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Old October 20th, 2018, 08:15 PM   #1
Phil Bell
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Default East Anatolian Kurdish rug?

A week ago the heading would have said Yuruk, that was until Joel directed me to the discussion about Yuruk v East Anatolian Kurdish rugs.
It is with a heavy heart that I read it and found the ground once again shifting under my feet. Is nothing certain? I had always called rugs with this palette Yuruk as do all the dealers and collectors I have ever met. The case is strong though and I appreciate how names stick despite their being little evidence to support them.
I would be interested to hear other's views. The palette is so distinctive and along with the long shaggy pile and black wefts it does at least mark it out as very different and surely can be placed with some certainty in a particular area. Eagleton might say Malatya for mine as it is very similiar in design to one in the discussion labelled so.

Anyway, here it is. Natural white woolen warps and two black wefts between each row of turkish knots. The knots interestingly are pulled to one side, I have never noticed this before on a rug. The back is almost flat, maybe slightly depressed warps. It is a floppy rug with long pile where it is left, you will see it has some issues but I like it and it is my first Turkish rug.







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Old October 21st, 2018, 06:12 PM   #2
Joel Greifinger
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Hi Phil,

Both the field design and major border on your lovely rug are exemplary of the Kurdish rugs that Eagleton (p. 131-2) identifies with Gaziantep.







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Old October 21st, 2018, 07:25 PM   #3
Phil Bell
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Thanks Joel,

The first rug is wonderful, much better than mine. The second looks later and although in great condition doesn't do anything for me. It is all subjective but that's what my developing ruggie eye tells me.

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Old October 21st, 2018, 09:09 PM   #4
Joel Greifinger
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Hi Phil,

I posted the second one to give a clear example of that characteristic Gaziantep border. I agree that it is likely later, but is a bit earlier than many others of this very popular type that continued to be made through till late in the 20th century. From the look and feel close-up, I would guess circa 1900. It has wonderful wool and the ground color subtly shifts in a way that's difficult to capture in a photo.

This one is a closer Gaziantep relative to yours age-wise that comes from Eagleton's collection:


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Old October 21st, 2018, 10:21 PM   #5
Phil Bell
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Joel,

I think I am not used to seeing rugs in such good condition as the second one so I automatically assume they are later. I presume the rug is yours? in which case it was a bit of a faux pas
sorry!

How old would you say mine is? late 19th C?

Phil
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Old October 22nd, 2018, 12:31 AM   #6
Joel Greifinger
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Quote:
I presume the rug is yours? in which case it was a bit of a faux pas
Phil,

No faux pas, since I'm pretty certain that my possession has no bearing on the actual age of the rug, and I promise that I won't tell it what you said about its age.

When I wrote that your rug was "likely older" than the second one I posted, I wasn't being cagey or feigning caution. I think that once we get into the end of the 19th century with this type of rug, it is difficult to assign more than a wide window of age until we get to the much later versions with very different dyes and wool quality. Given that ambiguity, we also have a tendency to consider wear a proxy for age. That said, I definitely believe the rug is newer than both yours and the other two I posted.

To further illustrate the quandary, the first rug that I posted, from Eagleton's book (with the similar medallions to yours), he estimates to have been woven in 1890. The third one, the ex-Eagleton piece, he thought to be from the 1870's. This next one was purchased at auction bearing a "third quarter 19th century" attribution.



Seeing them up close and handling them, the last couple seem older than the second one that you, I think accurately, described as later. Your other observation, that the rug "doesn't do anything" for you is more telling. Not of its true age of course (although lots of ruggies think that if it has less appeal for them, it must be "late"), but rather of other aesthetic criteria that we unfortunately spend far too little time trying to articulate. Instead, we tend to play 'the dating game'.

All of which, of course, won't keep me from speculating that your rug was woven some time in the fourth quarter of the 19th century.


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Old October 22nd, 2018, 12:44 PM   #7
Phil Bell
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Joel,

Yes please don't tell the rug what I said, it may get depressed warps.

I spend a lot of time looking at rugs as well as many other objects and pondering on what makes beauty. I think it is the combination of a natural balance and order but with the overlay of random elements. The abrash in vegetable dyes is a great example, the field may be all blue but within it there is a shimmering magic that is unique to that rug. Synthetically dyed wool is flat and lacks the variation. Qashqai rugs with their three medallions giving an appearance of order but then interspersed with so many jewels randomly dotted between them makes them beautiful. And so on....
When you look at a tree there is an order in its structure but each one is unique. Yes I like trees too but I don't hug them (yet).



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Old October 23rd, 2018, 09:52 PM   #8
Rich Larkin
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Hi Phil,

You are not as far off base as you seem to think. I assure you the rug you initially posted as well as the ones Joel put up afterwards were being uniformly called "Yuruk" in the trade until relatively recently. It was certainly the name on the tip of my tongue for a long time, from the mid-sixties forward. So, when one ruggie said "Yuruk" to another, they were both thinking of this type. "Eastern Anatolian Kurdish" and "Malatya" gained favor later. Certain small flatwoven bags utilizing this palette, with a prominent presence of what is apparently cochineal red, were being called "Malatya" at an earlier time, and the evident similarity in the palettes of those pieces as compared with the pile rugs seems not to have penetrated the consciousness of the ruggies to any significant extent at that time.

The distinctive "Yuruk" rugs (later "Eastern Anatolian Kurdish") featured that palette, marked particularly by the cochineal, a terrific apricot, and a number of good shades of blue. The rugs themselves were often wildly misshapen and unable even to pretend to lie flat. Furthermore, one often found them seriously torn, a condition that may have arisen in part from the lie-flat problem. That is, rugs with a prominent fold or bulge where it did not belong constituted a trip hazard, a circumstance that placed the rug itself in danger of casualty as much as the poor pilgrim unfortunate enough to trip over it. The wefts were frequently fine black hair, and may not have been as strong and break-resistant as some other materials.

The pile of most "Yuruks" was fine, soft, fleecy wool. Like some Baluches and some South Persian tribal rugs, the pile was prone to wear, not on account of a lack of basic quality, but more due to the softness. Also, the very glossy black pile was especially prone to erosion in the manner of many brown or black wools found in rugs, creating a sculpted outline effect throughout the rug, a feature found attractive to many aficionados, including YHS.

Of the ones posted in this thread, I would put the first of the Eagleton examples mentioned by Joel in a slightly separate category from the others above, which are all classic examples of the "woven art formerly known as 'Yuruk'".

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Old October 24th, 2018, 09:06 PM   #9
Phil Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Larkin View Post
"woven art formerly known as 'Yuruk'".
Rich
Rich,

I had already settled on that exact phrase as my favourite description. You describe this type of rugs very well, they certainly do suffer from traffic due to their soft nature and weak wefts. The palette is so unique it makes for an easy attribution compared to other rugs. I struggle with the south caucasian, Karabagh, Kazak, Gendje types but I am starting to feel more comfortable with the use of labels. As Joel highlighted on my caucasian rug. I can now use the term Gendje and others will think of a Kazak type design but perhaps with a brighter wider pallete but with poorer quality dry wool. That is exactly what my dubious rug is.
I also struggle with 'northwest persian' among other vague attributions. One day I will have a better grasp of these too and I can finally attend to the drawer marked 'other'.

Thanks,

Phil
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Old October 24th, 2018, 09:20 PM   #10
Steve Price
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Hi Phil

The northwest Persian attribution probably reflects the difficulty in deciding what to call rugs woven in that area in the 19th century. The capital city of Azerbaijan was Tabriz, and the two northwesternmost provinces of Iran are East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan.

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Old October 25th, 2018, 03:41 AM   #11
Rich Larkin
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Hi Phil,

Just for the record, I show you this obviously Eastern Anatolian Kurdish number. Pardon the mediocre photo.

It has most of the palette, even though it lacks that wonderful apricot, or burnt orange. It measures about four feet, plus, by close to seven feet. Notably, it has quite a different feel and texture than the typical 'former Yoruks'. Unlike the thin extremely pliable nature of those rugs, it is thick and rather heavy, though very flexible nevertheless. Also unlike them, but in the manner of some other Kurds, it has wefts colored as the pile is, changing hue every several inches or so. The wool is quite different from the typical 'Yoruk', and though fairly soft, it is very straight and almost hair-like. I toyed with the notion that it was some form of hair, perhaps goat (but not the sort of goat that was donating to the selvages of those Baluch rugs). The presumably undyed 'white' wool has a slightly grayish cast, in contrast to most of the 'Yoruks", which tend to have a stark white.

It is in remarkable, essentially mint condition. I have had it from the eighties, and I wondered about the condition when I acquired it. Here are a couple of close shots of the fancy selvage treatment as well as the similarly fancy ends.



I have watched for similar examples featuring the particular characteristics of this one, but have not found any.

Rich

P. S.: On the subject of being slightly perplexed about what is the proper category for some of the marginal Caucasian entries, and also for some 'Northwest Persian' rugs, I think the fault is more with the de facto general perplexity in the marketplace, and less with you. The simple fact is the 'usual suspect' names in common use are really insufficient for the rugs that are out there. Furthermore, the books and exhibition catalogs tend to stick with the more conventional 'types', but the rugs you might come across sometimes just don't cooperate.

For example, I have had for many years a longish rug I call "Gendje" that is very 'Kazak-y' in general feel and texture, but quite a bit coarser, and not featuring any of the paradigm Kazak design layouts. The wool is actually extremely good, and the color is excellent as well. There is a prominent buttery yellow that is as good as it gets. But you can't call it 'Kazak' because it does not fit any of the accepted categories, and it is too coarse; so it defaults to Gendje, as I see it. A different sort of Gendje from the kind you described.
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Old October 25th, 2018, 09:52 PM   #12
Phil Bell
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Rich,

That is an interesting rug. As you say it is definitely of the same mould but the construction is different enough to ask some questions. I wonder if this someone copying the rug formerly known as Yuruk but using their traditional techniques and materials. Would that place it in a different area I wonder.
I will store it in my memory bank and see if I can find another.
On the subject of allover designs disappearing off the border, this rug has a border that disappears off the border!! that is different.
I think using Joel's approach we should call it East Anatolian Kurdish other.

Phil
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Old October 26th, 2018, 03:07 AM   #13
Rich Larkin
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Hi Phil,

There is a range of rugs from the East Anatolian area woven by Kurds which are broadly similar to what we have been looking at, share many elements of the palette (including the cochineal red), and are apt to be called "Yoruk." Many of them also go by more specific names in the usual way, i. e., villages, districts, etc.

BTW, there was an interesting book published in 1978 (Yörük) that was actually the catalog for an exhibition that appeared in three venues at that time: Chicago/Illinois, Worcester/Massachusetts and Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania. It contained several articles by some of the luminaries (Jenny Housego, Walter Denny, Ralph Yohe, Mike Tschebull, inter alia). (I had the good fortune to catch the Worcester show.) If you have access to a good library, or the like, you might be able to peruse it. Unfortunately, most of the many illustrations are BxW. There were several rugs of the kind we have been mentioning here in the exhibition, though the exhibition was applying the term, "Yörük," more broadly than we have been doing.

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Old October 27th, 2018, 12:55 AM   #14
Rich Larkin
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Hi Phil,

BTW,
Quote:
"On the subject of allover designs disappearing off the border, this rug has a border that disappears off the border!!"
The effect was evidently favored by the weavers of the type of rug I posted above. The following rug is from a very nice Austrian exhibition catalog of Anatolian rugs that was published (as near as I can tell) in about the early 1980’s to commemorate the 300th anniversary of a siege by the Turks. (As nice as the catalog is…60 beautiful plates…I can’t find a single date I could relate to publication; I base my estimate on the fact that the copious references in the footnotes and bibliography cut off about at about 1982. I would provide a little more info on it, but I left it at the office where my scanner lives.)


The catalog identifies the rug as “Yörük.” My scanner lightened the color up a tad, and the catalog plate shows the cochineal shade more accurately. It is obviously a cousin of my rug posted earlier, very likely a much older cousin.

For comparison along the lines we were discussing above relative to specific names of Yörük rugs, here is an example the catalog attributed to Kagizman, a town in northeast Turkey in Kars province.


Note the presence in the latter rug of the distinctive cross motif, which seems to be another favorite in the area, also appearing in my rug as well as the other example just above.

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