Posted by R. John Howe on 12-18-2004 08:20 PM:

A Serious But Older Book on Fragments

Dear folks -

Last weekend I got to hang out a bit here with Peter Stone, the rug book author, during his visit to speak to our local rug club.

Seeing him off at the airport last Monday, I brought in my backpack a few smaller pieces of mine (mostly fragments) for his inspection.

Noting my proclivity, he asked whether I knew that there is a rather serious older book on fragments. I confessed my ignorance.

The citation is:

Carl Johan Lamm
Carpet fragments: The Marby rug and some fragments of carpets found in Egypt
Uddevalla: Nationalmuseums NS 7, 1985
ISBN 91-7100-291-X

Lamm, b. 1902 was Swedish from a family of rug and textile collectors. He was trained in the arts (PhD in Art History), read classical Arabic and Egyptian Arabic, spoke Turkish, Russian, Hebrew, Persian, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. He spent most of his career overseas in the Middle East and is the author of perhaps the definitive work on Islamic glass.

His book on carpet fragments is shortish, with only 60 pages of text (English) and line drawings (many by his mother; she apparently also did the illustrations for his doctoral thesis; pretty fair maternal support), a bibliography and then 40 color photos of the fragments he treats.

They include what seems structurally a considerable array. Most are estimated to be very old. He places them in chronological order. He suggests that the oldest of these fragments date from 2nd to the 4th centuries. None are seen to be younger than the 15th century.

Group I is distinguished by "use of an open, single warp knot" (seems sometimes similar to a "Spanish" knot but not always), Group V has asymmetric knots, and the balance of the groups have symmetric ones.

The book is hard back but wider than tall. The color seems reasonable for its publishing era.

Anyway, Peter Stone was right. This is a serious, older book about fragments that may deserve attention.

I got my copy on ABE in less than a week for $31.00.


R. John Howe

Posted by R. John Howe on 12-19-2004 07:19 AM:

Dear folks -

I suspect this book is still listed on ABE, and likely some of the rug book dealers will have it, but if it interests you and you should have trouble finding it, it is also available from a California firm here that specializes in books on Scandinavian art and architecture.

Their web site is:

Their email is:


R. John Howe