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Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for Enlightenment

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  • sbeierl
    I m a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way. I m looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure to live with. While
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 8, 2002
      I'm a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way.
      I'm looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure
      to live with. While age, provenance, investment value, and so on are
      of secondary importance, I would of course like to know that I'm
      getting good value. I'm magnetically drawn to tribal design, Yalameh
      and Caucasian especially.

      I have been looking at Afghani rugs made in Pakistan which absolutely
      knock me out. They have beautiful reds and creams, and absolutely
      heavenly blues; and they have a luminous quality that is hard to
      describe. The seller tells me that the yarns are hand spun and
      vegetable dyed -- I wouldn't favor a rug based on that, but it is
      interesting if true. The designs look to be Caucasian/Kazak, although
      I am just beginning to sort out this stuff. There's not a lot of
      small detail, but the designs are well-balanced and very pleasing.
      The workmanship seems decent to my rather untutored eye.

      The Jacobson website describes something like these rugs, and Ron
      O'Callahan has offered some Caucasian rugs which seem from his
      excellent photos to have that characteristic sheen; but I've seen
      little other reference to such rugs.

      I would like to know anything and everything that y'all can tell me
      about these rugs, especially any caveats.

      Thanks very much!
      -- Sylvan B.
    • Joseph Burke
      Hello Sylan.... Just a quick response... I hope others with more knowledge on the matter will comment as well. Pakistani rugs would appear to have little or
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 8, 2002
        Hello Sylan....

        Just a quick response... I hope others with more knowledge on the matter
        will comment as well. Pakistani rugs would appear to have little or no
        investment value. There is no resale market at all for them. They are a
        dime a dozen, strictly programmed stuff made to look antique or whatever
        with tea washing, fake abrash etc. The are "repro rugs" and while they may
        be quite serviceable to use as floor covering and give pleasure to certain
        people to look at, that is the total extent of their value I would say. I
        suspect you will find little sympathy for those rugs in this group.

        Genuine Caucasian/Kazak rugs are quite a different story and seem to be
        quite popular with small segments of the population these days and command
        a better price per square foot than many other types of rugs, both
        contemporary and vintage/antique. Ron O'Callahan is quite a reputable
        fellow I think and I have also bought rugs from him.

        In general it is difficult to "invest" in rugs unless one has a great deal
        of knowledge... misrepresentation is rampant in the rug industry and
        impartial qualified experts who can really determine the age and quality of
        a rug are few and expensive when you find them. If you can befriend
        someone who really knows rugs and will give you an honest opinion on an
        oriental rug without charging you as a bonafide appraisal, you should
        cultivate the relationship.

        Tribal/geometric rugs are currently in vogue with a certain percentage of
        people and dealers. This trend was certainly not always so prevalent and
        will almost certainly change again. Finely woven rugs in classic Persian
        designs will ALWAYS be desirable for those interested in classic beauty and
        to complement elegant home decor, and after all it is the people with the
        money to purchase and furnish elegant homes that have always comprised the
        high end of the rug buying public.

        Personally I find the fascination with primitive tribal rugs somewhat
        curious today... for it appears to be really ONLY present among a certain
        segment of oriental carpet fanciers. Having recently redecorated a couple
        homes, I can attest that the vast majority of available patterns in
        wallpapers, bedspreads, and window curtains one comes across out there are
        floral in design... evidence of the buying public's preference for floral
        designs. How many wallpapers, bedspreads, or window curtains can you find
        in primitive tribal designs?

        The popularity of Hawaiian shirts for men the last few years is evidence of
        the same taste for floral fabrics. I have half a dozen myself :-) I just
        returned from Hawaii where that is almost all anyone wears. And a trip to
        the local arts and crafts store recently revealed than roughly 1/4 the
        floor space is now devoted to silk flowers and floral arrangements,
        indicating a huge growth in interest in this area. Flower arranging itself
        is a revered traditional art among the Japanese.

        Yet a few short sighted dealers will tell you "floral design rugs are
        'dead' - people want tribal and geometric design rugs." That makes me
        laugh. I subscribe to AREA Magazine just to see the directions the
        industry is going. This is the trade mag of the Oriental Rug Importers
        Association (ORIA) - see http://www.oria.org - I would say that roughly
        90% of what I see in there today are floral design carpets for the
        "decorative rug" market.

        It would seem to me that floral design textiles and decor are anything but
        dead and in fact have tremendous appeal to the vast majority of public...
        at least here in America.

        In summary, most rug fanciers will tell you to buy what appeals to you and
        elicits a deep seated visceral response. But be careful about claims of
        "investment" and such... that is very difficult to gauge and greatly
        overstated by many dealers.

        Best regards
        Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
        ( Certifiable Rugnut )
        www.rugmates.com


        On 4/8/2002 at 4:13 PM sbeierl rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:


        >I'm a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way.
        >I'm looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure
        >to live with. While age, provenance, investment value, and so on are
        >of secondary importance, I would of course like to know that I'm
        >getting good value. I'm magnetically drawn to tribal design, Yalameh
        >and Caucasian especially.
        >
        >I have been looking at Afghani rugs made in Pakistan which absolutely
        >knock me out. They have beautiful reds and creams, and absolutely
        >heavenly blues; and they have a luminous quality that is hard to
        >describe. The seller tells me that the yarns are hand spun and
        >vegetable dyed -- I wouldn't favor a rug based on that, but it is
        >interesting if true. The designs look to be Caucasian/Kazak, although
        >I am just beginning to sort out this stuff. There's not a lot of
        >small detail, but the designs are well-balanced and very pleasing.
        >The workmanship seems decent to my rather untutored eye.
        >
        >The Jacobson website describes something like these rugs, and Ron
        >O'Callahan has offered some Caucasian rugs which seem from his
        >excellent photos to have that characteristic sheen; but I've seen
        >little other reference to such rugs.
        >
        >I would like to know anything and everything that y'all can tell me
        >about these rugs, especially any caveats.
        >
        >Thanks very much!
        >-- Sylvan B.
        >
        >
        >
        >* Subscribe to, unsubscribe from, post photos to, learn about, browse Rug
        >Fanatics messages and archives, even chat, at the Rug Fanatics web site:
        >
        >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics
        ><http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics>
        >
        >* To Unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
        >mailto:rug-fanatics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >rug-fanatics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >* To start a new thread, post your message to:
        >mailto:rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
        >rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >- and don't forget to give your post a subject!
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      • Iain Stewart
        Hi Sylvan - I wouldn t like you to be left with the rather detrimental aspersions cast upon the best Afghan Refugee rugs coming out of Pakistan that may
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 10, 2002
          Hi Sylvan -

          I wouldn't like you to be left with the rather detrimental aspersions
          cast upon the best 'Afghan Refugee' rugs coming out of Pakistan that may
          linger on unchallenged from Mr Joe Burke's characteristically partisan
          message: I would think that the majority of people with any professional
          interest in the Oriental rug market would agree with me that these rugs
          represent one of the most welcome developments from the producing
          countries of recent years, and offer a level of quality and decorative
          appeal to the 'average buyer' (i.e. at least 95% of the consumer market)
          that had before their arrival been increasingly hard to find.

          From what little I know, these Afghan/Pakistani rugs were originally the
          work of weavers of the Ersari and other Afghan weaving tribes who had
          been displaced to the refugee camps around Peshawar by the unrelenting
          destruction of Afghanistan through the conflicts fought out there over
          the past thirty years. They originally fell into two or three broad
          quality/style categories such as the 'Filpas' (in traditional Ersari
          'elephant's foot' gul patterns) and the 'kargai' (in Caucasian designs
          of the 19th Century type popularised by Ulrich Schurmann in his book
          'Caucasian Rugs', *some* of which - the 'kargai' type I mean - also used
          vegetable dyes). With their appealing colours, good knotting quality,
          very attractive old designs and excellent pile texture, these rugs
          enjoyed an immediate success in a rug market that - at the time they
          appeared - was in severe decline, aesthetically as well as economically.

          Others in this group know much more than I do about what happened next,
          but I believe the efforts of the refugee weavers were quickly recognised
          by some enterprising entrepreneurs, especially Americans, who thereafter
          took over the organisation and marketing side of this much-needed new
          type and, in the course of time, extended the attributes of good
          workmanship, nice colours and attractive texture to other designs and
          sizes, especially involving the 'Ziegler' and 'Ushak' big-pattern/pale
          colour types that have long dominated the high end of the 'decorative
          carpet' market.

          The original Caucasian-design 'kargai' type have continued to be made,
          and have in many ways improved on the originals - they remain some of
          the best modern rugs available, and have been responsible for raising
          the bar in other producing districts, especially in Iran, where a
          similar return to old standards has been noticeable in tribal rugs from
          Fars (mostly financed from Switzerland), in Kurdish rugs from North
          Khurasan/Quchan/Gutschan, in certain types of Azerbaijan items, and has
          even permeated the most conservative workshop origins (where a
          commitment to mediocrity had almost come to represent the core
          tradition) such as Qum and Isfahan, some of whom are showing signs of a
          return to the mainstream of Persian courtly excellence seldom seen since
          the last major age of purity represented by the Court-patronised carpets
          of Reza Pahlavi's reign between 1925 and 1942.

          Perhaps the one area in which these Afghan-Peshawar rugs tend to fall
          down is that of price - compared to almost all other rugs of this
          calibre, which are purely decorative in intention, and cannot be said to
          be 'collectable' in any way through sheer volume of output if nothing
          else, they are pretty expensive. Despite this, I would say that they
          still remain one of the best buys around among new rugs, and for the
          extra they cost the buyer gets at least a comparable amount of added
          value in terms of appearance, quality and materials. Lastly, it is
          surely significant that they represent one of the very few types of
          modern rugs that possess any real merit in the eyes of experienced rug
          collectors and experts. The fact that specialist shops of the calibre of
          Adil Besim of Austria or the Anglo Persian Carpet Company of London
          (with whom I must declare a degree of personal involvement) have chosen
          to offer this one type of contemporary rug along with their old and
          antique stock I think speaks for itself.

          I hope this helps to redress the balance a little bit, Sylvan, and also
          helps reassure you there is nothing wrong with your taste in reacting
          with such pleasure to this very deserving group.

          PS Joe - as I think you know my idea of ultimate excellence lies in the
          'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, I just wish more of
          the modern Persian workshops thought so too (there are obviously one or
          two notable exceptions)

          --
          Best regards
          Iain Stewart


          -----Original Message-----
          From: Joseph Burke [mailto:jburke@...]
          Sent: 08 April 2002 19:21
          To: rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [rug-fanatics] Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for
          Enlightenment


          Hello Sylan....

          Just a quick response... I hope others with more knowledge on the matter
          will comment as well. Pakistani rugs would appear to have little or no
          investment value. There is no resale market at all for them. They are
          a
          dime a dozen, strictly programmed stuff made to look antique or whatever
          with tea washing, fake abrash etc. The are "repro rugs" and while they
          may be quite serviceable to use as floor covering and give pleasure to
          certain
          people to look at, that is the total extent of their value I would say.
          I
          suspect you will find little sympathy for those rugs in this group.

          Genuine Caucasian/Kazak rugs are quite a different story and seem to be
          quite popular with small segments of the population these days and
          command a better price per square foot than many other types of rugs,
          both contemporary and vintage/antique. Ron O'Callahan is quite a
          reputable fellow I think and I have also bought rugs from him.

          In general it is difficult to "invest" in rugs unless one has a great
          deal of knowledge... misrepresentation is rampant in the rug industry
          and impartial qualified experts who can really determine the age and
          quality of a rug are few and expensive when you find them. If you can
          befriend someone who really knows rugs and will give you an honest
          opinion on an oriental rug without charging you as a bonafide appraisal,
          you should cultivate the relationship.

          Tribal/geometric rugs are currently in vogue with a certain percentage
          of people and dealers. This trend was certainly not always so prevalent
          and
          will almost certainly change again. Finely woven rugs in classic
          Persian
          designs will ALWAYS be desirable for those interested in classic beauty
          and to complement elegant home decor, and after all it is the people
          with the money to purchase and furnish elegant homes that have always
          comprised the
          high end of the rug buying public.

          Personally I find the fascination with primitive tribal rugs somewhat
          curious today... for it appears to be really ONLY present among a
          certain segment of oriental carpet fanciers. Having recently
          redecorated a couple homes, I can attest that the vast majority of
          available patterns in wallpapers, bedspreads, and window curtains one
          comes across out there are floral in design... evidence of the buying
          public's preference for floral designs. How many wallpapers, bedspreads,
          or window curtains can you find in primitive tribal designs?

          The popularity of Hawaiian shirts for men the last few years is evidence
          of the same taste for floral fabrics. I have half a dozen myself :-) I
          just
          returned from Hawaii where that is almost all anyone wears. And a trip
          to
          the local arts and crafts store recently revealed than roughly 1/4 the
          floor space is now devoted to silk flowers and floral arrangements,
          indicating a huge growth in interest in this area. Flower arranging
          itself is a revered traditional art among the Japanese.

          Yet a few short sighted dealers will tell you "floral design rugs are
          'dead' - people want tribal and geometric design rugs." That makes me
          laugh. I subscribe to AREA Magazine just to see the directions the
          industry is going. This is the trade mag of the Oriental Rug Importers
          Association (ORIA) - see http://www.oria.org - I would say that roughly
          90% of what I see in there today are floral design carpets for the
          "decorative rug" market.

          It would seem to me that floral design textiles and decor are anything
          but dead and in fact have tremendous appeal to the vast majority of
          public... at least here in America.

          In summary, most rug fanciers will tell you to buy what appeals to you
          and
          elicits a deep seated visceral response. But be careful about claims
          of
          "investment" and such... that is very difficult to gauge and greatly
          overstated by many dealers.

          Best regards
          Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
          ( Certifiable Rugnut )
          www.rugmates.com


          On 4/8/2002 at 4:13 PM sbeierl rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:


          >I'm a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way.
          >I'm looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure to
          >live with. While age, provenance, investment value, and so on are of
          >secondary importance, I would of course like to know that I'm getting
          >good value. I'm magnetically drawn to tribal design, Yalameh and
          >Caucasian especially.
          >
          >I have been looking at Afghani rugs made in Pakistan which absolutely
          >knock me out. They have beautiful reds and creams, and absolutely
          >heavenly blues; and they have a luminous quality that is hard to
          >describe. The seller tells me that the yarns are hand spun and
          >vegetable dyed -- I wouldn't favor a rug based on that, but it is
          >interesting if true. The designs look to be Caucasian/Kazak, although
          >I am just beginning to sort out this stuff. There's not a lot of small

          >detail, but the designs are well-balanced and very pleasing. The
          >workmanship seems decent to my rather untutored eye.
          >
          >The Jacobson website describes something like these rugs, and Ron
          >O'Callahan has offered some Caucasian rugs which seem from his
          >excellent photos to have that characteristic sheen; but I've seen
          >little other reference to such rugs.
          >
          >I would like to know anything and everything that y'all can tell me
          >about these rugs, especially any caveats.
          >
          >Thanks very much!
          >-- Sylvan B.
          >
          >
          >
          >* Subscribe to, unsubscribe from, post photos to, learn about,
          browse Rug
          >Fanatics messages and archives, even chat, at the Rug Fanatics web
          >site:
          >
          >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics
          ><http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics>
          >
          >* To Unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
          >mailto:rug-fanatics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >rug-fanatics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >* To start a new thread, post your message to:
          >mailto:rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
          >rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >- and don't forget to give your post a subject!
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          >http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/







          * Subscribe to, unsubscribe from, post photos to, learn about,
          browse Rug Fanatics messages and archives, even chat, at the Rug
          Fanatics web site:

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics
          <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics>

          * To Unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
          mailto:rug-fanatics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          rug-fanatics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

          * To start a new thread, post your message to:
          mailto:rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
          rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com

          - and don't forget to give your post a subject!




          Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        • Joseph Burke
          Hi Iain as always I am honored that you read my posts and see fit to comment. If I am to have my wrists slapped, it is always an honor to have them slapped by
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 10, 2002
            Hi Iain

            as always I am honored that you read my posts and see fit to comment. If I
            am to have my wrists slapped, it is always an honor to have them slapped by
            you :-) You know me, l'enfant terrible... I often choose a very strongly
            worded position in the hopes of generating some cross postings. Too many
            times I see these posts and no one bothers to comment which I think is
            insulting to the newbie. Having purchased a few of these low end coarsely
            woven "nothing rugs" and generally sent them back disappointed, I can say
            from extensive ebay experience that most of this stuff that sells for 20 or
            30 bucks is just junk. Certainly not collectible in any sense of the word.
            That was my key point.

            Apparently you do have some respect for the pakistani stuff... But frankly
            the shops here are bursting at the gills with their programmed tea-washed
            fake abrash phoney antique look merchandise, priced at many mutliples of
            what you can buy some gorgeous one-of-a-kind Persian-made originals for.
            I wouldn't be caught dead with one of these repro monstrosities... They
            defile the name "oriental rug" in my estimation. They are strictly
            decorative floor covering, but I think I made it clear that if the buyer
            likes it, if it makes him feel good, then that is what is important... just
            don't confuse "investment" with cheap Indo/Paki ripoffs.

            As for contemporay Iranian rugs, certainly there is a lot of junk there
            too... Having seen some awful Mesheds and Hammadans and Geravans from ebay,
            they're pretty much coarsely woven bazaar quality stuff. And Ebay is
            overflowing with coarsely woven so called Nains at 120 KPSI that are not
            even close to a fine Shisla or Nola. Bazaar quality is all they are...
            made to imitiate the real thing, but cheaply slapped together for the
            undiscerning ofregin markets.

            OTOH, I have acquired some marvelous pieces from ebay at extraordinary
            prices... rugs which I am proud to own. They may not be the full equal of
            the 'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, but those rugs are
            fabulously expensive and outside the reach of mere mortals. My pages at
            www.rugmates.com are replete with a number of fine specimens I got from
            eBay for a relative song, and whose exquisite beauty makes my every
            work-at-home day :-)

            Yes I'm fond of the traditional floral designs as I know you are as well.
            And I am proud of it. The heritage and the tradition there far transcends
            the mundanity, shallowness and total arrogance of many current decorator
            bastardizations of these designs. Clearly it represented an evolution in
            weaving skill hundreds of years ago when weavers learned to create complex
            curvilinear designs, and the whole art evolved from basic straight line
            designs to the marvelous rosettes, palmettes, and scrolling arabesques that
            characterized the finest Safavid pieces and their latter day counterparts.
            Nothing wrong with primitive tribal designs... I have an number of them
            myself... and they certainly have an earthy appeal of their own, but
            clearly they do not represent the skill, design complexity and refinement
            required of quality workshop pieces.

            I had hoped to spark some controversy with my comments about the popularity
            of floral design in so many other areas of modern culture... I take the
            silence from other members to mean that there is no refuting that
            contention, really... and that floral reigns supreme in our modern day
            culture (as mentioned in the original email you left cited down below, from
            wallpapers, bedspreads, to window curtains and Hawaiian shirts) except for
            the dogged instance of narrow-focus geo/tribal rug lovers who continue to
            maintain their limited preference is the only true art and such similar
            hogwash. Let them enjoy the street musician idly strumming his raggedy old
            guitar in the city park... I'll take Segovia any time. Let them revel in
            the discordant warblings of the tone-deaf neighbor singing in his shower,
            I'll stick with Pavarotti and Bocelli :-)

            cheers!

            Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
            ( Certifiable Rugnut )
            www.rugmates.com

            On 4/10/2002 at 3:35 PM Iain Stewart rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:


            >Hi Sylvan -
            >
            >I wouldn't like you to be left with the rather detrimental aspersions
            >cast upon the best 'Afghan Refugee' rugs coming out of Pakistan that may
            >linger on unchallenged from Mr Joe Burke's characteristically partisan
            >message: I would think that the majority of people with any professional
            >interest in the Oriental rug market would agree with me that these rugs
            >represent one of the most welcome developments from the producing
            >countries of recent years, and offer a level of quality and decorative
            >appeal to the 'average buyer' (i.e. at least 95% of the consumer market)
            >that had before their arrival been increasingly hard to find.
            >
            >>From what little I know, these Afghan/Pakistani rugs were originally the
            >work of weavers of the Ersari and other Afghan weaving tribes who had
            >been displaced to the refugee camps around Peshawar by the unrelenting
            >destruction of Afghanistan through the conflicts fought out there over
            >the past thirty years. They originally fell into two or three broad
            >quality/style categories such as the 'Filpas' (in traditional Ersari
            >'elephant's foot' gul patterns) and the 'kargai' (in Caucasian designs
            >of the 19th Century type popularised by Ulrich Schurmann in his book
            >'Caucasian Rugs', *some* of which - the 'kargai' type I mean - also used
            >vegetable dyes). With their appealing colours, good knotting quality,
            >very attractive old designs and excellent pile texture, these rugs
            >enjoyed an immediate success in a rug market that - at the time they
            >appeared - was in severe decline, aesthetically as well as economically.
            >
            >Others in this group know much more than I do about what happened next,
            >but I believe the efforts of the refugee weavers were quickly recognised
            >by some enterprising entrepreneurs, especially Americans, who thereafter
            >took over the organisation and marketing side of this much-needed new
            >type and, in the course of time, extended the attributes of good
            >workmanship, nice colours and attractive texture to other designs and
            >sizes, especially involving the 'Ziegler' and 'Ushak' big-pattern/pale
            >colour types that have long dominated the high end of the 'decorative
            >carpet' market.
            >
            >The original Caucasian-design 'kargai' type have continued to be made,
            >and have in many ways improved on the originals - they remain some of
            >the best modern rugs available, and have been responsible for raising
            >the bar in other producing districts, especially in Iran, where a
            >similar return to old standards has been noticeable in tribal rugs from
            >Fars (mostly financed from Switzerland), in Kurdish rugs from North
            >Khurasan/Quchan/Gutschan, in certain types of Azerbaijan items, and has
            >even permeated the most conservative workshop origins (where a
            >commitment to mediocrity had almost come to represent the core
            >tradition) such as Qum and Isfahan, some of whom are showing signs of a
            >return to the mainstream of Persian courtly excellence seldom seen since
            >the last major age of purity represented by the Court-patronised carpets
            >of Reza Pahlavi's reign between 1925 and 1942.
            >
            >Perhaps the one area in which these Afghan-Peshawar rugs tend to fall
            >down is that of price - compared to almost all other rugs of this
            >calibre, which are purely decorative in intention, and cannot be said to
            >be 'collectable' in any way through sheer volume of output if nothing
            >else, they are pretty expensive. Despite this, I would say that they
            >still remain one of the best buys around among new rugs, and for the
            >extra they cost the buyer gets at least a comparable amount of added
            >value in terms of appearance, quality and materials. Lastly, it is
            >surely significant that they represent one of the very few types of
            >modern rugs that possess any real merit in the eyes of experienced rug
            >collectors and experts. The fact that specialist shops of the calibre of
            >Adil Besim of Austria or the Anglo Persian Carpet Company of London
            >(with whom I must declare a degree of personal involvement) have chosen
            >to offer this one type of contemporary rug along with their old and
            >antique stock I think speaks for itself.
            >
            >I hope this helps to redress the balance a little bit, Sylvan, and also
            >helps reassure you there is nothing wrong with your taste in reacting
            >with such pleasure to this very deserving group.
            >
            >PS Joe - as I think you know my idea of ultimate excellence lies in the
            >'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, I just wish more of
            >the modern Persian workshops thought so too (there are obviously one or
            >two notable exceptions)
            >
            >--
            >Best regards
            >Iain Stewart
            >
            >
            >-----Original Message-----
            >From: Joseph Burke [mailto:jburke@...]
            >Sent: 08 April 2002 19:21
            >To: rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [rug-fanatics] Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for
            >Enlightenment
            >
            >
            >Hello Sylan....
            >
            >Just a quick response... I hope others with more knowledge on the matter
            >will comment as well. Pakistani rugs would appear to have little or no
            >investment value. There is no resale market at all for them. They are
            >a
            >dime a dozen, strictly programmed stuff made to look antique or whatever
            >with tea washing, fake abrash etc. The are "repro rugs" and while they
            >may be quite serviceable to use as floor covering and give pleasure to
            >certain
            >people to look at, that is the total extent of their value I would say.
            >I
            >suspect you will find little sympathy for those rugs in this group.
            >
            >Genuine Caucasian/Kazak rugs are quite a different story and seem to be
            >quite popular with small segments of the population these days and
            >command a better price per square foot than many other types of rugs,
            >both contemporary and vintage/antique. Ron O'Callahan is quite a
            >reputable fellow I think and I have also bought rugs from him.
            >
            >In general it is difficult to "invest" in rugs unless one has a great
            >deal of knowledge... misrepresentation is rampant in the rug industry
            >and impartial qualified experts who can really determine the age and
            >quality of a rug are few and expensive when you find them. If you can
            >befriend someone who really knows rugs and will give you an honest
            >opinion on an oriental rug without charging you as a bonafide appraisal,
            >you should cultivate the relationship.
            >
            >Tribal/geometric rugs are currently in vogue with a certain percentage
            >of people and dealers. This trend was certainly not always so prevalent
            >and
            >will almost certainly change again. Finely woven rugs in classic
            >Persian
            >designs will ALWAYS be desirable for those interested in classic beauty
            >and to complement elegant home decor, and after all it is the people
            >with the money to purchase and furnish elegant homes that have always
            >comprised the
            >high end of the rug buying public.
            >
            >Personally I find the fascination with primitive tribal rugs somewhat
            >curious today... for it appears to be really ONLY present among a
            >certain segment of oriental carpet fanciers. Having recently
            >redecorated a couple homes, I can attest that the vast majority of
            >available patterns in wallpapers, bedspreads, and window curtains one
            >comes across out there are floral in design... evidence of the buying
            >public's preference for floral designs. How many wallpapers, bedspreads,
            >or window curtains can you find in primitive tribal designs?
            >
            >The popularity of Hawaiian shirts for men the last few years is evidence
            >of the same taste for floral fabrics. I have half a dozen myself :-) I
            >just
            >returned from Hawaii where that is almost all anyone wears. And a trip
            >to
            >the local arts and crafts store recently revealed than roughly 1/4 the
            >floor space is now devoted to silk flowers and floral arrangements,
            >indicating a huge growth in interest in this area. Flower arranging
            >itself is a revered traditional art among the Japanese.
            >
            >Yet a few short sighted dealers will tell you "floral design rugs are
            >'dead' - people want tribal and geometric design rugs." That makes me
            >laugh. I subscribe to AREA Magazine just to see the directions the
            >industry is going. This is the trade mag of the Oriental Rug Importers
            >Association (ORIA) - see http://www.oria.org - I would say that roughly
            >90% of what I see in there today are floral design carpets for the
            >"decorative rug" market.
            >
            >It would seem to me that floral design textiles and decor are anything
            >but dead and in fact have tremendous appeal to the vast majority of
            >public... at least here in America.
            >
            >In summary, most rug fanciers will tell you to buy what appeals to you
            >and
            >elicits a deep seated visceral response. But be careful about claims
            >of
            >"investment" and such... that is very difficult to gauge and greatly
            >overstated by many dealers.
            >
            >Best regards
            >Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
            >( Certifiable Rugnut )
            >www.rugmates.com
            >
            >
            >On 4/8/2002 at 4:13 PM sbeierl rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:
            >
            >
            >>I'm a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way.
            >>I'm looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure to
            >>live with. While age, provenance, investment value, and so on are of
            >>secondary importance, I would of course like to know that I'm getting
            >>good value. I'm magnetically drawn to tribal design, Yalameh and
            >>Caucasian especially.
            >>
            >>I have been looking at Afghani rugs made in Pakistan which absolutely
            >>knock me out. They have beautiful reds and creams, and absolutely
            >>heavenly blues; and they have a luminous quality that is hard to
            >>describe. The seller tells me that the yarns are hand spun and
            >>vegetable dyed -- I wouldn't favor a rug based on that, but it is
            >>interesting if true. The designs look to be Caucasian/Kazak, although
            >>I am just beginning to sort out this stuff. There's not a lot of small
            >
            >>detail, but the designs are well-balanced and very pleasing. The
            >>workmanship seems decent to my rather untutored eye.
            >>
            >>The Jacobson website describes something like these rugs, and Ron
            >>O'Callahan has offered some Caucasian rugs which seem from his
            >>excellent photos to have that characteristic sheen; but I've seen
            >>little other reference to such rugs.
            >>
            >>I would like to know anything and everything that y'all can tell me
            >>about these rugs, especially any caveats.
            >>
            >>Thanks very much!
            >>-- Sylvan B.
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >>* Subscribe to, unsubscribe from, post photos to, learn about,
            >browse Rug
            >>Fanatics messages and archives, even chat, at the Rug Fanatics web
            >>site:
            >>
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            >><http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics>
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          • Iain Stewart
            Hi Joe - Just in case we are not talking at cross-purposes (which I am sure that we are), I am attaching a small and not particularly good jpeg image of a
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 10, 2002
              Hi Joe -

              Just in case we are not talking at cross-purposes (which I am sure that
              we are), I am attaching a small and not particularly good jpeg image of
              a kargai-quality Afghan-Pakistan rug of the kind I meant in my post - I
              can't believe you are referring to the same kind of thing. This one
              would have a very dense pile of (apparently) naturally glossy wool and
              either vegetable dyes or something very like them. Also, it would cost
              at least $1400-1800 anywhere in Europe in a 6' x 4' (dozar) size.

              I find it hard to imagine any local rug shop overflowing with items like
              this.

              PS This message is virus-scanned before transmission - the image
              attachment is quite safe to open

              --
              Best regards
              Iain Stewart


              -----Original Message-----
              From: Joseph Burke [mailto:jburke@...]
              Sent: 10 April 2002 18:19
              To: rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [rug-fanatics] Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for
              Enlightenment


              Hi Iain

              as always I am honored that you read my posts and see fit to comment.
              If I am to have my wrists slapped, it is always an honor to have them
              slapped by
              you :-) You know me, l'enfant terrible... I often choose a very
              strongly
              worded position in the hopes of generating some cross postings. Too
              many times I see these posts and no one bothers to comment which I think
              is insulting to the newbie. Having purchased a few of these low end
              coarsely woven "nothing rugs" and generally sent them back disappointed,
              I can say from extensive ebay experience that most of this stuff that
              sells for 20 or 30 bucks is just junk. Certainly not collectible in any
              sense of the word. That was my key point.

              Apparently you do have some respect for the pakistani stuff... But
              frankly the shops here are bursting at the gills with their programmed
              tea-washed fake abrash phoney antique look merchandise, priced at many
              mutliples of what you can buy some gorgeous one-of-a-kind Persian-made
              originals for. I wouldn't be caught dead with one of these repro
              monstrosities... They defile the name "oriental rug" in my estimation.
              They are strictly decorative floor covering, but I think I made it clear
              that if the buyer likes it, if it makes him feel good, then that is what
              is important... just don't confuse "investment" with cheap Indo/Paki
              ripoffs.

              As for contemporay Iranian rugs, certainly there is a lot of junk there
              too... Having seen some awful Mesheds and Hammadans and Geravans from
              ebay, they're pretty much coarsely woven bazaar quality stuff. And Ebay
              is overflowing with coarsely woven so called Nains at 120 KPSI that are
              not even close to a fine Shisla or Nola. Bazaar quality is all they
              are... made to imitiate the real thing, but cheaply slapped together for
              the undiscerning ofregin markets.

              OTOH, I have acquired some marvelous pieces from ebay at extraordinary
              prices... rugs which I am proud to own. They may not be the full equal
              of the 'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, but those
              rugs are
              fabulously expensive and outside the reach of mere mortals. My pages
              at
              www.rugmates.com are replete with a number of fine specimens I got from
              eBay for a relative song, and whose exquisite beauty makes my every
              work-at-home day :-)

              Yes I'm fond of the traditional floral designs as I know you are as
              well. And I am proud of it. The heritage and the tradition there far
              transcends the mundanity, shallowness and total arrogance of many
              current decorator bastardizations of these designs. Clearly it
              represented an evolution in weaving skill hundreds of years ago when
              weavers learned to create complex curvilinear designs, and the whole art
              evolved from basic straight line designs to the marvelous rosettes,
              palmettes, and scrolling arabesques that characterized the finest
              Safavid pieces and their latter day counterparts. Nothing wrong with
              primitive tribal designs... I have an number of them myself... and they
              certainly have an earthy appeal of their own, but clearly they do not
              represent the skill, design complexity and refinement
              required of quality workshop pieces.

              I had hoped to spark some controversy with my comments about the
              popularity of floral design in so many other areas of modern culture...
              I take the silence from other members to mean that there is no refuting
              that contention, really... and that floral reigns supreme in our modern
              day culture (as mentioned in the original email you left cited down
              below, from wallpapers, bedspreads, to window curtains and Hawaiian
              shirts) except for the dogged instance of narrow-focus geo/tribal rug
              lovers who continue to maintain their limited preference is the only
              true art and such similar hogwash. Let them enjoy the street musician
              idly strumming his raggedy old guitar in the city park... I'll take
              Segovia any time. Let them revel in the discordant warblings of the
              tone-deaf neighbor singing in his shower,
              I'll stick with Pavarotti and Bocelli :-)

              cheers!

              Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
              ( Certifiable Rugnut )
              www.rugmates.com

              On 4/10/2002 at 3:35 PM Iain Stewart rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
              wrote:


              >Hi Sylvan -
              >
              >I wouldn't like you to be left with the rather detrimental aspersions
              >cast upon the best 'Afghan Refugee' rugs coming out of Pakistan that
              >may linger on unchallenged from Mr Joe Burke's characteristically
              >partisan
              >message: I would think that the majority of people with any
              professional
              >interest in the Oriental rug market would agree with me that these rugs
              >represent one of the most welcome developments from the producing
              >countries of recent years, and offer a level of quality and decorative
              >appeal to the 'average buyer' (i.e. at least 95% of the consumer
              market)
              >that had before their arrival been increasingly hard to find.
              >
              >>From what little I know, these Afghan/Pakistani rugs were originally
              >>the
              >work of weavers of the Ersari and other Afghan weaving tribes who had
              >been displaced to the refugee camps around Peshawar by the unrelenting
              >destruction of Afghanistan through the conflicts fought out there over
              >the past thirty years. They originally fell into two or three broad
              >quality/style categories such as the 'Filpas' (in traditional Ersari
              >'elephant's foot' gul patterns) and the 'kargai' (in Caucasian designs
              >of the 19th Century type popularised by Ulrich Schurmann in his book
              >'Caucasian Rugs', *some* of which - the 'kargai' type I mean - also
              >used vegetable dyes). With their appealing colours, good knotting
              >quality, very attractive old designs and excellent pile texture, these
              >rugs enjoyed an immediate success in a rug market that - at the time
              >they appeared - was in severe decline, aesthetically as well as
              >economically.
              >
              >Others in this group know much more than I do about what happened next,

              >but I believe the efforts of the refugee weavers were quickly
              >recognised by some enterprising entrepreneurs, especially Americans,
              >who thereafter took over the organisation and marketing side of this
              >much-needed new type and, in the course of time, extended the
              >attributes of good workmanship, nice colours and attractive texture to
              >other designs and sizes, especially involving the 'Ziegler' and 'Ushak'

              >big-pattern/pale colour types that have long dominated the high end of
              >the 'decorative carpet' market.
              >
              >The original Caucasian-design 'kargai' type have continued to be made,
              >and have in many ways improved on the originals - they remain some of
              >the best modern rugs available, and have been responsible for raising
              >the bar in other producing districts, especially in Iran, where a
              >similar return to old standards has been noticeable in tribal rugs from

              >Fars (mostly financed from Switzerland), in Kurdish rugs from North
              >Khurasan/Quchan/Gutschan, in certain types of Azerbaijan items, and has

              >even permeated the most conservative workshop origins (where a
              >commitment to mediocrity had almost come to represent the core
              >tradition) such as Qum and Isfahan, some of whom are showing signs of a

              >return to the mainstream of Persian courtly excellence seldom seen
              >since the last major age of purity represented by the Court-patronised
              >carpets of Reza Pahlavi's reign between 1925 and 1942.
              >
              >Perhaps the one area in which these Afghan-Peshawar rugs tend to fall
              >down is that of price - compared to almost all other rugs of this
              >calibre, which are purely decorative in intention, and cannot be said
              >to be 'collectable' in any way through sheer volume of output if
              >nothing else, they are pretty expensive. Despite this, I would say that

              >they still remain one of the best buys around among new rugs, and for
              >the extra they cost the buyer gets at least a comparable amount of
              >added value in terms of appearance, quality and materials. Lastly, it
              >is surely significant that they represent one of the very few types of
              >modern rugs that possess any real merit in the eyes of experienced rug
              >collectors and experts. The fact that specialist shops of the calibre
              >of Adil Besim of Austria or the Anglo Persian Carpet Company of London
              >(with whom I must declare a degree of personal involvement) have chosen

              >to offer this one type of contemporary rug along with their old and
              >antique stock I think speaks for itself.
              >
              >I hope this helps to redress the balance a little bit, Sylvan, and also

              >helps reassure you there is nothing wrong with your taste in reacting
              >with such pleasure to this very deserving group.
              >
              >PS Joe - as I think you know my idea of ultimate excellence lies in the

              >'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, I just wish more
              >of the modern Persian workshops thought so too (there are obviously one

              >or two notable exceptions)
              >
              >--
              >Best regards
              >Iain Stewart
              >
              >
              >-----Original Message-----
              >From: Joseph Burke [mailto:jburke@...]
              >Sent: 08 April 2002 19:21
              >To: rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
              >Subject: Re: [rug-fanatics] Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for
              >Enlightenment
              >
              >
              >Hello Sylan....
              >
              >Just a quick response... I hope others with more knowledge on the
              >matter will comment as well. Pakistani rugs would appear to have
              little or no
              >investment value. There is no resale market at all for them. They
              are
              >a
              >dime a dozen, strictly programmed stuff made to look antique or
              >whatever with tea washing, fake abrash etc. The are "repro rugs" and
              >while they may be quite serviceable to use as floor covering and give
              >pleasure to certain people to look at, that is the total extent of
              >their value I would say. I
              >suspect you will find little sympathy for those rugs in this group.
              >
              >Genuine Caucasian/Kazak rugs are quite a different story and seem to be

              >quite popular with small segments of the population these days and
              >command a better price per square foot than many other types of rugs,
              >both contemporary and vintage/antique. Ron O'Callahan is quite a
              >reputable fellow I think and I have also bought rugs from him.
              >
              >In general it is difficult to "invest" in rugs unless one has a great
              >deal of knowledge... misrepresentation is rampant in the rug industry
              >and impartial qualified experts who can really determine the age and
              >quality of a rug are few and expensive when you find them. If you can
              >befriend someone who really knows rugs and will give you an honest
              >opinion on an oriental rug without charging you as a bonafide
              >appraisal, you should cultivate the relationship.
              >
              >Tribal/geometric rugs are currently in vogue with a certain percentage
              >of people and dealers. This trend was certainly not always so
              >prevalent and
              >will almost certainly change again. Finely woven rugs in classic
              >Persian
              >designs will ALWAYS be desirable for those interested in classic beauty

              >and to complement elegant home decor, and after all it is the people
              >with the money to purchase and furnish elegant homes that have always
              >comprised the
              >high end of the rug buying public.
              >
              >Personally I find the fascination with primitive tribal rugs somewhat
              >curious today... for it appears to be really ONLY present among a
              >certain segment of oriental carpet fanciers. Having recently
              >redecorated a couple homes, I can attest that the vast majority of
              >available patterns in wallpapers, bedspreads, and window curtains one
              >comes across out there are floral in design... evidence of the buying
              >public's preference for floral designs. How many wallpapers,
              >bedspreads, or window curtains can you find in primitive tribal
              designs?
              >
              >The popularity of Hawaiian shirts for men the last few years is
              >evidence of the same taste for floral fabrics. I have half a dozen
              >myself :-) I just
              >returned from Hawaii where that is almost all anyone wears. And a
              trip
              >to
              >the local arts and crafts store recently revealed than roughly 1/4 the
              >floor space is now devoted to silk flowers and floral arrangements,
              >indicating a huge growth in interest in this area. Flower arranging
              >itself is a revered traditional art among the Japanese.
              >
              >Yet a few short sighted dealers will tell you "floral design rugs are
              >'dead' - people want tribal and geometric design rugs." That makes me
              >laugh. I subscribe to AREA Magazine just to see the directions the
              >industry is going. This is the trade mag of the Oriental Rug Importers

              >Association (ORIA) - see http://www.oria.org - I would say that
              >roughly 90% of what I see in there today are floral design carpets for
              >the "decorative rug" market.
              >
              >It would seem to me that floral design textiles and decor are anything
              >but dead and in fact have tremendous appeal to the vast majority of
              >public... at least here in America.
              >
              >In summary, most rug fanciers will tell you to buy what appeals to you
              >and
              >elicits a deep seated visceral response. But be careful about claims
              >of
              >"investment" and such... that is very difficult to gauge and greatly
              >overstated by many dealers.
              >
              >Best regards
              >Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
              >( Certifiable Rugnut )
              >www.rugmates.com
              >
              >
              >On 4/8/2002 at 4:13 PM sbeierl rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:
              >
              >
              >>I'm a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way.
              >>I'm looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure to

              >>live with. While age, provenance, investment value, and so on are of
              >>secondary importance, I would of course like to know that I'm getting
              >>good value. I'm magnetically drawn to tribal design, Yalameh and
              >>Caucasian especially.
              >>
              >>I have been looking at Afghani rugs made in Pakistan which absolutely
              >>knock me out. They have beautiful reds and creams, and absolutely
              >>heavenly blues; and they have a luminous quality that is hard to
              >>describe. The seller tells me that the yarns are hand spun and
              >>vegetable dyed -- I wouldn't favor a rug based on that, but it is
              >>interesting if true. The designs look to be Caucasian/Kazak, although

              >>I am just beginning to sort out this stuff. There's not a lot of
              small
              >
              >>detail, but the designs are well-balanced and very pleasing. The
              >>workmanship seems decent to my rather untutored eye.
              >>
              >>The Jacobson website describes something like these rugs, and Ron
              >>O'Callahan has offered some Caucasian rugs which seem from his
              >>excellent photos to have that characteristic sheen; but I've seen
              >>little other reference to such rugs.
              >>
              >>I would like to know anything and everything that y'all can tell me
              >>about these rugs, especially any caveats.
              >>
              >>Thanks very much!
              >>-- Sylvan B.
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>* Subscribe to, unsubscribe from, post photos to, learn about,
              >browse Rug
              >>Fanatics messages and archives, even chat, at the Rug Fanatics web
              >>site:
              >>
              >>http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics
              >><http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rug-fanatics>
              >>
              >>* To Unsubscribe, send a blank email message to:
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              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
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            • Joseph Burke
              No Iain ... The kargai-quality Afghan-Pakistan rug that you attached to your email is a beauty and not at all what I was referring to. Visit
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 10, 2002
                No Iain ...

                The kargai-quality Afghan-Pakistan rug that you attached to your email is a
                beauty and not at all what I was referring to.

                Visit http://www.nwrugs.com they have a ton of this stuff in stock.
                although their website really only shows the Chinese and Indo "designer"
                stuff. They have 4 stores in the Portland area and advertise like crazy...
                I've visited their stores and there's scarcely a persian made rug to be
                found... tons of Pakistani stuff though Pande-Cameron also carries a lot of
                this stuff and they're just giving up and closing their Portland store at
                http://www.pande-cameron.com doesn't really have much to look at on their
                website.

                Take a look at

                http://www.designersclearance.com/main.cfm?location=shop_online&ProductID=11
                400021&do=detail&CategoryID=41 (Our Price: $7,089.00 .... LOL!)

                or this one

                http://www.rugwire.com/pak-contract/mp6494.htm
                more realistically priced at $1,918... the pictures tend to look better
                than the real thing, IMHO, but still the phoney abrash, typically short
                nubbly coarse wool and strong chemical wash makes this kind of rug an
                anathema. And I LOVE the Heriz design! But why would a person buy this
                when they can get a true Heriz from Iran for half that? Makes little sense
                to me.

                Regards

                JB


                On 4/10/2002 at 7:18 PM Iain Stewart rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:


                >Hi Joe -
                >
                >Just in case we are not talking at cross-purposes (which I am sure that
                >we are), I am attaching a small and not particularly good jpeg image of
                >a kargai-quality Afghan-Pakistan rug of the kind I meant in my post - I
                >can't believe you are referring to the same kind of thing. This one
                >would have a very dense pile of (apparently) naturally glossy wool and
                >either vegetable dyes or something very like them. Also, it would cost
                >at least $1400-1800 anywhere in Europe in a 6' x 4' (dozar) size.
                >
                >I find it hard to imagine any local rug shop overflowing with items like
                >this.
                >
                >PS This message is virus-scanned before transmission - the image
                >attachment is quite safe to open
                >
                >--
                >Best regards
                >Iain Stewart
                >
                >
                >-----Original Message-----
                >From: Joseph Burke [mailto:jburke@...]
                >Sent: 10 April 2002 18:19
                >To: rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: RE: [rug-fanatics] Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for
                >Enlightenment
                >
                >
                >Hi Iain
                >
                >as always I am honored that you read my posts and see fit to comment.
                >If I am to have my wrists slapped, it is always an honor to have them
                >slapped by
                >you :-) You know me, l'enfant terrible... I often choose a very
                >strongly
                >worded position in the hopes of generating some cross postings. Too
                >many times I see these posts and no one bothers to comment which I think
                >is insulting to the newbie. Having purchased a few of these low end
                >coarsely woven "nothing rugs" and generally sent them back disappointed,
                >I can say from extensive ebay experience that most of this stuff that
                >sells for 20 or 30 bucks is just junk. Certainly not collectible in any
                >sense of the word. That was my key point.
                >
                >Apparently you do have some respect for the pakistani stuff... But
                >frankly the shops here are bursting at the gills with their programmed
                >tea-washed fake abrash phoney antique look merchandise, priced at many
                >mutliples of what you can buy some gorgeous one-of-a-kind Persian-made
                >originals for. I wouldn't be caught dead with one of these repro
                >monstrosities... They defile the name "oriental rug" in my estimation.
                >They are strictly decorative floor covering, but I think I made it clear
                >that if the buyer likes it, if it makes him feel good, then that is what
                >is important... just don't confuse "investment" with cheap Indo/Paki
                >ripoffs.
                >
                >As for contemporay Iranian rugs, certainly there is a lot of junk there
                >too... Having seen some awful Mesheds and Hammadans and Geravans from
                >ebay, they're pretty much coarsely woven bazaar quality stuff. And Ebay
                >is overflowing with coarsely woven so called Nains at 120 KPSI that are
                >not even close to a fine Shisla or Nola. Bazaar quality is all they
                >are... made to imitiate the real thing, but cheaply slapped together for
                >the undiscerning ofregin markets.
                >
                >OTOH, I have acquired some marvelous pieces from ebay at extraordinary
                >prices... rugs which I am proud to own. They may not be the full equal
                >of the 'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, but those
                >rugs are
                >fabulously expensive and outside the reach of mere mortals. My pages
                >at
                >www.rugmates.com are replete with a number of fine specimens I got from
                >eBay for a relative song, and whose exquisite beauty makes my every
                >work-at-home day :-)
                >
                >Yes I'm fond of the traditional floral designs as I know you are as
                >well. And I am proud of it. The heritage and the tradition there far
                >transcends the mundanity, shallowness and total arrogance of many
                >current decorator bastardizations of these designs. Clearly it
                >represented an evolution in weaving skill hundreds of years ago when
                >weavers learned to create complex curvilinear designs, and the whole art
                >evolved from basic straight line designs to the marvelous rosettes,
                >palmettes, and scrolling arabesques that characterized the finest
                >Safavid pieces and their latter day counterparts. Nothing wrong with
                >primitive tribal designs... I have an number of them myself... and they
                >certainly have an earthy appeal of their own, but clearly they do not
                >represent the skill, design complexity and refinement
                >required of quality workshop pieces.
                >
                >I had hoped to spark some controversy with my comments about the
                >popularity of floral design in so many other areas of modern culture...
                >I take the silence from other members to mean that there is no refuting
                >that contention, really... and that floral reigns supreme in our modern
                >day culture (as mentioned in the original email you left cited down
                >below, from wallpapers, bedspreads, to window curtains and Hawaiian
                >shirts) except for the dogged instance of narrow-focus geo/tribal rug
                >lovers who continue to maintain their limited preference is the only
                >true art and such similar hogwash. Let them enjoy the street musician
                >idly strumming his raggedy old guitar in the city park... I'll take
                >Segovia any time. Let them revel in the discordant warblings of the
                >tone-deaf neighbor singing in his shower,
                >I'll stick with Pavarotti and Bocelli :-)
                >
                >cheers!
                >
                >Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
                >( Certifiable Rugnut )
                >www.rugmates.com
                >
                >On 4/10/2002 at 3:35 PM Iain Stewart rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
                >wrote:
                >
                >
                >>Hi Sylvan -
                >>
                >>I wouldn't like you to be left with the rather detrimental aspersions
                >>cast upon the best 'Afghan Refugee' rugs coming out of Pakistan that
                >>may linger on unchallenged from Mr Joe Burke's characteristically
                >>partisan
                >>message: I would think that the majority of people with any
                >professional
                >>interest in the Oriental rug market would agree with me that these rugs
                >>represent one of the most welcome developments from the producing
                >>countries of recent years, and offer a level of quality and decorative
                >>appeal to the 'average buyer' (i.e. at least 95% of the consumer
                >market)
                >>that had before their arrival been increasingly hard to find.
                >>
                >>>From what little I know, these Afghan/Pakistani rugs were originally
                >>>the
                >>work of weavers of the Ersari and other Afghan weaving tribes who had
                >>been displaced to the refugee camps around Peshawar by the unrelenting
                >>destruction of Afghanistan through the conflicts fought out there over
                >>the past thirty years. They originally fell into two or three broad
                >>quality/style categories such as the 'Filpas' (in traditional Ersari
                >>'elephant's foot' gul patterns) and the 'kargai' (in Caucasian designs
                >>of the 19th Century type popularised by Ulrich Schurmann in his book
                >>'Caucasian Rugs', *some* of which - the 'kargai' type I mean - also
                >>used vegetable dyes). With their appealing colours, good knotting
                >>quality, very attractive old designs and excellent pile texture, these
                >>rugs enjoyed an immediate success in a rug market that - at the time
                >>they appeared - was in severe decline, aesthetically as well as
                >>economically.
                >>
                >>Others in this group know much more than I do about what happened next,
                >
                >>but I believe the efforts of the refugee weavers were quickly
                >>recognised by some enterprising entrepreneurs, especially Americans,
                >>who thereafter took over the organisation and marketing side of this
                >>much-needed new type and, in the course of time, extended the
                >>attributes of good workmanship, nice colours and attractive texture to
                >>other designs and sizes, especially involving the 'Ziegler' and 'Ushak'
                >
                >>big-pattern/pale colour types that have long dominated the high end of
                >>the 'decorative carpet' market.
                >>
                >>The original Caucasian-design 'kargai' type have continued to be made,
                >>and have in many ways improved on the originals - they remain some of
                >>the best modern rugs available, and have been responsible for raising
                >>the bar in other producing districts, especially in Iran, where a
                >>similar return to old standards has been noticeable in tribal rugs from
                >
                >>Fars (mostly financed from Switzerland), in Kurdish rugs from North
                >>Khurasan/Quchan/Gutschan, in certain types of Azerbaijan items, and has
                >
                >>even permeated the most conservative workshop origins (where a
                >>commitment to mediocrity had almost come to represent the core
                >>tradition) such as Qum and Isfahan, some of whom are showing signs of a
                >
                >>return to the mainstream of Persian courtly excellence seldom seen
                >>since the last major age of purity represented by the Court-patronised
                >>carpets of Reza Pahlavi's reign between 1925 and 1942.
                >>
                >>Perhaps the one area in which these Afghan-Peshawar rugs tend to fall
                >>down is that of price - compared to almost all other rugs of this
                >>calibre, which are purely decorative in intention, and cannot be said
                >>to be 'collectable' in any way through sheer volume of output if
                >>nothing else, they are pretty expensive. Despite this, I would say that
                >
                >>they still remain one of the best buys around among new rugs, and for
                >>the extra they cost the buyer gets at least a comparable amount of
                >>added value in terms of appearance, quality and materials. Lastly, it
                >>is surely significant that they represent one of the very few types of
                >>modern rugs that possess any real merit in the eyes of experienced rug
                >>collectors and experts. The fact that specialist shops of the calibre
                >>of Adil Besim of Austria or the Anglo Persian Carpet Company of London
                >>(with whom I must declare a degree of personal involvement) have chosen
                >
                >>to offer this one type of contemporary rug along with their old and
                >>antique stock I think speaks for itself.
                >>
                >>I hope this helps to redress the balance a little bit, Sylvan, and also
                >
                >>helps reassure you there is nothing wrong with your taste in reacting
                >>with such pleasure to this very deserving group.
                >>
                >>PS Joe - as I think you know my idea of ultimate excellence lies in the
                >
                >>'High Tradition' of Persian Court/workshop knotting, I just wish more
                >>of the modern Persian workshops thought so too (there are obviously one
                >
                >>or two notable exceptions)
                >>
                >>--
                >>Best regards
                >>Iain Stewart
                >>
                >>
                >>-----Original Message-----
                >>From: Joseph Burke [mailto:jburke@...]
                >>Sent: 08 April 2002 19:21
                >>To: rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com
                >>Subject: Re: [rug-fanatics] Afghani-Paki Rugs -- Request for
                >>Enlightenment
                >>
                >>
                >>Hello Sylan....
                >>
                >>Just a quick response... I hope others with more knowledge on the
                >>matter will comment as well. Pakistani rugs would appear to have
                >little or no
                >>investment value. There is no resale market at all for them. They
                >are
                >>a
                >>dime a dozen, strictly programmed stuff made to look antique or
                >>whatever with tea washing, fake abrash etc. The are "repro rugs" and
                >>while they may be quite serviceable to use as floor covering and give
                >>pleasure to certain people to look at, that is the total extent of
                >>their value I would say. I
                >>suspect you will find little sympathy for those rugs in this group.
                >>
                >>Genuine Caucasian/Kazak rugs are quite a different story and seem to be
                >
                >>quite popular with small segments of the population these days and
                >>command a better price per square foot than many other types of rugs,
                >>both contemporary and vintage/antique. Ron O'Callahan is quite a
                >>reputable fellow I think and I have also bought rugs from him.
                >>
                >>In general it is difficult to "invest" in rugs unless one has a great
                >>deal of knowledge... misrepresentation is rampant in the rug industry
                >>and impartial qualified experts who can really determine the age and
                >>quality of a rug are few and expensive when you find them. If you can
                >>befriend someone who really knows rugs and will give you an honest
                >>opinion on an oriental rug without charging you as a bonafide
                >>appraisal, you should cultivate the relationship.
                >>
                >>Tribal/geometric rugs are currently in vogue with a certain percentage
                >>of people and dealers. This trend was certainly not always so
                >>prevalent and
                >>will almost certainly change again. Finely woven rugs in classic
                >>Persian
                >>designs will ALWAYS be desirable for those interested in classic beauty
                >
                >>and to complement elegant home decor, and after all it is the people
                >>with the money to purchase and furnish elegant homes that have always
                >>comprised the
                >>high end of the rug buying public.
                >>
                >>Personally I find the fascination with primitive tribal rugs somewhat
                >>curious today... for it appears to be really ONLY present among a
                >>certain segment of oriental carpet fanciers. Having recently
                >>redecorated a couple homes, I can attest that the vast majority of
                >>available patterns in wallpapers, bedspreads, and window curtains one
                >>comes across out there are floral in design... evidence of the buying
                >>public's preference for floral designs. How many wallpapers,
                >>bedspreads, or window curtains can you find in primitive tribal
                >designs?
                >>
                >>The popularity of Hawaiian shirts for men the last few years is
                >>evidence of the same taste for floral fabrics. I have half a dozen
                >>myself :-) I just
                >>returned from Hawaii where that is almost all anyone wears. And a
                >trip
                >>to
                >>the local arts and crafts store recently revealed than roughly 1/4 the
                >>floor space is now devoted to silk flowers and floral arrangements,
                >>indicating a huge growth in interest in this area. Flower arranging
                >>itself is a revered traditional art among the Japanese.
                >>
                >>Yet a few short sighted dealers will tell you "floral design rugs are
                >>'dead' - people want tribal and geometric design rugs." That makes me
                >>laugh. I subscribe to AREA Magazine just to see the directions the
                >>industry is going. This is the trade mag of the Oriental Rug Importers
                >
                >>Association (ORIA) - see http://www.oria.org - I would say that
                >>roughly 90% of what I see in there today are floral design carpets for
                >>the "decorative rug" market.
                >>
                >>It would seem to me that floral design textiles and decor are anything
                >>but dead and in fact have tremendous appeal to the vast majority of
                >>public... at least here in America.
                >>
                >>In summary, most rug fanciers will tell you to buy what appeals to you
                >>and
                >>elicits a deep seated visceral response. But be careful about claims
                >>of
                >>"investment" and such... that is very difficult to gauge and greatly
                >>overstated by many dealers.
                >>
                >>Best regards
                >>Joseph Burke, C.R.N.
                >>( Certifiable Rugnut )
                >>www.rugmates.com
                >>
                >>
                >>On 4/8/2002 at 4:13 PM sbeierl rug-fanatics@yahoogroups.com wrote:
                >>
                >>
                >>>I'm a rug novice who has begun collecting small rugs in a small way.
                >>>I'm looking for rugs which please my eye, and will give me pleasure to
                >
                >>>live with. While age, provenance, investment value, and so on are of
                >>>secondary importance, I would of course like to know that I'm getting
                >>>good value. I'm magnetically drawn to tribal design, Yalameh and
                >>>Caucasian especially.
                >>>
                >>>I have been looking at Afghani rugs made in Pakistan which absolutely
                >>>knock me out. They have beautiful reds and creams, and absolutely
                >>>heavenly blues; and they have a luminous quality that is hard to
                >>>describe. The seller tells me that the yarns are hand spun and
                >>>vegetable dyed -- I wouldn't favor a rug based on that, but it is
                >>>interesting if true. The designs look to be Caucasian/Kazak, although
                >
                >>>I am just beginning to sort out this stuff. There's not a lot of
                >small
                >>
                >>>detail, but the designs are well-balanced and very pleasing. The
                >>>workmanship seems decent to my rather untutored eye.
                >>>
                >>>The Jacobson website describes something like these rugs, and Ron
                >>>O'Callahan has offered some Caucasian rugs which seem from his
                >>>excellent photos to have that characteristic sheen; but I've seen
                >>>little other reference to such rugs.
                >>>
                >>>I would like to know anything and everything that y'all can tell me
                >>>about these rugs, especially any caveats.
                >>>
                >>>Thanks very much!
                >>>-- Sylvan B.
                >>>
                >>>
                >>>
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              • sbeierl
                ... .. Let them revel in the discordant warblings of the tone-deaf neighbor singing in his shower, I ll stick with Pavarotti and Bocelli :-) Really, I can t
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 12, 2002
                  --- In rug-fanatics@y..., "Joseph Burke" <jburke@i...> wrote:

                  .. Let them revel in
                  the discordant warblings of the tone-deaf neighbor singing in his shower,
                  I'll stick with Pavarotti and Bocelli :-)

                  Really, I can't resist replying to this interesting metaphor :-D

                  I enjoy Bocelli, but consider him a prettified version of the real
                  thing -- maybe like a new floral. My well-made and quite lovely
                  little "Yalameh" -- from Pakistan -- is a first-class jazz singer,
                  perhaps; and the Pak rugs under discussion might fit here (substitute
                  equivalent genre of your choice). My dear departed blue Tabriz is
                  Detrich Fisher Dieskau, Christa Ludwig.... And those rough but
                  inspired old primitives -- the blues, or rock & roll at its best.
                  What an interesting discussion. Thanks, all.

                  - Sylvan
                • sbeierl
                  ... am sure that we are), I am attaching a small and not particularly good jpeg image of a kargai-quality Afghan-Pakistan rug of the kind I meant in my post -
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 12, 2002
                    --- In rug-fanatics@y..., "Iain Stewart" <webmaster@w...> wrote:
                    > Hi Joe -Just in case we are not talking at cross-purposes (which I
                    am sure that we are), I am attaching a small and not particularly good
                    jpeg image of a kargai-quality Afghan-Pakistan rug of the kind I meant
                    in my post - I can't believe you are referring to the same kind of
                    thing. This one would have a very dense pile of (apparently) naturally
                    glossy wool and either vegetable dyes or something very like them.
                    Also, it would cost at least $1400-1800 anywhere in Europe in a 6' x
                    4' (dozar) size.

                    > I find it hard to imagine any local rug shop overflowing with items
                    like this.

                    Iain, my reflexive response to this rug was "Oh, that's adorable!" I
                    guess it's the parade of little creatures. OK, I'm a lightweight :-)

                    Catching up on several days' posts -- now I am confused. The rugs I
                    am describing are, you might say, generic tribal designs. They are
                    NOT the rough and sloppily made things Joe denigrates -- I have one of
                    those in my front hall where it gets exactly the treatment it
                    deserves. The weaving is very regular, the pile is dense and silky,
                    and the edges are well bound. I can't comment on chemical wash, "tea
                    wash", or "fake abrash" -- the color variation I see is on a small
                    scale, not in sections, and contributes for good or ill to the
                    shimmery look. If I remember correctly, an area rug, maybe 3x5? would
                    cost around $400. The general appearance, though not the pallette,
                    reminds me of some rugs of similar origin which Ron O'Callahan offered
                    on ebay, which went for $300 - $400.
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