Here are two more pieces from the book Timbuktu to Tibet by Jon
The first piece is labeled Turkmen Ceremonial Camel Trapping, "could be as old as the eighteenth century".
It is from the Nancy Jeffries & Kurt Munkacsi collection.
No structural description is listed.
The next piece is described as Turkmen, Central Asia, Mid-19th century, 45" x 21", also from the Jeffries & Munkacsi collection, "precise tribal origin is unknown."
As with the first piece shown in the Discussion, there is no structural analysis which could help with determining a more specific attribution for either of these pieces.
The lack of structural information is a weakness of the book, and a surprising one.
The not-very-specific attributions of date or tribal origin are typical of Jon Thompson and, in my opinion, far less misleading than the aggressive attributions made by so many authors. The simple fact is that the more precise the tribal and age attribution, the less likely they are to be correct. This notion meets vigorous resistance in Rugdom.
Hi Patrick and Steve,
I agree with both of you, in that the lack of even basic structural information strikes me as an important limitation.
That being said, in my uneducated opinion both pieces shown above are winners, but the second is a knockout. One thing that strikes me about the second piece is how carefully it has been composed and how precisely the design has been executed. Note, for example, how precisely the border rythmn and proportions have been maintained all the way around. Very often, there is a clear and somewhat jarring disjuncture between the horizontal and vertical borders on such weavings. This one even keeps the vertical orientation of the kochanak motifs the same all the way around. The consistent colour sequencing keeps the rythmn. I won't pretend to know the attribution, but this level of precision somehow strikes me as early Tekke or Salor.
I talked to Annette Rautenstengel about the top piece, while we had a quite
moment, and she was sure it was Eagle Gull Type II. It is asymmetrically knotted
open right. It does make me curious that Jon Thompson didn't dain to identify it
as such but left the attribution completely open. Using the line of reasoning I
have developed for the late 18th century I predict that this trapping was woven
by an Eagle Gull II woman living under a Yomud husband along with his other
Yomud wives. I think this because the two main borders of this trapping can be
found on other Yomud weavings but I don't recall ever seeing those borders on
anything that I thought was unquestionably an Eagle Gull piece. I have gone into
detail in previous salons about Tekke torbas with old drawing made with inferior
dye stuffs and with Yomud borders often rendered upside down. I believe this
very beautiful ostensibly Eagle Gull type II trapping fits that mold perfectly.
Incidentally the main gull center surrounds aren't traditional either. In other
Eagle Gull II trappings the central main gull surround is stepped. In fact look
at the Turkoman silver piece my wife is wearing at the Hajji Baba opening,
picture posted by Patrick. That piece of jewelry has the exact same outline as
the traditional EG type II inner main gulls do. Incidentally that is an
extremely rare piece of Turkoman silver and I presume it is Eagle Gull, whatever
The second piece has a similar look to what are usually described as later
Turkmen flatweaves, although this piece is said to be mid-19th century. The
reddish color and the regularity of the guls are the same as many later Yomud
The Timbuktu book notes that the "field design is ancient, widespread and is found in the weavings of both Turkic and Iranian nomads and their descendants."
It is describing the "Memling Gul". I have not located any such later Turkmen pieces on-line which are not for sale, but I will check a few reference books.
Please Patrick, not wanting to appear too ignorant, however it would be nice to know just what sort of weaving they might have done/still be creating in Timbuktu... Seeing as the book indicates its beginnings in the title I presume there is a specific reason for it.
(I googled the title last week on the two main book sites with no success)
So far no luck in being able to find a copy of Mr Thomsons catalogue of what surely must be a most excellent show. It will probably be another case like trying to find a reasonable first copy of Hali Oh well, I tried.
Here's a link to the catalog vending machine:
Much appreciated the address for the book. Strangely I read all the material initiated by Patrick and the purchase info did not appear to sink in. Not another sign of early 'old timers' I hope
Being old isn't so bad. I no longer have to drink to forget, and I don't worry about dying young anymore.
Thanks Steve, that appears to be an entirely suitable and sensible
I don't understand Eagle group rugs. Are they thought to be from some tribe or commercial? I've haven't seen one yet which hasn't looked, to me, strangely unoccupied, like model homes. My books don't say much on the subject. Sue
Google "eagle group" within TurkoTek and you will find a lot of information with images to help.
Is there any evidence that Eagle group carpets are not products of commercial ventures? I can't find any. That's what I'd like to know. I am aware of their structural and design differences but I don't have access to papers written on the subject so I don't know if the possibility they are commercial was raised. Sue
The "eagle gul group" attribution arose when it was noticed (I think, by the Rautenstengels) that what were believed to be Yomud main carpets with the so-called "eagle gul" in their fields had some structural peculiarities that placed them outside the mainstream of Yomud weaving. It was further noticed that there are some bagfaces and trappings that share these peculiarities, indicating that they were woven by the same group that wove the "eagle gul" main carpets. On this basis, they are considered to be from a Turkmen subpopulation, probably within the Yomud. Clan? Subtribe? Dates? Nobody knows, although the usual date attributions placed on eagle gul group weavings are early to mid 19th century. And, of course, nobody knows whether any of it was commercial. I'm not aware of any reason to think it was; at least, no reason that wouldn't apply to just about every Turkmen subgroup.
The few eagle gul group pieces that I've seen and handled have wonderful tactile properties, color, drawing, workmanship and aesthetics.
To answer Patrick's question my guess is that these weavings are
top-of-the-line cream-of-the-crop city rugs. They dredge up a childhood memory
of the old Imperial margarine commercials. ''Fit for a king'' is what they
called it. Butter without the butter. Nice packaging though.
I'd throw into that guess the guess that Salor rugs would be in that heap, too.
I prefer butter. I hope no one minds. Everyone's taste is different. Sue
Why "city rugs?" I don't think there's any evidence for it. I could contemplate motives grounded in commerce for some of the rugs, i. e., Salor or "eagle group," keeping in mind the references in Frazier's travelogue brought to our attention by old friend Gene Williams many months back. That was where the Tekke were credited with a keen desire to achieve the best market prices in about 1820. But what is the basis to say they were woven in city workshops? Contrast the Beshir style rugs, many of which which were evidently the product of settled workshops.
I forgot that most people think it's important where a loom was set up. To take that issue, which is of no interest me, out of it, I should have said something like ''Royal Bokara''. That's closer to what I meant. Sue
Nobody cares whether Salor and Eagle gul group carpets look like model homes or margarine packages in your mind's eye. Your use of "city rugs" and "Royal Bokhara" are unintelligible to anyone except yourself. Your posts to this thread don't seem to have any purpose beyond creating distractions for your own amusement. I can't permit that to continue.