Recently his excellency dennis dodds offered this Tekke torba for sale on the internet:
Now, dear readers, you might think what’s newsworthy or significant here besides a mild curiosity someone might harbor as to how much doubly dangerous wants for his treasure. Had his description, which we reproduce verbatim below, not been included along with the photo RK would have to agree. Plus we believe after reading our take on it most of you, too, will understand our taking DD to task.
“The madder red tends toward a luminous mahogany. The drawing of the forms and their spacing is well conceived and indicative of an early phase, with the double-crested birdheads(sic) showing exceptional refinement. Remnants of the original tassels remain. Purchased from a private collection.”
Now let’s do a quick dissection of mr dodds’s short spiel.
1. As anyone who has ever posted a photo to the internet realizes getting the colors to exactly reproduce those in real life is difficult, in fact it is almost impossible. It is. however, quite easy to make mahogany look brownish and, for example, warm red to look reddish. Here the architect turned rug dealer, turned hali-advert peddler, turned rug dealer, turned icoc head honcho has missed the boat completely. For if, as his blurb tell us, this torba ground color is actually mahogany why then does it appear to be red?
It might appear to some of you RK is picking on good ole dennis but we know even though an exact duplication is impossible a reasonable semblance of coloration is quite easily achieved. Should we suggest some Photoshop lessons for his eminence.
2. But this pales to the belly-flop he takes with the next sentence – “The drawing of the forms and their spacing is well conceived and indicative of an early phase”. Puhleese denny-boy such foolish statements might be overlooked if they came from one of the many less than expert rug peddlers who ply their wares online (or off for that matter) but not from the lips of someone like you who is cracked up to be the one of the bees-knees of the current crop of rug expurts. Besides for the lack of even the slightest shred of supporting proof (face facts this torba drawing and spacing are nothing special or noteworthy compared to any other more than decent pre-tourist piece of Turkmen art-port art) trumpeting them - the drawing and spacing - as “indicative of an early phase” is so empty it creates a black-hole that sucks this torba right into Turkmen oblivion.
3. Professor dodds then unloads with another dud:
“the double-crested birdheads(sic) showing exceptional refinement”.
But instead of hitting the bulls-eye of his prospective customer’s ocular apparatus all doubly dangerous manages to do is shoot himself squarely in the forehead. Where, mr. Dodds, did you ever see a genuinely early Tekke torba with double-crested bird heads? Send RK.com a picture of one and we will be glad to pay you, or any one else who does homage on our site.
For your information this convention is one found in only mid-19th or later torba and mafrash and is nothing more than a revivalist notion at best or just another cutesy touch some later groups adopted. It carries no meaning related to clan identity nor does it carry any iconographic significance. Most importantly it has no ethnographic significance for anyone seriously interested in Turkmen weavings, although RK does acknowledge it might grant a “dealer” like mr dodds some hype and, therefore, the opportunity to ask a higher price for a treasure of this ilk.
Unfortunately numerous gullible collectors could, no doubt, be captivated by that extra crest but besides from the limited bragging rights they might buy into, in reality, it’s just another nugget of fools-gold in their cedar chest.
Doubly dangerous’s torba isn’t a bad piece, it’s just not nearly as exemplary as he touts it to be.
4. Lastly, while some 1st half 19th century, which is how dodds dates his piece, are in the excellent condition this one exhibits don’t overlook the following: It is clear torba were made for two reasons – for use as containers and for display as decoration.
Naturally even ones made for use were intended to function as eye candy but a piece like dodds’s, like many many others, was never intended to function in any utilitarian way– a sure sign it is from a later and not an “early” period.
How do we know this? Simple, my dear Watson, it shows no wear pattern commensurate with such a purpose….