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Knot Art - Turkmen Carpets at the Dorotheum Auction on 8th September 2011


Karagashli, East Caucasus, Mid. 19th Cent.,
322 x 120 cm, estimate € 15.000 - 20.000

"animal tree"-Engsi, Tekke, West Turkestan,
143 x 110 cm, 2nd half 19th Cent.,
estimate € 7.000 - 8.500

Tekke Tshowal, West Turkestan, Early 19th Cent,
69 x 121 cm, estimate € 5.500 - 7.500

Suzani, Uzbekistan, 1st half 19th Cent.,
270 x 200 cm, estimate € 3.000 - 4.000

This is the second Dorotheum Vienna auction of this category: Oriental carpets, textiles and tapestries will once more come up for auction on 8th September 2011. At the heart of the event will by carpets from Turkmenistan. Featuring tribal symbols, traditional patterns, archaic designs, and a typical colour scheme, antique carpets from this region have long exerted a particular fascination. Having for centuries been used by many tribes for mundane purposes such as as floor covering, curtains, to store goods or decorate horses, the Turkmen carpet is today considered an object of cultural significance and an object of desire for many a collector.

Turkmen carpets are characterised by their serried patterns with gul (tribal) patterns and a wide from West Turkestan, dating to the beginning of the 19th century. Tshowals were commonly used to transport and store various goods. The carpet is distinguished by five luminous flowering trees in the elem (lower border) and 4 x 4 gul supporting a central design of reciprocal arrows. Expert Wolfgang Matschek has put the estimate for this 69 x 121 cm work of knotted art at 5.500 to 7.500 Euro.

Formerly considered an essential part of any dowry, the so-called Suzani are embroidered in silk. One exceptional example comes from Uzbekistan, was made during the first half of the 19th century, measures 270 x 200 cm, and has been valued at 3.000 to 4.000 Euro. Likewise deserving of particular attention is an 'animal tree' Engsi - a rare yurt threshold carpet of the Tekke tribe from West Turkestan, decorated with paired animals facing trees of life. It dates to the second half of the 19th century (€ 7.000 - 8.500).

A 'Reed Screen' from around 1900, a Central Asian tent panel (Kirgizstan) made of reeds, constitutes another of this auction's rarities. The reeds were trimmed with cloth and have remained in good condition (estimate € 2.500 - 3.500).

Antique Caucasian carpets continue to be a popular collector's item. One fine such example is a Karagashli village carpet from the East Caucasus, dating to the mid.19th century. Measuring 322 x 120 cm, this large carpet comes from the Kuba Region and stands out for the excellent quality of its colours and its wool, the delicate knotting, and its unusual yellow border (€ 15.000 - 20.000).

Coming from Northwest Anatolia a Kum Kapi - an extremely densely knotted Armenian silk carpet from around 1910 - features 1,8 million knots per square meter and takes its name from the Istanbul district of Kum Kapi (€ 10.000 - 15.000).

In total, the auction presents 250 objects including an exceptional diversity of Caucasian carpets, from Central Asia, as well as from Persia and Turkey.

Auction: Oriental Carpets, Textiles and Tapestries, Thursday, 8th September 2011, 4:00 P.M.
Venue: Palais Dorotheum, Dorotheergasse 17, 1010 Vienna
Public Viewing: from 1st September 2011
Expert: Wolfgang Matschek, Tel. +43-1-515 60-271,
Press Office: Doris Krumpl, Tel. +43-1-515 60-406,

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