Posted by R._John_Howe on 05-02-2007 01:50 AM:

Intermim Report: Best of Intentions

Dear folks -

I am sitting as I write near the harbor in Bodrum.

This only to report on the fact that I had the best of intentions not to buy really anything as we traveled in Turkey. I bought one small Turkmen camel head dress fragment early in Istanbul just to be able to say that I had bought something at ICOC and I did not buy at the conference dealers fair.

But now in the countryside my resolve is weakening. In Bergama I bought a heybey a complete grain bag and a delicate eating cloth. Also a kind of painted wooden needle (probably Central Asian and maybe without much age but attractive). In Selcuk I bought a Yomut bag of a format wıth which I was not previously familiar one worn on the waist and used to sow grain. I also tried to buy a very fine fragment from a saddle bag but the owner has not yet decided to sell it.

I am encountering lots of interesting new things about rugs and textiles and there is basis for some interesting reports when we return.

I cannot predict internet access as we move west along the Mediterranean.


R. John Howe

Posted by R._John_Howe on 05-02-2007 02:55 PM:

Internet Access Two Nights in a Row

Dear folks -

Tonight we are are in Gocek, again down a steep mountain and on the water.

There are some serious textiles here, but so far not without accompanying serious prices. I looked at a quite old Lakai piece with a shape like a Turkmen ok bash. Done on fine red felt with absolutely wonderful embroidery. I will have a photo sometime. Unfortunately, the asking price was high enough to discourage me from even trying to translate it into USD.

Gorek is also the town to which the English dealer Richard Purdom has moved, and Jo and I will have coffee with him tomorrow morning.

I saw a metal Turkmen breadmaking tool today (I own the only other one I've seen, but they are not rare, rare). This tool has a nice shaped handle that fits smoothly in one's hand and then below a set of "spikes" are set pointing down all over the bottom of its cylindrical shape. It is used for striking holes in bread dough to prevent it from rising. (Most kabob restaurants have a similar tool now designed as a roller.) The sides of such tools are lavishly engraved (one wonders why for a similar "kitchen" tool of this sort). This one had less design on it than mine. Four blue stones are set in it at one curved area. Some quite experienced Turkmen fanatics have not seen this sort of tool.

Gocek, in my view, is a distinct improvement on Bodrum.

Coming to Gocek we had to pass, early on, a "rug farm" sign that amused my wife. She insisted we stop. Largely brand new pieces from surrounding villages. They said he "rug farm" reference is to the fact that they spread new rugs out in the sun to take the brightness out of their colors.

They had a very attractive old kilim fragment on one wall, but the price they quoted when I asked about it suggested that they are not interested in selling it. I'll have a photo of it too, sometime.

The sign above their exit gate said "Leaving?" "Why?" Not apparently a reference to the possibility that you may not have bought something, but rather a more general Turkish philosophical observation asked on a number of leave-taking occasions.


R. John Howe

Posted by Antalya on 05-06-2007 02:12 PM:

Antalya and Saul Prefigured in Konya

Dear folks -

Tonight we are in Konya (four hour drive from Anatalya our last previous stop) and have only visited one rug dealer so far before dinner.

But tonight's report is on Antalya and we can say that it is possible to find good pensions, good restaurants and good rugs all within about a two hundred meter diameter.

We saw lots of interesting material, but the damage to our budget was modest. We bought one Turkish village rug fragment (it's from the Konya area) and a complete, flatwoven Yomut Turkmen tent band. Very fine and with a design I don't think is is precisely like any other I've seen before.

If we can survive the dealers of Konya, there may be a few pennies for an interesting thing or two in Cappadocia.

As we checked into our hotel in Konya late this afternoon, they volunteered that Saul Barodofsky will be checking in just after we leave town and are dealing with the wonders of Cappadocia.

Saul, I had not realized that rug dealers lived this well on the road. It ain't cheap, but it's very nice.


R. John Howe

Posted by R._John_Howe on 05-07-2007 09:51 AM:

Museums and Two Fragments in Konya So Far

Dear folks -

It's about 4:30 pm Konya time and we've seen three museums and spent quite a bit of time with one rug dealer.

Bought two items and held back on one more that I wanted. I bought what I believe is a quite old Turkish yastik fragment (said to be from the Konya area) and a full-pile fragment of a Kyrghyz bag face with good color and strong graphics. I'll conserve the yastik, sewing it onto a backing, and I'll wash the Kyrghyz piece.

I took a great many photos of some strong material in the Konya museums. There seem not to be any catalogs so far. There was no bar on touching. I tried to remember to touch a 13th century Selcuk piece with only the backs of my fingers where I heard Jon Thompson say recently in Istanbul, that there are no sweat glands. But I know what a 13th century pile rug feels like.


R. John Howe

Posted by R._John_Howe on 05-13-2007 07:53 AM:

A Second Stop in Instanbul

Dear folks -

It is Sunday, 4/13, afternoon, and we flew back to Istanbul from Kayseri yesterday in the morning.

I think the damage to my bank account, since my last report is containable (I cannot tell for sure because the ATMs here in Turkey are not able to tell me what my balance is ).

Gerome, in Cappadocia, is a delightful small town with one very serious dealer (appointment only). I looked at a lot of material I couldn't afford, and some more that I shouldn't, and finally bought a complete Anatolian bag with good color that I thought was the sort of thing I might be able better to manage.

Yesterday afternoon, back here in Istanbul, my bride and I weakened over some new suzanis and suzani materials that are being produced. They are quite wonderful. One strip 50 meters long, is not just beautifully embroidered, but done on a partly silk ground fabric. We bought a couple of these pieces, one for our bedspread back home. I'm not sure I dare use some of the strip to have a sport coat made, but it is tempting.

Most everything is shut down today, because it is Sunday, but I will see one more rug dealer before we leave town. Hopefully, we will escape.

I have not had access to email during this trip, or I would be sharing images. That has to wait until we return. I just checked and find that I have taken 1982 images so far with my digital. I expect my wife has a nearly equal number from the single-reflex 35mm. So some reflection and winnowing is needed before sharing.

I will write again, after recovering from the jet lag.

We recommend Turkey to everyone!


R. John Howe