TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  On enjoyment
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  12-12-2001 on 06:32 p.m.
Dear all,

I love Michael Bischof's comparison of wine and rugs.

In a few lectures, I made an analogy between wine and rugs, saying that, as with all art, taste in rugs is subjective and personal, so that everyone can have an opinion. And, when I hear someone say, "I don't know much about rugs but I know what I like," it ultimately turns out that both aspects of such a statement are true. Everyone is an expert on what they like and some of these folks really don't know anything about rugs.

However, the enjoyment of both rugs and wine changes, and probably increases, as one gains more experience with and knowledge of them. Some people prefer Bordeaux, other Burgundies or Italians or Californians, but no oenophile would proclaim a preference for Ripple.

I've long believed that we learn the most when exposed to the best that any particular field offers. For example, one could not help but learn from and immensely enjoy the Flowers Underfoot exhibition of Mughal carpets at the Metropolitan Museum in New York a few years ago. I'll never own a Mughal carpet, but these were almost unbelievably beautiful in color, contrast, design, execution and wool quality. And one could simultaneously enjoy and learn from such an exhibit. They were truly sensual objects.

Wine is not dissimilar. Just as there are these many facets that we may enjoy in a carpet (color, contrast, wool quality, execution), so there are various aspects in wine to give us joy: the color, nose, legs, taste and finish among them.

My wife and I recently visited Chicago and were treated to dinner and fine wines by an old acquaintance. Before dinner we drank a bottle of 1992 Corton Charlemagne (a white Burgundy, for those not familiar with it) by Latour and with the lamb dinner we had a magnum of 1970 Chateau Pichon Lalande (a red Bordeaux). Both were exquisite, as were the rugs by which we were surrounded. I will remember the various sensations of enjoying these wines in almost the same way that I recall seeing some of the great rug exhibitions.

In another thread, there is a suggestion that the age and price of a wine may be largely irrelevant to the enjoyment of it. It may be true that some people would not appreciate a great vintage wine, but I would buy and drink it regularly if I could afford to do so. Young wines, even if produced to mature quickly, are simply not the same as a mature older style wine. And new rugs, regardless of the quality of materials used, are not the same as the great old ones.

I know that I could never be ANY sensible comment about music. I like listening to classical music in particular, but I have a tin ear and a poor sense of rhythm. On the other hand, I know that my senses of taste and smell are (or at least have been) more acute than average. I really enjoy my food and wine (and beer) and there are times when the sensory experiences with rugs compare to those of wine.

Permit me another wine and rug story. While in Florence at the ICOC, Diane and I were having lunch with Jurg and Esther Rageth at a wine bar they had visited previously. I ordered one glass of Chianti Classico but decided to upgrade to an older vintage for a second glass. When I sniffed the second glass and had my first taste, a couple from Germany seated next to us began to chuckle at my obvious, but non-verbal, expressions of pleasure. It turned out that they were on a wine tour and had visited this wine bar just to sample the very wine that I, purely by chance, had also ordered.

They didn't speak English and I don't speak German, but they pointed to their itinerary and a guide that showed the wine bar and the Chianti. At that moment, we all spoke the international language of wine.

Perhaps others will have a story to tell here that combines both rugs and wine. Better yet, some of us could get together, uncork a couple of good ones, and share those stories.

Best to all,


Subject  :  Re:On enjoyment
Author  :  Marvin Amstey mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  12-12-2001 on 07:29 p.m.
That magnum of Pichon LaLande could probably buy a pretty nice bagface. Sounds like a great dinner and wine combo to me. If you are trying to stir up a little envy, you have succeeded! What rugs were in view when you shared that dinner?
Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:On enjoyment
Author  :  Wendel Swan mailto:%20wdswan@erols.com
Date  :  12-13-2001 on 07:32 a.m.
Hi Marvin,

My intention wasn't to provoke envy, but, in all candor, if you like wine you should be envious. Here is one of the rugs I enjoyed along with the wine.

I know that you may not be able to make it to the conference, but this Afshar is one of the candidates for inclusion in our South Persian exhibition at ICOC in April of 2003. The border clearly distinguishes it within its group.

Best regards,


Subject  :  Re:On enjoyment
Author  :  Marvin Amstey mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  12-13-2001 on 12:10 p.m.
I'm very partial to Afshar rugs, and I most likely will be at the conference. While I may have argued for another date - on behalf of others - I don't have any strong feelings about conflicts with religious holidays. Thanks for the image.
Best regards,

Subject  :  Re:On enjoyment
Author  :  R. John Howe mailto:%20rjhowe@erols.com
Date  :  12-16-2001 on 07:12 a.m.
Dear folks -

I want to do something not quite licit here: to quote Wendel out of context and then to tussle a little with what I think may be his implication (although he does not say what I want to contest specifically).

Wendel writes in part above:

"...And new rugs, regardless of the quality of materials used, are not the same as the great old ones..."

My thought:

One of the rug questions that has interested me is "What can still be done?" I think the answer is "Almost anything, if time and other costs are not close considerations."

I certainly agree that an old "great" rug is not the "same thing" as a new "great" rug but I resist the implication that the old great rug is necessarily alway "better."

It is true that the movement of dye colors and the development of patina in the wool will not have had a chance to occur in a newly woven piece, but unless such qualities are seen to be decisive, I would argue that "great" new rugs are possible every day and that at some levels an argument that "older is always better" seems to treat age itself as directly correlated with aesthetic quality, something which I think cannot be demonstrated. "Age," I would argue, is in fact largely independent of aesthetic quality.

Now I want to acknowledge that Wendel did not make directly the argument about which I object here, but there is an unstated implication of it in his words.

I also want to compliment Michael Bischof about his extensively set forth analogy between rugs and wine. I think it is effective for the recommendation he makes. We should keep in mind, though, that analogies are illustrative but do not constitute proof and often break down fairly quickly (although this one appears to have a nice persistence in its parallels.)

Good salon, Michael. Too bad I gave up alcohol awhile back. There are some nice suggestions being provided here. "Food" for thought, so to speak.


R. John Howe

Subject  :  Re:On enjoyment
Author  :  Michael Bischof mailto:%20koek@dv-kombinat.de
Date  :  12-16-2001 on 10:39 a.m.
Dear all,

though I live in a wine area I must confess that I like the taste of good wine - but not the effect it has to the brain. This has nothing to do with religion or morals, I just dislike it and so I drink some 7-10 glasses per year for the taste, that is all. The habit to drink wine is an integral part of our culture and the only argument that tended to frighten me in this whole salon were Csilla Klausner's remarks stating that nobody should assume she is an alcoholic. May be I understood it wrong - but here we do not excuse ourselves for drinking wine.
Even if one personally does not like it that much one has to demonstrate some knowledge about wine to be accepted as an educated person ! To taste the wine requires not only knowledge. In addition it needs talent. I do not have this talent, most likely. But some of my friends have. One of them is Bertram Frauenknecht.

Many years before he was here and did not believe me that one could get great wines from Rheinhessen - so strong was the association with cheap mass quality. In my village there is one wine master who is keen to produce such wines, not more, and his products convinced Bertram.

Later it came to my mind that the problems that we encounter in the business with new pieces have the same structure like certain problems that we had encountered with wines and that we still encounter with food, cosmetics, fashion textiles etc. To summarize it in a short form I would say : do not be naive ! The "look" tells You nothing unless You can be sure of all details of how it was produced.

Nobody can master this for more than a few products that he uses to buy daily. I do not advocate hystery on this topic.
But I insist that we should together work for a status of the market where the principle works "According to the quality ... ". And for such a status all ruggies have to work, the collectors/customers as well as the dealers, especially those who buy and sell from the traditional carpet producing countries. For uprooted pieces the present situation is quite nice ... but carpets, sold by weight, originating from the "in" places where labour is the cheapest, are carpetoids.

Yours sincerely


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