Saturday 23 June 2018

Saryk Ensi

This catalogue of Saryk Ensi divides the carpets into two groups. The two animal-meander borders to the left and right of the central panel define these divisions. In Group A the pattern is larger in relation to the outer flower border ( or tree-of-life) In Group B the meander has been downsized to harmonise with it. Whether this is an indication of age is impossible to say, and there are items which straddle both groups. Group A, here denoted as with ”Wide Inner Border” divides fairly neatly again into two subgroups with drooping and upright flowers. The drooping flower group has been further divided into two last “containers” described as “multiple blossoms” and the “simple form” This last subdivison has also been employed for Group B.  


1) Sold at Sothebys New York on 12 December 1997 (Lot 70) for $87,750.With a blue-ground central panel surrounded by a Peikam inner border, which can sometimes be seen on Tekke torbas.Four carefully fitted Kibitka designs crown the field, each with a 2/3 depiction of an 8-pointed star. According to Hali(97-140), some white cotton has been used in the pile. Later with Ben Fernandes, Singapore.135 x 183 cm.


2)A carpet from the Heckscher Collection, San Francisco, shown here in reconstructed form.Very elegant, but visually more robust than the Fernandes rug.No cotton.Approximate original size:130 x 185 cms.


3)From the Wiedersperg Collection, now in the Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco. An unusual effect is the loss of colour intensity in the red field. Jon Thompson felt it might have been improperly washed. Prolonged exposure to light could also be the reason for its pallid appearance.No cotton. 132 x 173 cm.


4)First published in “Tent band-Tent-Bag” by Hoffmeister/Cassin, in the 10th ICOC handbook, and later in the catalogue to the Hoffmeister Collection. There is a curious false-start in the animal-meander border, resulting in a lack of symmetry as the design progresses. The carpet appears lop-sided. Yet the Elems and flower borders are elegantly drawn, and the 5-Kibitka crown sits well. White cotton. The ground colour seems closer to mahogany than the customary light red. 137 x170.E


5)Sold at Rippon-Boswell`s on 17 May 2003 for $31,490, from the collection of M.E Bramwell. Comparing the Sainak border to the inner areas of white, they appear to be worked in cotton. The knot-count seems higher in the vertical, judging by the shape of the large flower border. 128 x 179 cm.


6) After a pre-sale report in Hali 183, where an attempt was made to line up the migrations of the Saryk tribe with corresponding artistic phases, this example from the Munkasci Collection sold at the AAC in Vienna for $27,340 on 9 May 2015 (Lot 217).Small areas of cotton and silk. 130 x 165 cm.


7)Published in the first Hoffmeister catalogue. A very lively fragment with white cotton.110 x 119 cm.



8) First published by Hartley Clark in 1922, this example appeared at Sotheby's on 18 October 1995 and was sold for $19,860.The drooping flower column is mirrored in the simplified Elem panel, already a sign of decay. The presence of cotton is not recorded. Three large areas knotted in purple have been magicked away for the Sothebys appearance, although the catalogue description does mention”magenta” Remnants of the original Kilim end and repair have been removed. For Clark, this was a prayer rug, doubtless due to the Kibitka ornaments in the upper frieze which can also be interpreted as mihrabs-although which prayer rug ever required so many? Their use as door rugs was certainly documented by early travellers to the area, principally during the Afghan Boundary Commision tour. A watercolour by William Simpson from 1884 shows an Ensi thus employed, during his visit to a Saryk Khan`s Kibitka.  140 x 160 cm.



9) Sold twice at Rippon-Boswell`s; on 18 November 1995 (Lot 123) for $13,255, and again on 19 May 2001 (Lot 104) for 20,000 Deutschmark, this example appeared a third time at Henry`s in Mutterstadt on 9 June 2018 (Lot 07254) selling for just 2400 euro. Its present state of decay with faded repair was no doubt responsible for its fall from grace. Appears cotton-free, coarsely knotted, and with an interesting ground-figure play in the central panel.127 x 173 cm.


10) Offered as part of a lot of three Turkmen rugs(the others being a Tekke rug and Ensi) which were passed at Sothebys New York on June 6, 2007, for an estimate of $3,000-5,000.A curious lackadaisical finish in the upper frieze. 102 x 127 cm.




11) An early publication of a Saryk Ensi from the 1909 edition of Neugebauer & Orendi.The authors grouped three pieces together as issuing from Khiva (where carpets were hardly woven) i.e an Ersari, Saryk and Tekke Ensi. The whites are described as being frequently worked in cotton.


12)Exhibited at the Hamburg ICOC, and described in the catalogue as “incomparable”.The animal meander borders appear exaggerated next to the refined but lifeless vertical flower forms which appear lost on the field. The central panel is on a blue ground as in the Fernandes rug(Fig 1) and the Elem panels are also in the same style. Both pieces also employ the Peikam minor border surrounding the central panel. Thompson dismissed the 17th-18th century dating. Use of cotton and silk. 120 x 177 cm.


13) Clearly related to the previous example but lacking its strained elegance. The Sainak border and other white areas are surely knotted in cotton. The whole has a more rustic approach, which is not unappealing. Published in Woven Stars, Raymond Benardout,1996-Rugs from Southern Californian Collections, plate 60.


14)This remarkable artefact was published in the 1985 catalogue of an exhibition at the Ethnographical Museum, Munich (plate 83). It later appeared in a catalogue of rugs belonging to Hans is arguably the best of this group, graceful and sturdy, with no trace of cotton or silk. The ascending flowers close horizontally at the top in a proper and harmonious way; the Kibitka crown is not fitted neatly but conveys a feeling of infinite flow. 125 x 170 cm. (Munich catalogue)


15)First auctioned at Sothebys New York on the 14th October 1978 (Lot 124) for $ 6200, this later re-appeared in John Eskenazi`s book, Il Tappeto orientale, in 1983(plate 255)It was subsequently sold at Rippon-Boswell on 7 November 1993 (Lot 103 ) for $61,580.It features both silk and cotton highlights. Very carefully drawn, the effect is somewhat flat due to the heightened symmetry. Nevertheless exemplary. Size 140 x 184 cm. (Eskenazi) 140 x 176 (R&B)




16) Published by Gröte-Hasenbalg in 1922, and attributed to the Pende Oasis. The author seemed not to distinguish between this rug and a much later purple model (his plate 86) Both are described as “Kisil-Ayak” The absence of cotton is noted, however. 128 x 140 cm.


17) Once with Jeffrey Bushman on ebay, this rug later surfaced with Rippon-Boswell on 31 May 2014 (Lot 174) and was auctioned for $26,575.Elegant and in very good condition: Hali noted: “clear whites that may contain cotton”(Hali 181-127) and dated it to the early 19th century. 127 x 161 cm.


18)Another Rippon-Boswell item which sold for $26,720 on 20 November 2004 to Claudia Pavignano.In pristine condition and featuring an unusual inner star border. 136 x 177 cm.


19)A damaged but still very animated example from the Hoffmeister Collection which in many ways recalls the Gröte-Hasenbalg piece, albeit superior. 117 x 152 cm.



20) An icon of Turkmen art, this was top-seller at the Thompson Sale, Christies 16 December 1993 (Lot 23) It was purchased by Eberhart Herrmann for $57,000, and is now a highlight of the Hoffmeister is one of the few examples which can stand comparison to the Salor models. Nothing negative can be said about it, although the Elem could be construed as elementary. But it heralds in a great drama and is suitably decorous. 130 x 180 cm.


21) Chosen by Jon Thompson for the “Turkmen” catalogue, and of a marvellous clarity. Its elongated shape was presumably made for a high door, and the weavers have solved the problem of squeezing so much ornament into an unaccustomed space adroitly. 134 x 214 cm.


22) Another choice from Jon Thompson for the Haji Baba book “Timbuktu”-Munkasci Collection. It forms a triumvirate with the preceding examples, following the same game-plan.  137 x 172.7 cm.


23)On the website of Mohammad Tehrani in June 2018.With an inner guard of connected stars and the addition of rams-horns topping the Kibitka, a varied and interesting rug. 126 x 168 cm.


24) Published in the English-language edition of Moshkova “Carpets of the People of Central Asia”, edited by O`Bannon and Amanova-Olsen, figure 79.An asymmetric, open-left knotted rug with no cotton. One of two Persian knotted rugs illustrated here.O`Bannon credits Moshkova with re-instating the Saryk as a major rug-producing tribe after earlier Russian authors had ignored them. This large example seems cramped and crowded, with either poor colouring or reproduction.156 x 202 cm.


25) In design comparable to the Thompson / Hoffmeister, this elegant carpet was sold at Grogan `s, Dedham on 22 May 2011 (Lot 810A ) for $10,350.Its mahogany ground colour probably weighed against a higher price. Later seen with Tehrani, it was shown at the 33rd Turkmen Meeting in Hamburg, in 2012. 129 x 177 cm.


26) Published by Lerch Carpets, Munich, in Hali 186 (2015) and in Carpet Collector 2-2013, where the reproduction is radically different. A fastidiously executed member of the decorative group with unusually thick bands used in the animal-meander border.Said to be in mint condition. 126 x 166 cm.


27) Sold at Rippon-Boswell on 7 May 1988 (Lot 63) for 38,000 Deutschmark. Well drawn field with a top row of soldierly figures to complete the animal-meander border. 138 x 172 cm.


28)Another Rippon-Boswell sale on 18 November 2000 (Lot 130) for 82,600 DM ($36,390)First published in Herrmann, Uschak bis Yarkand, plate 94. As in the previous item, the meander border closes at the top. 142 x 189 cm.


29) Shown during the Milan ICOC exhibition “The Turkmen Wedding”, from the collection of the Russian State Museum in St.Peterburg.A carpet with wool and silk, employing extensive off-set knotting. 146 x 172 cm.


30) From the collection of Edmond Kedem, Tel Aviv.The subject of a self-penned encomium in Hali 164. 130 x 154 cm (cut and reduced horizontally)



31) Another piece from the Milan show, featuring dyed cotton in the pile. Purchased by Burdakov in Pendeh,1903, as “manufacture of the Saryk Turkmen”.Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg. 112.5 x 163 cm.


32) Inexplicably described as an earlier example from the Merv Oasis with a rich mid-red ground colour (Hali 2-4-1980, page 304) It entered the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1923 (T-191-1923)A large example. 136 x 196 cm.





These rugs utilise a drooping-style vertical flower border derived from a simplified Elem design.

33) Not quite fitting but placed here for expediency, Hans Sienknecht`s outstanding example is actually too good for the rest of this group, with its Peikam inner border and deftly placed single flowers. Two unusual forms can be seen top left and right of the rising flower border, whose rhythm is also interrupted half-way.130 x 170 cm.


34) Mohammadi.


35) Bausback.


36) Lefevre November 1982 (Lot 35)Sold for 7,500 GBP. Cotton and silk.144 x 172 cm.


37) Lefevre 4 March 1983 (Lot 10) Sold for 9000 GBP.White cotton.139 x 180 cm.




The last group recorded here all insert small boxes into the Elem panel, with flowers and other designs.

38) Sold at Robert Aldred 15/16 May 1981 (Lot 756) for $3,100. 150 x 183 cm.


39) A superior example published in Lefevre, Central Asian Carpets,8 October 1976, plate 8.Cotton and silk.137 x 195 cm.


40) At Rippon Boswell on 31 May 2014 (Lot 12)Failing to attract a bid at 5400€, it reappeared the following year on 13 June 2015 and was sold for 2928 euro. A disturbing abrash runs half-way through the border. No cotton or silk. As with most of this group, a multi-blossom tree has been employed. Its square shape is unusual.151 x 168 cms.


41) Published in Adil Besim, “Mythos und Mystik” 1-70.Another square-shaped rug with multiple blossom tree-of-life.132 x 154 cm.


42) With Mohammad Tehrani.


43) With Serkan Sari.Published Carpet Collector 3/2014 page 29.149 x 187 cm.



44) From the Bogolyubov Collection, Russian Ethnographic Museum, St.Petersburg.Published in Bogolyubov, Carpets of Central Asia, plate 4 (Crosby / Thompson)Likely to be the first published example. Said to have been purchased in a Saryk settlement at Pendeh, where it is said to have been used as a door-cover. Believed by Bogolubov to have been a prayer rug. In suspiciously good condition. Probably contains cotton pile. Combination of Groups A + B. 137 x 195 cm.


45) Published by Dieter Schletzer in Weltkunst,15 April 1975; later Werner Loges collection, published in Turkmenische Teppiche, plate 26. In an early style, but exaggerated animal meander border. With cotton, but no silk. 152 x 168 cm. 


46) White cotton, asymmetric knot open right. Restored by the author, London 1978.