Thursday 22 November 2012

A Re-Discovered Mamluke Carpet

Discussing Cairene-Ottoman carpets in 1961,Kurt Erdmann mentioned a circular-shaped example in Czechoslovakia,which he compared to a piece in the Corcoran Gallery of Art

1-The Corcoran carpet-Gigi Pagnano,Nr.21

Professor Erdmann had not seen the carpet,then as now in the Museum of the Archdiocese in Kroměříž.He again mentioned it in his article on Carpets of Unusual Shape,in "700 Years"However the item is not a Cairene-Ottoman but a Mamluke carpet with an unusual central medallion


Another round Mamluke carpet is the Barbieri,auctioned at Sothebys on 12 October 1982 for 46,200 pounds(see Hali 5-2-203)

3-The Barbieri-Now in an Italian Collection

Yet a third piece is in the Museum of Islamic Art,Doha


The rare medallion form of the Kroměříž carpet is mirrored in a piece once belonging to Eberhart Herrmann,and published in SOT 5,plate 1

5-Seltene Orientteppiche-5,plate 1

The medallion occurs in a more complex form on a carpet from the Pitti Palace, Florence,discovered by Albert Boralevi in 1983(see Hali 5-3-282)

6-Pitti Palace Florence
In Hali 108-4 the editors described the Pitti Palace Carpet as the largest of the genre(4.09 x 10.88 mtrs !)The three pieces shown here appear to be the only examples with protruding"spikes".

There is always the possibility that the Kroměříž piece has been re-configured but the border procession on both Mamluke examples is very similar.Their size too:the Barbieri weighs in at 287 cms diameter,the Kremsier at 270.Such carpets are said to have been woven for tables,as a photo in situ shows

7-Photo:Ladislav Bezdek

Many thanks to Cyril Mesic at the Kroměříž Museum for providing information and an info sheet( in Czech)from Dr.Stulz of the National Heritage Museum in Prague.


Monday 5 November 2012

The Autumn Auctions in Europe

Shield Carpets rarely appear at auction.The last example sold was at the Voytech Blau sale,on 14 December 2006.It was purchased by Moshe Tabibnia for $108,000.

1-Sothebys Lot 98-Blau sale

The piece which surfaced at Van Hamm`s in Cologne was a different kettle of fish

2-Van Hamm 31.10.12-Lot 164

Unlike the majority of this group,characterised by a silk weft and silk or silk and cotton warp,the Van Hamm piece appears to have an all-wool foundation


Carpets with this design were made way across the Golden Triangle encompassing Turkey,Persia,and the Caucasus.It seems we have here an aberrant East Anatolian model


with typical colouring.The carpet had been severely re-configured,which however served to accentuate its wild-eyed dramatic character

 Non Blue-ground examples are rare,although E.Herrmann did publish one

6-ATT 4.1
which seems to mutate direction soumak.

The famed Godman carpet,stolen in London but eventually recovered(Hali 109-153)was resold at Sothebys New York in 1999

for $195,000.The Deerfield example,shattered but aesthetically correct,has been sold twice at auction,in 1992 at Skinners,for $7,700,and at Christies London in 1996 for $12,720

8-Christies London 17 October 1996-Lot 477

The iconic Schürmann/Eskenazi piece went off at Nagels in 1987 for $57,852

9-Schürmann 1962

An example in the Fernandes Collection was previously sold at SLO for $20,160,and subsequently for $34,500 at SNY on 7 April 1999(Lot 123)before returning to SNY to sell at $42,000

10-Sothebys 1999
The Webb-Hill fragments (made up out of two different carpets)sold at SNY on 7 April 1992 for $44,00,and were acquired by the Textile Gallery

11-Sothebys 1992
Later conserved,they appeared thus

12-Hali 67-134

The other side to this fragment is in the Islamic Museum Berlin

13-Spuhler 107
The Shield carpets have not always fared well at auction-the Thyssen Carpet went unsold at Sothebys Islamic Sale on 8 October 2008

14-Lot 332-estimate  £ 70,000-90,000  

The Van Hamm carpet is something of a rarity,as obviously 19th century examples are scarce.Bidding commenced at 500 euro and worked its way up to € 7000.

For those still famished,here is a list of Shield carpets.For a full review see the Pinner/Franses article in Hali 1-1.

Henrys Auction House in Mutterstadt is well-known in Germany for its auctions of Carpets and Jewelry,where lot numbers run into the hundreds.They always have some interesting things,even a Red Ground Floral Isfahan made an appearance in the last sale

15-Henrys 28.10.12-107214

More pertinent for collectors was a fragment described as "Ersari"

16-Henrys 28.10.12-Lot 10-7060
but which has a design pooled amongst different groups.There are two types of chovals ,one with Kotchaks,and one without.The Kotchak style appears to be Tekke,and late

17-RB 5-07-181

Chovals with kotchak

Their collective feature is a mihrab motif with embroidered white elements.Thankfully in the earlier group the Kotchaks have not yet appeared

18-Wiedersperg 22

Chovals without Kotchak

Carpets with this design have been labelled Tekke,Yomut,or Eagle group.

19-Schürmann CAR-22

The Schürmann piece from "Central-Asian Rugs" was labelled Yomut,and is said to have been Turkish knotted,which is frankly hard to believe.Peter Bausback`s example,once at Edelmann`s in 1979,was attributed to the Tekke with Persian knotting open to the right

20-Bausback 1980-147
However Rippon Boswell came down firmly on the side of the Eagles when in May 2000 their Persian knotted example sold for a resounding 170,000 Deutschmark

21-RB 54-143-knot open left with red and beige weft

Chevron Main carpets

Flatweaves with this design were also woven,a famous example being in the McMullan Collection

22-McMullan 134

After a not particularly spirited bidding match,the Henrys fragment sold for 220 euro.

Over at Rippon Boswell,peaking through the Swedish flatweaves and Persian Town carpets,a particularly beautiful example of East Turki weaving is on offer

23-Rippon Boswell 24 November 2012-Lot 192

Previously in the possession of Battilossi,this was published in Hali 67.It is a member of a small group with "Holbein"type large medallions,whose original rectangular corners have developed into rams-horns.

Bags with this design are also on record

24-Battilossi,Hali 69-156

25-Ronnie Newman,Hali 1-4,page 1

A second type has the medallions separated into panels

26-Victoria & Albert Museum

As often happens,another member of this rare group will also be sold in Paris on the 7 November 2012

27-ArtCurial Paris 7 November 2012-sold for 3861 euro

Khotan Holbein Medallion group

Let no one say there are no good things on the market.Unfortunately there is never enough to go round.