Dennis Dodds: A Few of My Favorite Things

On October 26, 2013 Dennis DoddsDennis4

gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program appropriately entitled “A Few of My Favorite Things.”

Wendel Swan

WendelIntroduces

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,

Meyers

that Dennis was among the early presenters of these sessions and has frequently supported them with his active participation. 

Dennis6

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.

Preparation

Dennis had five or six levels.   But when all was arrayed, Dennis began.

Dennis2 modified

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

DennisBoardPointer

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.

D1

Asmalyk full modified

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.

Asmalyk corner modified

The small, contrasting elements of color, on the branches of the trees, draw attention.

Asmalyk center top modified

The second Turkmen piece is a Tekke engsi.

D2

D2modified

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.

D2a modified

A curled leaf border is used to surround the compartments containing the “candelabra-like” elements

D2b

D2d modified

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. 

D2f

D2h

D2k

D2l

D2i

A third Turkman piece was this one.

D3

D3modifiedThere is debate, sometimes, whether a given piece can be said to have been used for prayer, but Dennis thinks this one was.

It is Ogurdjali, of the Yomud group, and is estimated to have been woven about 1850.

D3b

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).

D3a

Here are some additional detail images of D3.

D3c

D3d

D3e

To me, some of the field devices in this piece have a Caucasian feel.

D3f

The next rug was a very old, very unusual Northwest Persian piece attributed to the Sauj Bulag area.

D4

D4

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.

D4b

D4f

Here are some more detail images on D4.

Dennis said that this piece has been shortened, perhaps 4-5 inches.

D4a

Dennis showed the back of it. 

D4hBack

The “running dog” border is outlined in white on the inside but not on the outside.

D4c

There is no D5.

The next piece was a departure.

D6

D6

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.

D6a

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.

D6c

D6d

Dennis gave us a look at the back of the fabric.

D6eback

Next, was a fragment (not a yastik) of Italian velvet.

D7

D7

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.

D7a

D7b

D7d

D7e

D7turned

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

D8 9 10 Similar Yastiks

He began with D8.

D8

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.

D8a

D8b

D8c

D8d

The second of the “Lotto-like” yastiks was this one.

D9

D9

Yellow ground field and lappets ends.  Dennis said the handle is firm, meaty.

D9a

 Lappets are “Mudjur-like.”

D9c modified

D9c

One more detail image of D9.

D9b

The third of these “Lotto-like” yastiks was this one.

D10

D10

Yellow ground field; white ground border, red ground lappets ends.

D10a modified

The lappets have a hooked, “ebilinde” character.

D10c

D10b

The next piece was another yastik.

D11

D11

It is from Sivas or Zara in central-eastern Anatolia and is probably Kurdish.

D11a

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.”

D11c

D11e

Here are two more detail images of D11.

D11b

D11f

The next piece is published, number 138, in the Morehouse catalog.

D12

D12

Morehouse says the red-orange, blue-green contrast is characteristic of weavings from the Malatya area as is the “S” border.

D12d

Here some other detail images of D12.

D12b

D12a

D12c

The next piece was Southwest Anatolia, perhaps Dazkiri.

D13

D13

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.

D13d

Here are some additional detail images of D13.

D13b

D13c

The next piece was a Southwestern Anatolian yastik, published as Number 2 in Morehouse.

D14

D15A central medallion and two halves top and bottom (this design is seen in full form in some carpets).  Red field and a yellow ground border.

Ghirlandaio, a 15th century Italian painter depicted carpets with this design.

Here are some detail images of D14.

D15a

D15b

D15e

D15c

The next piece had a pale palette, but was older.

D15

D17 modified

Possibly Cappadocia area and 18th century.

Here are some details on D15.

D17b

Medallion is an older, abstracted version resembling some employed in Kirsehir area.

D17d

D17c

The next piece was from Obruk (Kayseri province).

D16

D18

Vivid red ground.  Border with double crosses is distinctive.

D18d

Here are some details of D16.

D18a

D18b

The next piece was another yastik from Southwest Anatolia.

D17

D14

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.

D14a

D14c

D14h

D14b

The main border on this piece is commonly associated with pieces from this group.

D14d

When in late 2007 in the first post on this blog, I asked Dennis how best to describe the piece below,

D18

D0

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.

D0a

D0b

D0c

D0d

D0e

The next piece came from Central Anatolia.  It features rich colors, a striped field and crescent devices in its main borders and lappet areas.

D19

D19

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.

D19b

D19a

Done with copper salts to get this tonality.  Tonality is reminiscent of that of Tabriz.

D19d

D19e

D0f

D20

D20

 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.

D20a

D20b

This yastik is early and inscribed in the center of the second horizontal set of medallions in the image below.

D20d

D20e

Notice the “S” cartouches in the medallion below.

D20f

The next yastik was from the Menderes Valley in Southwest Anatolia.  It is colorful and unusual, in part, because it still has its back.

D21

D21

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.

D21pilwfront

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.

D21b

D21back modified

D21c

D21d

The next piece was a long rug. Wonderfully spacious design.  White ground with detached segmented blossoms (possibly stylized Ottoman carnations).

D21

D22

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.

D22i

D22c

D22e

D22f

D22d

D22g

D22h

The image below is of this piece, as we were preparing for this program, showing that it is a quite long rug.

DSC_0716 modified

Next was another long rug, this time with an Ottoman “quatre fleur” style.  Cappadocia area.

D22

D23

Here are some details of D22.

D23a

D23c

D23e

D23f

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.

D23

D25 modfied

The border is perplexing, but similar to those in a couple of Transylvanian rugs.

D25d

Here are some details of D23.

D25a

D25e

D25f

D25c

The next rug was another niche design, this time a “single-columned” one from Ushak-Ghiordes.  Some blue wefts.

D24

D24 modifiedUpside down lamp in niche.

D24e

Curvy elements in niche spandrels under the top cross-panel are stylized branches.

D24a

D24d

D24g

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.

D24hlazylinesback

The next piece was another long rug.  Karapinar.  Very spacious drawing again.

D25

DSC_0737modifiedA quatre-fleur or quatrefoil design with hyacinths and tulips. 

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.

D26d

Here are some detail images of D25

D26a

D26e

D26c

DSC_0711 modified

D26b modified

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.

D26

D27

Some detail images of D26.

D27d

D27c

D27f

D27e

D27g

With the next rug we moved back to Western Anatolia.

D27

D28

“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.

D28b

Later Megri usages are similar.

Megris

Wonderful coloration, especially the deep, glowing red of the tessellated field.

D28f

Cartouche border.

D28d

Here are some other details of this interesting piece.

D28a

D28c

Designs in the cross panels at the top and bottom of the field resemble what we see in some Ladik rugs.

D28e

D28

D29

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.

D29a

D29b

D29d

D29c

D29f

D29

D30

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.

D30d

Some additional detail images of D29.

D30a

D30c

D30f

D30

D31

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.

D31c

D31b

Here are some further detail images of D30.

D31d

D31a

D31e

D31

BI1

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.

BI1a

BI1c

BI1b

The second piece brought in was a yastik.

BI2

BI2

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.

BI2a

BI2b

BI2c

The third brought in piece was this kilim fragment.

BI3

BI3

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.

BI3a

BI3b

BI3c

BI4

BI4

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. 

“One of the better examples of a Manastir prayer kilim, possibly made for devotional use and harkening back to the roots of the Manastir weavers in NW Anatolia. This piece is published in Stoebe and Mizrahi’s book, Manastir Kilims: In Search of a Trail.”

Here are some details of BI4.

BI4d

BI4b

BI4c

BI4a

BI4f

BI5

BI5

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.

BI5a

The “cone-like devices and a central medallion provide graphic punch in an otherwise darkish piece.

BI5d

BI5b

BI5c

BI5

BI6

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.

BI6a

BI6b

BI6c

BI6d

BI6e

BI6f

BI6

BI7modified

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.

BI7a

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.

BI7c

BI7b

BI7d

BI7

BI8

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.

BI8a

BI8b

BI8g

BI8f

BI8i

Dennis answered questions

Dennis1

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.

Regards,

R. John Howe

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