Lot 60 is a very respectable C-gol carpet with a very well drawn upper elem panel design. Most of the oldest main carpets, we’re not talking only about C gol ones here, that retain their elem have different designs on them, the fact pinner’s piece doesn’t is just one indication it is not in the company of those pieces. Here it is:
Regardless, it’s still a pretty good example and the upper elem, drawn with a looser, less compacted character than the lower one, is another clue to its age. Why was this done? To “ simulate” the archaic feature of using two different designs? We’ll probably never know but it is a good possibility. The rest of the drawing of pinner’s piece is good but the one exceptional feature, which is unknown in any other C-gol rug and truly the one outstanding feature of lot 60, is the reduced size of the C-gols placed at the both sides of the field and at the top and bottom as well. This turns then into de facto minor gols, a feature I find both interesting, beautiful and amazing!
What is even more amazing is the fact maltzahn not only missed seeing this but more significantly missed its significance – not his first, nor his last, mistake. Maltzahn does notice and mention the “archaic boat border” and states “Judged by its archaic ‘boat’ border, it is among the older examples of its type.” The “boat’ border, a description I have always had difficulty swallowing and one I never felt inclined to use, on lot 60 might be archaic but lot 60’s version of it surely isn’t and the wide and quite monotonous guard borders definitely aren’t nor do they convince me this carpet is among the oldest of its type. It’s dated first half 19th century in the catalog, a dating RK.com agrees with wholeheartedly but then, tell us mr cataloguer, if this dating is accurate why would you then declare this main carpet being among the oldest of its type. Are there none that are appreciably older? Hogwash says RK.com you need to go back to your books, maltzahn and not the account ledgers.
As a group there are not many extant C-gol carpets but this one isn’t appreciably older than most, in fact it’s about average in my opinion. Those little C-gols are great and the upper elem is evocative but that’s about it. Estimate is another stupidly low one, 3500 euro especially after such a glowing catalog description.
The next lot, 61, is described as an impressive animal trapping. RK.com agree with the impressive tag but would like to ask maltzahn what type of animal was trapped by it? That phrase, animal trapping, is as descriptive as princess bokara and about as educated. Granted this is a difficult attribution and the catalog mentions it looks like “eagle group” but doesn’t fit in any one of the four. Here is the photo:
The catch all phrase, animal trapping, is used by old school Turkmen collectors to describe these large, oversized torba that are thought by this crew of folks to have been used as asmalyk on the bridal camel. However, this is pure conjecture concerning not only their use but the use of any pre-mid 19th century asmalyk, you know those five sided affairs, in this position as well. The use of any early Turkmen weavings, those prior to that period, are totally unsubstantiated and the “lore” surround these objects, like asmalyk, tent-bands, gertmesh, ensi etc., is unfortunately just that lore. It is not fact and RK.com objects to the confident way truly old examples of these unusual shaped pieces are ascribed to such phantom uses by certain dealers, collectors and aficionados. .
Lot 63, a Salor torba with the rare memling gols and secondaries like those found on the more typical larger torbas with medallions, is one of the few prizes of the collection. These torbas are among the most interesting of the Salor repertoire and if it was complete it would sell for a record price. Take a look:
But its not, having suffered some unknown fate that divided it into three sections. Still it’s a top thing and no doubt more than one collector will vie to take it home and the 12,000 euro estimate will be shattered. Look for around 25,000 plus for this lot.
The catalog’s dopey statement “…the perfect harmony of the composition make it a remarkable weaving, and the fact that this effect is hardly compromised by the fragmented condition confirms its high artistic merit.” H-e-l-l-o, give us a break (no pun intended) will you please. The overall composition is destroyed by the fragmentation. Plus the “perfect harmony” maltzahn, or whomever, is drooling about belies the fact this torba is two dimensional. Masterpiece Turkmens, as well as examples from all other weaving groups, are able to create a third dimension by using proportion and coloration to create depth and distance. Does this piece do that? RK.com knows it doesn’t and now you do too.
By the way, dear readers, the main border is never used on the oldest examples of Salor weavings, a sure sign for you all to look out for in the future. Remember you heard that here from RK.com, even you pinner, maltzahn and little lord franses.
Another Salor torba, lot 68, is the large type referred to above.
These come in one, two and three “seat” versions as they are affectionately known in the London rug trade circle. The one “seaters” are the rarest and pinner’s belong in that grouping. The central composite gol is well drawn as are the tall and broad double pairs of minor gols flanking it. The eight kejebe designs in their niches are likewise tall and well proportioned and the piece is complete, suffering none of the reduction at the side or top others of this group have fallen prey to. It’s another of the top lots and the 15,000 euro estimate is silly and will be doubled if not trebled.
Again referring to these torbas as asmalyk is pure conjecture and one, which will never be confirmed in RK.com’s opinion. These flashy oversized Salor torba are never truly archaic in age and RK.com believes they were purely status items that probably had a function in their owners lifestyles but, like eating with gold utensils, they were more for show than utility.
The next lot, number 69, would ring the cash register bell in a major way were it not pockmarked by smoke damage. Here is the piece smoke and all:
It would be right up there with lot 1 in value, however as smoke stained as it is, it’s just not beautiful anymore. It is, though, the most archaic Saryk kejebe of its type (there is another totally different type with a large central medallion but don't get me started on this subject) and the 19,500 estimate might fall by the wayside. By how much is impossible to say as there are few real cognoscenti Turkmen collectors who will be able to overlook the visual problems the smoke damaged has caused. Too bad for them, it’s a worth acquisition for anyone.
Lot 73, called an Ersari germetsch takes us from the almost sublime to the absolutely ridiculous.
Why has the cataloguer called this a germetsch? Because of the panel that sits above the bottom minor border in place of where we would expect to see the main border continued? Sorry, Charlie, er I mean detlef, that is much too flimsy a reason. It is an unusual feature but not one to lead anyone other than an amateur TurkOmanic like yourself into such a belief. But, dear mr maltzahn, everything about this torba is unusual from its field design(which is familiar from Tekke ensi where it appears flanking the niche at the top of most of them)to the major borders at the side(little diamonds) and at the top(a series of indescribable designs looking like light and dark X’s). It’s absolute interesting and beautiful and the 1,000 euro estimate another indescribable joke.
”Large-format torbas of this type are comparatively common among the West Turkmen.” Is how the description of lot 85 begins. Fairly common? Who is this dopey cataloguer kidding? It’s one thing to trivialize the estimated prices, done ostensibly to “interest” bidders and get them to identify with a piece in the hope they continue to “identify” as the price rises in the auction(as it undoubtedly does with severely under-estimated lots). But to make such dumb and blatantly foolish statements like this one and a number of others in this catalog only engenders questions of honesty and competency. Anyway this torba is far from common, in fact, it’s a rare bird. See:
Probably even older than the early 19th century date in the catalog the 3,300 estimate shows this dishonesty in maltzahn’s description and will, like any future confidence in his ability to “judge” a Turkmen rug, fall by the wayside as bidders will compete for this good looking, good condition special bag.
Visually its most worthy feature is the placement of full minor gols at both sides, as well as their somewhat unusual drawing. But the texture and weaving quality are, in RK.com’s eyes, even more appealing.
There are a few other lots that stand out from the rest of the pile of mid-range wrecks, mediocrities and almost something pieces collected by pinner that are not going to be illustrated here or commented on other than in passing.
RK.com’s interest in providing this preview is not to detail a complete compendium of information either to help bidders decide where to put their paddle up or down, nor is it designed to hype the goods on offer to enrich the maltzahns or poor old pinner. Rather our intentions, as they always are, have been stimulated primarily by our desire to debunk the bullsh+t most writers dealing with antique Oriental rugs shovel out into the public arena without ever getting called out for their actions. RK.com doesn’t mind tossing them and their crappy prose into the steaming heaps of unmentionable brown stuff that litters this field of art. Our interest in providing some fresh air also is intended to demystify a collecting interest that has always been mired in less than transparency. There are other reasons as well but none of them are motivated by anything that is not above-board, honest and truthful – there are no hidden agendas or behind the back games played in our reports or opinions.
After the many decades your correspondent has followed this subject most if not all of the players and their machinations are not only well known but more importantly their “little games” are familiar and easily spotted.
That said, let’s now mention a few other non-illustrated or discussed lots. Lot 3, the Saryk kapppunuk, is a rare thing but it is a comparatively late one that RK.com finds quite unattractive and not very appealing. But the 5,000 euro estimate is a give away and it is worth several multiples of that price. Watch it climb up the euro ladder but realize a great one it ain’t.
The small far and older than the first half 19 century date-guesstimate in the catalog Tekke main rug, lot 5, is in RK.com’s opinion the best of pinner’s gluttonous gourmondais for weavings of that tribe. And his best main carpet regardless of what he or maltzahn is trying to make everyone believe. The 7,500 estimate is a bargain that presumably a number of “collectors” will try to jump on it. Watch this zoom on sale day.
Lot 10, the “Tekke” khorjin belongs in the kaufhaus around the corner from rippon and not in a major collection. It’s garbage. Period, no matter for the geeky Yomudish white panels or cutesy braided loops. Ugh, beam me up Scotty there’s no intelligent life here.
My criticism of pinner for what he didn’t buy is far more damning than what he actually did open his wallet for. Prior to 1980 there were Turkmens literally hanging from trees waiting to be picked up for almost nothing – I should know, I bought many, sold many and kept the best ones and still have a bunch. If pinner was the savant he is being canonized as, his collection would be full of major masterpieces – its NOT. Why? Because pinner didn’t know enough, and his still doesn’t. Plus his major provider and “dealer”, little lord franses, played him for the fool and sold to others, particularly the Wher collection, the majority the best of the Turkmens his little mind and greedy fingers could acquire. I should know I sold him a number of them but lo and behold only one, a rather grubby insignificant throw in on one of the deals I did with frenchy –lot 27 – of them ended up in pinner’s hands. I have seen a number of the others illustrated elsewhere belonging to other ‘more important’ collections. Guess franses wanted his bread buttered on not only both sides but the crust as well – little lord franses of mayfair might have call pinner his pal but he sure didn’t let him buy the best pieces he bought from me and undoubtedly others as well.
Back to that insipid khorjin, the 1000 euro estimate is carries is unique, as it is the only one of the 110 that is over-estimated and that is the only reason for mentioning it here.
Speaking of kaufhaus, for all you English speakers a kaufhaus is a German term to describe a down-market department store of the Wal-Mart variety, piece lot 70 is right behind it. Who cares about whether or not it is Golkan or Schmoklan, it’s a piece of worthless airport-art and the 2,800 euro estimate it, come to think of it, is even more over-estimated than lot 10. It, like that piece of junk, is ugly and only a hideous representation of the
Turkmen weaving tradition.
Lot 78, pinner’s Tekke animal-tree asmalyk is surely not “..the dream of every passionate Turkmen carpet collector” but rather the dream of every rug auctioneer to sell one. This example of pinner’s is an excellent one but frankly RK.com just doesn’t really like the type or believe any of them are truly old. Bird asmalyk are a different story but these animal tree asmalyk are but later day saints in comparison. The 40,000 euro estimate is one of the only ones that is right on and it will, on sale day, reach that and RK.com believes even more. Watch for a 60-75,000 final hammer price.
There is something for everyone in this sale and taken alone the pinner collection seems to be a great bunch of rugs but in comparison to other “old” collections and considering pinner had oodles of money to spend, lived in London - the virtual center of the rug world(especially for Turkmens which are in plenty supply in England) – and had time on his hands to spend collecting his accomplishment is at best mediocre. Remember folks a great collection is not measured by how many examples it contains but rather, the greatness of those examples.
On that basis pinner’s is a disappointment. Period end of sentence.
There will be an additional installment of the Rk.com preview, which will be online soon, sorta of a Part IVa. See ya then.