TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  My first ...
Author  :  Stephen Louw
Date  :  01-24-2000 on 09:34 a.m.
At the risk of making a total laughing stock of myself, here goes.

After my first decorative rug purchases -- a contemporary Bidjar and a Belouch prayer rug -- the bug bit, and I started to read widely on antique carpets. Immersed in the literature, I approached a very prominent South African dealer -- who shall remain anonymous -- and he showed me his collection of "antique" rugs. I chose the magnificent "antique Caucasian prayer rug" illustrated below. Although it did not look like any rug I had seen in the literature, the dealer assured me this was because it was unique, making it that much rarer and an intelligent purchase. Dutifully, I paid the dealer in full, and took my rug home to admire.

<img src="http://home.global.co.za/~slouw/ravat.jpg" border="0">

A few weeks later I bought a number of back issues of Hali. Still no sign of anything like my new rug. I need an insurance evaluation anyway, so I took the rug to a specialist antique dealer for his opinion. This is where reality struck home: the antique dealer took one look at the rug and told me that, whatever aesthetic merit it may or may not have, it was neither antique not Caucasian. I wont bore you all with the details of what followed, suffice to say I was both shocked and humiliated: there is nothing worse than being cheated. After much haggling, and the support of the specialist antique dealer, I got my money back; but the indignity of it all left a sour taste. (Hope I am the only one to go through this experience.)

The upside of the story is that having gotten my money back, I bought a rug from the specialist antique dealer who stood by me. After pouring over his Caucasians for hours, I suddenly chanced upon an Ersari kapunuk, which marked the end of my interest in Caucasians and the beginning of an obsession with Turkomans. In the end, a much better choice than the prayer rug I started off with.

Regards to all
Stephen Louw
<a href="mailto:slouw@global.co.za"><!--autoemail-->slouw@global.co.za</a><!--autoemail-->

Subject  :  RE:My first
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  01-24-2000 on 11:06 a.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Stephen, Actually, while the first rug you bought is clearly not Caucasian (my best guess is Belouch, judging from the end finishes), it looks real attractive on my monitor. And, had you stuck with your original instincts, you'd be collecting 20th century Belouch instead of Turkmen and you'd have more money and the same number of rugs today. That doesn't sound so bad to me, now that I think about it. Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:My first
Author  :  Yon Bard
Date  :  01-24-2000 on 01:36 p.m.
While the piece certainly looks Baluch in most respects, it's mihrab is like no other Baluch I'd ever seen. Maybe a Caucasian lady who married into a Baluch tribe? Regards,Yon

Subject  :  RE:My first
Author  :  Steve Price
Date  :  01-24-2000 on 02:14 p.m.
sprice@hsc.vcu.edu Dear Yon, I agree that it is a very Caucasianoid mihrab. Perhaps this is the reason the dealer who sold it to Stephen thought it was Caucasian. Then again,... Steve Price

Subject  :  RE:
Author  :  Stephen Louw
Date  :  01-24-2000 on 02:54 p.m.
The mihrab is, I agree, sort-of Caucasian, but I think the rest of the rug is belouch, and certainly made in the last quarter of the twentieth century at the absolute latest. I wont go into it here, but I am also quite sure the dealer knew this as well. Which is not to say that it is not a good looking rug. I dont know if it is visable clearly in the picture but the top corners are done in elem, with pile used only for the motifs. I have seen this illustrated on one of Amstey's vanishing jewels (dated to the 1970s). Stephen

Subject  :  RE: Another Possibility
Author  :  R. John Howe
Date  :  01-25-2000 on 05:31 a.m.
Dear folks - Although it seems a little long, I wonder whether Stephen's first piece might not be a variety of the "salanchak" format that Wendel made the subject of an early salon? (You can still see the pieces in our very early archives: the portion of the archive list that you can get to only from our home page.) Stephen's piece looks Balouch to me too and as it seems that the Balouch still sometimes make something like this format. I know where there is a quite attractive contemporary (3'X4') Balouch piece in it here in Washington right now. The only apparent difference is that the end with the arch is not finished square (with flatweave?) as Stephen's is. Although I think we've seen that feature before too. Do you recall the size, Stephen? Regards, R. John Howe

Subject  :  RE:
Author  :  Stephen Louw
Date  :  01-25-2000 on 06:42 a.m.
John, I don't have a record of this, but it must have been around 3 foot wide by 4 and a half foot long (0.9m x 1.4m).

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