Re: Musical metaphor

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on March 14, 1999 at 19:24:30:

In Reply to: Re: Musical metaphor posted by Yon Bard on March 14, 1999 at 13:30:36:

: : The point I wish to get to is a quote that Doris Blau once made to me about why she did not like Turkmen art - the aesthetic thing Steve mentions. She used a musical metaphor comparing the rigidity and compartmentalization found in Turkmen rugs to Germanic marches; her preference was for East Turkestan rugs to which she compared them to Vivaldi. Now Vivaldi is OK but gets rather tiresome after awhile just as Germanic march music does. Therefore, the whole metaphor falls apart. Anyone have a better one?

: Yes, I think I have a better musical metaphor, namely classical (in the narrow sense, i.e. Mozart and his contemporaries) music: composers were bound by a fairly strict set of rules on harmony, counterpoint, and structure, yet came up with an infinite variety of esthetic invention within this discipline. This, I feel, is very much like Turkoman rugs. People who only see rigidity within the Turkoman esthetic haven't really looked.

: Regards, Yon

Dear Yon and others:

I found Yon's Mozart comment most interesting because I likewise was going to answer "Yes, Mozart."
The interesting part is that I, like Doris Leslie Blau, came to hear jackboots in Turkomans, which I initially collected. I came later to collect and love Kurdish rugs mostly due to one particular rug that I was alerted to by Peter Pap and Cornelia Montgomery. It was seven years ago in February that I received a call from Mr. Pap informing me that he had a "really funky" northwest persian rug that he was bringing to the Hunt Valley Antiques Show north of Baltimore in two days time. He mentioned some other thingsb but I only recall that item. That Thursday found the D.C. area mired in a snow storm and basically shut down. I still recall the decision to go anyway and the drive, all alone on I 95, thinking I must be insane. I arrived at the show greeted by about 75 antiques dealers relieved that at least one retail customer would make the show and proceeded to the large gymnasium space Pap took in those days. Black curtains framed the interior and there against the back wall lit with halogens was the rug. I think of Mozart's Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 21 in C Major, K. 467 (II. Andante, in particular) to this day when I look at this rug. It sang on multiple levels.
Today we would all call this rug a herati pattern Sauj Bulagh on a corrosive brown ground. I still refer to it as Cornelia's rug because she and I sat and admired the rug for several hours that snowy day with nothing much else or better to do. I proceeded to sell every Turkoman I had and have seen several reappear in catalogues and exhibitions all without a moment's regret.
I have since come to quietly love great Kurdish rugs for their Mozart like qualities of color, color combinations and sheer exhuberance bursting out of traditional molds. While I struggle to understand their context and what a real Kurdish rug is in the hopes of building a collection, it is the color and joyfulness of these weavings that really keeps me interested. One other point, it is my lot in life, as some of you have witnessed first hand, to make my living by arguing zealously day in and day out. Frankly, it can get pretty ugly some days. I guess I collect Kurdish rugs because, in addition to my family, they give me something beautiful and uncontentious that is important and more valuable than the money to me.
Thanks for the topic. Michael

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