Posted by Steve Price on 02-09-2008 09:08 AM:

Some (amusing?) musings


Someone, I think it was the late George O'Bannon (to whom Rugdom owes so much), who told me that collectors are either lumpers or dividers. Dividers try to make very fine attributions, and are uncomfortable when they can't. Lumpers are content with rather coarse attributions.

I think most collectors are lumpers, although I may be mistaken about that. My impression is that most of us don't much care about precise attributions, and care at all because it bears on market value and because it is a convenient shorthand in communication. All other things being equal, a Salor torba is much more valuable than an Ersari torba, so it's worth the collectors time to learn how to tell one from the other before he hits the marketplace. And if someone tells me that he has (for example) a late 19th century Tekke juval, I know something about what it looks like just from that.

It's certainly easier to be a lumper - much less to learn and fret about. I've noticed an increasing numbers of dividers participating in Turkotek over the past few years. It's not a problem, and I'm not directing attention to it as an attempt to make it stop. I just think it's interesting. I don't believe that it's a general recent trend among collectors, but that it's probably a peculiarity of our participant population. Why has it happened? My guess is that it reflects the entry of a number of people who actually know something about the geography, history and ethnography of the weavers who made (or make) the stuff that they collect.

One of the things I've learned about myself from it is that I'm not nearly as interested in the ethnohistory of the tribal things that I collect as I thought I was. In fact, my eyes glaze over pretty quickly when presented with the names of dozens of weaving subtribes, clans, who wove, the names of their home villages, and how to tell the products of one from another. The primary appeal to me is still aesthetic, with an overlay of interest in ethnohistory, but at a fairly shallow level.

Just some musings.


Steve Price

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 02-09-2008 11:34 AM:

If all esthetically pleasing weavings were in museums, I think most modern collector's interest in them would evaporate. Collectors would probably move on to something available to collect. Sue

Posted by Scott Young on 02-09-2008 11:58 AM:

Lumpers are Hunters


Your post has touched on something I've been thinking about recently as I have started on this new collecting hobby. I think that what you refer to as lumpers goes deeper than that and actually reflects an individual's collecting style. I think that there are two basic types of collectors for any collecting hobby; the hunters and the scholars. While most collectors love the thrill of the hunt for a new piece (and the charge that finally comes with the acquisition), for the hunters that is really what it is all about. Conversely, the scholars want to study each new acquisition and learn everything they can about it and that is really why they love to collect. Of course, each collector's style falls somewhere in between these two extremes, but I think you can tell the hunter from the scholar by how quickly he or she is off trying to find the next item versus spending a lot of time researching the last acquisition.

From the pictures of the decor in your house, I might speculate that you are indeed a hunter.

As to my own style, I can look back at other collecting hobbies and understand that I am much more hunter than scholar. When I was a boy I lived on a ranch in New Mexico that had been previously inhabited by Pueblo indians. There were pot sherds all over the place, and I loved hunting for them. But once I had them I spent little time really studying them, other than enjoying their aesthetics. I still have a shoebox full of the potsherds and rarely do I pull them out because now that I no longer live in an area where I can hunt for potsherds I am not as interested in them. I find this rug habit to be remarkably similar because I keep hunting obsessively even after my need for floor coverings has been filled. I still have easy access to rugs thanks to the Internet and various antique stores and even garage sales.

In the field of archaeology, which is basically a collecting profession, archaeologists are typically divided between archaeologists who love the field work and those who love the research work. Again, there is the hunter and the scholar.

So, I would say that the lumper is that way because he is actually a hunter, and the divider is that way because he is a scholar. Of course, one's overall stature in a field will often depend on how well he does both, much like the warrior-poets of the samurai.

So, who here is a lumper, or hunter, and how many are dividers, or scholars?


Posted by James Blanchard on 02-09-2008 12:02 PM:

Hi Steve,

Although I occasionally engage in some of the more arcane discussions about tribal attributions, I also tend to be a lumper. I have become content to attribute my rugs to broad "Baluch-type" categories (like NE Persian, Sistan, W. Afghan), S. Persian tribal, broad Caucasian groupings, and various standard Turkmen categories. I don't have any Turkish rugs (yet).

I also think we perhaps don't spend enough time discussing the aesthetic properties of rugs. I know that this topic has been raised from time to time on Turkotek, but I have seen a tendency to focus more on where and when a rug was made, rather than discussing how it looks.

Recently, I have had some musings (not very amusing, perhaps) about what might be justifiably be called "tribal art", and how that is differentiated from "tribal weaving" per se. I do think this relates quite a bit to the weaving era and circumstances, and likely can be codified to some degree. I now tend to look to types of rugs that show a particular aesthetic appeal that somehow transcends the genre. It is just my opinion, but for Turkmen weaving, I think this generally means either going to very old pieces (which I can't generally afford), or looking to some of the "quasi-tribal" weavings of the M.A.D. groups. Perhaps the reason for this is that the Turkmen had a somewhat rigid tribal structure that constrained the design pool such that only the real "masters" could transcend the genre. The relative design freedom of other tribal groups such as Baluch, Kurd, Caucasian and S. Persian perhaps permitted more experimentation. It resulted in an awful lot of uninspired weaving, but also the occasional gem, even in later weaving eras.

Fire away, die-hard Turkotekkers.


Posted by Paul Smith on 02-09-2008 12:43 PM:


I think Sue has it absolutely right. Part of the appeal is that these things are available; they are beautiful items that we can have in our hands. Before we are lumpers or dividers we are, as Scott said, treasure-hunters. These are real treasures that we can find.

Though on the "divider" front, I disagree somewhat that dividers are scholars. There isn't enough information for us to be scholars, really. It's a kind of scholarship, or an impulse towards scholarship, but the lack of information invites a different result--creative "historical" fiction. It reminds me of a research inquiry I once made into pre-Christian Celtic religion where there were all sorts of people who claimed to understand what the druids were about, but they could not produce much in the way of actual evidence. That didn't stop them from producing all sorts of confidently-expressed theories, however. I think a certain kind of intelligence is very attracted to this sort of invention. There is an interesting Russian psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, who said that in the absence of information people will invent information. We might desire to know all sorts of detailed information about these beautiful weavings, but in the absense of information, it inspires creative people to project their own desires for what that information would be like.

I think there is another application of the concept of "divider" I think, related to Sue's observation. In the search for treasure that we can find, someone like me has less interest in the unattainable in favor of the possible. So, Ersari is more desirable than Salor; I believe that there are soulful beautiful Ersari weavings that I could afford, but it is pointless to pine for those Salors. I'll get a look at one someday in a museum. I'm sure that is why I'm attracted to Baluchis; they represent an undervalued aesthetic, and I can find beauties that are authentic, deeply inspiring, and don't cost as much as a Porsche. Part of the discovery of these treasures is my ability to refine the skills in my eyes and hands. Maybe the absence of information about them adds to their appeal, now that I think of it, because I imagine what they represent and that imagination is a delight.

Scott, I think in essence I would be a hunter in your taxonomy, but you imply that the pleasure ends with the acquisition. For me, that's just the beginning of the appreciation. But my appreciation isn't about knowing what clan married which clan 100 years ago, though that is peripherally interesting (and why I enjoy reading those speculations), but in the seductive soulful beauty of these amazing things.

James, I don't know that we don't spend enough time discussing aesthetic qualities, though...Talking about beauty easily descends into eating the recipe instead of the dinner. It's very hard to make meaningful statements about beauty. And thus, we stumble on...


Posted by Dinie Gootjes on 02-09-2008 03:31 PM:

Hi Steve and all,

We love to hunt rugs, and as such, the stories we tell are often about that great find at the flea market or from the internet site nobody knows about (?). But the greater pleasure afterwards is that we now are able to enjoy every day the beautiful objects we found, in our own house, whenever we want. For myself that pelt-like quality of, for example, a good baluch, is always a joy, to handle and look at.
But I also love to know "what it is". I notice the same thing in myself with plants or pets. I love our cat, a stray, whatever her (absent) pedigree. But would I love to know whether she is a British blue or a Persian cross!
The same with rugs: they do not become more beautiful with knowing where they are from, but it does give a feeling of, I don't know... contentment?, to be able to put them in their slot. Besides that, it is then interesting to compare rugs from the same drawer: hey, look , same thing here! Or: I would never have thought...


Posted by Richard Larkin on 02-09-2008 04:31 PM:

Hi Folks,

I knew Steve would smoke everybody out with that post. For my own part, if I could drop a tribal name with confidence on every weaving I came across, I would be all over it. Like Dinie, my curiosity would also be greatly satisfied to know the details of the provenance.

Approaching the body of knowledge about rugs and the circumstances of their creation is like approaching the moon. From a great distance, there are few details, and they are easy to master. The closer one gets, the more one realizes the details are numberless, and it is impossible to master all of them. Furthermore, what one thought was there from a distance (including the man in the moon) proves to be illusory.

I knew early in my interest in rugs that the available knowledge, the aggregate lore, the nomenclature, the whole business, was woefully insufficient to cover the reality of the subject. However, as Steve noted, all that stuff provides a basis for communication, a kind of virtual reality. I never knew Jerry Anderson, but I suppose he was a person who did have a broad command of knowledge about various tribal groups, real people, and what they typically wove. He probably felt with justification that he could identify antique material in many cases by comparison with the output of his contemporaries. No doubt, there are others with similar knowledge and insight here or there, who have a closer vantage point on the moon, so to speak, than most. But I don't think the broad knowledge as a working system is there for the taking for the average ruggie. So, I'd be a divider if I could, but I can't.

As to seeking out the possible, I agree with Paul. I was attracted to Baluch, South Persian, Kurdish, because I thought they had intrinsic beauty and worth (not necessarily monetary), and there was a decent chance of finding something nice one could get.

By the way, Paul, that guy Vygotsky knew what he was talking about. Is that a real name? Say it over and over. It sounds like a name from some funny parody about ruggies.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Joel Greifinger on 02-09-2008 08:10 PM:

Hi all,

I wonder if the distinction between lumpers and dividers isn't a species of the division that the great intellectual historian and philosopher Isaiah Berlin drew between what a classical poet had termed foxes and hedgehogs. The fox, he said, knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. In this way he categorized such systematizers as Plato and Hegel as hedgehogs while Aristotle and Shakespeare, for whom the world could not be reduced to the application of a fundamental scheme, he classed as foxes.

From my limited exposure to the types Steve is describing in the rug world (I've got my share in other spheres), lumpers revel in description. Finding interesting anomalies is part of the pleasure of the hunt that a number of folks have described. While it is pleasing to place particular pieces in broad categories to get a sense of the whole, there is a gratifying sense (which probably has roots in the Romantic impulse that so interested Berlin) that no set of categories can contain and classify the expressions of either individuals or the dynamism of cultural groups.

The dividers on the other hand have much stronger ties to the Enlightenment impulse that believes that the reductionist methodologies that animate modern science allow us to move beyond subjectively satisfying speculation and produce analysis that allows our knowledge to be cumulative, reliable and perhaps even valid. To the degree that structural analysis, detailed ethnography and historiography allow us to make and test ever more precise attributions, we will be more certain that we are learning more about the artifacts, and not just about ourselves and our desires.

Of course, for rug newbies like me, we're just trying to learn a few basics that you experienced lumpers and dividers have long agreed upon. Like young children, neophytes are thirsty to learn and apply the relevant categories that are the tokens of communication in the world they are entering. At my stage of collecting rugs, this has less to do with finding underlying truths than just developing some confidence that, if I learn to speak the language, I can be allowed into the conversation.

In this regard, Vygotsky is an interesting inspiration. His work (in contrast with Piaget's) focussed on the contribution of the child's social environment as the basis of mind. It's the voice of the Other that eventually gets internalized and forms the basis of our inner voice. In regards to rugs, I'll be working on it for a while.


Posted by Steve Price on 02-09-2008 09:46 PM:

Hi Paul

Sue points out what every dealer who creates a market for a particular rug type knows: nobody can collect what isn't available. A corollary is that people only collect what they can afford.

As for the hypothetical consequence of all aesthetically excellent rugs being in museums: they would probably elicit plenty of interest and appreciation (just as Michaelangelo's marble do). But, of course, almost none of today's collectors would own any, so they'd collect something else.

Steve Price

Posted by Paul Smith on 02-09-2008 10:42 PM:


You're right about collectors, dealers, the market, museums, etc. This makes me wonder how much control there actually is in the market, what is held back, how much scarcity there actually is. Because information is so precious, this leads me back to Vygotsky's idea (yes, Rich, he's a real guy--there's a reasonable Wikipedia entry on him): we assume we know what's available because we see what is offered. I would like to be a fly on the wall in some ICOC meeting of a bunch of dealers..."oh, don't put all those great open-spaced early 19th-c. Baluchi camel ground prayer rugs out there, the Turkotek folks think they're rare. Let's divide up who can put these things on the market." I call this my DeBeers fantasy (DeBeers controlling the artificial scarcity of diamonds...).Maybe there's some huge stash of Salor main carpets in some storage unit in Germany, or Larkin's garage, or Weiler's notorious bunker...I am of course doing exactly Vygotsky says I would...because we lack information and the market is not transparent, I project my hope that somehow the market will become flooded with great 18th c Turkmens in the next five years.

In the meantime I'll dive into the Baluchis and South Persians (by the way, my Dokhtori Qazi thread awhile back involved a sincere interest to try to figure out how many actually exist, but I didn't get very far with that, did I?)...oh, and if you're interested I've got a couple Berninis and Michaelangelos here I can show you, special price just for you...I've got 'em covered with a bunch of large-pattern Holbeins...''


Posted by James Blanchard on 02-09-2008 11:59 PM:

Hi Paul,

While I suppose that almost any rug could be had for the right price, I expect that on many occasions buyers/collectors only see a certain segment of what a dealer has. To some degree, this makes good business sense. Most inventories are probably pyramidal, with the large base being occupied by the more pedestrian and mediocre stock, while the rarest and finest types form a rather small part of the inventory. Obviously, a dealer will want to sell the large volume of mediocre rugs, and this might be curtailed if a prospective buyer sees some of the "best stuff", but can't afford it. In that case, the mediocre pieces lose their appeal and the buyer might say "I'll wait until I can find one of those good ones at a lower price, or until I have a bit more money to spend". Let's face it, the usual trajectory of a new collector is great for the business model. Start by buying a bunch of mediocre rugs, and then progressively buy better and more expensive rugs. The dealer can have it both ways, and we get furry houses.

I think there is another dynamic involved. Many dealers that I know also really like rugs, and must become attached to the very best of their stock. These pieces might not be on the market for a period of time, but might come out if replaced by another special piece or if financial requirements dictate. I recall speaking to a dealer who knew a dealer in another country that I had visited. He asked if the dealer had shown me his "really good stuff". I told him a few of the pieces I had been shown and he said he knew the dealer had quite a number of other "killer" pieces that he obviously was not inclined to show me. Perhaps I didn't look well-heeled enough, or perhaps my surprised reaction to the high price of the pieces he had shown dissuaded him. In either case, it has changed my approach. I try to get to the best stuff as early as possible. Better to try to work down from the top of the pyramid, and not the reverse.


Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 02-10-2008 08:22 AM:

A lot of interesting, learned observations…

My quick two cents of more pedestrian wisdom: I think that ALL collectors are lumpers.
The dividers are just a more neurotic sub-category (better defined as lump-dividers), with a noticeable tendency for zealotry.
(Try to contradict a divider and you’ll see ).
And, yes, Vygotsky was right: in the absence of information people will invent them. Makes me think about a lot of people, specifically a web site I won’t name.


Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 02-10-2008 10:34 AM:

In general, I think any experienced rug dealer will know within ten seconds of his shop's door opening whether his/her really good stuff will be shown. It won't matter how the door opener is dressed. Sue

Posted by Patrick Weiler on 02-10-2008 11:48 AM:

One Lump or Two?

We have the nomenclature all wrong here.
People interested in rugs are divided into "Tribes", not "Lumpers and Dividers":

The Manufacturing tribe-with sub-tribes such as the Gabbeh tribe, the Mega-Manufacturer tribe, the Faux-Tribal tribe, the Village Weaver tribe, etc

The Dealer tribe, with sub-tribes of Collector-Dealers, Modern-Only, Antique-Only (this is a rapidly vanishing sub-tribe, prone to inbreeding and therefore numerous psychological maladies such as Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, Hoarding disorder and Hyper-Sensitivity disorder) ) and the notorious GOB tribe - when encountering this tribe keep your distance and contact the authorities

The nomadic Former-Wall-To-Wall tribe, with sub-tribes of the haughty Crapistan collectors, the wealthy but stingy Pak-Bok tribe and the colorful Garish-Ghastly tribe and the Newbie sub-tribe. The Newbie sub-tribe tends to be somewhat parasitic and has been compared to an infectious disease.

And the Collector tribe, quite large but diverse (known to accept new members from other tribes quite readily but often disdainful of newcomers) comprised of the rare, almost exclusive and reclusive Antique Collector tribe, with sub-tribes such as the Pre-Synthetic tribe, a very wealthy and snobbish group, and their related Collector-Scholar sub-tribe, the Cheap-Cheap sub-tribe, closely related to the Bottom Dweller sub-tribe, the Perfect Condition sub-tribe - often populated with former Crapistan tribe converts, and the large confederation of General Antiques with Rugs as a Sideline sub-tribe. This tribe is known to sometimes have disaffected members joining with other sub-tribes of the Collector tribe.

So, the picture is very dynamic, with dynasties and confederations forming and disbanding over many years in response to economic, social and political influences.
What? Me invent information?

Ethno-Historically yours,

Patrick Weiler

Posted by David R E Hunt on 02-10-2008 12:59 PM:

Hi Steve

I recently joined the International Haji Baba Society, and attended my first Rug Morning at the Textile museum two weekends ago, so I have taken my collecting interests to a higher level. While this has afforded me the opportunity to meet other collectors, and to become acquainted with their interests in the field, the experience has been a tremendous help in further refining and defining what textile collecting means in general, and how it relates to me specifically.

One of our members is a prominent carpet dealer in the Washington Metro area, and a well known author in his field of collecting. Another was in fact the author, and owner of many of the rugs in the above mentioned Textile Museum Rug Morning presentation of Kirghiz Weavings. While both of these people may be engaging in a process which could be described as "lump when dividing fails", and we derive some satisfying intellectual stimulation in this process, without these beautiful objects the process would be irrelevant.

Hence, I think this rug collecting phenomena is more art appreciation than anything else. For myself, while the presentations may offer an educational diversion, it is the opportunity to see beautiful examples of various weavings that hold the greatest attraction. This not to say that I have no interest in ethnographic weaving, but really, if you are going to hang an object on the wall of your den, living room, etc., I think that in the ideal, the object should be beautiful. Beauty and taste are of course idiosyncratic, and subject to refinement


Posted by Joel Greifinger on 02-10-2008 02:21 PM:

Gee Patrick,

My sub-tribe has been condemned as parasites and likened to the Plague.

I hope my day picks up from here.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 02-10-2008 03:03 PM:

Tribal Affiliation


You are now a member of the Turkotek sub-tribe of the Antique Rug Collector tribe. To become a member, you bring your rugs and books into the tribal collective - to share and learn. Someday, initiates are promoted to Show and Tell level by beginning a new thread. Advanced members are allowed to develop a Salon.
The highest level of the tribe is the "moderator" and then the "operator". The "founders" are enshrined in mystery and intrigue. Many stories and fables are whispered quietly about our tribal machinations, manipulations, infighting, squabbles, partisan skirmishes, fortunes, holdings in rugs, traitorous insurrections and bloodshed (see Turkotek Search, "unstable dyes").
Rumor has it that obsequious fawning, baseless admiration, gratuitous sycophants and outright bribery can advance your standing in the tribe.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Paul Smith on 02-10-2008 03:36 PM:


I just want to point out that I made reference to the Weiler bunker in passing in an earlier post, a legend that I have read about in these threads. I posited that he has a stash of fine Salor main carpets there which he is holding back, and the fact that he made no effort to refute this proves that it's true.


Posted by Chuck Wagner on 02-10-2008 03:37 PM:

Hi Steve,

In the end, I'm definitely a lumper, but now and then circumstances arise that pull me to the dark side - recalling the old Mae West line: "I was Snow White... ...but I drifted."

Turkoman pieces do that to me, largely because the collection of books and writing available that help pin down attributions is large compared to the number of possible categories of Turkoman weaving. In short, there is a larger likelihood of actually knowing what you have with Turkoman goods than with many other genres. But one can be drawn in by specifics of structural analysis, and correlations drawn by folks who have actually done field work - and lulled into a sense of understanding that turns out to be ill founded in detail. Witness the rise of the "Middle Amu Darya" terminology - code words for "we don't know".

On the Baluchi side, my feeling about confident attribution is - forget it - for the old ones, except in cases where parallels can be drawn with other similar pieces having known provenance. I'm comfortable with leaving things at the localization to a region. Of course, application of the ethnography of today's Baluchi tribes to 19th century pieces has little value, a point I've brought up several times in Turkochats. I accept opinions of writers like Parsons or Housego at face value because they were in the field for an appreciable time and wrote about the pieces and people engaged in weaving activities at that same time, and were very cautious about attribution of goods beyond their specific knowledge. The trouble is that for older weavings there's just enough information out there to get someone who has an interest in Baluch ethnography (independent of rugs) drawn into the fracas, but not enough to bring closure to any attribution exercise. I feel the same about south Persian tribal weavings, and bags from NW Persia and the Caucasus.

Real research takes a lot of time, and I suspect most collectors (myself included) have limited time available for research beyond reading and the odd trip to the V&A. Some are lucky enough to live close to the Textile Museum, Dave, and can attend "Rug Morning". When I think of "collectors rugs", I think of the stuff hanging in the V&A, the Textile Museum, or the Met - things have real historical presence. I have had little hope of, or funds for, collecting such pieces and always focused instead on items that appeal to my eye, my sense of workmanship, or that address a specific interest under consideration at the time of purchase. But, I know what weaving groups I like and what they are called in the trade, and I know what physical attributes these pieces should have. And this information is put to use when I buy. These are the characteristics of a mainly lumper with transient divider disorder.

I'm satisfied with that status. We were newbies once, and young... (you too, Pat ...)

Chuck Wagner

Chuck Wagner

Posted by James Blanchard on 02-10-2008 03:52 PM:

Who sees what...

Hi Sue,

It is all relative. If you gasp at the asking price of one or two good pieces, you might not see any more. This happened to me at a rug shop in an upscale area of a large N. American city. I saw a rug very similar to one I owned, but inferior in my view. The asking price was about 5-fold what I had paid for mine, and I was noticably taken aback, I think. I didn't see many other good pieces in that store that day. I have learned my rug buying "poker face" since, which I hope allows me to see a wider range of inventory.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 02-10-2008 04:41 PM:

Hi all,

Gee, figuring out these ruggie sub-tribes is harder than figuring out the Baluch. Let's see. I know I've rarely walked into a dealer's shop and come out with a rug; and I always had to find the good stuff myself, sometimes stepping into that "employees only" section. They don't like that. Hmmm... Where's that list? "Cheap-cheap" sub-tribe, or "Bottom-feeder" sub-tribe? It's so hard to know. I'm not in the Pre-synthetic tribe, I know that. I tried to get in, and though I scored high in the snobbish test, it all came apart in the wealth section. If only I could afford one of those high-tech, exclusive bunkers that are all the rage. You can sit in there with your rugs and say phooey on all those tribes.

Rich Larkin

Posted by Joel Greifinger on 02-10-2008 05:07 PM:

Dear Patrick,

Thank you so much for the elevation to the ARC. Your wisdom is only matched by your kindness. I will endeavor to model myself, in my modest way, on your inspiring example.

Your devoted acolyte,

Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 02-10-2008 05:20 PM:

Hi James,

Try this. Walk in like you know what you're doing and know what you're looking for -- but don't have time to chitchat. Ignore everything but the most featured expensive thing in the place and stand in front of it, a bit disappointed. Look at your watch.
If you don't know what you're doing, don't know what you're looking for, have a bunch of questions, and no money, though, this will not work. Sue

Posted by James Blanchard on 02-10-2008 07:31 PM:

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the tips, but I could never adhere to the approach you have suggested where I usually shop for rugs because it would take all of the joy out of the process. I like the tea and chess matches that sometimes come with rug perusal.

My commentary relates more to my occasional experiences in rug dealerships in the "West".

My strategy is working out okay for me based on why I like this stuff.


Posted by Patrick Weiler on 02-10-2008 07:51 PM:

3 out of 4


Nice try, but you only got 3 out of 4 in your attempt at moving up in the tribal ranks:
"obsequious fawning, baseless admiration, gratuitous sycophants and outright bribery"
Where is the bribery???

I have certainly not included ALL of the tribes and sub-tribes in my earlier list. As for sitting in my bunker and saying "phooey", that is an attribute of the "settled" Antique Rug Collector tribesmen, those who are no longer "nomadic" and searching for the finest examples extant. Besides, there are still rumored to be a few Salor main carpets out there on my list.

Patrick Weiler

Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni on 02-11-2008 03:36 AM:


The highest level of the tribe is the "moderator"

Don't waste your bribes on lesser members.
If you need anything, like my Crocodile Islands bank account number, feel free to ask.


Posted by Dinie Gootjes on 02-11-2008 09:50 AM:

Hi Sue, James,

A determined dive (see, alliteration is as catching on this forum as newbie's disease) into the dusky corner with a few tribal pieces in a mostly new store, will also sometimes prompt the owner to bring out some more interesting pieces. The danger is that they can be too "interesting". On a dark and dusky (sic) late winter afternoon, my husband and I were walking through a less reputable part of down town, with a pawn shop every 50 meters (Joel, listen). There we found a spacious oriental rug store we had never noticed before. Most of what they had was indo and pakistan whatever, but in a side room there were some used (as opposed to antique) Iranian rugs. Mixed in with those there was an obviously machine made piece. When I kicked the corner over, one of the seller asked whether I liked that one. I remarked that we liked hand made rugs, and this was not one. The seller then called to his colleague: "Hey, these people really know about rugs (I hope all you Turkotekkers are listening now, this should cut down on my need for bribery etc.), show them the special ones." The the side room door was then closed and locked, and we, by now horribly uncomfortable and apprehensive, were invited to sit at a table with some rug magazines. In the mean time the guy with the key kept hovering near the door. Behind a more than room sized carpet there appeared to be a hardly visible closet from which now appeared a few higher end carpets which we would be able to buy at a really good price "because we were real rug lovers". We quickly looked at a few, promised we would think about it and bolted. The relief when that door was unlocked...

I will leave it to others to distill a lesson from this. Joel's experience shows that "Stay away from pawn shops" does no fly. Maybe: Stay away from spacious, well lit rug stores near pawn shops? Or even: Hit the pawn shops, not the rug stores. That 's got to be it.


Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 02-11-2008 10:29 AM:

Hi Dinie,
If anyone ever locks you in a room again -- don't sit down. Tell them if they unlock the door NOW you will leave your pearl handled 22 in your purse. The door will open immediately. Sue

Posted by Dinie Gootjes on 02-11-2008 10:51 AM:

You 're right, Sue. But the clear intention was to keep others out, not so much to keep us in. Nevertheless, I guess we should not have been such lambs. Influence of the wooly environment?


Posted by Sue Zimmerman on 02-11-2008 11:21 AM:

Don't fool yourself. Those types of characters knew exactly what they are doing. That's why they know so surprisingly immediately know when you are onto them. Sue

Posted by Dinie Gootjes on 02-11-2008 11:33 AM:

We later figured they might have been stolen rugs. A few weeks later the store was empty. Maybe they found one "rug expert" too many.


Posted by Richard Larkin on 02-11-2008 11:48 AM:

Hi Sue,

That "pearl handled revolver" strategy can really be good if you actually have one in your purse (or, as in Patrick's case, your khorjin). If not, it can get very dicey in a few shops.

An old acquaintance who will go unnamed, who had been a high level college lacrosse player and looked the part, and who was also fluent in both rugs and Farsi (but didn't look that part), used to have a little fun poking through Persian rug shops and eavesdropping on the staff discussing (in their native tongue) how they were going to handle this yokel. He would wait for just the right moment to greet them most sincerely.

Posted by Dinie Gootjes on 02-11-2008 06:38 PM:

Sorry Joel, in the above I meant Scott. He had that great find at the consignment store.


Posted by Joel Greifinger on 02-11-2008 08:18 PM:

Hi Dinie,

I'll take the advice anyway, since I have been spending most nights since Scott's posting in creepy back alleys looking for a comparable consignment store.

Of course, since more recent postings in this thread, I've been weighing my course of action between the fawning necessary to potentially get access to the Salor main carpets stashed in the Weiler bunker and the advantages of an alliance with a moderator possessing Crocodile Islands bank accounts (nice offer, Filiberto).

It's almost too much for a newbie ARC tribalist to contemplate (that is, unless there are other offers out there).