Posted by Wendel Swan on November 15, 1998 at 20:38:40:
My immediate reaction to the Khamseh that Daniel posted was that it is a relatively unusual and attractive rug with wonderful color, above average in its group, but not outstanding. Perhaps my reaction is similar to his, for one could not say that his posting came with unbridled enthusiasm.
Our individual preferences depend on a variety of factors, ranging from the purely subjective ("I don't like buttermilk") to those more or less based upon objective standards learned or acquired through experience ("I've tasted every vintage of Chateau Latour since 1950 and I believe the 1961 to be the most impressive.")
Surely the most frequent complaint about this rug, and the one most likely to separate it from the very best examples, is that the field is crowded. In the rug world, we all quickly learn the convention that rug designs should not be "crowded." Why? If too close together, each element loses its separate identity, its impact, its importance as the senses are overloaded.
In this case, the crowding almost masks another flaw: the rug has little design structure as can been seen by comparing the black and white image with the color image. Aside from having a relatively simple stepped medallion and a border, there is no real pattern to the rug. It is mostly random filler.
Compounding this problem is the fact that there is virtually no alternation in the scale of the design elements. The border, the field and the medallion are all drawn to approximately the same scale.
One can argue that such spontaneity is desirable in rugs, but I tend to view the design of a rug (whether the "designer" is a real person or a tradition) as a factor that is as important as any other.
Without the opportunity to examine the rug, I couldn't comment on its possible tactile qualities, but the color saturation and the juxtaposition of colors is excellent. I can imagine that it has a marvelous handle. (My monitor is full of finger prints trying to test this notion; it hasn't worked yet.)
Having just picked the rug to pieces with these critical statements, I find the color saturation, transition and range to be quite appealing. This charm nearly overcomes its lack of "pedigree." A fragment of it would probably satisfy me as much as the whole.
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