Saturday, October 24, 2015

4 Tuduk Transylvania Rug Copies

 I received a FaceBook Chat from  Stefano Ionescu a knowledgeable person from  Rome Italy who has a interest in Transylvanian rugs.

Hi Barry, Every time i google 'Tra sylvanian' rugs I get your page But this is a Tuduk. Here are some other brothers, all copied after the wonderful Budapest rug. Is it possible for you:
a. to specify that this is a fake
b: to use another photo, possibly in the right way (palmette pointing up).

Stefano is well known and respected in the field of  Transylvanian rugs. He has two books that I know of"
The Lutheran Churches of Transylvania and their Rugs: Black Church and the Brasov area2005
by Stefano Ionescu 
Tappetti Anatolici Dalla Transilvania Sec. XVI-XVII [Anatolian Carpets from Transylvania 16th-17th Centuries]2005
by Stefano Ionescu and Alberto Boralevi.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

15th century Persian Rug Shiraz?

This rug was from the Chihil Sutun kiosk in Isfahan. It was thought to be a Para-Mamluk rug from Damascus. Then Jon Thompson wrote "Late Mamluk Carpets: Some New Observations" in "The Arts of the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria: Evolution and Impact", edited by Doris Behrens-Abouseif.
15th century Persian Rug
I was fully prepared to disregard what Thompson had to say about these but he makes some very compelling points. I am not saying this particular rug but certainly this type is the precursor of the Damascus Compartment/Checkerboard/Chess Board Rug that the legendary Rug Expert Charles Grant Ellis termed Para-Mamluk,
But more than that I see this as a nice Persian Rug from the 15th century. where was this rug made. The easy answer is Tabriz but this rug is not woven with an Asymmetric knot. So if not Tabriz fo we then go to Isfahan province to Kashan or maybe some where in Arak? Why not Shiraz. We know there was court workshop production at that time. Some people might argue why not Kashan there were court workshops there. We would then have to remind them that yes but not until 200 years after this piece. So Shiraz where an Asymmetric open left rug would not be out of place is as lucky as any. Let me also remind you that Shiraz traded with the Levant both by the sea route and the caravan route across Iraq.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Raleigh Durham area NC Oriental Rug Cleaning

Scot Neal and his son Timmy are prominent and well known Oriental Rug Cleaneres, experts and are considered the "Moth" experts in the Carolina's.
Scot Neal and his son Timmy are associates of the Academy of Oriental Rugs. Scot was chosen by the Senior Fellows of the Academy in recognition of superior skill and knowledge as well as the broad respect that he commands in the industry. Timmy Neal was recognized at the Academy because even at 6 years old he showed a better grasp of Oriental Rugs then many cleaners 30 or more years older.
Rug Resolutions Oriental Rug Cleaning
Scot Neal
Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Persian Rugs in the Levant circa 1444

From Charles Grant Ellis to Jon Thompson the understanding of rugs in the Levant is terribly muddled, Ellis with his theory of Para Mamluk rugs on up to Jon Thompson's theory of Tapedi Damascheni I find it an unintelligable mess. But no doubt part of that is I am not as smart as Ellis or Thompson. But if there is my one saving grace it is that I read a little more history then it would seem they did.
Jacques Coeur

While reading Levant Trade in the Middle Ages (Princeton Legacy Library Paperback – July 14, 2014) by Eliyahu Ashtor (Strauss)  there is a reference (Page 347-8) to the French merchant prince Jacques Coeur importing Persian Carpets from the Moslem Levant (Damascus) in 1444. What makes this important is that the citation is Thomas Basin,  (born 1412, Caudebec, France—died Dec. 3, 1491Utrecht ) a contemporary of Jacques Coeur, Basin the bishop of Lisieux and Royal Counselor of his king Charles VII of France was in a position to have immediate and personal knowledge of where Coeur traded and for what. So would't it be wonderful if we could find a picture of one of Coeur's rugs. But that would be rather unlikely wouldn't it. 

Imagine my delight when I found Fra Carnavale's Jacques Coeur’s Annunciation , 1448, Munich. on Turkotek. 

 Detail of Jacques Coeur's Persian Rug
Fra Carnavale's Jacques Coeur’s Annunciation , 1448, Munich
There was a fun and wide ranging discussion on Turkotek where Filiberto Boncompagni first suggested that it might be a "European Renaissance textiles" and then when that did not seem to work he offered: "Could they be Spanish (Moorish) textiles? :confused:"

Pierre Galafassi who seems to be the one eyed man in the group speculated on: "Al Andalus silk brocade" and "Indian Peacocks" until he did mention "Il-khanid miniature below shows a peacock-feather motif ".
I guess that they never paid attention to the old adage that when you hear hoof-beats look for horses, not zebras. (Hmmm! was that Price who said that?)
This is Macée Coeur nee de Léodepart wife of Jacques. Please compare her to the woman in the Annunciation painting. I believe that they are the same woman. 
This is Jacques Coeur's home in Bourges.
This is from that home which has elaborate carvings, I want to dedicate this to the great guys at Turkotek for finding that picture even if they never knew what they had,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Charles Grant Ellis of Kingston, New York

Charles Grant Ellis was one of the top experts of Oriental Rugs of the Twentieth Century. He is remembered for his knowledge and his books but there was more to Charlie Ellis or "Uncle Charlie" as he was known in his later years. I hope a few pictures will gave a greater look into the man.
by the way Ellis was a connoisseur, a collector, and the expert but he was not a dealer which made him very unusual.

Ellis was exceptional for his encyclopedic knowledge of rugs and also the depth and focus he had in looking at rugs. Many of the so-called rug experts know their inventory and look at the pictures in books and magazines but Charlie Ellis really looked at the rugs.

Charlie Ellis lived in Kingston New York. Kingston is a prosperous town on the Hudson river about 90 miles north of New York City and 60 miles south of Albany.

Hajji Meeting 1965. from Ellis center left with the bow tie.    
Despite the distance he was a regularly attending member of the Hajji Baba Club in New York.

Ellis grew up with Oriental Rugs. I remember lunch with Carol Bier at the Ritz Carlton on Massachusetts Ave near the old Textile Museum in Washington DC. She was reminiscing on how Charlie Ellis got started in rugs. Charlie's mother asked him to pick up some rugs that were in a shop for cleaning. It was the first time he ever really looked at them and he decided that he wanted to know what they were.
Ellis created a substantial collection over his lifetime. see last image for one of his best.

Ellis was best known for his writing on Classical Carpets but his own taste was eclectic cutting across the broad gamut of hand woven Oriental Rugs.

Besides the Ellis home in Kingston the old Textile Museum in Washington DC was almost like a second home. Charlie was a research associate of the TM and some of his greatest work was in association with the Museum.

That work includes Early Caucasian Rugs (Ellis, Charles Grant. Early Caucasian Rugs. Washington DC: The Textile Museum, 1975.) It is a book that is my favorite look at Caucasian Dragon Rugs. It stands tall even 40 years later.  Most people who read rug literature skim the pictures and read the captions. Some hardy souls actually read the text but with Ellis the gems are hidden in the foot notes. If you do not digest the footnotes you will never really get Ellis.

Besides the TM another favorite was the Cosmos Club one of Washington DC elite dining clubs.

The club can be a little stodgy but stories are told that he lightened it up at times when he took young and bodacious fans of his work to lunch. In addition to his fans Ellis had close association with overt field agents of the CIA but he was far too much the gentleman to involve himself with spying and country toppling.

One of the best of the Charles Grant Ellis Collection was his Para-Mamluk sometimes called The Tapedi Damascheni. Why they would append the appellation Tapedi Damascheni to this rug leaves me wondering.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Baron Heinrich von Tucher Compartment Carpet

Baron Heinrich von Tucher Compartment Carpet 

I am working a theory that the clearer and better articulated the border the older the rug. This one has a border that is much better than most which points to it being older than most.

What I mean to do is lay out a progression from 15th century Persian rugs into the so-called Damascus Checkerboard/Chessboard/Compartment Rugs that were most likely made up until the mid seventeen hundreds. What I am thinking is that a particular type of rug developed a following. Meaning that there was a market for a type. That from that Progenitor this type evolved. Actually I am torn between Evolution and Degeneration because these rugs are a clumsy copy of the 15th century Persian progenitor type. That each piece in this chain was a little further from the progenitor and that we see a steady degeneration of form. 
Borders are crucial because the 15th century progenitor had what John Thompson called Mitered corners. The mitered corners can only produced through the use of a supervised production of an artists design most likely through the use of a cartoon. Then the cartoon is gone and the rugs are achieved through copying. This is where we get to the question of Evolution or degeneration. What  see is that the copies get sloppier and sloppier as hey veer away from the earlier rugs. I don't like the word evolution in this case because the rugs never get better they only get worse which is why I prefer the term Degeneration to describe this. So if I am right in this limited scenario the beter the rug holds to the design the earlier it must be in the approximately 200 years that hese rugs were made. 

Baron Heinrich von Tucher of Nuremburg was the Bavarian Ambassador to Vienna at the onset of World War I. He was a strong advocate for Anschluss (Strong Union) between Germany and Austria.

Rippon Boswell & Co., International Auctioneers;
Antique Rugs & Textiles; Lot 101A

Lot: 101A
The von Tucher Chessboard Carpet The exact provenance of ‘chessboard’ or ‘compartment’ carpets is still a matter of speculation. In the past, it was considered certain that they originated from the workshops of Damascus, Syria, which was under Ottoman rule at the time they were made; more recently, a possible provenance in Egyptian workshops located in Cairo has been contemplated. This six-compartment ‘chessboard’ carpet formerly belonged to the collection of Baron Heinrich von Tucher of Nuremberg. His collection was sold by the Berlin auctioneers Paul Cassirer and Hugo Helbing in 1925. Three comparative pieces in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, illustrate the differences that exist within the group. The von Tucher ‘chessboard’ carpet is related to the example pictured on page 51 of the exhibition catalogue, "Tapis, présent de l'Orient à l'Occident". An important museum-quality collector’s item with an outstandingly well drawn design. – The sides are not original and the lateral guard stripes are missing. Both ends have been expertly restored. Low pile.
Origin: Syria or Egypt
Dimensions: ca. 197 x 133 cm
Age: ca. 1600
Estimate: 49,000.00 €

Literature: INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE (publ.), Tapis, présent de l'Orient à l'Occident. Paris 1989, pp. 48 - 53 *** VÖLKER, ANGELA, Die orientalischen Knüpfteppiche im MAK (catalogue of the Austrian Museum of Applied Art, Vienna). Vienna, Cologne & Weimar 2001, no. 11

Published: CASSIRER, PAUL & HELBING, HUGO, Die Sammlung Heinrich Freiherr von Tucher. Auction of 8th December 1925, lot 23

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Mak Chessboard, The Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna

The Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna (MAK)
Chessboard’ or ‘Compartment’ Carpet, Syria or Southeast Anatolia, 16th century, 196 x 140 cm
© MAK/Georg Mayer