Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-08-2007 12:49 PM:

Horror Vaccui


I see a LOT of empty wall space in your place.




My preference is for the "Horror Vaccui" school of interior decorating. (A style of weaving particular to the Qashqai in their mille-fleurs prayer rugs- where not a single millimeter of space is not covered with details, motifs and designs)
Here is our living room, with the "Wall of Lurs". The ceiling is 9' (3meters) from the floor-barely tall enough for the center rug.
There is another Luri piece to the right, out of the photo. And the Chinese kitchen cabinet on the left holds some stereo gear, old ORR magazines and is stuffed to the gills with small pieces, bag faces, Shahsavan mafrash and, quarrantined from the rest, hack, cough, sputter - Baluch stuff. You may be able to make out a Jaf Kurd bag face on the ottoman seen at the bottom, center of the picture. And there is a Qashqai khorjin face on the chair next to the Chinese altar table. The floor rug is a mid-century Tabriz, 11x17. That is an old brass-and-glass ship porthole under the altar table. It is the only place I could put it that it would not fall over and take someone's foot off. The reclining Buddha is resting on a MAD/Ersari torba. And you can also see a few Chinese porcelain pieces I keep around so I will have something to collect on my insurance when the next earthquake hits. And you can see the edge of a Bakhtiari khorjin tacked to the side of the Chinese cabinet.

Here is a photo of the bedroom, with the Qashqai horse cover in the middle, a Malatya Kurd kilim fragment on the left and an Afshar on the right. The panels of the horse cover normally hang behind the bed frame, of course. We take them out when company comes over.......

Now if only I didn't have to have furniture to sit on, there would be more room for rugs...

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Jerry Silverman on 08-08-2007 01:50 PM:

Thanks for playing, Patrick.

Would you care to comment on the questions I asked?

Among the questions I’d like to explore are:
1. What are our attitudes toward placing rare rugs in locations where they will receive wear?
2. Do the colors and patterns of oriental rugs and textiles make it difficult to use them to decorate a room?
3. Is too much ever too much?
4. Do your friends and neighbors think that you’re nuts? (…with regard to your use of rugs – not for other possible reasons)

It's pretty clear how you feel about question #3. What about the others?



Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-08-2007 02:31 PM:

The Homework Assignment

OK, Jerry, I suppose the homework part of the assignment is due.

1. What are our attitudes toward placing rare rugs in locations where they will receive wear?

I have a cheap Hamadan on the kitchen floor, a crummy, modern wagireh at the entryway, an older Kurdish runner and an unknown runner in the hallways, Heriz, Shiraz and Afghan rugs in other places on the floor. The only "valuable" piece is a lovely Mazlagan in the bedroom, out of the way. I do not place rare, older pieces with collectible value on the floor, because I don't own any rare, valuable collectible pieces.....

2. Do the colors and patterns of oriental rugs and textiles make it difficult to use them to decorate a room?

No, it is the furniture that clashes with the rugs.

I must say that the rugs-on-the-walls theme does need to be broken up in places, so we also have a few areas with only framed paintings or photographs on the walls, or masks.
I am afraid that at our place, there is so much stuff that calling it "decoration" is an understatement. The rugs are the overwhelming decorating element, so the furniture is almost inconspicuous.

3. Is too much ever too much?

I suppose I will keep adding more stuff until it reaches the point of too much, then I may stop. I might need psychiatric and pharmacological assistance in the effort, though.

4. Do your friends and neighbors think that you’re nuts? (…with regard to your use of rugs – not for other possible reasons)

What friends?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-09-2007 08:20 AM:

Hey Patrick,

I'm glad you explained the porthole cover under the Lurs (nice rug!). I would have thought it was a giant magnifying glass to assist in finding the "Where's Waldo" guy in the Qashqai you have hidden in the back room.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-10-2007 04:28 PM:

Just to assure folks that our decorating theme is not all chock-a-block rugs tacked to every wall and surface, here is a photo of the kitchen table in front of a Shirvan Baku piece. The doors are from Shanxi, a Chinese province in the upper midwest of the country. The capitol of Shanxi is Taiyuan.
There is a story about a Western businessman traveling from Shanghai to Formosa who got on a small airplane and found himself in Taiyuan instead of Taiwan.
The photographs on the wall to the right are from some of our travels.

It appears serene, calm and not too cluttered.

Opening the doors into the dining room, one is confronted with the Qashqai on the floor that Richard mentioned. Rich, it is not hidden in the back room and I have not found Waldo yet.

Moving into the living room, you can see the fireplace wall, with a couple of Baluch balisht pieces and two Anatolian Yastiks. That is a Quchan Kurd grain bag on the fireplace perch. I will photograph it and post it to the Jaf Kurd thread on Show and Tell.

And for those hankering for that old Horror Vaccui look, here is the entryway into the house.
Some of the paintings are by family members. The rugs include a Luri kilim, Fachralo Kazak and Tekke engsi. For Steve there is a Dogon grainery door. And to the far left is a Japanese ranma from a hundred years ago or more.
You can see some more ranma at this site:

I guess it IS just a little bit busy right inside the front door.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-10-2007 04:56 PM:

Hi Patrick,

Nice! Now I know the secret. By a TALL house or SHORT rugs.

I know someone who collects antique doors, mostly from Central and South Asia. I once asked him what he does with all those doors, since he couldn't possibly display them all. He was a bit perplexed by the question. Evidently he didn't see the need to display everything he collected.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-10-2007 05:21 PM:

Buy the Rugs first, then the house


I owned a very large, two-piece Aydin kilim at one time. It was too big for any surface in the house, so I traded it as partial payment for the large Luri rug. I miss that old Anatolian kilim, but I would have had to buy a house with even taller ceilings.
I, too, am enchanted by antique doors. I found these in Shanghai, had them shipped home and installed during a remodel project. The whole frame and doors can be removed if necessary. I plan to have them installed into my nursing home in a few years.....

Another collector I know brought a door back from Saudi Arabia and stored it for several years, not knowing quite what to do with it. He had it made into a dining room table. He thinks the wood was imported from India and an Indian guest worker made the door a century or so ago. He had a local craftsman make a frame that the door is set into and it has a glass top.
A neighbor of mine went to China a year ago and had a set of doors sent back, modified so she could use them as her front door. But they were much too heavy, so they are now standing in her garage. The seller would not take them back because she had them shortened and permanently glued together to make a single, large door.
Doors are not as easy to display as rugs are, nor are they as cheap to transport.
I saw a pair of Chinese doors installed onto sliders, so instead of opening inwards, they slid along the wall.

I wonder if there is a web site for door collectors? Doork-o-tek?

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 08-11-2007 06:27 AM:

Dear all,

I received the following e-mail:

Nice Salon!
Please add your full addresses, accurate plans of your houses and details of your burglar alarm systems.
The Beagle Boys



Posted by R. John Howe on 08-11-2007 07:12 AM:

Pat -

I don't know whether there is a web site for antique doors, but Andy Hale and Kate Fitz Gibbon (of rug world fame) had a period a few years ago when such doors dominated the web site of their Anahita Gallery in Sante Fe.

I just checked and they seem to have moved on to other things now.


R. John Howe

Posted by Steve Price on 08-11-2007 08:02 AM:

Hi Filiberto

I'm told that one fairly well known (in Rugdom) person is living off the insurance settlement from a burglary that some people believe he staged.


Steve Price

Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-11-2007 10:00 AM:

Hi Steve,

Any hints available on the burglary? Did it by chance occur within a one mile radius of Kenmore Square in Boston?

Rich Larkin

Posted by Steve Price on 08-11-2007 10:27 AM:

Hi Rich

I have only hearsay evidence. Since we don't discuss personalities (with one exception, and we have a forum devoted to his), it's best not give clues. I guess that makes us clueless.


Steve Price

Posted by R._John_Howe on 08-11-2007 11:15 AM:

Hi Filiberto -

The issue you raise is a serious one for some folks. (You have given us glimpses sometimes of your own home and collections, but I notice that you're not eager at the moment.)

Some collectors will not let me photograph their pieces at the TM because they've been cautioned that posting things they have on the internet increasing their exposure to theft.

And rug robberies have occurred.

There is a bio sketch of some collectors in an old issue of Hali or ORR in which they tell of coming home and encountering a robbery of their collection in process. One of the robbers was a rug dealer known to the husband collector who was struck in the head while trying to prevent it. I'm not sure how it ended, but the couple seemed to indicate that they stilll see this robber-dealer on the street.

I wonder whether we shouldn't move this entire discussion of potential security issues related to participation in this salon to a separate thread.


R. John Howe

Posted by R._John_Howe on 08-11-2007 12:28 PM:

Dear folks -

What I meant by the suggestion above is this issue is currently both buried in Pat's post on his collection and distorts discussion of it.

To continue a bit with the latter, I've visited Pat and can testify that he's not showing nearly what he has. :-)

Good "robber" intelligence, yes?

I don't think it will have any bad consequences. People up that way are totally fixated on coffee and rain.


R. John Howe

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-11-2007 01:55 PM:

Stop That Thief ! ! !


Yes, you should open a separate thread where we can share our alarm system passwords, dog names, addresses and usual times of day we are at home.
Many, many years ago, I was at a rug shop when someone walked in wanting to sell a rug. The dealer said to him that he thought it was stolen and would not buy it. The guy left in his Mercedes parked outside. The dealer said he probably should have chased the guy down and had him picked up by the police, but that would have left me alone in his store (and my collection would be a lot larger today).
On the other hand, it would not be a great robbery scheme to steal a bunch of ratty rugs. Where do you sell them? e-bay is too easy to spot them, Craigs List is probably too close to home, pawn shops don't want them. Come to think of it, why are we even collecting the stupid things anyway?
I know one collector who says he had a secret room built into his house to store some of his rugs. On the other hand, I spoke at one time with a rug collecting physician who bought a separate condo just for his rug collection.
What a bunch of weirdo's those silly rug collectors are!

Patrick Weiler

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-12-2007 02:02 AM:

Hi Patrick,

a rug collecting physician who bought a separate condo just for his rug collection.

Don't let my rugs know about this physician and his spoiled rugs. They'll want their own place too, to get some peace and quiet from the constant picture taking, physical examination and the occasional instance of a dog rolling around on them. As it is, I am running short on space to keep them all happy, since I have to keep some of the groups in their own areas of the house. Most of the groups complain about the Turkomans and their showy red and aggressive demeanor. The Turkomans are tired of the messiness of the South Persians. The Caucasians keep everyone up at night with their loud parties. Everyone is complaining about the Baluch trying to copy them, and never getting the designs right. I suppose it takes a lot of patience for a collector to sort these prima donnas out.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-12-2007 11:36 AM:

My Mistake


Please disregard my earlier comment:

"What a bunch of weirdo's those silly rug collectors are!"

Things may actually be worse than I originally thought.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by R. John Howe on 08-13-2007 07:19 AM:

Hi Patrick -

Yes, James' little bit of humor does seem to reach some outer fringes of phenomena potentially associated with our neurosis, but to go back to folks housing their rugs.

Michael Wendorf, the Kurdish rug collector, told me that when he and his wife built a new home, he served as the general contractor and included an entirely cedar-lined room in which to keep the bulk of his rugs. A larger cedar chest than most of us have envisioned.

And an extreme case for building a house for one's rugs is likely that of Jim Dixon on the West Coast. Dixon is a prosperous landscape architect, with one of the largest and most impressive collections in the Bay area. He built a house precisely to house and show off his rugs. This is a collection that includes 16th and 17th century rugs and often pieces that are very large.

He invited ACOR attendees one year to tour his place and a mere five old Greyhound-type busses of us did. This is the most intensive presentation of rugs and textiles, I think I have seen in a private home. You literally cannot escape the rugs. Every wall is covered. Most extreme example: at the highest level of the top floor there is a platform bed; laying on it you are facing a Ghiordes prayer rug on the ceiling.

The Dixon home with its rugs was published in Hali.


R. John Howe

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-13-2007 10:59 AM:

Hi John,

My attempt at a little bit of humour was precisely about "folks housing their rugs"...


Posted by R. John Howe on 08-13-2007 12:55 PM:

Hi James -

I misread.

I assumed it was about the relationships and perhaps the "conversations" that ensued amongst the rugs themselves, after the housing had occurred.


R. John Howe

Posted by James Blanchard on 08-13-2007 01:06 PM:

Hi John,

It was the whole concept of creating "housing" for rugs as though they were animate that lead to my somewhat awkward attempt at humour. Maybe it was a result of the somewhat off-beat sense of humour that some Canadians display.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-13-2007 06:34 PM:

Hey James,

I thought it was funny as hell the first time around. Then, of course, Patrick has retired the "Mr. Funny" trophy. If you don't believe me, just check out the Portrait Gallery.

Rich Larkin

Posted by R. John Howe on 08-13-2007 07:14 PM:

Hi James -

And instinctive philosophical positivists like myself, even those who have read and are impressed with the late Wittgentstein, are often felt to be, still, so literal-minded that we lack, at bottom, any real sense of humor.


R. John Howe

Posted by Chris Countryman on 08-13-2007 10:22 PM:

"Howe-sing" rugs

After visiting with you this past Christmas and seeing the way you "Howe-s" your rugs in that cozy condo of yours, I think you are safe from any recriminations. I will attest to your sense of humour given the improbable meshing of your and Jo's collections. Your "instinctual philosophical positivism" helps make Turkotek more enjoyable.


P. S. Thanks for not bringing up Wittgentstein over lunch!

Chris Countryman

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 08-16-2007 11:32 PM:

Where has the Civility gone???


Making fun of my portrait are you? I don't see yours in the Portrait Gallery!!!

Or do you think I need a haircut? As you can see, I am prematurely gray. The decline did not begin until my rug collecting habit started.
Well, it is getting late here. Time to take my rugs out for their evening walk. Except those pesky Baluch rugs. They constantly clamor for undue attention and are always freaking out when they see moths flying about.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Richard Larkin on 08-17-2007 08:18 AM:

Hey Patrick,

Cesar Millan can help with those pesky, attention craving Baluches out on their walk. As for gray, I'm postmaturely gray myself. Only by contemplating Steve's entry in the Portrait Gallery can I get any comfort in that area.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 09-04-2007 12:19 AM:

Steve noted that the railings in his house have textiles hanging from them frequently. We have a railing in our entryway that sometimes is a repository for various weavings, too. This month it is a display of various Persian bags, including two Luri's, a Bakhtiari, a Baluch and a Khamseh. I have arranged them from smaller to larger, but being the curator of the museum, I may re-arrange them again. It is interesting to array the bags this way to see the relative sizes that these things were made in. I have an even larger Bakhtiari bag that would not fit in this grouping, a larger pair of Tekke kizil juvals and also some even smaller bag faces. They all were not "saddle bags" because some of them are too small. Camels, horses and donkeys were the most common carriers of these bags, but some were "people-size" too.

Like John Howe, I rotate various weavings on a whim. I have a collection of music CD's that also get rotated frequently. It is nice to enjoy the variety and to have something different on display once in a while. The paintings and prints pretty much stay where they are, since it is a bit more difficult to move them.

Of course, I need to be careful that these loose bags don't run out the door when I am not looking.....

There is a real estate broker living a few miles from here who built her waterfront home specifically to house her collection of art. Being from the Seattle area, there are also several extremely wealthy software millionaires who have had homes built to display their collections. Some of these homes may end up as museums someday, but since most of these folks are relatively young, my collection of rugs and I may be dispersed long before then.

Patrick Weiler.