Posted by Yon Bard on November 29, 1998 at 09:30:13:
Jerry, I'd like to quibble with some of the attributes that you ascribe to 'ethnographic' rugs':
High quality: The quality (workmanship) of weavings for home use varies all over the lot, as it is bound to, since it is woven by many people with varying level of skills. Some of my Turkmen pieces show extreme incompetence (which can be charming!) while others are superbly made. On the other hand, rugs for commercial use are bound to have a minimum level of competence, and of course are superbly made at the high end. I happen to know a lot of quilters (my wife included); most of the quilts they make are for family and friensds, and their quality varies all over the lot, but sometimes the same quilters will make pieces for sale, and those are likely to be made to higher standards.
Beauty: There are many tribal rugs that are ugly and many commercial rugs that are beautiful. When non-ruggies look at my rugs, they invariably pick a modern Isphahan floor carpet as their favorite!
Vigor: ditto. Nobody can claim that the Salting rug, for example, is lacking in vigor!
Uniqueness: There are countless almost-identical Tekke torbas or Yomud chuvals, etc. Are the minute variations among them more significant than those among Eagle Kazaks?
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