Paul Kreiss: Using Books to Learn About Rugs and Other Textiles
On March 11, 2017, Paul Kreiss gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program, here at The Textile Museum, in Washington, D.C. on Using Books to Learn About Rugs and Other Textiles.
Tom Goehner, the Textile Museum’s Curator of Education introduced Paul.
Paul is one of the few book dealers in the U.S. who specializes in rug and textile books. He lives in Baltimore, Md. His firm is The Rug Book Shop. He has a web site:
but also sends out periodic listings to a mailing list. He has been operating his business for over 40 years. He knows something about rug and other textile books.
Paul is trained as a biologist, and taught biology at the college level for a number of years, so he has an appreciation for information about rugs and other textiles that is grounded in scientific evidence.
Paul began by saying that there are a number of different ways to learn about rugs.
You can look at some, with them in hand.
Looking at a rug, in hand, you will be able to see the colors and designs accurately, be able to feel the wool, and tell whether the handle is firm and thick or thin and floppy.
But looking at a rug won’t tell its you age, its site of manufacture, the meanings of its motifs, what its quality is, or how much to pay for it. For these you need to consult additional sources. Dealers are one such.
- Dealers will give you prices and may be willing to talk to you about what they think they know about rugs. If, a given dealer knows anything, and if he/she is analytic enough to tell you how they know what they say they know, they may be able to answer questions like:
- Why is this rug Persian?
- Why is this floral-designed Persian a Nain and not an Isfahan, Sarouk, Qom, Kashan, Kerman or Tabriz?
- How can you tell that this rug was woven in the early 19th century?
- Why do the 5 flowers in the corner ward off evil?
- Why is this a “princess Bokhara?” Another dealer told me that it’s a Tekke ensi.
Rug and textile collectors are another source of such information.
A further way to learn about rugs and textiles is to consult books, and other textile literature, about them.
Although the information about rugs in books has its own problems of accuracy, one advantage of learning about rugs from books is that you can, very efficiently, see a great deal of information about a lot of them.
And that’s what we’re going to talk about today: using books and related literature to learn about rugs and other textiles.
A first question might be: “How many books are there on Oriental Rugs and other textiles?
The first book, solely on rugs, was published in 1877 by Julius Lessing.
There was a rapid translation in 1879.
Since then a great many rug and textile books have been published. Paul said that he estimates that the current total is about 3,000.
The components of this estimate are as follows.
In 1994 George O’Bannon published an extensive Bibliography.
He listed about 2100 items. Paul said that about 400 have been published since and that perhaps an additional 500 are missing.
In addition, he said there have been about 1500 auction catalogs, about 400 issues of magazines on rugs and about 200 articles in journals.
So that’s the estimated universe of rug and textile books and related publications.
The balance of Paul’s talk was taken up with discussion of particular books or groups of books.
He said that to return to the question of why consult books to learn about rugs, an early book by Mumford is relevant.
Mumford had some ideas about why it’s advantageous to consult rug books:
1. to consider the deep and enjoyable meaning of Oriental floor coverings
2. to throw light upon the life and work of the weavers
3. to place the reader in possession of such information regarding the rugs, both genuine and spurious, now generally offered for sale, as shall deliver him from the mercy of the decorator, the salesman and the auctioneer
4. to emphasize the superiority of the old vegetable dyes
5. to give an idea of what constitutes the value of, of the comparative worth of the various Oriental weavings, and the means of distinguishing them.
Mumford’s ORIENTAL RUGS. 1900, 1st edition, 284 p., 32 illus., 16 in color, 28.5 x 20 cm, is one of the standard early works on Oriental rugs.
The author was associated with Kent Costikyan, one of New York’s major Oriental carpet importers and dealers. So he knew much more about rugs than many other authors of that period. So this book is still useful today.
The plates are useful for illustrating rugs available at the turn of the century and they have to be 19th century or earlier. Mumford’s description of modern rugs (i.e. circa 1900) is useful, since these rugs are today’s antiques.
Attributions are not always accurate. He started the erroneous notion of “Kazak” being related with Cossacks. He uses the term “Bokhara,” and says that they were woven by Tekke weavers, but says that he’s using it only because he doesn’t want to add new terms.
There are a number of editions. The 1900 edition is the 1st. But there are also editions in 1902, 1905, 1915, 1923, 1925, 1929, 1937 and 1981. This book contains an Index, and two folding maps.
Paul said that his own list of the advantages of consulting rug literature is different from Mumford’s.
1. to get an idea of prices for rugs
2. to see what variety of rugs is available
3. to see rugs which are not commercially available, e.g. classic rugs in museums
4. to explore a weaving area: Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Turkestan, East Turkestan, Tibet, China, Belouch
5. to explore a specific area, as for example, Turkish kilims, Persian pictorial rugs, short pile Caucasian rugs.
To get an idea of prices for rug (very few books give prices) use auction catalogues, rug dealer’s stocks, and the internet.
These sources will also let you:
see what variety of rugs is available, lots of color pictures from a variety of areas
(for a beginning collector) see 19th & early 20th century rugs, so you can determine whether you want Persian Heriz carpets or Anatolian “prayer” rugs
see plates of rugs that are commercially available
see rugs from all over, something it is hard to do in person
see the range of designs for a given area.
For books in general, it is desirable to have an author:
who grew up in given areas, or who has traveled to them,
who speaks the languages,
has good taste,
knows about rugs themselves,
has knowledge of the related literature,
is able to evaluate what he or she has heard with a fair amount of skepticism
are able to explain the reasoning behind his or her statements
is able to illustrate the rugs, in color
Paul divided the balance of his talk into three groups of books.
- More general introductory books
- Books about rugs that are not usually commercially available (e.g. rugs in museums)
- To explore a particular weaving area: Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Baluch, Turkestan, East Turkestan, Tibet, China
General Introductory Books
He started with a listing of general introductory books. (Note: Paul will often refer to books not treated here in his comparisons.)
Eiland, M.L. STARTING TO COLLECT ANTIQUE ORIENTAL RUGS. 2003, 192 p., 178 illus., 170 in color, 24 x 19.5 cm. A book for the beginning collector, with sections on where to buy, what to look for, care and restoration, materials and techniques, dyes and designs, and then coverage of the major rug producing areas: Iran, Turkey, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, India and China. Flatweaves and modern rugs are also covered. Hardcover.
Next was a book by Bennett.
Bennett, I. RUGS AND CARPETS OF THE WORLD. 1977, 2000 printing, 351 p., 500 illus., 160 in color, 33 x 24 cm.
An advanced introduction to rugs, comparable to Eiland’s or Hubel’s in depth & tone, but tending to emphasize older rugs more; also a section on Navajo rugs. Hard. also a 1983 printing.
Howe insertion: While we are talking about general treatments of oriental rugs, I can’t resist inserting one of my own.
Here is Paul’s description, from his web site, of this book and its several reprints.
Hawley, Walter A. ORIENTAL RUGS, ANTIQUE AND MODERN. 1970 reprint of the 1913 ed., 320 p., 87 pl., 11 in color, 23.5 x 15.5 cm. A standard early work, which was one of the two best general guides for about a 30 year period; it is now mostly useful for the illustrations of rugs which predate 1913. Hardcover and paperback reprint. Out of print.
Howe: I have a large format 1937 edition of this book. The reason I’m inserting it here is that it seems to be one of the earliest systematic treatments of technical aspects of oriental rugs. I was not sure that these technical descriptions were included in the original 1913 edition, but Paul says they were. Here, below, is one instance of the technical information Hawley provides:
Hawley includes a technical summary of this sort at the end of each of most of his treatments of rugs from a given area. It seems to me a remarkable thing that he may have published such technical information as early as 1913. The general rug literature seems mostly not to have begun to include it until the 1970s.
I’ll stop messing with Paul’s listing now.
Thompson, J. ORIENTAL RUGS. 1988, 2nd ed., 175 p., 159 illus., 148 in color, 29 x 21 cm. Exhibition catalogue, with rugs which vary from commercial to antique.
The text is a nice introduction to rugs, dividing them into tribal, cottage industry, village/city workshop, and court rugs; the rugs are nicely supplemented by pictures of rugs in use and being made; the text serves as a useful general introduction to Oriental rugs.
The second edition is the same as the first except for added sections with some advice for buyers and sellers, a glossary, and some notes on rug and flatweave construction. Paper.
Ford, P.R.J. ORIENTAL CARPET DESIGN. 1981 (1989 reprint), 352 p., 800 illus., 400 in color, 33 x 24.5 cm. An advanced introductory book, based on the idea of identifying rugs by first examining the complexity of their designs and not by the country of origin. It is extremely well illustrated.
The author was a buyer in Iran for OCM, the Oriental Carpet Manufacturer company in the UK, and the book relects the knowledge he gained from that. Chapters are based on designs: border designs, boteh, herati, tree, vase, prayer rug, garden, picture, geometric designs with and without medallions, and floral designs with and without medallions.
Within each chapter Ford describes production of that type of rug from about 200 different villages, cities, and regions in Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Turkestan, China, Tibet and to a lesser extent Pakistan, India, and Romania. As might be expected from his buying background, there is more detail on rugs from Iran. The focus is on current production, that is the middle of the 20th century, so there is coverage of manufacturers in Pakistan, India, China, and Romania. 19th century and earlier rugs are illustrated mostly to show the evolution of designs.
More so than many other books on identification, Ford bases a lot of the identification of the origin of a rug on the construction: color and composition of warps and wefts, feel of the wool, tightness of weaving, colors of the rug and sizes. Ford also does not hesitate to comment on prices, on the quality of a design, of wool, and of colors.
This, along with the books by Thompson, Bennett, and Eiland, is one of the best general books on Oriental rugs. Paperback. Originally a hardcover.
Eiland, M. L. Jr, & Eiland, M. III. ORIENTAL CARPETS. 1998, 4th ed., 368 p., 365 illus., 330 in color, 31 x 24 cm. The first three editions were excellent for their times; this one follows the footsteps of the earlier ones.
There is more emphasis on attribution and the text reflects the developments in rug scholarship that have occurred since the previous, 3rd edition.
As with the early editions, there have been major changes, and this is an essential book for every serious rug collector. Hardback.
They have traveled in Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia. They do know the literature, and comment on things accurate and inaccurate. They are a psychiatrist and an archaeologist, which means some degree of a science background and thus some awareness of why evidence is important.
Lots of illustrations and color is good. Much of the time gives evidence for attributions or explains why there is none.
MacDonald, B.W. TRIBAL RUGS. TREASURES OF THE BLACK TENT. 1997, 1st edition, 302 p., more than 200 color plates, 28 x 22 cm.
A survey of tribal rugs: Turkish, Turkmen, Caucasian, and Persian, although the focus is on Persian, reflecting the author’s fieldwork in Iran. The specific areas are Turkmen, Anatolian Yuruk, Kizil Bash, Caucasian areas, Shahsavan, Afshar, Qashqa’i, Khamseh, Lor, Bakhtiyari, Baluch and Taimuri. Most of the examples are 19th century and many are localized to specific tribes or sub-tribes. Colors are good; quality of the rugs are good. Rugs include carpets, kilims, bag faces, sofrehs, and bags including salt bags. The comments on the textiles have some focus on symbolism.
For example, a small Shirvan bag with 8 deer or gazelles in the field “here we see the interpretation of life in paradise – the light colored animals representing the males and the dark colored animals representing the females”.
There are brief sections on the historical background of the areas. One chapter on modern rugs to show the contrast with older ones, and one chapter gives advice on what to look for and what mistakes to avoid. Hard. There is a new edition coming out in 2017.
Rugs Not Commercially Available,
Paul’s next set of rug books was those not commercially available: for example, museums. Visiting museums can involve a lot of travel, and arranging to get into storage areas.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Dimand, M.S. & Mailey, J. ORIENTAL RUGS IN THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART. 1973, 353 p., 318 pl., 19 in color, 28.5 x 21.5 cm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of the best 3 collections of rugs in the US; this is the catalogue of this collection, with discussion of the major rug producing areas. The text is informative and puts rugs in the context of other Islamic art.
Victoria and Albert Museum: Kendrick, A.F. and Tattersall, C.E.C. / Victoria and Albert Museum / Department of Textiles. GUIDE TO THE COLLECTION OF CARPETS. 1931, Victoria and Albert Museum, 120 p., 52 black and white plates. Third edition.
68 pages of text describing the rugs: Persian, Caucasian, Turkish, Central Asian, Chinese, Spanish, North African and European; then plates of them.
Museum fur angewandte Kunst Völker, A. DIE ORIENTALISCHEN KNÜPFTEPPICHE IM MAK (Oriental Carpets in the Museum for Applied Arts, Vienna). 2001, 436 p., 168 illus., 160 in color, 31 x 22 p.
A catalogue of 150 rugs from this major museum, ranging from Mamluk rugs (5 of them!) through 16th century Persian and Turkish to 19th century Turkmen and Moroccan. There is a 30 page introduction on the museum; most of the book consists of the plates with brief comments about the rugs. In German.
Iparművészeti Múzeum / Museum of Applied Art Batari, F. OZMÁN-TÖRÖK SZŐNYEGEK (Ottoman Turkish Carpets). 1994, 216 p., 184 color illus., 28.5 x 19.5 cm.
A catalogue of the Turkish rugs from the Iparmuveszeti Museum; there are 176 of them, from the 15th – 19th centuries; all are illustrated. This is a major collection of Turkish rugs, and this is the major description of this museum’s holdings.
The text describes all the rugs, with technical descriptions and references to previous publication; there is also an extensive bibliography. Colors look good, but maybe a bit pale.
M.H. de Young Museum Cootner, C., ed. FLAT-WOVEN TEXTILES. THE ARTHUR JENKINS COLLECTION. Vol I, 1981, 221 p., 62 illus., 40 in color, 31 x 23 cm.
An analysis of the 62 flat-weaves in this collection; the flatweaves are from Iran, Turkey, and the Caucasus. Cootner provides an extensive essay on flatweave production in Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus and on the specific textiles.
The second part of the book contains 5 essays: Cootner: Flat-weaves and knotted pile: An historical and structural overview; Bierman: Medieval flatweaves in the Urban Middle East; Beattie: A note on zilu; Wertime: Weft-wrapping in in nomadic and village flat-woven textiles from the Near-East and Central Asia, and Wertime: A guide to flat-woven structures.
This is volume 1; there was no volume 2. Hardcover.
Cootner, C.M. ANATOLIAN KILIMS. THE CAROLINE & H. MCCOY JONES COLLECTION. 1990, 275 p., 172 illus., 115 in color, 32.22 (hard), 30.5 x 21.5 (soft) cm. Colors are good; kilims are mostly pre-19th century.
The text describes the colors and designs of each kilim; this is done briefly, which is just as well, since the reader can see the colors and designs him- or herself; the major part of the text attempts to analyze kilims as art and in the context of other crafts: basketry and pottery
St. Louis Museum with Ballard’s rugs Denny, W. B. and Farnham, T. J. THE CARPET AND THE CONNOISSEUR. THE JAMES F. BALLARD COLLECTION OF ORIENTAL RUGS. 2016, 240 p., 279 illustrations, 272 in color, 28 x 24 cm.
Ballard was a wealthy drug manufacturer, who collected rugs in the 1st quarter of the 20th century, when 16th, 17th, and 18th were readily available (to wealthy individuals). He at one time had some 300 rugs.
This catalogue accompanied a 2016 exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum of the rugs Ballard left there. The exhibited items are the most important of Ballard’s rugs: 50 carpets and 2 Persian tents. All have interesting comments about them by Denny, and are illustrated in full with smaller illustrations of details of the back.
The rugs are 16th to 18th, with a few later ones. Most of the rugs are Turkish: Lottos, Ushaks, a variety of classical prayer rugs, but there are also Persian, Caucasian, Mamluk, Turkmen, and Mughal examples. An appendix has illustrations 51 more items of less importance.
Chapters: one on Ballard as a collector by Farnham; the general topic of rug varieties in this collection in a larger art historical context by Denny; and introductions to each geographical area by Denny.
Vakiflar Museum Balpinar, B. & Hirsch. U. CARPETS OF THE VAKIFLAR MUSEUM ISTANBUL / TEPPICHE DES VAKIFLAR-MUSEUMS ISTANBUL. 1988, 343 p., 83 color pl., bl & wh illus., 31 x 22.5 cm.
The long-awaited sequel on carpets of this museum. Most of the carpets are Turkish. There are two 13th century Seljuk carpets; most of the rest are from the 15th – 17th centuries. There are two 17th to 18th century Iranian carpets, and ten Caucasian carpets including four Dragon carpets from the 17th and 18th centuries. Dating is done in part by comparison with similar rugs in dated Western paintings and illustrations in manuscripts, and with designs in woodwork and other Islamic arts.
The text describes the museum and the origins of the collection; then analyzes each carpet illustrated, in detail. Many of these rugs are well known in the rug literature and the text summarizes what other authors have said about them. Hard.
Balpinar, B. & Hirsch, U. FLATWEAVES OF THE VAKIFLAR MUSEUM ISTANBUL. 1982, 295 p., 120 color pl., 32 x 22 cm. Catalogue of the rugs collected from the Vakif (Pious Foundation) mosques throughout Turkey. The kilims are impressive; the text describes possible tribal origins & flat-weave techniques. Hard.
Russian Ethnographic Museum / Rossiiskii Ethnographicheskii Muzei Tzareva, E. TAPPETI DEI NOMADI DELL’ASIA CENTRALE. CARPETS OF CENTRAL ASIAN NOMADS. 1993, 142 p., 66 illus., 30 in color, 27.5 x 21 cm.
Based on an exhibition of rug, tent bands, sacks, felts, suzani from the Russian Ethnographic Museum, St. Peterburg; detailed technical descriptions, including analogous published examples.
Many were given to the museum by Bogolyubov, who collected them before 1900, and Dudin, who bought them between 1900 and 1902; thus many are clearly 19th century or before.
There are short sections on the museum, on Turkmen, Kirghiz and Uzbek nomads; on yurt furnishings; on the symbolism of red; on textiles for weddings. This is an interesting look at Turkmen textiles from a major Turkmen collection. Italian / English text. Hard.
Philadelphia Museum of Art Ellis, C.G. ORIENTAL CARPETS IN THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART. 1988, 304 p., 182 illus., 76 in color, 31 x 30.5 cm.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has one of the top 5 collections of rugs in the US. This is a scholarly discussion of 81 15th to 19th century carpets. Most of the rugs come from the collections of two wealthy Philadelphia businessmen: McIlhenny and Williams and were bought in the first quarter of the 19th century.
For each rug, there is a detailed description of the pattern, comparison to other rugs with the same or similar field or border designs, summary of and comments on earlier mentions of the rugs, a list of European paintings with this or similar rugs (which gives information on the age of the rugs) and technical descriptions.
The color illustrations are of the rugs in the Museum; the black and white illustrations are of paintings and similar examples. The text is interesting, as are the rugs. Hardback and paper.
And then there are the books on the Textile Museum rugs.
The TM has nothing on the entire collection: Kühnel, E. & Bellinger, L. CAIRENE RUGS AND OTHERS TECHNICALLY RELATED, 15th CENTURY – 17th CENTURY. 1957.
Mackie, L.M. & Thompson, J. TURKMEN TRIBAL CARPETS AND TRADITIONS. This is the catalog that accompanied a 1980 exhibition of Turkmen rugs at The Textile Museum.
It was one of the books that marked the shift to tribal names and increased attention to technical descriptions of materials and structure. Text by Thompson, detailed technical descriptions by Mackie. This is the book in which Thompson proposed some Imreli attributions (questioned and quickly withdrawn).
Articles at the end: Hans Konig on Ersari Carpets; Robert and Leslie Pinner on Tekke chuvals; and Mark Whiting on Dyes in Turkmen Carpets. Hardback. 239 pages.
This catalog was considered by many, until recently, to be the standard treatment on Turkmen rugs and other textiles.
Mackie, L.M. THE SPLENDOR OF TURKISH WEAVING. 1974, 86 p., 48 pl., 4 in color, 25 x 18 cm.
Exhibition catalogue from the Textile Museum of Turkish silks & rugs from the 13th to 18th centuries
Landreau, A.N., & Pickering, W.R. FROM THE BOSPORUS TO SAMARKAND: FLAT-WOVEN RUGS. 1969, 112 p., 113 pl., 9 in color, 28 x 20 cm. A good exhibition catalogue, with an introduction to flat-weaves in general. From the Textile Museum.
Seen by some to be the first U.S. publication that treated flat-woven material seriously.
Landreau, A.N. & Yohe, R.S. FLOWERS OF THE YAYLA: YORUK WEAVING OF THE TOROS MOUNTAINS. This Textile Museum catalog reports on an effort by Landreau and Yohe to do systematic field work on “Yoruk” weaving in Toros Mountains of Anatolia. One of the few attempts to do serious field work by a U.S. curator and a U.S. collector.
Ellis., C.G. EARLY CAUCASIAN RUGS. 1975, 112 p., 37 pl., 10 in color, 28 x 22 cm.
Exhibition catalogue from the Textile Museum, with an extensive introduction to early Caucasian rugs; 37 rugs, mostly from the Textile Museum.
Krody, S.B. FLOWERS OF SILK AND GOLD. FOUR CENTURIES OF OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. 2000, 160 p.,180 color illus., 29 x 24 cm. This accompanied a Textile Museum exhibition, and provides a detailed discussion of Ottoman embroidery, including techniques used in making them, as well as the social, political and economic factors influencing their production and consumption.
Al-Sabah Collection Spuhler, F. PRE-ISLAMIC CARPETS AND TEXTILES FROM EASTERN LANDS. DAR AL-ATHAR AL-ISLAMIYYAH. THE AL-SABAH COLLECTION, KUWAIT. 2014, 160 p., 112 color illus., 28.5 x 22.5 cm.
As might be expected, these textiles are fragments; they include Sassanian carpets and flatweaves and a variety of Sogdian textiles. They come from Central Asia or China and Eastern Iran and range in age from 4th to 12th centuries, as determined by radio-carbon dating.
The text describes the textiles in the context of history of art in Sassanian and Sogdian cultures. Hardcover.
Two minor collections with special interest:
Smith Collection McMullan, J.V. & Reichert, D.O. THE GEORGE WALTER VINCENT AND BELLE TOWNSLEY SMITH COLLECTION OF ISLAMIC RUGS. n.d.(1970), 169 p., 75 illus., 12 in color, 25 x 18 cm.
Most of these were purchased in l893 and l897-l898; the rest were purchased by 1905, so nearly all are l9th century; most are village or nomadic rugs from Turkey, the Caucasus & Turkmenistan, with a few Persian. This is then an invaluable documented record of 19th century village and nomadic rugs. Paper.
Allen Memorial Art Museum Roberts, E.H. ISLAMIC CARPETS. In Bulletin, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, 36:4-113, 1978. 71 illus., 5 in color.
About 50 of these rugs were donated to the museum from the estate of Charles Hall, one of the two inventors of the Hall-Heroult process, used to make aluminum from aluminum ore.
Hall died, quite wealthy as might be expected, in 1915, so these rugs are 19th century.
4 more came from another donor in 1904 and the other examples in this exhibtion are also 19th century, including a 19th century Caucasian dragon sile flatweave used as wrapping to ship an archeological altar from Pergamon to the Berlin Museum.
The rugs are mostly tribal and village. The collection is unusual in that at this time, many collections were of classic and city rugs, so this is an interesting snapshot of what village and tribal rugs were available around 1900.
There are 20 Persian, 22 Turkish, 10 Caucasian, 13 Turkmen, and 6 Indian and Chinese. Illustrations are sometimes fuzzy. New. Paper.
To get depth on a weaving area:
The next reason for reading books is to explore, in depth, specific weaving areas: Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Turkestan, East Turkestan, Tibet, China, Belouch
Turkey: Brüggemann, W. & Böhmer, H. RUGS OF THE PEASANTS AND NOMADS OF ANATOLIA. 1983, 356 p., 114 color illus., bl & wh photographs, 29.5 x 25 cm. The winner of the 1983 Quatrefoil Award; this book is the result of an exhibition of 19th century nomad & peasant rugs from 4 German museum and 30 private collections.
Both the rugs and the quality of the color plates make this book valuable; there are comments for each rug, a technical analysis which includes a dye analysis.
Brüggemann’s introductory essay – 80 pages – covers ethnic groups in Anatolia, problems in attribution, colors, design construction, motifs and symbolism; the flavor of his writing can be gotten from this sentence “At all times, the woman at the loom had only this in mind: sorrow and hope, rejection and devotion.” He also has two short essays, one on the development of a motif in Turkish rugs and one on stepped mihrab rugs.
Böhmer’s section – 30 pages – is on dyes – including nice drawings of various dye plants – and how they can be used to determine ages and origins of specific carpets. Hard. There is also a German edition.
Butterweck, G. & Orasch, L. HANDBOOK OF ANATOLIAN CARPETS. CENTRAL ANATOLIA. 1986, 229 illus.,22l in color, 356 p., 30 x 21 cm.
The value of this book lies in the huge number of pictures of Anatolian rugs, kilims, and tulus, with attributions to specific towns in central Anatolia. The areas covered are Konya and towns nearby, Kirşhehir, Mucur, Avanos, Ürgüp, Kayseri, the area between Nigde and Taşpinar, Samsun area, Mihaliççik area, and Ankara.
The rugs are from private collections and dealers. A few rugs have dates in the 19th century and some look worn enough to be old; many look to be 20th century. Since some of the towns do not produce good rugs, not all the rugs are attractive.
The text is organized around rug-weaving areas with some information on the characteristics of that area and a lot of digressions; it did not need, for example, a paragraph on Nasreddin Hodja and a page on the Dutch tulip craze. It is also not obvious that the designs in the border of a Ladik prayer rugs represent unripe and ripened poppy capsules with the unripe ones shown sliced open for eventually making opium and thus representing profit, and the ripe ones, because of the oil from their seeds, representing food for the farmer.
Hard. No dust jacket, as so issued. In German/English.
There seem to be a lot of books on Turkish kilims:
Brüggemann, W. YAYLA. FORM UND FARBE IN TURKISCHER TEXTILKUNST. 1993, 424 p., 149 color illus., 30 x 24 cm. A very much expanded exhibition catalogue, with sections on the history of flatweaves in Turkey, culture & religion, dyes, structure, designs, as well as descriptions of the textiles in the illustrations; most are flatweaves. In German. Hard.
Davies, P. ANTIQUE KILIMS OF ANATOLIA. 2000, 160 p., 160 illus., 80 in color, 27.5 x 24 cm. This is a revised and expanded version of his earlier book on kilims.
There is substantial, informative, and balanced text which starts with wool: the best areas on a sheep and how the difference between carding and combing creates wool for threads and wool for felt, continues through the virtue of hand-weaving for creating threads for different purposes in a rug, through dyes and looms and how the split-weave tapestry technique can limit the range of motifs in a rug.
There is a good chapter on the meaning of symbols, or rather how hard it is to assign meanings to symbols; a chapter which gives the evidence for each of the three theories on the origin of kilim production in Anatolia; a chapter with an argument that the designs of three-colored Yüncü kilims originate in Central Asian felts; and a chapter which explores the esthetic sense of Turkish weavers in how they determine which kilims are beautiful.
Illustrations of 73 kilims from a variety of areas; nearly all are 19th century. Hardcover.
Butterweck, G. WOVEN PARADISE. A JOURNEY THROUGH THE ANATOLIAN TEXTILE CRAFT OF THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES / GEWEBTES PARADIES. EIN STREIFZUG DURCH DIE ANATOLISCHE TEXTILKUNST DES 18. UND 19. JAHRHUNDERTS. 2016, 179 p., 268 illus., 241 in color, 19.5 x 21 cm.
This is the catalogue to Dr. Martin Posth’s collection of 19th and a few 18th century rugs and kilims exhibited at the Bumiller Collection – University Museum Islamic Art in Berlin. The 58 textiles are of excellent quality and from a variety of places in Anatolia; each is illustrated.
The extra illustrations are small and are of similar pieces gleaned from a huge number of sources: other books on Oriental carpets, books on museum collections, rug dealer’s catalogues, auction catalogues – there is a 14 page bibliography.
The introductory essays focuses on how the motifs in the rug and the composition of the design can display symbols that show the traces of Kurdish, Armenian, Greek, Caucasian, Byzantine and Buddhist influences on this Turkish art. Some of the rugs have been previously printed in Posth’s earlier book. Paperback. New.
Koll, H. and Steinbock, S. DIE POESIE DES EINFACHEN. EINE SAMMLUNG ANATOLISCHER KELIMS. (The Poetry of Simple Things. A Collection of Anatolian Kilims). Aachen 2015. 292 pages, 131 color illus., 30 x 30 cm.
This massive book come from these dealers’ activities as sellers of high quality kilims. The large size and photographs of details permits close examination of details of the weave and color.
The wide range of kilim types includes early examples and a number of completely unexpected material which contributes to the formerly discussed and previously published spectrum of the Anatolian kilims created in the 18th and early 19th century.
It is remarkable, among different systems of ornament, the large number of kilims reflecting patterns based on fascinating rhythms of stripes, as well as of flatwoven items containing camel hair. In German and English. One of 70 or 100 copies.
Books on kilims and rugs, not solely on Turkey:
Hull, A. & Luczyk-Wyhowska, J. KILIM. 1993, 352 p., 649 illus., 370 in color, 33 x 25 cm. Hull travelled a lot in Asia; Luczyk-Wyhowska had a kilim store. Many illustrations, although some are drawings of designs or enlargments of parts of rugs; there is an attempt to give distinguishing features of kilims from different areas; the emphasis is on Turkey, the Caucasus & Iran, but there are sections on North Africa and Central Asia as well as some advice on collecting (with a list of about 100 dealers in Europe, the US, New Zealand & Australia) and on new kilim production. This is now probably the best introductory book on kilims in these areas. Hard.
Caucasus: Bennett, I. ORIENTAL RUGS, VOL I: CAUCASIAN. 1981, 376 p., 491 illus, 336 in color, 25.5 x 21 cm. This is designed for the serious collector of Caucasian rugs woven after 1800; the 491 examples, from the Nagel auctions, are analyzed in terms of how old they are, where they were produced, and what other authors might call them. Hard.
Wright, R.E. & Wertime, J.T. CAUCASIAN CARPETS AND COVERS. 1995, 184 p., 132 illus., 34.5 x 25 cm. A comprehensive survey of Caucasian weaving, using travelers reports and 19th century Russian literary sources to localize specific rug designs to specific areas, and also using census data to identify the ethnic groups making rugs and flatweaves. There is some focus on flatweaves & utilitarian objects, since the authors argue than these were more traditional than the piled rugs, many of which were made for the Western European or Russian export market, although the Czarist government did encourage use of traditional designs. Hard.
Kaffel, R. CAUCASIAN PRAYER RUGS. 1998, 192 p., 170 illus., 160 in color, 34.5 x 24.5 cm.
The author has a database of over 2000 Caucasian prayer rugs, and has used 97 of them as a base for this survey of rugs.
There is an introduction on what is know about rug weaving and the rug trade in the Caucasus, and on the various types of prayer rugs. Hardcover.
Tschebull, R. KAZAK: CARPETS OF THE CAUCASUS. 1971, 104 p., 40 illus., 23 in color, 28 x 20 cm.
Pictures & descriptions of superb Kazak rugs, from some 20 private and museum collections. There is a short introduction by McMullan, describing the Kazak weaving area, pointing out that there is very little evidence for assigning Kazak rugs to specific towns, and describing what technical features define Kazak rugs. Paper.
Nooter, R.H., Koshoridze, I., and Tatikyan, V.; edited by J.T. Wertime. FLAT WOVEN RUGS AND TEXTILES FROM THE CAUCASUS. 2004, 255 p., 436 color illus., 31 x 23.5 cm.
The first author is with AID and the World Bank; Nooter’s part of the text is based on interviews with weavers on his field trips in the Caucasus plus data from Russian and Azerbaijani museums, plus what he has gotten from rug dealers in the Caucasus; the other authors are from the Caucasus and specialize in textiles from this area.
Most of the examples are flatweaves; chapters on kilims and palases, sumakhs, zilis and shaddahs, jajims, mafrash, khorjins, and Georgian textiles. The text focuses on geographic attributions, and the authors provide justification for them, based partly on what was observed in villages and partly on attribution by dealers. The examples are early 20th century and late 19th century, a time when flatweaves were being woven for personal use and not for commercial sales.
Gives places where the pieces were bought and the prices paid for them.
An excellent book on Caucasian flatweaves. Hardcover.
Edwards, E.C. THE PERSIAN CARPET. 1953(1967 reprint), 424 illus., 4 in color, 28.5 x 21.5 cm.
This is a re-issue of the 1953 edition & is the standard work on older Persian carpets. Iranian rug production, especially city and village, from circa 1880 to 1950, although with hardly any color plates.
Edwards was a rug buyer in Iran for many years, and this book reflects his first-hand experience. Each area is covered in detail, almost village by village, and provides a comprehensive view of rug production in Iran up to 1950. In Hamadan between 1911 and 1923 where he set up factories; returned around 1950 to gather information for the book; with OCM and was eventually a managing director. Hardcover. A new reprinting appeared in 2016.
Tanavoli, P. PERSIAN FLATWEAVES. 2002, 350 p., 244 color illus., 28 x 22 cm. An extensive survey of Persian flatweaves of all areas in Iran and all construction.
The information is based on Tanavoli’s personal knowledge and on wide reading in the European and Iranian literature.
The first part of the book is a history of flatweave production, showing example from Safavid times and pointing out the extensive trade in flatweaves.
The second part provides examples, largely 19th century, of flatweaves. Areas covered include Azerbaijan, Khamseh area, Kurdistan, the Alborz foothills, Mazanderan along the Caspian, the Northeast, Bakhtiyari, Loristan, Khuzistan, Fars, Kerman and Sistan.
Multiple examples are presented for some 60 different areas and towns of all types of flatweaves: weft-faced ones and with with various kinds of supplementary wefts.
This will be the definitive book on Persian flatweaves. Hardcover.
Willborg, P. CHAHÂR MAHAL VA BAKHTIÂRI. VILLAGE, WORKSHOP AND NOMADIC RUGS OF WESTERN PERSIA. 2002, 404 p., 407 color illus., 30 x 25 cm.
A dealer’s monograph on Bakhtiari and related rugs, based partly on field trips to Iran; so the author is able to talk about specific features of rugs of some 40 villages. Well illustrated; a major publication in this area. Hardcover.
Willborg, P. HAMADAN. 1993, 51 p., 86 color illus., 24 x 21 cm. Dealer’s exhibition catalogue of 43 rugs from the Hamadan area; most of the items are from the 1st third of the 20th century and are localized to villages. Technical analyses; each rugs is illustrated front and a detail of the back to show weaving technique (a la Neff & Maggs). Paper.
Runge, T. ONE WOMAN, ONE WEFT. RUGS FROM THE VILLAGES OF HAMADAN. 2002, 152 p., 165 illus., 155 in color, 30.5 x 24.5 cm. 2/3 of the book consists of illustrations of 75 Hamadan rugs, front and a small detail of the back; the rugs are attributed to specific areas.
The introductory text describes the sociology of rug production in this area, based partly on letters from Hamadan by Clara Case Edwards (A.Cecil Edwards’ wife), and then goes over rug types from the various villages in the Hamadan area; the text is interesting.
The author argues, successfully, that among the huge production in this area are many good rugs, and also that they are undervalued. Technical descriptions. Hardcover.
Stanzer, W. KORDI. LEBEN KNUPFEN WEBEN DER KURDEN KHORASANS / LIVES RUGS FLATWEAVES OF THE KURDS OF KHORASAN. 1988, first edition; 1997, 2nd edition, 248 p., 98 color illus., 29 x 23 cm.
Stanzer has travelled in this area; the textiles are from the Adil Besim Gallery and both Besim and his partner also travelled in this area.
The book is on this group: how they got there, recent history, nomadic life style, rug production, tribal subgroups.
The section on the recent history discusses how the impacts of Turkmen raids, forced settlement by the government, droughts and hard winters have affected nomadism and types of rug production. The replacement of camels by trucks, for example, has wiped out the production of camel trappings.
Very detailed; good color, 19th to mid 20th century rugs. The revisions for the second edition consist of a report of a field trip in 1992, confirming, or not confirming some of the attributions. In German and English. Hard.
Tanavoli, P. AFSHAR. TRIBAL WEAVES FROM SOUTHEAST IRAN. 2010, 255 p.,133 color illus., 30 x 22.5 cm.
This is a book reflecting first-hand knowledge by an Iranian. The introductory sections include a history of Afshars, using Persian, Arab, and European sources; where Afshars are found in Iran; and problems of identifying Afshar rugs.
Then 106 examples of rugs, bags, salt bags and saddle covers from Afshars and some of the other tribal groups south and east of Kerman. Most of the textiles are from the 19th century, before there were changes in these tribal weavings coming from being influenced by changes in commercial production in Kerman in response to what Europeans and Americans wanted.
Textiles are localized to specific Afshar areas: Sirjan, Baft & Aqta’, Shahr Baba, Jiroft, Kuhi, and Esfandajeh. There are technical descriptions for about half of the textiles. In English and Farsi. Hardcover.
Kerman and Tribal Southern Persian Rugs
Sabahi, Taher. FIVE CENTURIES OF CARPETS WEAVING IN KERMAN. 2012, labelled as a special edition for the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California and Rug Ideas, 168 p., 193 color illus., 30.5 x 24.5 cm.
Brief sections on the history and geography of the Kerman area; then chapters on 16th & 17th century rugs; 18th and 19th century rugs and shawls, 20th century rugs, pictorial rugs, and saddle rugs.
The colors look good; the rugs are from a variety of museum and private collections. This is a translation of an Italian edition. Hardcover.
Opie, J. TRIBAL RUGS OF SOUTHERN PERSIA. 1981, 223 p., 100 color pl., 30.5 x 22.5 cm.
Most of the book is plates with facing text; the plates are divided into Qashqa’i, Khamseh, Lur, Bakhtiyari, Afshar, & uncertain rugs. The text describes the rugs, pointing out the details which define them as Qashqa’i, etc., & often locating the rug in a subtribe.
The explicitness of this makes the book unusual & valuable. Bibliography; technical analyses. Hard.
Eagleton, W. AN INTRODUCTION TO KURDISH RUGS AND OTHER WEAVINGS. 1988, 144 P., 124 color illus., 30.5 x 22.5 cm.
The author’s first hand experience is mostly with Iraqi Kurds; sections on Kurdish history, tribal groups, and weavings from Iraq, Iran, & Turkey; an excellent, detailed book on this group. Hard.
Tribal textiles, not just Persian
Opie, J. TRIBAL RUGS. 1992, 328 p., 356 illus., 291 in color, 12 maps, 31 x 24 cm.
A big section on tribal life, tribal art, and the history of motifs; then sections on tribes & their weavings: Lur, Bakhtiyari, Kurd, Qashqa’i, Khamseh, Afshar, Baluch, Shahsavan, Turkish, Caucasian, Turkmen.
The text reflects personal experience in the Middle East and extensive reading. Hard.
Shahsavan, although mostly on flatweaves
Tanavoli, P. SHAHSAVAN. 1985, 435 p., 495 illus., 96 in color, 26.5 x 25.5 cm.
The Shahsavan seem to have woven only flat-weaves until the Iranian carpet boom of the 20th century and this book is on flat-woven products, all collected in the Shahsavan area.
The text emphasizes designs & details of construction, so there is diagram after diagram of twining & wrapping types; also sections on history of the Shahsavan & types of textiles.
The textiles are mostly late 19th century/ early 20th century and have technical descriptions. All types are described: gelim, soffreh, jajim, verneh and a variety of bags: storage bags (mafrash), saddle bags (khorjim and chanteh), salt bags, small bags for odds and ends, and also a few tent bags.
A monumental book on this area, much beloved, we understand, by unscrupulous dealers faking older examples. Hard.
Floral design rugs
Sameyeh, Sh. ERLESENE ORIENTALISCHE TEPPICHE / EXCEPTIONAL ORIENTAL CARPETS. 1982, 408 p., 296 color pl., 31 x 22 cm.
This Hamburg dealer’s massive and glossy catalogue; rugs are from 1850 to 1950 with most of the being second quarter of the 20th century. 250 are Persian, many of them very ornate, floral-design rugs; the other 50 are Turkmen, Caucasian & Chinese.
Critical comments and descriptions of the rugs; plates are sometimes too small to do justice to the complexity of the designs. The rugs were picked from Sameyeh’s stock by Samuel Wennek of the London branch of Rippon Boswell, and the comments on the rugs were written by Iain Scott Stewart of Rippon Boswell and Siawosch Azadi, of Galerie Azadi in Hamburg.
The most extensive comments, by Azadi, are on a 6 x 4 meter silk Kashan made in Taffazolli’s workshop with a poem in cartouches along the border; the poem is given in Farsi and translated in both English and German.
Sameyeh was one of the largest importers in Hamburg in the 1970’s and 1980’s; as the market declined, he moved to Singapore, where he published his second catalogue. German/English. New.
Turkman Bogolyubov, A.A. CARPETS OF CENTRAL ASIA. 1973, Crosby Press, 124 p., 59 illus., 36 in color, 34 x 24 cm.
One of the classics on Turkoman rugs, with examples collected before 1908, when the original edition was published.
Additional comments by Thompson in this edition. Hard.
Moshkova, V.G. CARPETS OF THE PEOPLE OF CENTRAL ASIA. 1996, translated & edited by G. O’Bannon & O. Amanova-Olsen, 400 p., 140 color illus., 23 x 30.5 cm. A new English translation of the major book on Central Asian rugs, with updates & critical comments on the original text; the illustrations are new, and include rugs from Uzbek & Turkestan museums not previously published in color. Hard. One of 950 numbered copies.
Tsareva, E. TURKMEN CARPETS. MASTERPIECES OF STEPPE ART, FROM THE 16TH TO 19TH CENTURIES. THE HOFFMEISTER COLLECTION. 2011, 192 p., 185 color illus., 31 x 24.5 cm. 168 main carpets, bag faces, ensi, tent bands and other trappings; the book is mostly photographs. Two- thirds have not been illustrated elsewhere.
One of the strengths of the book is numerous examples of the same tribe, showing the same general design but then showing some of the variations that are possible.
There are technical analyses, and essays on the history of the Turkmen, and then specific rug types: Chodor, Salor, Saryk, Tekke, eagle group, Yomut, Arabachi, middle Amu Darya, and on tent bands and flatweaves and embroidery. Some, according to radiocarbon dates, are 16th century. In English and German. Hardcover.
Tsareva, E. TURKMEN CARPETS. THE NEVILLE KINGSTON COLLECTION. 2016, 240 p., 320 color illus., 32.5 x 24.5 cm. The collection was assembled by frequently county auction in Britain as well as trips to Turkey and Central Asia.
The 119 rugs are Salor, Saryk, Tekke, Yomud, Chodro, Isdyr, Shih, Arabachi, and Middle Amu Darya and include main carpets, prayer rugs, bag faces, tent bands, kapunuk, and asmalyk. Nearly all are 19th century; some may be 18th.
Technical descriptions. The text is extensive. Tsareva uses the rugs to discuss the history of Turkmen tribal groups, with detailed comments on patterns and on details of weaving. Hardcover.
O’Bannon, G. and Omanova, A.., ed. THE KYRGYZ CARPET. 2000, George O’Bannon.
Note: There are two volumes; volume I: 119 p., 97 illus., 89 in color.; vol. II: 83 p., 49 color illus., 30.5 x 23 cm.
This is O’Bannon’ s last work. It consists of a translation of the three most important works on the Kirghiz: two by Antipina (Characteristics of the Material Culture and Applied Art of the Southern Kyrgyz; The Decorative Arts of the Kyrgyz) and one by Beresneva (The Kyrgyz Carpet Collection in the State Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow), plus O’Bannon’s annotations and three short essays on Kyrgyz weavings.
Antipina’s articles provide the basic information about Kyrgyz weaving, on which everyone else relies; Beresneva’s article describes one of the largest collections of Kyrgyz textiles in the former USSR.
Both were originally in Russian and hard to find, so this major work summarizes the most important information about Kyrgyz textiles. The illustrations are new, in good color, of rugs from Russian and private collections.
This is an essential book for collectors interested in Kyrgyz textiles. Paper.
The next book was also cited above with Howe’s comment. Below is Kreiss’ description.
Mackie, L.M. & Thompson, J. TURKMEN TRIBAL CARPETS AND TRADITIONS. 1980, 239 p., 95 color pl., 31 x 23 cm.
A glossy exhibition catalogue with scholarly essays on history, ethnography, the Turkmen tent, classification of the Ersari, dyes. Technical analyses of the illustrated items.
Well up to the standard of other books from the Textile Museum.
Rageth, J., Sienknecht, H. C., Wouters, J. and Vanden Berghe, I. TURKMEN CARPETS. A NEW PERSPECTIVE. 2 volumes, 888 pages, 128 color plates, 1500 black and white illustrations, 30 x 23 cm. .
An interdisciplinary study of Turkmen carpets, including radiocarbon dating, dye and mordant tests, and technical analyses as well as historical and art historical sources.
Detailed discussions of the origins and development of Turkmen carpet designs from the 2nd millenium B.C. to the 17th Century A. D.
There are 5 maps, 16 tables with the results of 130 radiocarbon datings, 230 dye tests, and 60 mordant tests.
English translation by DeWitt Mallary. There is a German edition also. Print run: 200 copies in German, 300 copies in English.
Besim, Adil. MYTHOS UND MYSTIK. USBEKISCHE UND KIRGISISCHE TEXTILKUNST. DIE SAMMLUNG BREUSS. 2011, 143 p., 183 illus. 30.5 x 21. 5 cm.
64 Uzbek, Kirghiz and a couple of Tadjik rugs, bag faces, bags, flatweaves, costumes and embroideries. Colors are good. In German. Hardcover.
Bidder, H. CARPETS FROM EASTERN TURKESTAN. 1979 reprint of 1964 ed., 73 p., 30 color illus., 25 x 19 cm.
This is the standard source on this specialized area: Khotan, Kansu & Samarkand rugs. Hard.
Sabahi, T. SAMARKANDA. 1995, 136 p., 42 color illus., 72 illus., 64 in color., 30.5 x 24.5 cm.
Exhibition catalogue of East Turkestan rugs, mostly early 20th century, drawn from a number of Italian dealers; essays on the geography & history of the area, and on Sinkiang textile production and history. In English/ Italian. Hard.
Boucher, J.W. BALUCHI WOVEN TREASURES. 1996, 2nd ed., 152 p., 63 color illus., 28.5 x 22.5 cm. 10 pages of text, including prefaces, with tantalizing information; most of the book, however, consists of plates, in good color, of good Baluch & related rugs & bags. Technical analyses; bibliography.
The difference between this and the first edition is that the introduction by Bennett in the first edition has been replaced by one by Opie. Hard.
Baluch for pictures
Homer, J.P.J. EXCLUSIVELY BELOUCH. 1986, 46 p., 40 color pl., 21 x 15 cm.
Dealer’s catalogue of 19th century Belouch rugs, mostly collected from the British countryside; the rugs are an interesting selection of Belouch designs; colors are good; brief descriptions of each rug. Prices. Paper.
Diehr, F.M. ed. TREASURED BALUCH PIECES. 1997, c. 120 p., 64 color pl., 32 x 23 cm.
75 or so Baluch rugs from private collections; this demonstrates the range of Baluch rugs which can be fairly easily be found; includes a reprint of Spooner: “Who are the Baluch?” and an interview with Dr. D.H.G. Wegner. Hard.
Rostov, C.I., & Jia, G. CHINESE CARPETS. 1983, 224 p., 160 illus., 120 in color, 30 x 23 cm.
A good book on Chinese rugs, with much information on current production; chapters on history, symbols, weaving methods, materials, identification & dating; the presence of both an American & a Chinese author helps give a broad perspective. Hard.
Lorentz, H.A. A VIEW OF CHINESE RUGS FROM THE 17th TO THE 20th CENTURIES. 1972, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 194 p., 155 illus., 95 in color, 28.5 x 22 cm.
The author lived in China between 1929 and 1949 and the book reflects first hand knowledge and is one of the best books on Chinese rugs.
The text covers patterns and symbolism; history of rug production and its development in the 17th – 20th centuries; uses and sizes of rugs, including pillar rugs and saddle rugs; centers of production. There are also sections on East Turkestan rugs and Tibetan rugs.
Hyman, V.D. & Hu, W.C.C. CARPETS OF CHINA AND ITS BORDER REGIONS. 1982, 290 p., 50 tipped-in color pl., 45 in color, 22.5 x 28.5 cm.
Sections on the history of China and evidence for early Chinese rugs, dyes, symbolism, rug shapes and use; little coverage of modern Chinese rugs. This will supplement the book by Rostov & Jia.
Larsson, L. RUGS FROM CHINA, XINJIANG AND TIBET. 1988, 141 p., 176 illus., most in color, 26.5 x 23.5 cm. A general guide to Chinese and related carpets, with examples of 19th & 20th century rugs from a variety of Scandinavian & other museum & private collections. Bibliography. The rugs look good. Hard
Kuløy, H.K. TIBETAN RUGS. 1982, 236 p., 258 color illus., 21 x 19 cm. The illustrations tend to be small, but they depict large numbers of old (that is, pre-l959) Tibetan rugs, and the text is informative. Paperback. Also 1988 hardcover edition.
Denwood, P. THE TIBETAN CARPET. 1974., 101 p., 108 illus., 25 in color, 30 x 21 cm.
This, with Myers and Kuloy, were the major early sources on Tibetan carpets; about half the book is on their construction and use; about half on carpet types & designs, both before and after 1959. Hard.
Myers, D.K. TEMPLE, HOUSEHOLD, HORSEBACK: RUGS OF THE TIBETAN PLATEAU. 1984, 111 p., 70 illus., 6 in color, 28 x 21.5 cm.
A scholarly catalogue from the Textile Museum; chapters on archeologic & historic origins of Tibetan rugs, weaving techniques, symbols, designs & uses. Paper.
Cole, T. PATTERNS OF LIFE. THE ART OF TIBETAN CARPETS. 2010, 104 p., 6 0 color illus., 28.5 x 26 cm.
The book focuses on Tibetan rugs belonging to Bob and Lois Baylis. The rugs show the wide range of Tibetan designs: more or less realistic representations of real – tigers, etc. – and mythical – dragons – animals as well as abstract floral designs and strict geometric checkerboards. Examples include sitting and sleeping carpets, mats used in monasteries, and horse trappings. The rugs also illustrate the huge variety of border designs.
Cole’s comments are knowledgeable and detailed. Hardcover.
Darchen, Karma Trinley & The Greensmith Collection. SECRETS OF TIBETAN WEAVING. THE GREENSMITH COLLECTION. 2012, 3rd edition, 2013, 128 p., 164 illus., 159 in color, 29.5 x 21 cm..
Chapters on the origin of Tibetan rugs, looms and technique, the making of Tibetan rugs, chequer rugs, cushions, Gampa Dzong rugs, Gyantse carpets, horse trappings, Wangdon monastic carpets and a suggested reading list.
The text reflects a fair amount of first hand observation and extensive reading. Textiles are 19th and 20th century. Paperback.
This was the last book in Paul’s presentation. He took questions and ended his session.
The migration to the front of the room to examine some of these books began.
I want to thank Paul for coming to share some rug and textile books and his considerable knowledge of them.
Thanks, too, to Paul’s wife for her Powerpoint contribution.
Last, my gratitude for Paul’s help in editing this virtual version.
I hope you have enjoyed this short walk through the world of rug and other textiles books and literature.
R. John Howe