Home > Archive >Wake Up, It's Not An Ensi
email: jack@rugkazbah.com
Wed, Jun 23rd, 2004 11:51:27 AM
Topic: Wake Up, It's Not An Ensi

The owner of this rather unimpressive, worn out Kizil Ayak rug must believe Shakespeare didn’t know what he was talking about - you know the old rose by any other name soliloquy. However both you and I, astute readers, know Willy was right and this guy is wrong.

Lately it seems some dealers, especially a few from Germany, suffer from the delusion wishin’ and hopin’ disease that causes them to totally disregard the facts and make up silly attributions like this one.

Calling this a “Turkmen ensi” is just plain foolish – there is not one aspect of this boring, late 19th century “rug” that even vaguely resembles what an ensi is all about. To add further evidence this dealer’s ploy is ridiculous, his having entitled the sale a “Turkmen Ensi With Kizil Ayak Signature” is even more laughable.

Did he think by calling it an “ensi” it would magically transform it into one? Did he think making up such a absurd title would make this mediocrity become desirable to a buyer or is he so out to lunch to believe it really is an ensi?

Everything about this online listing is erroneous, like the owner saying “This is a very unusual and rare turkoman(sic) weaving”. Far, far from it is the truth but to his credit he did get one thing right – “condition: poor”.

One last comment – the row of ‘jufti knots” he describes as “A very unusual knotting(sic), knot over 4 warps is sometimes found in kizil(sic) Ayak pieces, like here.”:

(shown in the detail above where the > points them out) demonstrates this dealer has sharp eyesight. But too bad his rug knowledge and expertise is so far from 20/20. Better would have been to call them “jufti knots” and to realize this somewhat aberrant structural feature does appear in a number of later Kizil Ayak weavings, as well as other groups, particularly the Yomud. These knots almost always appear near the top and bottom of the weaving and, frankly, they have absolutely no meaning or import other than to strengthen the weaving and make the work go faster.

Was this the Kizil Ayak signature he mentioned? If so RK.com suggests he start looking for ‘autographs’ elsewhere, after first making sure he knows what the signature he is trying to bag looks like.

Author: jc
Wed, Jun 23rd, 2004 11:51:27 AM

Hey Ron: Thanks for your, as always, down to earth take on rugdom.

In the final analysis we all have to acknowledge no-one really knows anything about how or even why many of the Turkmen weavings were made and used. The idea of the "door rug" may very well be something that was an actuality after the middle of the 19th century but was it before then?? I have serious doubts the ensi was an everyday article used on ordinary family yurts.

Those readers who are familiar with my ideas and speculations on this subject already know that and for anyone who hasn't yet read them I'd suggest you visit the Weaving Art Museum website and read through the text of the Turkmen exhibition. You will find it in the previous exhibitions link listed on the home page at http://weavingartmuseum.org.

A number of new ideas about Turkmen weavings are expressed in the text descriptions of the dozen or so weavings presented in the online show.

Since we know very little about the Turkmen's relationship to their weavings prior to the mid-19th century there is lots of latitude for today's collectors, scholars and dealers to present new and/or even unusual thoughts about them. However, silly misdirected shots in the dark, like calling this rug an ensi, are unwarranted and quite frankly appear to me to be manifested by nothing more than ignorance and good old greed

Author: R.Franklin Hort
Tue, Jun 22nd, 2004 08:38:34 AM

Ah Yes, The Ensi? In the old days and ensi(Hatchli) was a rug from their yurts that almost always had a cross through the middle of it. It recent days, anything that could fit on a yurt door was now an ensi whether or not it really was.It is all too confusing for me but what isn't. Everytime a schollar writes a new book on Turkmen weavings, everything that we learned in the 60's and 70's is thrown out the window. As a matter of fact when I first started collecting rugs I was told that the ensi's that had a niche looking element at the top was in fact a prayer rug. What a load of crap the early rug dealer handed out! Anyway this is just my take on The Ensi. I guess if you can fit it on a yurt door, it's an ensi!

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