Posted by R. John Howe on 09-17-2007 03:13 AM:

Three-gul Tekke Torba

Dear folks -

I want to give you a better concrete sense of how unusual I think Jerry Thompson's Tekke torba with three full and six half (or partial) large major guls is.

Here again is the less than good image I could manage of it.

As I said above the three full, six half gul format is relatively infrequent in general. But it does occur. Here are some of the instances of it. Unless otherwise indicated, the images below are scanned from the 1980 Mackie/Thompon catalog "Turkmen."

This treatment occurs in Salor chuvals with large turreted guls.

Similar chuvals were also made by the Saryks.

And the Tekkes.

Here is a second Tekke instance from the last Hans Elmsby catalog. (I include it because I have had it in my hands and was instrumental in its sale to Elmsby.) It is darker than this image of it. (Interesting elem) I also like its aesthetics better because more of the "half guls" is visible than is the case in the other treatments of it above.

I think above I indicated that this format occurs in Chodors, but I meant to say, and should have said, Arabatchi. Here is an Arabatchi example.

And it occurs in some Yomut family pieces like the one below.

This piece is torba-shaped but much larger (51 inches wide) and is described as a trapping rather than a bag.

I looked through some of my other Turkmen books and there are more examples of some of the three-gul pieces above, but I did not encounter a piece other than Jerry's that is Tekke, torba size and shape, and with the large guls that seem nearly peculiar to Tekke torbas. There are lots of examples of Tekke torbas with six or nine guls of this sort, but I haven't found another with the three full guls and six half gul that Jerry's piece displays.

So the question is does anyone know of, or can anyone find, another published example?


R. John Howe

Posted by Janet Tyson on 09-17-2007 10:48 AM:

Mr. Howe, thank you for posting that selection of Turkoman torbas. That last one, the large piece that is described as a trapping, seems to have a particularly dynamic reciprocal relationship between the primary and secondary guls.
Perhaps it is that the red ground surrounding the secondary guls becomes an echo of the primary guls -- as though the "positive space" of the primary guls outlines the similarly proportioned "negative space" of the background/secondary guls as equivalent in importance.
Anyway, I'd like to post a picture of a small torba that I have the really seems to confuse the identity of primary and secondary guls. It either has one complete and two three-quarter primaries and four half secondaries -- or four half primaries (if that makes a lick of sense) and one complete and two three-quarters secondaries.

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-17-2007 11:58 AM:

Ms. Tyson -

Small correction. Jerry's piece is a torba. Most of the others are chuval-sized and shaped, including the Arabatchi. And, as you note, one is a trapping.

What I was doing was coming as close as I could to Jerry's piece. To do that I had to back off to the field design. There are no torbas in the examples I found.

It's dangerous to say out loud, but I know of no other Tekke torba with this three full and six half gul field.

Please do post your piece.

R. John Howe

Posted by matthias wohlgemuth on 09-18-2007 01:39 PM:

Hello John,

3-gül Tekke torbas seem in deed to be rather infrequent. Still there are quite a few published examples.
A beautifully spaced piece is in "Antique Oriental Carpets from Austrian Collections", Vienna 1986, pl. 109, another one in Elmby's "Antique Turkmen Carpets IV". Two further examples were reproduced in catalogues of Sotheby's NY and Rippon Boswell Wiesbaden respectively years ago (I forgot when exactly). Unfortunately I am unable to scan images... but I could send a jpg. of the Elmby-piece.

Greetings to all,

Posted by matthias wohlgemuth on 09-18-2007 02:22 PM:

Hello John,

I was successfull checking my auction catalogues. The "two further" examples are just one. This particular Tekke 3-gül torba was on offer at Rippon Boswell 19 Nov. 1988, lot 89 (small color), and again at Sothebys NY 12 April 1996, lot 29 (large b/w).


Posted by R. John Howe on 09-18-2007 03:20 PM:

Mr. Wolgemuth -

Thank your for these references. I have all the Elmsby catalogs and will scan that example.

I also have a good collection of old rug auction catalogs and will search to see if I have the Sotheby's NY / Rippon Boswell example.

I do not have the Vienna catalog.


R. John Howe

Posted by matthias wohlgemuth on 09-18-2007 04:03 PM:

... and still another one from the Hoffmeister collection does appear in "Tent Band - Tent Bag" by Cassin/Hoffmeister as pl. 24


Posted by R. John Howe on 09-18-2007 04:20 PM:

Mr. Wohlgemuth -

Sorry to have misspelled your name in my last post.

I have found the Sotheby's NY catalog and will scan that B&W image as well.

Thanks, again,

R. John Howe

Posted by R. John Howe on 09-19-2007 07:43 AM:

Dear folks -

Here are images of three of the pieces to which Mr. Wohlgemuth has attracted our attention.

First, is the black and white image from the Sotheby's NYC catalog.

Next, is the example from the fourth Emlsby catalog.

And last, is the piece in "Tentband - Tentbag" catalog.

Mr. Wohlgemuth has demonstrated that I need to trust less my memory of what may be in the Turkmen books directly over my head and actually look more closely at them. Perhaps I am getting older.

My thanks to Mr. Wohlgemuth for these very useful indications. If I am counting correctly we have identified five published examples of this format in Tekke torbas. That's still pretty rare, but more frequent than I had estimated.


R. John Howe