TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  Message from Emmett Eiland
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  08-14-2001 on 06:40 a.m.
Dear folks -

In my introductory essay, I acknowledged that I have drawn heavily in this salon on Emmett Eiland's book on contemporary rug production.

Since I am not above "seeding" responses in my own salon, I also contacted Emmett and gave him a prior look at my initial salon essay and invited him to contribute further, if he felt so moved.

He has generously responded and has given me permission to post some additional thoughts he has on our salon topic.

Here they are:


"Most collectors will insist that nothing woven today will be collectible because a.) Rugs woven today are too commercial, b.) Today’s rugs are merely copies of old rugs, c.) There was just something about 12th or 16th or 18th or late 19th century rugs that make them art, but art stopped being produced in the 13th, 17th, 19th or 20th century. To me, those arguments are articles of faith and can’t be answered. My point of view no doubt is also personal, namely that many of the rugs and carpets woven today are wonderful and that wonderful rugs are collectible now and certainly will be when they are old.

Elsewhere I have made the case as well as I can that this is a fertile age of Oriental rug weaving, comparable to the period of 1880 to 1920.

But what in particular will look good to collectors 100 years from now?

The best of today’s gabbbehs are simply fantastic. I’m especially knocked out by the pieces in traditional tribal designs made by Luri and Qashgayi weavers (as opposed to the more impressionistic gabbehs). Their hand-spun wool is luscious, their dyes are natural, their knot-counts are impressive. In no sense are they copies. They are woven by tribal people in their own tradition.

There is a small number of south Persian rugs woven in mixed techniques that are gorgeous. For some reason these are called Baluchis, but for all the world they look like Afshar work to me. Five stars for their collectibility.

We are now beginning to see naturally-dyed work from the Kurds in the North-west of Iran. Five stars.

In the world outside of Iran, I would have to single out the rugs produced by Chris Walter (Yayla Tribal Rugs), and George Jevremovich (Woven Legends). Look through a pile of Chris’s Ersaris and you will find a couple of gems. They are Turkmen rugs woven by Turkmen weavers in traditional Turkmen designs. There is nothing the least bit politically incorrect about them. The rugs from Woven Legends may not be as “correct” (most are Persian designs woven by Turkish weavers), but boy are they good! I will single out the pieces called Euphrates. They are single-wefted, in much the same weave as old Karadjas. The only problem with them is that most are in large sizes that are not usually thought of as collectible.

I love some of the pieces made by Black Mountain Looms, a project that also involves George Jevremovich- in particular the rugs woven in China and called Little River. I believe that already they are no longer being made, and nothing increases the desirability of a rug like scarcity!

Much of the industry today is geared toward weaving room-sized pieces. Many of these are really special, but few people will collect them except for practical use.

It is hard for me to deal with the many rugs woven today that are in very modern designs, especially those from Nepal. I don’t know how history will treat them. There are modern artists in Turkey producing really good things…I think. But who knows? It’s quite personal.

But the bottom line is that I see new rugs every day that I believe are and will be collectible. As always, we have to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Emmett Eiland"

Thanks, Emmett

R. John Howe

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