Recently the following photo, an "ensi", was published online. We reproduce the photo of this piece, which supposedly was included in one of the recent exhibitions held in Seattle, in conjunction with this discussion. It is also said to have been illustrated in the catalog that memorialized some of the pieces in the Seattle exhibitions:
This ensi, in common with many, many other late Turkmen weavings, is called "unusual" by those who lack enough understanding of the idiom to comprehend its proper place in Turkmen studies. And while unusual might please the pseudo-Turk0manics - sadly that frivilous tag is all they can muster about a piece of this genre.
Here is the waste of words description accompanying it in the "catalog" :
" By its structure, design and color this is a highly unusual Yomud Ensi. Most Yomuds are symmetrically knotted, while this one is asymmetrical open on the right. There are several design anomalies. One is that the diamond lattice, which occurs in the spandrels on either side of the arch, is usually associated with Tekke work, and virtually never seen in Yomuds. Also, the design contained in the four panels within the field is rare (ed. ?) and oriented in a chevron pattern, while most patterns are oriented on the diagonal. Cochineal is uncommon in Yomuds and , in general, the color palette is light and more ethereal than is typical."
Ignorance is bliss but not in art exhibition catalogs.
First off the facts this ensi is asymmetrically knotted open right, has many features associated with Tekke rather than Yomud work (the bright light who penned the catalog description even noted this) and has cochineal (again far more a Tekke rather than Yomud characteristic) should have alerted the writer to the strong possibility this is a Tekke and not a Yomud article. However, it is a rather useless and moot point as this ensi is nothing more than a late, made for market, tourist take-home and nothing near a genuine piece of Turkmen weaving history or ethnography by any means.
The cataloguer is way off base but by pointing out the alleged "rarity" of the design in the four panels, he/she gets even farther out on that limb. Equally dense is the comment of this piece's light palette and ethereal qualities, both would have been better subjected to the delete button than the save and publish one.
It's often comical to read the foolish imaginings authors, like the one who wrote this description, come up with to describe their rugs or those of their buddies.
Who could possibly credence a description like this one? One thing is sure - many rug collectors have read this catalog and others have seen this ensi and its description posted online. Did anyone bother to read through it, or are you all just looking at the pictures - a state of mind RK.com believes to be almost universal when it comes to those who peruse the literature dealing with antique Oriental rugs.
True, true RK.com knows how few know enough to even sense what is amiss here and that fewer still would realize how to set the record straight. Such is the failure of rugdom to create even a semblance of any academic standard capable of engendering self-regulation.
If it wasn’t so sad this state of affairs truly would be hilarious.
By the way there is one slightly "unusual" feature that, if pressed to comment on this late Turkmen ensi, I would mention. Here is a detail showing this:
The suggestion of a gol has been created by placing pairs of identical half-spheres on either side of the center cross-bars dividing the field horizontally and this, not anything else about this ensi, is the only aspect worth mention.
However because this ensi is an end-of-the-line example, this feature, which appears on first glance to be archaic, may be, in fact, more of a nouveau invention than old convention.
The dead-eyed rugnut who posted the photos and description of this ensi online then, in his typically boorish fashion, felt inclined to add his own comments, which for levity we have included:
"I would only question the catalog suggestion that the field pattern in the four panels of the "hatchli" layout is rare. I know where there are two other instances of this design element in engsis in the Washington, DC area, one of which I own. What does seem to me to be distinctive is that the scale of the divided diamond forms in this design is larger in this rendition than it is in others I have seen."
The cataloguer's lack of credentials are painfully apparent but in comparison to mr r. john howe, who authored this second commentary and has an abysmal command of even the most obvious tenet of rug knowledge, they shine like a super nova.
Personally, mr howe, I would prefer to call an engi like this one a Tekkemoud but if you believe it to be a Yomekke, so be it. Remember Shakespeare's " A Rose by any other name...." And by the way mr howe, ensi (or howe-ever you wish to spell it) is both singular and plural, so at least get that straight, would’ya?