After viewing in person RK.com now knows why we were so confident in our pre-view sale comments, and those made many other times when based on digital or real photos.
We still like the Caucasian embroidery fragments, which by the way we recently learned made a very short appearance in an online auction some months ago. They were quickly withdrawn by the owner either because he/she found out they were something special or were snapped up by some clever operator who made an offer that couldn't be refused.
We noted the larger piece was not done in cross-stitch, as was mentioned, but rather with a long couched stitch style.
Clearly the two bits in the lot are not from the same example. The larger and far more interesting one has been "assembled" from a number of fragments and is riddled with repair and so much re-stitching that it would take a long time and good lab equipment to positively determine what is actually original, what is "old" repair work, and what might be brand new. The smaller piece is an “intact” fragment of a corner from another that’s somewhat similar.
After walking the exhibition for some time about the only thing we’d add is admiring the fabulous mint condition white field bidjar square main rug located right in front of the escalator on the sixth floor. Sorry to not have the lot number we don't remember. It's a beauty.
Several other lot worth mentioning after our go-round are lot 8, another of those double elem yomud engsi:
RK.com has never seen an engsi with elem skirts at both top and bottom that we consider to be pre-1800. This one hasn’t broken that mold and while it is surely one of the best of this type we wouldn’t single it out for mention were it not for the fact of it being early 19th century with a rare provenance and, most surprisingly, having indigo dyed weft in the lower elem. This is a very unusual technical feature for a Turkmen weaving. Combined with the excellent drawing and sparkling colors this lot is way above the rest of the ho-hum lots in the “collector” part of the sale. We think the rather high estimate of $4,000 - $6,000 will not be reached in light of its many condition problems and the Turkmen market’s big checkbook focus on condition and not history.
Our comments about lot 10, the Saryk main were made before seeing how truly condition challenged it is. With numerous unsightly “old” repairs and many areas of wear and tear, we'd add: The apparent good but we doubt it great coloration is not only due its grime-y patina. We don’t like it much, aside from having that rare main gol and date it circa 1820.
By the way, lot 18, a Tekke coat was yours truly's many years ago and it was nice to see it again. It t'was kinda like meeting an old schoolmate at the airport without having to exchange current phone numbers or peer at family snapshots.
Next up, we went over the soumak bag, lot 31:
After spending some time carefully perusing it, RK.com would like to declare this bag is a copy and not genuine or very old. A number of tell-tale characteristics led us to this conclusion and even though anyone who doubts us or doesn’t agree is entitled to their opinion, they'd not stand a chance with us in a head's up comparison. Any takers?
Last-up is lot 41, the 4 Lenkoran medallion long rug
While RK didn’t pull it off the wall and take it into the light for a complete examination we did note its sparkle.
While on the subject let's point out something so basic and important yet rarely practiced by rug buyers. Buying an old rug as anything other than floor covering, i.e. capable of holding value-aka “investment”, without having not turned it upside down and taken it into sunlight is asking for trouble. And then add not really knowing what you’d be lookin’ at – fagetabouuuut it. That’s all we have to say because this ain’t O-Rug 101 or the univ. of rug.
Right then, unlike the other lots we mention this 9 foot southern Talish area long rug with those four large lenkoran designs on the blue field didn’t warrant our full attention only because we find such 1800-1850 (it’s on the 1800 end) invariably are nothing more than, at best, likeable pastiche. Here, it’s no different, as the infill of the six sided blue inner and their surrounding eight-sided medallions is imported and, most important for us, lacking complex iconography. So we walked by with just a quick touch.
We might look in on the post-sale results but, then again, we might not.