The early Russian rug authors-and some later ones-are unreliable as a source.For Dudin,who spent six weeks amongst the Turkmen on his second expedition,the Saryk wove no rugs,but hoarded those of the Salor.Baron Felkersam opined that the Salor used no silk in their weavings.There seems to be little direct evidence that S-Group equals Salor,but an image-hungry market seized on the idea in the late 1970`s,and so was born a tribe,complete with history and trousseau.The logic is simple: the S-Group represent the highest grade of Turkmen weavings,and the Salor were the most esteemed amongst the Turkmen clans.Thus,S-Group=Salor.First amongst the sceptics was Michael David,whose critical lambast can be read in"Tribal Visions" Currently the Salor are viewed as the rightful claimants to the throne,but who knows?Perhaps some unjustly forgotten group is even now languishing in the vaults.However the name is glamorous and has been generally adopted.
But if S-Group does not equal Salor,where are the highly esteemed old Salor carpets?
The technical characteristics of Salor weaving(from here on pro forma described)are a two-ply warp with an asymmetric Persian knot open to the left.The warps are heavily depressed.The structure is basically that of a Persian Vase carpet in wool,but missing its third weft.The group is firmly within the orbit of Persian artisanry,unlike the Tekke,who to a woman wove the Persian knot open right,perhaps out of sheer bloody-mindedness(or a high percentage of left-handed weavers)The S-Group main carpets scarcely pass in a normal sized yurt,as the curators of the 1980 Turkmen exhibition in Washington discovered to their chagrin.Such carpets were presumably made for hard floors.
Not all the examples shown here fit exactly into the classic S-Group fold.A common exception is the use of the Persian knot open to the right,which may or may not indicate a Tekke influence.Some of general Bogolubov`s examples seem quite new,so it is clear that there were skilled weavers still up to scratch.But the old feeling,the Spirit,was gone.
15 Medallion (2 items)
|1-Raymond Bernadout 1996|
|2-Sothebys 2.12.2003-lot 19|
In typical paired-down S-Group style,the 15,18 and 21 Göl bags feature the diamond Göl(used as a Secondary on the main carpets)interspersed with a lobed diamond also found on the Memling design bags.The above item was sold at Sothebys for $20,400.
18 Medallion (10 items)
The Loges example has a virtual twin published in "The Atlantic Collection" plate 217.The Göl also appears on a group of Yomut main carpets,in a more embellished form("Karadashli")
This is the only known example with 21 Göls.
Aina Gul( 8 items)
The Aina Gül design is common amongst the Tekke,where it was woven in three variations:with a centre-piece featuring either a Kotchak,Diamond,or Choval Göl design.The S-Group version employs exclusively the Diamond form.There are many pseudo-Salor pieces in this group.
|6-Sothebys Islamic Sale 5.10.11-402|
Later with Motamedi in Hamburg.
Ak Su design(14 items)
Again,there are many imitators of this exquisite design,some of which may have crept in here.Without a tech analysis it is impossible to tell.The Turkish word "ak "(white) is frequently used as an expression of purity,hence "ak-su" may equal"pure water"
|8-Ex-Black and Loveless-Rippon Boswell 19.5.2012-lot 148|
The legendary piece of "The Blacks" was recently sold at RB`s in Wiesbaden,for $28,745.
|9-Mallams 12.1.2012-lot 38|
The Mallams rug sold for $30,445.
A rare item for the Salor,but common amongst their Shadow Confederation,the Ersari,up to late Afghan pieces.
Curled Leaf( 15 items)
Generally considered best of type,the Black/Loveless rug was sold at Sothebys on 1 December 1984,for $27,500.It seems to have then entered the Collection of Jon Thompson.It was inadequately reviewed in Oriental rug Review,volume 4,issue 9,page 43.
An interesting example surfaced on Rug Rabbit in 2012.It is one of the very few small trappings with an original back.
|12-Rugs of the Inner Circle|
A curious piece was offered at Rippon Boswell`s sale of 18 November 2006, Lot 54.It features the outer "Stepped" Chamtos border found on large Kedjebe models,and is the largest known example(0.45 x 1.46 cms)
|13-Lot 54-sold for 24,000 euro|
And finally a Bogolubov item,presumably Tekke and new at time of purchase.
|14-Atlantic Collections Plate 145|
None of the Ovadan group appear to be particularly old.The design went on to a successful career as a Kapylyk.Even Tekke trappings with this design are rare.
Flower Lattice(2 items)
Only two examples are known with a flower-lattice design.The first is from O`Bannon`s Moshkova edition.
|15-O`Bannon plate 78|
The second was initially published by the Italian dealer D.Sevi in Hali 64.It later appeared in ATT 4,nr.95b,from Eberhart Herrmann
Kedjebe Design(19 items)
In 1998 two examples of this type appeared at auction in New York
|17-Sothebys NY-15.4.1998-Lot 61|
|18-Sothebys NY 15.4.1998-Lot 105|
Lot 105 was sold for $19,950,whilst Lot 61 failed to sell(see Hali 99-127)Peter Bausback`s model is only one of two with a Kotchanak border
19-Bausback-Weltkunst 15.6.1983-page 1635
The second having been recently published in the irregular Jahrbuch of the Austrian Rug Society,TKF
|20-Gewebt & Geknüpft V-26|
And Udo Langauer`s fragment reveals the plush opulence of the group as a whole
Memling Design (10 items)
Jon Thompson`s piece is unsurpassed.Peter Hoffmeister`s first venture in this field was acquired for the Woger Collection in Munich
|23-Hoffmeister 1-plate 57|
And a fragment displays remarkable quality
|24-Pacific Collections 109|
Rarely were the Salor beaten at their own game,but a Saryk version is worthy of note
|25-Saryk-Skinners 23.4.1994-Lot 31 sold for $21,850|
Schemle Gul design.(11 items)
For its poise and fantastic use of white the rug from the 1980 Washington exhibition is the penultimate choice in this department
There are two types of Schemle design:that of the S-Group,with a design in offset rows,and the more prosaic rendering in which the "schemles" run diagonally across the field.Schemle design rugs of the latter type tend to fall into the pseudo-Salor group,but it is the preferred approach of the Saryk.As a whole,the most disappointing S-Group weavings.
Schemle Diagonal(8 items)
|27-Gewebt und Geknüpft I-III,plate12|
However two pieces in Austrian Collections are both woven with S-Group structure(see above)but feature a simplified design.
Salor Kapylyk,or Kapunuk(8 items)
At least eight examples of S-Group Lambrequin are known.None appear to be ancient.
|28-Moshkova -O`Bannon 75|
The above example was once in the collection of Moshkova.
A key to identifying the S-Group models are the straight ends combined with a serated meander line.
A last example in a Californian Collection has yet to be published.Why not!
THE LARGE TRAPPINGS.
Made in one,two and three medallion models,these trappings were thought until recently to have adorned the bride`s litter during the wedding procession.This has been called into question chiefly because the largest models would have been too big for a camel adornment.The Medallions of the Large Kedjebe Panels have been christened"Darwaza"by Azadi,after their description in a 1983 Russian publication by Dovodov et al.In the Dovodov book they are actually referred to as "Derveze"The word seems to be Persian and translates as "A Great,or High Tower"One of the large gates at the Taj Mahal is called the "Darwaza-i rauza",for instance,and it seems to be used frequently in association with Mughal architecture.Dovodov`s book is an amalgam of late 19th and 20th century Turkmen pieces of dubious quality.It is certainly not an original trustworthy source.The use of a Persian word to describe these medallions surely indicates that the name is a made-up one,probably from the Bazaar.However,like "Salor"it is all we have at the moment .Elena Tsareva adopts the expression in her catalogue to the Hoffmeister Collection,without mentioning Azadi`s contribution(in BitW,pages 142 and 154)In her view the "Gates" are the accompanying niches with idols,found on both types of Kedjebe.However Dovodov refers to the Medallions when using the term "Dervese(or Darwaza,or Darvaza)and not to the niches.
No one has yet conclusively figured out the meaning of the passage between the "stepped borders".
1 Medallion(4 items)
These are the rarest of the three types,presumably due to the accidents of history
Salor 1 Medallion Kedjebe
2 Medallion(12 items)
|30-Sothebys 20.1.1990-Lot 106(the Coury)|
The Coury trapping is by consensus the measure of all things Kejebe.It was first published by Ulrich Schürmann,and then purchased by Eberhart Herrmann at Sothebys for a world record $67,000.It was again sold at Sothebys NY in January 1990 for another record-breaking $148,500.
|31-Phillips 23.4.1996-Lot 23|
This pair is included here as a two medallion model.It is believed to have been originally a three medallion type,but who can prove that for sure?First sold at Phillips London for $8,680,the upper piece was subsequently re-sold at Sothebys London on 30 April 2003(Lot 55) for$ 11,900)
|32-Rippon Boswell 29.5.2012-Lot 1|
Distinguished by its diagonally placed"cones"within the medallions,this item sold for $57,885 at Rippon Boswell in Wiesbaden.This design anomaly has been associated with Saryk models,some of which appear to be early
|33-Rippon Boswell 18.11.2006-Lot 91|
The above sold for $13,095.An Ersari variant with this design feature is also known
The latest example to appear on the market was sold at Rippon Boswell`s for $187,470,setting a new world record for this type
Salor 2 Medallion Kedjebe
|35-RB 26.11.11-Lot 150|
3 Medallion(10 items)
The first piece was published in 1909 by Neugebauer & Orendi,and later republished by Ganzhorn
It`s not clear why this has always been presumed to have been a 3-Medallion type.It has the diagonal"Cones"of the RB piece from 2012,and was described in 1909 as "Tekke".
|37-Turkmen 1980 Washington-14|
The Jenkins/Textile Museum piece was worthy of a Gate-Fold spread,being truly immaculate.
The last piece to appear at auction was sold at Gunther`s in Dresden on 4.4.2000(Lot 240)for $48,800.It was acquired by Eberhart Herrmann and subsequently entered the Collection of Peter Hoffmeister.(See Hali 110,page 153 for a full list of Darwaza Göl carpets sold at auction)The Hali Listing raises a number of unanswered questions,to which the following may also be added:Why were the Chamtos borders on the sides also covered by long fringes?What is the significance of the Tamga-like designs on the inner corners of the stepped borders?And what were the Göl forms above and below the Darwaza medallions?
Salor 3 Medallion Kedjebe
Kedjebe Design without stepped border(7 items)
There is a small group of Kedjebe trappings without the "re-entry" borders,ranging from Torba size to large medallion Kedjebe.They were made as 2 and 3 Göl models.
|40-E.Herrmann ATT 1-53|
First among these is the "pair"purchased by E.Herrmann at Dreweatt Neate Newbury on 2.11.1988,for $56,415.Their consanguinity has never been proved,although seems likely.
| 41-Atlantic Collections 155(Bogolubov)|
Bogolubov published the first example in 1908.The Herrmann pair seems very old,so it cannot be a later development.A large Torba-sized piece sold for $14,415 at Rippon Boswell on 24.5.1997
|42-RB 47 Lot 141|
Kedjebe design without stepped borders
There are three types of S-group Chovals: 9-Göl.16 Göl,and the Classic type with Salor or "Soghdian" Göl.The few 12-Göl chovals are probably not S-Group,but Ersari/Kizil Ayak,or"something else"
9 Göl Chovals.
A pair of double bags have been published
One of the supreme Salor bags is in Leningrad
And another was acquired by Italian dealer Alberto Levi
|45-Alberto Levi Hali 165|
The centre of the main Göl is always the lobed diamond.A piece in the Russian Colletions should be published in full,for its skirt alone
Salor 9 Göl Chovals
16 Göl Chovals.
The remaining chovals will be classified according to their Elem designs.
One piece has a plain Elem
|47-Dudin Collection-ORR 11-12-1990-page 81|
The majority of 16 medallion examples feature a high,quartered form without the lobed diamond.Two exceptions are recorded here.
This is the Elem design found mostly on Saryk Chovals.An example belonging to Jon Thompson later entered the Ralph Kaffel Collection
|48-Thompson sale Lot 55|
A spacious example from the Wher Collection features the squarer Göl form
|49-Lefevre November 1979-Lot Nr.1 sold for 3600 pounds|
And two fragments in different German Collections serve to remind us of what has been lost
|51-Private Collection Germany|
Salor 16 Göl-Flower Elem
The majority with quartered Göls.One piece in the Pacific Collections has the lobed diamond.
The single tree Elem is the most commonly used design in the 16 Göl group.The trees take different forms
|53-Tent Band Collection-later Munkasci|
|54-Pacific Collections 114|
The above described in Hali 52-184, sold for $33,000.Also published in Atlantic Collections,201.
|56-Jenkins Collection-Textile Museum|
The supreme example.
THE SALOR GÖL CHOVALS.(classified by Elem design)The ornament is known as "Maida" by the Turkmen.
|57-Coptic textile,4-5th century AD,Cairo|
There are two types of Box-Star Secondary minor Göls,those with or without attached hooks.
Diagonal flower Elem,Secondary with hooks.
|58-AAA Jacoby Sale 1925-27|
The first publication of such a piece from the Collection of Heinrich Jacoby.
An ebullient example from the Woger Collection in Münich.
Diagonal flower/secondary with hooks
Diagonal Flower Elem,Secondary without hooks
The Coad/Zadah example now in the Spratt Collection USA.
Diagonal Flower/secondary without hooks
Single File Flowers
First published in the 1975 "Festschrift für P.W Meister"and subsequently sold at Christies london on 28.4.1995 for $14,720.See Loges 23.
Single file flower Elem
The most commonly used Elem design on bags with Secondary BoxStar without hooks.What better place to start than with the Jenkins?
|63-Turkmen Catalog Washington-8|
Although the V&A piece is equally minimalistic
The V&A also possesses a second,lesser example,which has never been published in colour.
A second tree Elem design resembles a candelabra
A further variation from the Haji Baba`s
Single Tree Elem
Simplified Flower Elem
Reminiscent of Saryk work,this includes the famous Thomas Knorr piece
|67-Gewebt & Geknüpft 1-3-15|
Simplified Flower Elem
Salor Classic Choval fragments.
Obvious candidates are the two "pieces" from one choval.The first sold at the Tentband sale
|68-Sothebys NY 8.12.1990-Lot 17|
|69-Sothebys NY 16.12.1993-Lot 60|
With just three years between them,the second fragment sold for more than double.See Hali APGs:- Hali 55-165;Hali 73-138.A middle part is said to exist.
Salor Classic Choval Fragments
One example is known with a plain Elem and a rare cut-off main Göl
|70-Jon Thompson Collection|
A last small group of classic Chovals employs a secondary motif used at the centre of the Darwaza Göl.
There are two fragments from apparently the same rug
And a complete example with a single file Elem
|73-Ganzhorn 634 |
The first example was published by Grote-Hasenbalg
Apart from the rare Secondary,there seems to be little to link them as a group.
THE MAIN CARPETS.
For convenience,the Main carpets have been divided by Göl ratio,thus giving:-
4 x 11
5 x 9
5 x 10
5 x 11
5 x 12
6 x 12
6 x 13
7 x 13
Main Carpets 4 x 11(1 item)
|75-E Herrmann SOT 1|
Main Carpets 5 x 9(2 items)
|76-Austrian Collections 101|
|77-Sothebys 14.10.1981-Lot 162|
Main Carpets 5 x 10(3 items)
|78-Thompson Sale 54|
|79-Sothebys 18..5.1985-Lot 76|
|80-Tischer - Bozoglu|
Main Carpets 5 x 11(8 items)
|81-Phillips 2.12.1986-Lot 42|
|82-Gewebt & Geknüpft-1-3-19|
The 5 x 11 ratio is the most numerous.The Austrian piece(above)features a rare uncut lateral motif.
Main Carpets 5 x 11
Main Carpets 5 x 12(5 items)
|83-Rippon Boswell 16.11.1991-Lot 122|
An outstanding example.
Main Carpets 5 x 12
|84-Gewebt & Geknüpft 1-3-4|
Main Carpets 6 x 12(5 items)
|85-Rippon Boswell 19.5.12-158|
Once sold for a record price at Lefevre`s in 1980(30,000 pounds)the above again broke all records with a final bid of $ 136,150.
A unique event was the appearance of a Salor Main carpet with an unorthodox border,in this case the curled leaf design seen on Group A Ensis,which fetched $88,965.Now with David Sorgato.
Main Carpets 6 x 12
Main Carpets 6 x 13(6 items)
|87-Thompson Sale Sothebys 16.12.1993-Lot 61|
Large and square shape.
|88-Turkmen Catalogue Washington-4|
With a rare inner Chamtos border.
Main carpets 6 x 13
There is one 7 x 13 Main Carpet,once in the possession of Peter Bausback,which was sold at Rippon Boswell`s for $49,735 on 11.5.1996-Lot 138.
Main Carpets,almost complete(4 items)
This group contains carpets which cannot be classified via the Göl ratio.The most prominent is a carpet once in the Loges Collection.
Sold at Nagels for $ 58,375 on 27.3.2012-Lot 42.
Another carpet published by the Gallery Kailash
was subsequently newly conserved for an Austrian Collection
Main Carpets Incomplete
|92-Gewebt & Geknüpft 1-3-16|
Other Salor Main carpets,whose ratio cannot be determined,include the first example to have been published, by Werner Grote-Hasenbalg in 1922.
Other Main Carpets
Main Carpet Fragments.At least 19 "pieces" are known.
|94-Rippon Boswell 23.5.1998-Lot 96|
Now in the Gaib Collection.
Even the Salor could make mistakes!
Main Carpet fragments
The Ensi carpets were discussed fully by Robert Pinner in Hali 60.There are two known types,A and B.
Type A-Curled Leaf Border(4 items)
The above was exhibited at the 5th ICOC in Vienna and later sold for $106,560 at Rippon Boswell on 17.11.2001-Lot 90.
|99-Grogans 22.5.2011-Lot 805|
The grogan`s carpet sold for $ 241,500.
Type B-Medallion Border(7 items)
Acquired by Eberhart Herrman at Christies NY for $94,600 on 29.11.1989.
|101-Rippon Boswell 10.11.1990-Lot 108|
Sold for $156,760.
The above was the subject of an article By S.Azadi in Hali 60.
|103-Nagels 9.11.1999-Lot 23|
Sold for $39,980.This appears to be a Group B carpet woven in Group A style.
|105-Sothebys NY 13.4.1995-Lot 117|
Sold for $90,500.Now with Udo Langauer ,see Hali 172.
|106-Pure magic:The Thompson ensi,Hali 60,cover|
Let us dwell a while by the last piece illustrated here,Jon Thompson`s best of type.Lofty and reserved, it avoids the manic quality of the other B-Group pieces.It combines various Turkmen motifs (a Tekke border Octagon,the animal procession from Chodor pieces,the border featuring the centre design fom an Arabatchi choval,Insykush-overkill)with the best wool and dyes.The seven examples in the B-Group represent a more standardised quality than in the Group A,of which only the Wher/Besim pieces are homogenous.The standardisation hints at the existence of a "nomadic workshop"of the kind known to have been run by the wife of a Saryk khan.The Wher Collection and Vienna pieces seemed to Robert Pinner much older than the second Group.The Group B carpets may represent an urbanised view of tribal life,a"retro"style of deliberate archaizing.
The Salor went on to experience their own Wounded Knee.In 1832 Serakhs was decimated by Persian forces under Abbas-mirsa.In retaliation the Salor were resettled,and a long decline began.The Soviet Census of 1926 listed approximately 35,000 tribespeople.
9 Göl Chovals-9
16 Göl Chovals-28
Salor Classic chovals-53
Main Carpet fragments-19
Not including the Main Carpet fragments,this amounts to a total number of pieces published here of 303 items.It is impossible to know exactly how many Main carpets the fragments represent.A legendary Salor Main carpet is said to have been cut up in Kabul,in the 1970`s.Considering the 400 Yomut 9-Gol Chovals on record,a precious few.
The Austrian Rug Society`s Publication on the occasion of an exhibition of Salor carpets from private collections can be ordered HERE
Sehr zu empfehlen!