Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Worm Dangling from the mouth of a bird"

"Worm Dangling from the mouth of a bird"
The New York Hajji Baba are having a 75th anniversary exhibition called "Timbuktu To Tibet," at the New York Historical Society. The gang at Turkotek is having a salon on the show and Dr. James Blanchard the rug collector from Bangalore India posted praise of a piece catalogued as "Turkmen Fragment, Central Asia, 18th or 19th Century (Harold Keshishian)". It quickly generated 8 replies and when I mentioned it to Harold he told me the rest of the story. In the late 70s Harold was visiting one of the younger Asadourian brothers (Hagop or Krikor’s son) shop at 276 5th Ave in New York City. In a 4 foot high pile of fragments Harold found this and two other fragments of a very old very worn Turkmen Main Carpet. Try as he might Harold could not find the other half of his elim. So when he left who should Harold run in to but the great German Rug Scholar and friend Dr. Ulrich Schurmann. Harold", Schurmann said, "What is that in your hand". After seeing Harold's find Schurmann returned to the shop and did not leave until he located the other half of the elim which is published in Werner Loges, Turkmen Tribal Rugs, plate 48, 1980.

At a later date Schurmann was visiting with Harold at his Washington DC place when they had a chance to look at this piece again. Starting early in the morning with a stack of rugs and a fifth of vodka Schurmann began his studies. A few hours into the process Dr. Ulrich Schurmann declared with all possible Teutonic authoritative certainty that these designs were of "worm dangling from the mouth of a bird". Harold has admitted to me that he has never been able to make out either the birds or the worms and he has no intention of imbibing enough vodka to make it possible.

This piece is one piece and the borders as they were in the carpet. It is about half of an elim of a Drynak Gul carpet that was about 8 foot across.

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