not only the cataloguer but also pinner. There are a number of similarities that are just too present for this to not be the case but the rarely seen torba elem panels, both with borders that continue from the field, are the most salient and visible reasons supporting my contention.

The fact “This torba was part of the famous 1983 ‘Carpet Magic’ exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London”, which is heralded by the cataloguer as something special belies the fact that every piece in that book was only included because the owner paid 300 pounds for the privilege. So much for curatorial preferences, it was only pounds and cents that motivated Thompson to include pieces in the show and catalog. The only magic there was thompson’s magically vacuuming cleaning up the cash to pay for the entire printing of the catalog by this method and then pocketing all the profits from its sale(and its still selling well). True story and if all you jonny-boy fans don’t believe me, go ask him yourself. I don’t mind if the ex-doc was clever enough to pull that off, however, I do object to anyone ever referring the presence of a piece in that show or book as something other than it cost cash to get there.

So the fact this torba of pinner’s was included carries no real cachet as it, like every other piece in that book, was chosen on the basis of one criteria only, the willingness of the owner to pay.

Lot 33, a seemingly very early but actually mid-19th century, Tekke main carpet carries a highly over-rated estimate of 26,000 euro. This ugly and boring carpet’s only attribute, its main border, is a fooler as it looks archaic but actually is nothing more than a later invention of some unknown Turkmen weaver, which is but one of the signs it ain’t early. Here is the photo:

The more reliable dating aspects – the small size of the minor gols, the flattened major gol shape and the profusion of minor borders all point to a mid-19th century date, not the pre-1800 wishful thinking the cataloguer and obviously pinner believe. The description which begins as follows “ Published and extensively discussed in ‘Turkoman(sic) Studies’(again only by pinner) is the rarest piece in the pinner collection, due to the ‘asmalyk’ border with curled leaves, triangles, and octagonal stars in an angular vine.” First this is not the rarest piece in the pinner collection by any means. Second besides pinner no-one else has trumpeted its virtues, until maltzahn has in order to pump its sale. Third go show me an “asmalyk” with this border –there ain’t one boys. The angularity of the border, rather than the curvilinear style expected in any genuine pre-1800 weaving, the addition of the stars and triangles, which NO real and early asmalyk border displays and finally the generally scrunched and compressed drafting style this carpet border displays all prevent any knowledgeable expert from coming to the conclusion the catalog so vehemently expresses.

This lot will prove to be another lead balloon that hopefully will crush maltzahn’s egotistical belief he knows anything about Turkmen rugs, other than how to sell them to mokes who troop into his liar. PS: it don’t bode very well for pinner’s legacy either, now does it, as he paid a pant-full of lucre to get it from franses after it turned up in a sale-room and was bought by the combine and held by little lord franses.**SORRY BUT RK.COM MADE AN ERROR HERE. THIS TEKKE CARPET IS NOT THAT ONE BUT RATHER THE PIECE FORMERLY BELONGING TO BESIM AND SOLD TO pinner BY RAYMOND BERNARDOUT FOR AN OUTSTANDINGLY HIGH PRICE - raymond, the louse of mayfair who now lives in Los Angeles, will one day get his 15 minutes of fame here on RK.Com but this is neither the time or the place to shoot that turkey full of lead.**

There are only three ensi in the pinner hoard, the already discussed Tekke, the next up for critique, lot 38, and another yomud one lot 58. That one, lot 58, is a nothing while lot 38 is definitely a something-in fact given the choice between having to wake up every morning for eternity and facing it or the Tekke, lot 24, I’d rather look at it then that pseudo, flashy, dumb blonde of a piece. Here, lot 38, is a real ensi and while this is not the most archaic example of its type, it’s a darned good one.

Notice the grace and grandeur the curled-leaf border possesses in comparison to the late, flaccid version on 24– now you should be able to see why 24 ain’t the bees knees maltzahn and pinner crack it up to be, right? Shame about the large missing areas but the luminous coloration the cataloguer mentions, the rare inner border, the rarer horizontal one separating the four field panels, the well drawn horizontal border above the upper elem and the wonderfully drafted icons in the four paneled field all signify this ensi is older than the mid-19th century guesstimate in the catalog. Again maltzahn and pinner missed the quality and misjudged this piece.

Lot 51, another over-rated pinner piece carries a 18,500 euro estimate. While Rk.com admits it’s cute, cuddly and colorful(all attributes few Arabatchi weavings can claim) , we in no way endorse the circa 1800 dating the catalog pushes. Here is the photo:

The diminutive gols, their lack of synthesis and relationship to each other, the cookie-cutter drawing style these elements and the border’s display and the proportions of the repeated elements within the elem’s space scream out loud and clear: I’m a mid-19th century end of the line Arabatchi. Sorry maltzahn but experts will never candle to a flashy, two-dimensional Turkmen like this and some of the others pinner apparently was willing to shell out his cash for. Again, will some newly minted TurkOmanic with a wallet pony up some serious cash for this one? Your guess is as good as mine here, dear readers and next weekend will provide the answer.

Ok then that’s it for Part III as the rest of the pieces up to half time, which is lot 55, hold no interest or reason for mention here on RK.com. Stay tuned for the final installment of the pinner collection preview.

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