Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-24-2007 02:03 PM:

Border War


In your description of catalog 19, you printed what is probably the catalog description, including this:

It may not be self-evident but all of the rugs in this group have “a large lamp hanging at each end of the field.”

It looks more to me like a typical Vase design carpet and those Lamps are more Vase-like. I know that single niche rugs often have a lamp in the niche, but the lamps don't usually have flowers growing out of them?

Speaking of borders, but not on the two pieces you have selected:

Looking at catalog #34, near the bottom of page two of your salon, I was struck (and I suspect there are a few folks who would like to) by the remarkable similarity of the border to a Luri piece I have. I had wondered about this particular border design, having not seen it much - if at all - and it seems that they are the same design. You noted:

"This piece, which may be from Manisa Province, has a “rosette in a lattice of stems” border that also occurs on one other piece in the broader group."

The Transylvanian piece has a red ground border, but the rosettes on both pieces are the same - a dot in the middle of a circle surrounded by a larger circle which is surrounded by round petals, and each of these outer petals has a dot in the middle of it.

The Luri version has more minor motifs in and around the lattice, indicating an earlier and more original version...

Obviously, the upstart Turks copied this ancient Luri design......

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 07-24-2007 08:40 PM:

Hi Pat -

Yes, about plate 19 I'm quoting the catalog.

It says that one of the distinctions between the designs of "first period" Transylvanian "niche" rugs and those of the "second period" is the change in these niche elements from "lamps" to "large flowers."

I agree that these "first period" devices could be plausibly read to be vases, but in the single niche examples they appear to be suspended (there are one or more "chain-like" lines above them). Vases could also be suspended, but would be less plausibly so. But they are funny looking "lamps."

About the border on plate 34 and the one on your own piece,

I think you're likely having fun, but there are some remarkable similiarities. It appears in this case that the Anatolians have elaborated on a "seminal" Lori design. Things can move that way sometimes.

I definitely agree that the ancient Loris often do not get their due. I've heard that some Shiraz dealers will not accept Lori weavings. More their loss.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 07-24-2007 09:07 PM:

Hi John

As implausible as it may seem, my wife keeps flowering plants in containers suspended from the overhang of our roof. Each is suspended from three chains that meet at a single hook embedded in the underside of the overhang.

Steve Price

Posted by R. John Howe on 07-24-2007 10:37 PM:

Steve -

Oh yes, they sell plastic plant pots with wire hangers all over the place and I made lots of macrame plant hangers that all follow this principle of a hanging vase.

I'm reporting rather than defending the catalog descriptions which are credited to Michael Franses. He might have an answer to Pat's question. I suspect that he did not, rather pointedly, say "lamp" rather than "vase" by accident.


R. John Howe

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 07-25-2007 02:46 AM:

Patrick and John,

You'll admit that a classical Mosque Lamp looks pretty much like a vase…

Courtesy of MET – full link here:


Posted by R. John Howe on 07-25-2007 06:58 AM:

Hi Filiberto -

Yes, that's useful.

The only remaining potential confusion I can see is what seem to be "flowers" growing out of the tops of the lamps on rug 19.

I've only said that because I know that Pat would.


R. John Howe

Posted by Marty Grove on 07-25-2007 08:09 AM:

Bordering on

G'day all,

Patrick referred to the rug from possibly Manisa Province put up by John.

The border on this piece 'rosette in lattice of stems' has been suggested as not common. Surprisingly an Ersari I have has just this border, rosettes within a framework of stems and could be said to be so similar to be from the same origins as the rug shown, as well as Luri, which Patrick also referred to.

The Ersari is modern, no earlier than the 1970's, so it looks as though things are really gathering pace in the dissemination of designs from hither and thither.


Posted by R. John Howe on 07-25-2007 02:10 PM:

Hi Marty -

I don't think the catalog claim is that the border in rug 34 is generally uncommon, but rather that within the "Transylvanian" coupled-column group of which it is a part, only one other piece has it.


R. John Howe

Posted by Marty Grove on 07-25-2007 02:35 PM:

Thanks John, my error and mis reading.


Posted by R. John Howe on 07-26-2007 08:05 AM:

Patrick et al -

I've been reading an Alberto Boralevi article in the "Transylvanian" exhibition catalog for the other thread but have happened on to a passage that is fascinating, given your observation above. I'll just quote him.

"...Doubled-niche rugs rugs have minor design variations in the field. Some of them (for example, Exib. No. 19) include two styled vases, which have been interpreted as lamps because of their similarity to thos found on a number of niche rugs that were possibly intended as "seccadeh" or prayer mats. It is in fact possible to find vases with flowering offshoots in the same positions on velvet cushions (fig. 59). The similarity between the vase portrayed in this velvet and the "lamps" produced in the rugs, woven with less sophisticated knotting technique, is extraordinary..."

I think Mr. Boralevi has come as close as he can, without actually saying so, to suggesting that he disagrees with Michael Franses' interpretation of the devices we have been discussing here as "lamps."

It is comforting to discover every once in awhile that even the gods of the rug world sometimes seem to disagree.


R. John Howe

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-27-2007 11:51 PM:

Thank You Very Much


I am honored that you should include me in the pantheon of Rug Gods..........

Saint Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 07-28-2007 07:17 AM:

Hi Pat -

I know that your sense of your position in the rug world is more modest than that, but your alert perception here (impressively stated without, I think, access to the "Transylvanian" catalog) is certainly congruent with that of one of them.

That suggests, strongly, that you are not asleep about such things.

Good eye,

R. John Howe

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 07-28-2007 11:42 AM:

A Haggard, Old, Has-Been


I've been demoted already? Do I have to return the Rug God robes and the plinth I have been standing on?
And, of course, I will now have to revise my resume, again.

Patrick, Former Rug God, Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 07-28-2007 09:10 PM:

Pat -

Here in the East rug gods are not much given to robes. It is only when they open their mouths that one senses that they feel that what comes out is "ex cathedra."

Of course, dress is often somewhat different in the West.

Don't worry about the resume. A passe device. The game now is networking.

One can create and deploy several different personas here on the internet (we see it here everyday). No reason why one of them can't be a rug god (although there's a line). The possibilities that exist using internet graphics make mere robes pale into insignificance.

Bear up. Congruence may seem "mere," but it ain't half bad.


R. John Howe