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Old July 25th, 2018, 07:00 AM   #21
Filiberto Boncompagni
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And it was well-represented in art too:
Painting from Osman Hamdi bey



see http://www.turkotek.com/salon_00105/s105t3.htm

Regards,

Filiberto
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Old July 25th, 2018, 01:28 PM   #22
Rich Larkin
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Excellent find, Filiberto!

Good link, too!

Rich
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Old July 25th, 2018, 03:40 PM   #23
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Hi Joy,

Quote:
I tend to check publication date of whatever rug book I'm reading because times change and what's desirable in one period can fade in another.
The subject of books about rugs is a whole magilla all by itself. If you continue your interest in rugs and to read the books, you really should read Chapter XIII of a volume entitled Persian Miniatures by H. G. Dwight, published in 1918 [!]. It can be read online at this link:

https://archive.org/details/persianminiature01dwig

The chapter begins at page 196. The fact is that the literature on oriental rugs over the years has in many respects been very uneven in quality, and Dwight was onto it way back then. He skewers the field pretty much without mercy, and sometimes hilariously.

Since 1918, it has been a case of, the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Although there have been many valuable contributions to the literature, it has remained true that virtually all of it has to be taken with a grain of salt. In my opinion, the next conspicuous revelation about the literature after Dwight's effort was that of Murray L. Eiland, M. D., Oriental Rugs, a Complete Guide, first published about 1973, with several subsequent updates. Among Eiland's strengths as a commentator on rugs was that he took virtually nothing for granted, whereas much of the literature recycled the mistakes of earlier literature. In the process, Eiland spotlighted much of the erroneous 'information' that ran through the field.

The inadequacy of rug literature as a whole can be attributed in part to the complexity of the subject together with the difficulty of acquiring good basic information. It might surprise you, for example, to know that many of the rugs that pass through sites like Turkotek, bearing names that are regularly assigned to them, such as "Baluch," cannot actually be proven to have been woven by people who would have carried that ethnic designation. (I am referring mostly to rugs that are typically a hundred years old, give or take about a half century.)

I am posting this to you so you can pursue your reading (which is inevitable and necessary) with the right degree of care.

Rich
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Old July 26th, 2018, 01:23 AM   #24
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And excellent advice it is, thank you Rich. (But I did have to look up 'magilla'). Thanks too for the link to Dwight's hilarious take-down of the books then in vogue. I've read almost the whole chapter but decided to order Persian Miniatures as it's been considered important enough to publish again, so it's available, and it will give me great pleasure.

I hope the books I have collected over the years are fairly reputable, but they are only of real use when I know what I'm looking for, or simply to turn the pages and marvel at the museum pieces.

Last night I read the seemingly endless thread started by Benjamin Tholen titled Mysterious dated Baluch. It went for over a month - July to August 2011 - and drifted from one subject to another in some vaguely related way and I realized that this is normal for you TurkoTekers who speak a language that to me is so esoteric. You are a lucky group to have happened upon each other to enjoy the free flowing endless discussions about a subject you all so love. I know this is a site devoted to discussion about rugs, their foundations, their provenance, etc. etc., but what comes across to those of us who are on the side, is all of you, as individuals who share a passion that not many others have.

Filiberto, thank you for the lovely paintings and the link in which you're asked to identify the rugs. The Milas/Melas is there of course, but

"As for the attribution of the three Caucasians, the one in the middle is easy. Well, almost easy - in fact that design has two denominations in the trade: - Surahani, sub-category of Shirvan-Baku"

That rug in the middle looked a lot like the rug I had intended to inspect on Saturday. I had stared and stared at the picture on the website, and looked high and low for something similar - mostly in the Caucasian sections in my books and online. Then you send this - Surahani - and I google it and this 3.5 x 8.9 Antique Caucasian Surahani Rug, Leaf and Chalice Border, C. 1890 comes up:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/3655...33991/?lp=true

The rug I had been looking at was of rather unappealing colours but nevertheless, it looked quite interesting and somewhat similar to the rug above. By the time I got there, someone else had snatched it up and that's when I saw the prayer rug.

This url is of a contents sale now in the past and there are no monetary values attached, but it's the only way I can show it. It's the little one in the middle, with the unappealing colours. One can zoom in.

https://thenextmove.ca/sales/29-arja...0/#147expanded

Could it be a sort of Surahani that got away, or just a dud?

Regards,

Joy
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Old July 26th, 2018, 07:14 AM   #25
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Hi Joy,
If you mean the small rug in the middle of a big carpet (a Persian Mir Serabend, I think) it’s an East Caucasian, probably Kuba, with an Afshan pattern.



Regards,

Filiberto
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Old July 26th, 2018, 02:44 PM   #26
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Joy,

It is a later Afshan pattern from about the 30's-40's, but it could be from the Shirvan area as well. I think it is Shirvan.

Ken
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Old July 26th, 2018, 03:33 PM   #27
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Toss a coin, Joy...
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Old July 27th, 2018, 04:24 AM   #28
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Thank you both for the choices! Didn't like it anyway.

Joy
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Old August 1st, 2018, 02:31 AM   #29
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Due to popular demand (of at least one or two people), here is my Melas rug from Alaska. Contrary to Rich's suggestion that I "found one of these in Alaska (possibly by accident)", I was on my way to my hotel at 5:30 PM after the last long day of a week of work in Anchorage, flying back home first thing the next morning. I was a block away from the left turn to the hotel when I remembered that there was an antiques mall that closed at 6 a couple of blocks to the right. I swung across two lanes of highway traffic, turned right and managed to walk into the store with about half an hour before closing. I had never found a thing worth buying in ten years of visiting that mall, but sticking up from a plywood box full of fabrics was the smallest corner of this rug. By the colors I could see it was probably a rug or something with good, natural dyes.

The photo does not do it justice. I can't get the colors right with either my iphone or Sony alpha6 camera. I might try my old Nikon tomorrow just to see if I can get some better pictures. The selvages have been sewn over and both top and bottom were stabilized, along with a few spots having been sewn up from the back. Someone put way more money into this thing to make it wall-worthy than I paid for it. Along with a Chinese silk embroidery which probably belonged to the same owner, I acquired both pieces. There are two purple/aubergine colors in the dark floral guls of the border and the green in the mihrab and inner border is much lighter than it appears here. If you want to explore this type of rug, a great exhibition is "Turkish Prayer Rugs: The Hesperides Collection" of Jim Dixon. The one time I was there this collection was not hanging, but out for cleaning. https://rugrabbit.com/content/turkis...lection-part-1
Joy, I hope seeing my piece gives you some additional reference information on this type. There are only a handful of designs from the Melas repertoire, and this is the most common, though they aren't "common" as antique rugs go. They seldom appear in Hali, but mostly because there are so few - of reasonable quality and condition - that appear on the market. As for any perceived slight from Steve or others, having participated in any number of other rug pages and facebook groups, Steve and Filiberto have managed to keep things quite civil in comparison. Yes, it is more complicated to post here, but the people who complain just happen to be, you guessed it, Complainers. And a few who have been removed from posting seem to have serious issues of boundaries, politeness and attitude. We tend to be quite receptive to newcomers and very helpful with little in the way of denigration or outright dismissiveness. Thanks for posting your lovely Melas.

Patrick Weiler
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Old August 1st, 2018, 04:21 AM   #30
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Hi Patrick,

1)

2)
Quote:
Contrary to Rich's suggestion that I "found one of these in Alaska (possibly by accident)", I was on my way to my hotel at 5:30 PM after the last long day of a week of work in Anchorage, flying back home first thing the next morning. I was a block away from the left turn to the hotel when I remembered that there was an antiques mall that closed at 6 a couple of blocks to the right. I swung across two lanes of highway traffic, turned right and managed to walk into the store with about half an hour before closing. I had never found a thing worth buying in ten years of visiting that mall, but sticking up from a plywood box full of fabrics was the smallest corner of this rug. By the colors I could see it was probably a rug or something with good, natural dyes.
Some 'accidents' need a measure of genius in the victim in order to become fully operational. This is clearly one of them. I worship at your throne.

3)
Quote:
The photo does not do it justice.
It don't need no justice. It is doing just fine as is.

Rich

Last edited by Rich Larkin; August 1st, 2018 at 04:35 AM.
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Old August 1st, 2018, 12:01 PM   #31
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Quote:
I was on my way to my hotel at 5:30 PM after the last long day of a week of work in Anchorage, flying back home first thing the next morning
And I was expecting a husky-drawn sled with a cargo of sea otter pelts, a snowstorm, a poker win in a saloon…
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Old August 1st, 2018, 12:45 PM   #32
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Quote:
And I was expecting a husky-drawn sled with a cargo of sea otter pelts, a snowstorm, a poker win in a saloon…
...and a really nice Kirshehir prayer rug, and DARN IT....
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Old August 1st, 2018, 01:44 PM   #33
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MISTER Weiler!

You've made my day. With the picture, the link to Jim Dixon's fine collection, your final note, but especially the story of how you 'found' it! I see that your colleagues were expecting a somewhat more exciting one, but for us newbies, that's what gets our hearts aflutter.

Rich is right about the colour. You have done it justice by getting it closer to the reality than I was able to, and it's in much better shape than mine and looks gorgeous. Having now seen the Hesperides collection, I'm encouraged to keep salvaging the injured, the torn, the worn, the faded and the abandoned.

I imagine the variety of sizes of the prayer rugs across the board is due to the lifestyle of the owners. The small ones (like my little Caucasian) for the backs of travellers, the Melas size for more sedentary owners? And could you please give a brief comment on the weave? Mine is completely flattened and it's hard to tell if there was ever any pile. But it's not like a typical kilim either.

Thank you again. This is the only rug site I've ever frequented so I have been shielded from what seems to be the norm on FB and other sites.

Joy
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Old August 1st, 2018, 02:26 PM   #34
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Hi Joy

Only a small percentage of prayer rugs were made for or used in Muslim prayer. That's one of the reasons their sizes vary so widely.

You'll probably find this informative. If you do look at it, be sure to hit the link to "Discussion" at the top or bottom of the page. It will take you to the discussion threads associated with it.

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Old August 1st, 2018, 02:41 PM   #35
Rich Larkin
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Hi Joy,

Quote:
I see that your colleagues were expecting a somewhat more exciting one....
Just for the record, not really, at least in my case. That style of Melas PR is among my favorites, and I love Patrick's. (Yours too.) The back story, as you say, is just so much gravy.

Rich
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 03:42 AM   #36
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This time I put more light on the rug and my iphone has a variety of photo settings, of which this one seems to be the most realistic. But it still does not capture the colors correctly. I was reading about a cell phone camera that will have 9 lenses. 8 in a circle around a center lens, and the computer will stitch the images together. But that one is not available yet, so this will have to do.

Here is a picture of one of the purple flowers in the border. The photo settings make the pale, wheat-yellow look orange, and the reds look like the stop light at an intersection, but the purple is fairly close to real. Note that at the bottom half inch the purple turns a bit lighter. This is the color on the flowers in the lower section of the border. One other note of some importance is that there is black tracery around each of the diamonds around the edge of the flower. These delineate petals. I believe that this is an earlier version, and later rugs do not have this tracery.

This picture of the back shows one of the lower border purple flowers, with the yellow showing up a bit more realistically than the photo above.
I suspect that this rug is around 1875 or earlier, because there are no synthetic dyes (to my eye) and with the black tracery and delightful abrash in the inner-field border from light green at the top to yellow, then back to green and then yellow again. Also, one quarter down the white border on the right, two of the rosettes become squares. Odd. Perhaps a "signature" of the weaver.
All in all, a charming rug in a design perhaps derived from the much earlier "Transylvanian" style rugs from this same region of Anatolia.
You just never know what the sled dog will drag up.

Patrick Weiler
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 04:10 AM   #37
Joy Richards
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Price View Post

You'll probably find this informative. If you do look at it, be sure to hit the link to "Discussion" at the top or bottom of the page. It will take you to the discussion threads associated with it.
Your article was very interesting, as were the responses in the discussions. When my husband escaped from Bulgaria, he spent two years in Turkey and he can agree that he never saw anyone praying on a carpet. Crossing the Bosphorous, the boats had plywood pieces leaning against the sides which would be used as mats. No doubt, as mentioned in the discussions, the wealthy would have owned beauties for themselves, but we have no choice but to keep calling anything with that arch a prayer rug.

Joy
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 04:35 AM   #38
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Patrick,

This is a wonderful lesson. To learn how to look at each detail, to focus, to not be distracted. Your carpet is in wonderful shape and even has pile if I'm not mistaken. I brought mine home today after its hand washing and I will attempt to take better pictures as you have done. I'm astonished that mine also has the tracery you mention, but less diligent hands. Your flowers are better delineated. Mine seem very slapdash.

And the colour you managed to produce is much closer to the reality, so congratulations and thank you for doing it.

Joy
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 01:53 PM   #39
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Hi Patrick,

For the umpteenth time, I cannot believe you found that Melas in a plywood box in Alaska. How in the world....?

I was going to suggest the slightly 'redder' effect of the yellow in your close-up image was the camera penetrating a subtly mellow patina at the surface to pick up a more saturated color just beneath. I have noted such an effect on various colors in other old rugs. However, the shot of the back seems to defeat that theory, as the yellow there looks like what an old Melas should be. Even so, is the yellow more intense at the roots of the knots? (I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with the dye...far from it!)

Another question: Do any of the colors vary in height (observed in unworn sections) from adjoining colors (if so, presumably as the result of a different 'erosion factor' for each dye)? I thought the medium brown in the 'sword hilts' surrounding the purple diamond in your close-up looked that way.

Rich
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Old August 2nd, 2018, 02:00 PM   #40
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Hi Joy,

I lived in Riyadh for about 2 1/2 years in the 1960s, where the entire work and business day was built around the Islamic prayer schedule. It was very common to see people praying everywhere, from single persons to large groups, in and out of buildings, organized to ad hoc. Like your husband, I never saw anyone using a prayer rug. Whether practices were different in the privacy of homes, I did not know.

Rich
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