gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program appropriately entitled “A Few of My Favorite Things.”
provided a fulsome introduction of Dennis, that I will not attempt to replicate. The TM Members’ Magazine said that Philadelphia collector and head of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets, Dennis Dodds, will share a sampling of his favorite pieces from decades of collecting. Dennis is a long-time international figure in the textile world.
I want to add, as we come to the last of the RTAMs to be held in the Myers Room,
that Dennis was among the early presenters of these sessions and has frequently supported them with his active participation.
In 2007, he gave the first RTAM program posted on this blog.
There’s a fair amount of preparation for a “rug morning” program. Rugs have to be hung on the front board.
Dennis had five or six levels. But when all was arrayed, Dennis began.
I made a recent post, on my Eccentric Wefts blog, in which I argued, tongue in cheek, but also not quite, that collecting is a kind of disease. Dennis said that, for him, it was a much more positive experience: a kind of enjoyable “catharsis.” He began to demonstrate how and why this was so.
Dennis is inventive, and a trained architect. He needed a pointer and made use of something in the room
until the staff could bring him an electronic one.
Dennis is known for his Anatolian material, but he said that his collection is, in fact, considerably eclectic. He began with two Turkmen pieces.
This, of course, is an asmalyk, Dennis said, either Yomud or Ogurdjali . He called attention to the fact that the branches of its trees are curved rather than straight, which is the case with nearly all other tree asmalyks. Offset knotting and a good purple.
Here are some detail images of D1.
The small, contrasting elements of color, on the branches of the trees, draw attention.
The second Turkmen piece is a Tekke engsi.
This is a well-known piece, often published, including one in Turkmen Studies I. It features shrubs, lots of negative space, and wonderful greens.
Here are some details of D2.
A curled leaf border is used to surround the compartments containing the “candelabra-like” elements
Dennis called attention to the skillful handling of the drawing in the internal instrumentation of the niche. At the point where the short vertical sides on the niche turn into the horizontal area below them, the weaver did not put in a black line, but used an unbleached one. The effect is that the chevron on the niche flows continuously from the vertical to the horizontal without interruption.
A third Turkman piece was this one.
It is Ogurdjali, of the Yomud group, and is estimated to have been woven about 1850.
Curled leaf borders as used along its bottom edge, and partly up both sides (look below and back at D3), perhaps suggesting that an elem is being implied. This, in turn, might justify speculation that this piece could be an engsi (door rug for the tent).
Here are some additional detail images of D3.
To me, some of the field devices in this piece have a Caucasian feel.
The next rug was a very old, very unusual Northwest Persian piece attributed to the Sauj Bulag area.
Dennis said that this was an early proto-type Kurdish rug. A companion rug to one in the James Burns collection that Burns dates to the 17th century.
Dennis said that the indicators that this rug may be Kurdish include the lily devices in the field that turn and twist.
Here are some more detail images on D4.
Dennis said that this piece has been shortened, perhaps 4-5 inches.
Dennis showed the back of it.
The “running dog” border is outlined in white on the inside but not on the outside.
There is no D5.
The next piece was a departure.
This was described as a Japanese haori (a knee length coat worn by both men and women). It is Meiji-style. The design is evocative of the “water world.”
Here are some details of D6.
There was a question about whether it has eccentric wefts, but Wendel Swan, who examined it closely, said it has a traditional tapestry weave without any curving wefts.
Dennis gave us a look at the back of the fabric.
Next, was a fragment (not a yastik) of Italian velvet.
It was made in Genoa in the 17th century, posing in an Ottoman style of palmettes and pomegranates. The center of its field features an undulating vine.
Here are some details of D7.
Next were three similar “Lotto” yastiks Dennis had brought. They are called “Lotto” because of the stylistic similarity to an early Turkish rugs that was depicted in a painting by Lorenzo Lotto.
D8. D9 and D10
He began with D8.
Dennis said that D8 was the oldest of these three “Lotto” pieces. It features a white ground, a good yellow and purple, and hooked lappets.
Here are some details of D8.
The second of the “Lotto-like” yastiks was this one.
Yellow ground field and lappets ends. Dennis said the handle is firm, meaty.
Lappets are “Mudjur-like.”
One more detail image of D9.
The third of these “Lotto-like” yastiks was this one.
Yellow ground field; white ground border, red ground lappets ends.
The lappets have a hooked, “ebilinde” character.
The next piece was another yastik.
It is from Sivas or Zara in central-eastern Anatolia and is probably Kurdish.
Dennis called attention the use of positive and negative space in the drawing of the border. The more ready reading is “S.” But one should also be able to see an inverse “L” that is “Kufic-like.”
Here are two more detail images of D11.
The next piece is published, number 138, in the Morehouse catalog.
Morehouse says the red-orange, blue-green contrast is characteristic of weavings from the Malatya area as is the “S” border.
Here some other detail images of D12.
The next piece was Southwest Anatolia, perhaps Dazkiri.
Published as Number 12 in Morehouse. Green border.
Morehouse says that the internal quatrefoil form in the central medallion is seen in Central Asian and Balouch weavings, but is unusual for yastiks.
Here are some additional detail images of D13.
The next piece was a Southwestern Anatolian yastik, published as Number 2 in Morehouse.
Ghirlandaio, a 15th century Italian painter depicted carpets with this design.
Here are some detail images of D14.
The next piece had a pale palette, but was older.
Possibly Cappadocia area and 18th century.
Here are some details on D15.
Medallion is an older, abstracted version resembling some employed in Kirsehir area.
The next piece was from Obruk (Kayseri province).
Vivid red ground. Border with double crosses is distinctive.
Here are some details of D16.
The next piece was another yastik from Southwest Anatolia.
Dennis estimated that it was woven in the Menderes Valley near Dazkir in the 18th century. The central medallion is termed an “Ottoman Star.” Its design is directly derived from the Ottoman silk velvet yastiks from the 17th century. This yastik is nearly identical to one in the McMullan Collection.
Here are some details of D18.
The main border on this piece is commonly associated with pieces from this group.
When in late 2007 in the first post on this blog, I asked Dennis how best to describe the piece below,
he wrote and I quote:
“This yastik displays a medallion that is seen in a carpet fragment from the Beyshehir trove, now in the Mevlana Museum in Konya. “In The History of the Early Turkish Carpet, Kurt Erdmann illustrates that carpet in fig. 70 with the caption: ” ‘Holbein’ type I carpet fragment from Beyshehir. Mevlana Muzesi, Konya.”
“In Carpet Fragments, Carl Johann Lamm discusses “Anatolian Holbein Carpets of the 15th Century,” pp. 50-62. He illustrates two fragments with medallions of this design in Color Fragments 26 and 27, on pp. 85 and 86 which he dates to the late 15th century.
“By the 16th century, this medallion had moved from an overall repeat pattern to a solitary and central position in the well-known group of rugs referred to by Erdmann, op.cit., fig. 37, as ‘Ushak prayer rug of the end of the 16th century with opposed prayer niches…”
“In Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections, our yastik is illustrated on p.21, plate 21, where the date is shown as “c. 1800,” with the caption referring to its probable design origins in the “small-pattern ‘Holbein’ medallion” type.
“For publication, this is a reasonable date for the piece.”
And in a second indication about attribution of this piece, Dennis wrote:
“I think this yastik should be placed in Central Anatolia and the Konya/Karapinar area, owing principally to the lack of outlining in the major design elements, i.e., the ‘kilim style’ that Dr. Mae Beattie identified as a style predominantly used in that area.”
(End of Dodds’ quotes)
Here are some detail images of D18.
The next piece came from Central Anatolia. It features rich colors, a striped field and crescent devices in its main borders and lappet areas.
It is attributed to Central Anatolia, the Konya/Cappadocia area, and may be 18th century. Heavy, almost clumsy-looking.
Here are some detail images of D19.
Done with copper salts to get this tonality. Tonality is reminiscent of that of Tabriz.
In 2007, Dennis described this “all-over” repeat design as of the “textile” variety that occur in 15th century rugs. He suggested that they have roots in Seljuk usages. He attributed them to the Gelveri area or, perhaps, to Aksaray.
Here are some details of D20.
This yastik is early and inscribed in the center of the second horizontal set of medallions in the image below.
Notice the “S” cartouches in the medallion below.
The next yastik was from the Menderes Valley in Southwest Anatolia. It is colorful and unusual, in part, because it still has its back.
It is well-drawn with a pleasing range of colors. Menderes Vally green border. Some speculate that Transylvanian rugs may have come from this area. Estimated first half of the 19th century.
The design element in the center of the field is composed of angular weaves and a rosette. The motif is derived from a border pattern found in many prayer rugsof the late 17th and 18th centuries. Such rugs were woven in the Dazgir region and exported to Transylvania where they were donated to Lutheran churches by Saxon parishioners.
Here are some other detail images of D21.
The next piece was a long rug. Wonderfully spacious design. White ground with detached segmented blossoms (possibly stylized Ottoman carnations).
Much aged, oxidized brown in its main border, and a pale aubergine. Heavy, “open” weave. Six or seven rows of wefts between rows of knots.
Here are some details of D21.
Notice that lappet devices occur not just on yastiks, but also on some larger Anatiolian rugs.
The image below is of this piece, as we were preparing for this program, showing that it is a quite long rug.
Next was another long rug, this time with an Ottoman “quatre fleur” style. Cappadocia area.
Here are some details of D22.
The next rug had a plain red-niched field area with two green-ground spandrel panels in the upper corners of the field. Western or Southwestern Anatolia (Ushak-like) but with a Ladik-like border. One member of the audience thought that the design elements of the upper spandrels look more like Konya-Central. It has black wefts that could locate it in central Anatolia.
The border is perplexing, but similar to those in a couple of Transylvanian rugs.
Here are some details of D23.
The next rug was another niche design, this time a “single-columned” one from Ushak-Ghiordes. Some blue wefts.
Curvy elements in niche spandrels under the top cross-panel are stylized branches.
Lazy lines and white wefts in niche-topped area. Red wefts elsewhere. These white wefts are intended to minimize intrusion of red wefts as the white pile wears down.
The next piece was another long rug. Karapinar. Very spacious drawing again.
Notice that the outer brown areas of the main border do not mirror the red trefoil devices reaching out into it. There are white flower forms in this brown area, but the brown is a true ground, not part of a mirroring reciprocal usage.
Here are some detail images of D25
The next rug was one previously in Philadelphia Musem, deaccessioned in early 1980s . Karapinar. Two undyed ivory wefts between rows of knots (what could be seen as red wefts are, actually remnants of the original selvege wrapping (now missing) that was carried back into the body of the rugs..Talish style). . Medallion in kilim style. Border has large “fleur de lis” elements wit the addition of cypress trees. These fleur de lis elements are seen in large 16 century Ottoman kilims, possibly made in Egypt, that Charlie Ellis and May Beattie documented at Divrigi Mosque. Spacious spandrels seen in some Anatolian village rugs from the 17th-18th century. Cut and shut just below the upper borders.
Some detail images of D26.
With the next rug we moved back to Western Anatolia.
“Triple arch” style simplified into three narrow vertical cartouche stripes. Ex-collection of the Mcilhenny Family, who donated many Classical carpets to the Philadelphia Museum.
Later Megri usages are similar.
Wonderful coloration, especially the deep, glowing red of the tessellated field.
Here are some other details of this interesting piece.
Designs in the cross panels at the top and bottom of the field resemble what we see in some Ladik rugs.
Central Anatolia. 2-1-2 design “Holbein.” Early 18th century. Red wefts. Bought in Stockholm from a Swedish collection. Bob Mann filled in a few moth holes.
Here are some details of D28.
Central Anatolia, Aksaray, 18th century. The copper red dye and general composition is distinctive of a specific group of rugs attributed to Aksaray. Note the small areas of aubergine dye. Octagonal reserves are formed by hooked, triangular brackets and within each are bold Crivelli-type medallions — one rendered in clear pale blue and the other in yellow-green. Each medallion centers a large, archaic Turkic kaikalik motif. Along the bottom is a panel of stepped devices reminiscent of a kufesque style.
A fragment, consisting of the top half of an almost identical rug, was identified as Aksaray, 18th century, by Mehmet Cetinkaya in Istanbul in 2007 during the ICOC Conference. A similar, but earlier rug, also with a copper red ground, two large blue-green Crivelli medallions, and a calyx and serrated leaf border, was exhibited by Franz Sailer in the Perugia Carpet Fair in 1997: ANTICHI ARTI TESSILI. It is published in the catalogue, p 68, and attributed to “Aksaray, 17th century.”
Nice spacing and wonderful color. Red is the same as in the previous piece.
Cross motif in the side borders.
Some additional detail images of D29.
Eastern Anatolia, ‘Cypress and Medallion’ rug, 4.6 x 9.8 feet, circa 1700-50. This design reflects a style seen in large workshop carpets woven in eastern Anatolia, or western Caucasus, in the late 17th and 18th centuries. One such carpet, published by Serare Yetkin, shows a date of 1744 AD. Another large carpet with these cypress and medallion motifs is from the McIlhenny Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Elements of this style also appear in a well-known group of Azerbaijan silk embroidered panels from the 17th/18th centuries. The smaller village carpet shown here, likely Anatolian, demonstrates how patterns occasionally transferred from workshop production to traditional village weaving.
The literature indicates rugs like the one above were found in Turkish mosques, but were woven in the Caucasus in the early 18th century.
Medallion and cyprus designs.
Here are some further detail images of D30.
The piece above is an Anatolian storage bag. Sewn together as a kind of cylinder with the brocaded design area facing the front and the striped areas at the back. Entirely flat-woven. Josephine Powell reports that such bags were woven in South, Central and East Anatolia.
Details of BI1.
The second piece brought in was a yastik.
This is a yastik estimated to have been woven at the end of the 19th century, perhaps a little later.
Here are some details on BI2.
The third brought in piece was this kilim fragment.
The owner said after this session: “A Central Anatolian kilim fragment from before 1850, possibly early 19th Century. The seller indicated it was from the Afyon area. The overall design and color scheme is analogous to Plate 65 in Catherine Cootner’s book on the Anatolian Kilims From the McCoy-Jones Collection. We particularly like the aubergine, apricot, red and blues in this piece.”
Here are some details of BI3.
After this session the owner said: “…a Manastir kilim of the 19th century from Bulgaria. However, the design appears similar to some Anatolian pieces from the Baliksesir area in NW Turkey. This is one of a few Manastir Kilims with a blue ground and a typical yellow field. This kilim is visually exciting and challenges the viewer with a double niche design in yellow and red. An interesting aubergine brown outline area is at the bottom of the mihrab. Did the weaver change her mind or was this a deliberate action on her part? The border of Hands-of-Fatima or bird’s wings surrounds the blue field on the two long sides. We believe they were intended to represent hands because each digit is tipped in purple-red ‘fingernail’.The kilim has symbolic and protective elements we do not fully understand.
Here are some details of BI4.
This piece is one of Dennis,’ about which he wrote me after this session: “According to Elena Tsareva, larger examples of this group of brilliant silk embroidery on purple silk ground were made in the workshops of the Emir of Bokhara and used as gifts to the Russian Royal family.
“This one may have been made by Lakai weavers living in the environs of Shakhrizyabs and made for a prestigious, but less regal, owner. It dates to around the middle of the 19th century and is in a smaller format than most, sometimes referred to as ‘nim-suzani’.
“The embroidery is well executed and the large boteh motifs in the border are embellished with vivid colors and diverse patterns.”
Here are some detail images of this piece.
The “cone-like devices and a central medallion provide graphic punch in an otherwise darkish piece.
Dennis Dodds described it for me after this session: “It is a Milas from SW Turkey and dates to the first half of the 19th century. It displays an attractive border, often referred to as a “Gothic” border, that is found in some 16th and 17th century Anatolian rugs and also in a few weavings of the ‘Transylvanian” type. The range and clarity of dyes is especially noteworthy.”
Here are some detail of BI5.
This piece is an unusual Shirvan with a niche design. The slight curvature in the mihrab drawing of this finely woven Caucasian rug, often called Marasali, adds an elegant touch that relieves the strict and compact geometry of the diagonal lattice. Its owner may have indicated that it has silk wefts, something that would permit a high knot count.
Here are some details of BI6.
Notice the “chevron-like” patterning of the field with diagonals on both sides with similar coloration meeting at the center. It may also be that each of the floral devices in the field are slightly different from one another.
Dennis wrote me after this session: “At first glance, the herati field pattern with a distinctly Persian-style border and sturdy cotton structure with prominent warps, spoke of an Iranian origin.
“Upon closer examination and discussion with the owner and others in the audience, a region in the Caucasus was decided.
“There was a production of Persianate designs in northern Azerbaijan at the end of the 19th century and this is likely one of them. Woven in the Kuba region, they are often called Perepedil as a group and are more frequently seen in European than in US collections.
“Latif Kerimov published two such rugs in his 3-volume set, “Azerbaijan Carpet II”, pp 170-172, figs. 140 and 141, Baku, 1983, (in Russian). This was the year of the first ICOC Symposium there at the Institute of Architecture and Art.”
Here are some details of BI7.
Dennis answered questions
and brought his session to a close.
I want to thank Dennis for this fine program, for his help with some descriptions, and for his editing work on this post in general. Thanks are due Margaret Jones and Jim Henderson, who both provided me with useful notes. Jim also helped with the editing. Tim Hays, Wendel Swan and Austin Doyle, provided useful descriptions of particular pieces. Wendel Swan was enormously useful with some images and did the final editing.
I hope you have enjoyed this program featuring strong material and authoritative comment.
R. John Howe