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January 22, 2006: Annual Dinner: Greens Restaurant
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February 8, 2006: AN INTRODUCTION TO IMPERIAL MING CARPETS: A Talk by Michael Franses (The Textile Gallery, London)
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February 13, 2006: TURKMEN OF THE MIDDLE AMU DARYA:   The Weavings of the Ersari and Other Tribal Beauties. Erik Risman
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April 19, 2006: Scientific Techniques in Oriental Carpet Studies. Dr. Jurg Rageth at the Sandra Whitman Gallery
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May 6, 2006: DeYoung Museum Gallery Tour Walk-Through of the Textile Galleries and the New Textile Study Center by Diane Mott, Curator of Textiles and Carpets, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Golden Gate Park

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September 28, 2006: Dragon Rugs of the Caucasus: Their Relationship and Context to Certain Persian Classical Rugs by Paul Ramsey

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Dr. Sumiyo Okumura

Date: Thursday January 5th, 2006 Place: Tony Kitz Oriental Carpet Gallery 2843 Clay Street, San Francisco

The term "chintamani" derives from the Sanskrit word chintamani which comes from esoteric Buddhist philosophy. It means the treasure ball or the wish-granting jewel. It is also the name of the well-known Ottoman three dots and stripes motif. It appears that this came into Turkey with the Turkic peoples who brought their own cultures based on Buddhism, Shamanism, and Manism when they migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia. In the Inner Asian cultures, patterned animal skins like the tiger and leopard were representations of courage and strength and were important symbols for the rulers. It is possible to think that the Chintamani motif in the beginning emerged from Buddhist culture and philosophy but later was adapted by the Turks who mixed it with the animal skin motifs as symbols of power. In the Ottoman period these motifs became very popular as representations of power and royalty on textiles, carpets and in all other Ottoman arts. In time, the Chintamani motif lost its connotation of power and royalty and became just a decorative design. Today it is used with favor as one of the most popular traditional Turkish design motifs.

Peter Poullada

About the Speaker:

Dr. Okumura is an Istanbul-based Art Historian who has been studying and publishing scholarly research on Ottoman Art History since 1988. She received her B.A. in  Ottoman History and Turkish languages from Doshisha University in Japan in 1992, studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Marmara Univeristy in Istanbul from 1995 to 1998 and received her Ph.D from Marmara University in 2003, where she wrote her Dissertation on "The Influence of Turkish Culture on Mamluke Carpets". She has worked in the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, at the Textile Department of the Topkapi Palace Museum under Prof. Hulya Tezcan and curated the exhibition on "Turkish Art through the Eyes of Japanese Women" at the Yildiz Palace in Istanbul in July 2005. She has written extensively on the topic of Turkish Art and especially Ottoman Carpets and Textiles including articles in Oriental Carpets and Textile Studies volumes VI and VII. She gave a similar lecture on the Chintamani motif to the Ninth ICOC in Milan in September 1999 and on Mamluke Carpets at the Tenth ICOC in Washington D.C. in April 2003.



The SFBARS Annual Dinner returns to Greens Restaurant at Fort Mason in San Francisco, January 22nd, 2006. Reception will begin at 6 PM and dinner will be served at 7 PM. Tickets to the event are $45 per person payable to SFBARS. Please send your checks to: Marcia Roberts, Membership Director, 4596 Deercreek Lane, Concord, CA 94521 As previously announced, at this year’s dinner instead of featuring a speaker we are inaugurating a silent auction of pieces from the collections of past president John Sommers and longtime member and former treasurer Jo Stubblebine. Together these auction items comprise an unusually eclectic collection, with pieces from almost every continent, and they will be available exclusively at the annual dinners for members and their guests. This will be a rare opportunity to acquire interesting pieces. Proceeds will go to support future SFBARS activities.


AN INTRODUCTION TO IMPERIAL MING CARPETS: A Talk by Michael Franses (The Textile Gallery, London) Wednesday, February 8, 2006 Reception 6:30, Talk 7-8 PM  de Young Museum, San Francisco Koret Auditorium

Co-Sponsored by The Textile Department of the M. H. deYoung Memorial Museum, TAC (The Textile Arts Council of the deYoung), and SFBARS.

The knotted pile carpet has been part of Chinese culture for at least two thousand years, yet probably fewer than six hundred Chinese carpets survive today from the so-called 'classical' period, 1400-1750. Because of their scarcity they remain virtually unknown to all but a relatively small number of people. Until recently it was believed that most of the surviving classical Chinese carpets remained in western institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Textile Museum in Washington DC and a few other museums, as well as a number of private collections in Europe and the US.

Possibly the most important group is comprised of carpets that were made, probably in Beijing, in the sixteenth century specifically for the Royal Palaces. Some sixteen examples survive in western collections, along with a number of fragments. These carpets have a particularly heavy weave - knotted with a pile of hairy sheep wool that resembles camel hair, and mostly on silk warps with cotton wefts - and a specific range of designs. The first known depiction of such a carpet appears in a portrait of the Hongwu emperor (r. 1368-1398): the field design is composed of a narrow central band divided into square compartments, each square having a central floral medallion and corner pieces. Many others are shown in Imperial paintings, one of the most famous of which is a portrait of the young Kangxi emperor (r. 1661-1722) seated at his writing desk. Shown on the floor is a typical red ground Ming carpet with dragons.

After the Forbidden City was occupied by the foreign powers in 1900, the entire palace was photographed by command of the Japanese Royal Family. Many of these photographs show the Ming carpets covering the floors of the Imperial Halls. In later photographs, the Ming carpets can only be seen on the raised throne platforms, and the floors are bare. In 2000, the speaker went to Beijing in search of the Imperial Ming carpets. A number of leads suggested that they might be in the upper floor of a storeroom, once Kangxi's Imperial Kitchen, which was sealed in the 1920s. The director granted permission for the seals to be broken and some forty Imperial Ming carpets that had been placed there eighty years before were re-discovered. As the wraps on each were removed they were re-awoken like sleeping beauties.

The Palace Museum in Beijing has more than a hundred carpets dating from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries in its collection, including about sixty that were made before 1750 and fall within the classical period. The brightness, immense scale and monumentality of their designs would have enhanced the splendour of the palace when they were in their original positions.

Michael Franses is currently working with curators at the Palace Museum on a book that will bring together all the known Ming Imperial Palace carpets. He will present images of many of these and discuss the various types and designs.

(The talk will be held in the Koret Auditorium of the Museum.  Attendees should enter through the Education Entrance on the Concourse level on the East side of the building near the tower.  The Museum advises parking on JFK and walking through the "Garden of Enchantment" as the garage will be closed.)


Michael Franses Speaks on Imperial Ming Carpets

On February 8th under the joint sponsorship of SFBARS, the Friends of Asian Art, the Textile Department of the deYoung Museum and TAC (Textile Arts Council), Michael Franses presented an illustrated talk on the Imperial Ming carpets reposing in the Palace Museum, Beijing.  The talk was given at the Koret auditorium of the de Young Museum.

  The most spectacular of these carpets are the group known as the large knot carpets.  These carpets have been known in the west since the Boxer Rebellion, when J. P. Morgan purchased one de-accessioned by the Imperial family.  In the 70s several carpets of this group came on the market via Edelmann Galleries and in the 90s the PRC sold several through Christie’s New York.  Mr. Franses, working with the staff of the Palace Museum gained access to a storeroom sealed in the 1920s.  The room contained a large quantity of these rugs.  Mr. Franses showed images of some of these rugs which were as large as 50' x 50' and in a variety of unknown designs to date.  Mr. Franses was able to relate some of these carpets and those in the West to specific locations within the various Palaces based upon their irregular shapes. 

  Of particular interest was a carpet which had brilliant red sections where furniture had sat, indicating that the carpets were originally crimson and had oxidized when exposed to light and air.  When viewed as red rugs and considering the newly disclosed designs, it appears possible to relate some of these rugs to rugs depicted in portraits of the Imperial family.

  In addition to the large knot carpets Mr. Franses discussed other Ming carpet patterns and showed images of floral and geometric patterns.  There is a large group of floral Ming carpets in the Palace Museum which are not generally known in the West and which should tie Chinese carpets to western carpet traditions of the 16th and 17th centuries.

  Somewhere between 120 and 150 people attended the talk making it probably the most widely attended museum talk in the Museum’s history.  SFBARS was the instigator of the talk and the joint sponsorship.  It is hoped that this will be the first of many jointly sponsored talks between various entities and organizations with overlapping interests.

  Sandra Whitman



TURKMEN OF THE MIDDLE AMU DARYA:   The Weavings of the Ersari and Other Tribal Beauties. Erik Risman
Monday February 13
Krimsa Gallery
2190 Union St. San Francisco
tel 415-441-4321
Gather at 6:30 PM, Talk at 7 PM
Slide presentation and Show and Tell

As part of SFBARS ongoing exploration of  rapidly developing research in the area of Central Asian tribal weaving we present a more detailed look at the fascinating, confusing and stylistically eclectic weavings from the Turkmen tribes of the Middle Amu Darya (the Oxus River). These Turkmen  inhabited a strip of land 20-30 miles wide and 200 miles long along the middle reaches of the river, south from the town of Chardjui (now in Uzbekistan) up river to the river crossing at Kelif in Northern Afghanistan.

For many years the weavings from this region have presented a puzzle to carpet  reseachers because of their lack of consistency and seemingly heterogeneous use of patterns, colors and palates. They seem to violate evey rule of tribal attribution that has been built up over decades of research into Turkmen carpets. As a result the rug trade terms used to describe these weavings, either "Ersari" or "Beshir", have been known to be inadequate and probably  misleading. The leading Russsian scholars like Moshkova, Prikulieva, and Elena Tsareva have always tried to avoid using the label "Ersari" and have been propounding the term "Middle Amu Darya" for these weavings, recognizing that we do not know exactly which tribes actually wove all these pieces. More recently researchers and collectors have begun trying to categorize and sort out the confusing diversity of these Turkmen weavings and even suggest that some of them are of non-Turkmen origins, perhaps Uzbek, Kirghiz and even other Central Asian tribal groups.

As a collector of these Middle Amu Darya weavings I have been convinced for some time that it would be useful to look more closely at the Russian ethnographic literature on the region and to propose a basic distinction between weavings from the left or southern bank of the river from those of the right or northern bank. Thus the regional terms like Beshir, Burdalyk and Khojambas (all names of districts and towns on the right bank) could be attached to one group of these weavings. In turn it is undoubtedly the case that more than 30 different Turkmen tribes have inhabited  the left bank since the mid 17th century and by no means were the Ersari the only ones found along the river.

The process of piecing together the tribal ethno-history of this fascinating region and concurrently sorting, analyzing and categorizing the weavings that up to now have been so carelessly mis-labeled "Ersari" is proceeding, and Erik Risman is one of the most dedicated collectors and researchers in this effort. In his talk Erik will show slides of some of his own Middle Amu Darya Turkmen weavings as well as others he has found in his research from collections in the USA, England as well as museums like the Textile Museum, etc. He will try to lay out some of the main features of the Middle Amu Drya  weaving group, both in terms of designs and technical characteristics and try to relate them to some of the basic history and ethnography of the region.

  Eric’s talk will be followed by a SHOW and TELL of some of his pieces as well as a number from Peter Poullada's collection. SFBARS Members who have so-called "Ersari" or Beshir pieces or any Turkmen weaving that is a mystery to them are encouraged to bring them along. Keep in mind that generally any Turkmen piece that cannot be easily identified as belonging to one of the well-known tribal groups like Tekke, Salor, Saryk or Yomud gets labeled in the rug trade as "Ersari", so the confusion provides a lot of ground for discussion and study.

  Peter Poullada

About the Speaker

Erik Risman is President of the Indianapolis Rug Society and has been an avid collector of Middle Amu Darya Turkmen weavings for a number of years. He has been active in organizing the ACOR conferences in Indianapolis in 2002, Seattle in 2004 and Boston 2006. He has been a speaker at both the 2002 and 2004 ACOR and is famous for his exhibitions of Turkmen weavings "From the Cedar Chest".

More recently he gave talks on Middle Amu Darya Turkmen Carpets at the New England Rug Society in Boston. He is presently organizing a panel discussion on the subject for the Boston ACOR and jointly with Peter Poullada  is engaged in an attempt to compile a comprehensive catalogue of all Middle Amu Darya tribal weavings in museum and private collections in the USA and Europe. Risman and Poullada hope to provide an initial overview of this research to the Istanbul ICOC in March 2007 which will hopefully emerge as a fully illustrated catalogue.



Scientific Techniques in Oriental Carpet Studies

Dr. Jurg Rageth

  Wednesday April 19th, Sandra Whitman Gallery, 361 Oak Street, tel 415-437-2402
Gather at 6:30, talk and slide presentation to begin at 7PM 

  Continuing the SFBARS exploration of developing research and new methodologies in carpet studies we are pleased to bring the leading researcher in the field of scientific tools used to determine the age of textiles and carpets. "How old is it?" This always seems a pressing question yet one whose answer is difficult to verify scientifically. Now with the latest research methodologies scholars like Dr. Rageth are beginning to show that we might actually be able to determine with some accuracy the age of our carpets.

Most collectors have developed their own, deeply felt but largely unscientific methods for determining the age of a carpet. Yet their true age is extremely difficult to determine and usually involves no more than passing along what the previous owner, or a dealer, has suggested. Depending on the type of carpet, we are usually satisfied with estimating which century it might be from: for Anatolian weavings, anywhere from 16th to 19th, for Kilims and Persian carpets, 19th or 20th. Only with Turkmen carpets have the Turkomaniacs managed to convince us that they can tell if it is pre-1750, late 18th century, early 19th century, first half 19th, mid 19th century or late 19th century. And then there are those who seem happy to throw out specific dates: the phrase,  circa 1875,  seems to be a favorite among many Turkmen dealers and self-proclaimed “experts".

Many of the beliefs about Central Asian carpet dating are based on the approximate dates when synthetic dyes were introduced to the Bukharan Khanate. But even that supposed watershed date (circa 1875) is highly suspect. There are a number of supposedly earlier carpets with some use of aniline dyes, just as there are many Turkmen carpets from the early 20th century with all-vegetal or insect dyes. Typically collectors’ feelings about the age of their pieces have also been influenced by such qualitative variables as “handle", "dryness", or visual clues based on design evolution or other art historical methods. Dr. Rageth will help us explore several alternative methods to these “fuzzy logic” attempts at dating. Admitedly, some of these methords are still controversial, having been greeted by some collectors and scholars with scepticism. But this is part of what makes the topic interesting and worthy of our attention.

  Dr. Rageth is one of the pioneers in applying the scientific tools of radio carbon dating (C-14). His research has shown that this technique, while not to be relied on exclusively, can add significant insights when used in combination with other less evidence-based techniques and with art-historical approaches. Included in his talk will be some description and discussion of the scientific identification of insect dyes and the way they have been used by the Turkmen weavers of Central Asia. He will show how the use of insect dyes changed over time and how these natural materials were eventually replaced by synthetic alternatives.

We look forward to a stimulating and educational talk that will expand our horizons in the field of carpet studies in the 21st century. 

Show and Tell: Dr. Rageth is especially interested in examples of very old Turkmen carpets and Turkish kilims.

  About the Speaker:

  Dr. Jurg Rageth is head of the Basel, Switzerland Rug society, the "Freunde des Orientteppichs".  Based in the nearby town of Riehen, he has been involved in the field of radiocarbon dating since 1995. He has published several articles on this subject and has provided dates to a number of the carpets now found in the deYoung Museum collection. His presentation to SFBARS represents part of his recent research for a forthcoming publication on Turkmen carpets of Central Asia. He has organized several carpet and textile symposia for the Basel Rug Society which have been published under his imprint.


DeYoung Museum Gallery Tour Walk-Through of the Textile Galleries and the New Textile Study Center

Diane Mott, Curator of Textiles and Carpets
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

  Saturday May 6th
De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco
  Assemble at the East side door entrance at 9:15AM Tour to start at 9:30 AM, finish at approx. 11:30 AM

       On May 6th Diane Mott, Curator of Textiles and Carpets for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, will lead us on a walk-through of the Textile Gallery at the brand new de Young museum. Tour members will be treated to a view of the opening exhibition, which features a cross-section of the museum’s most outstanding textiles. In addition she will take SFBARS members backstage into the rest of the textile complex. This includes a Textile Education Gallery, open to the public and containing a selection of study textiles related to those on view in the main gallery; the Textile Study Room, stocked with a growing library of books and reference journals on textiles and carpets, which will be open by appointment for serious research and education; state-of-the-art conservation laboratories; and two costume and textile storage areas.  NOTE: Due to the limited space in the galleries this tour will be limited to 25 participants. Reservations are required and will be taken on a first come, first served basis, only up to the 21st of April. All reservations should be made with SFBARS Membership Director, Marcia Roberts, tel. 415-773-5562.

  For those of you who are members of the Fine Arts Museums or the de Young, please bring along your membership cards to be shown at the ticket counter. Anyone who is not a museum member will need to purchase a one day entrance ticket prior to starting the Tour. Non-museum members can purchase their tickets online through the museum's website, www.thinker.org. Go to "De Young", then "Visit the Museum", then "Tickets". When you make your reservation with Marcia Roberts, please inform her whether or not you are a member of the Museum.

Those attending should meet inside near the LCD monitors on the east wall of the museum, across from the ticket counter. The tour will last an hour and a half to two hours. Afterward SFBARS members are free to wander the rest of the museum or to enjoy lunch at the museum café overlooking the sculpture garden.

  Parking. SFBARS members are advised to arrive early and park in the underground public parking garage beneath the museum. It is accessible from Fulton Street at 10th Avenue.   




SUNDAY, June 4

Due to unusually rainy weather we are meeting at Jim Dixon’s Occidental retreat later than usual this year. But we’ll have the usual good food, conversation, and beautiful sights in the bucolic west Sonoma county setting. Jim Dixon is an SFBARS board member and rug collector par excellence. Jim's vast and important rug collection, featured in Hali 109, is a sight to behold. Visitors will see museum quality pieces in an architectural milieu created specifically to display and enhance them. One is overwhelmed by the power of many exceptionally large 16th, 17th and 18th century carpets. These early carpets have been arranged in individual alcoves by geographical area: Western Turkish; Ersari Beshire; North and South Caucasian; Classical and Village Persian rugs and fragments.

Last year people particularly enjoyed a grouup of Turkish rugs Jim brought out of storage. This year expect to see a similar but different group of wonderful Village rugs.

The event includes a light buffet luncheon. Please be prepared to remove shoes upon entering the house--you might want to bring slippers or an extra pair of socks. A professional landscaper, Jim also has a luxurious garden (including several small lakes) that complements his rugs in intriguing ways. Hope to see all of you there!

For Directions consult your newsletter.


Dragon Rugs of the Caucasus:

Their Relationship and Context to Certain Persian Classical Rugs

Paul Ramsey

Thursday, September 28th,2006 at Krimsa gallery:

2190 Union Street
San Francisco

6:30 PM Reception
7:15‹9:00 PM Talk The dragon rugs of the Caucasus, in all their beauty and majesty, are poorly understood. Various authors have suggested origins for these rugs, and those speculations reflect the interest in these pieces - as well as our lack of knowledge. This talk relates these dragon rugs to certain classical Iranian rugs, and it is within this context that the picture becomes clearer. The present approach attempts to do that.

In general, the earlier authors have attributed the dragon rugs to the Caucasus. While Christopher Alexander speculated that they came from eastern Turkey, and John Wertime and Richard Wright postulated these rugs were woven in north-west Iran, they did so with some reasoning but little evidence. The dragon rugs in fact are part of other contemporaneous weaving traditions in Iran, and fit within this context based on design structure and weaving technique. Further, historical evidence suggests that while these rugs were woven as a part of other traditions in Iran, that it is likely that they were not woven within what is now geographically Iran but rather in nearby areas then under the suzerainty of Iran - likely Karabagh or adjacent areas north of the Araxes River.

Two groups of Iranian rugs of the 16th through 18th Centuries had a lattice-work pattern as their principal distinguishing characteristic. They are the Œvase carpets,¹ thought to from the Kirman area, and the Khorasan lattice carpets from northeast Iran. There were other characteristics as well, but the main one- this lattice system was originally based on the ogival form, evident in the vase carpets but more difficult to see in the Khorasan rugs. It is also difficult to ascertain the ogival form within the lattice system of the dragon rugs, but a careful analysis yields this result. This similarity between these three groups is reinforced by other design elements, in particular a vocabulary of grand palmettes which they all share.

In weaving style, the highly depressed warps of the vase carpets and those of the dragon rugs is similar, but what makes their structure unmistakably close is the use of a wefting peculiarity - the use of a heavy, corded weft used at intervals. Where this weft-cord is used, there is no simultaneous, sinuous or meandering weft, with a resulting distinctive wear pattern on the surface of the carpet.


Paul Ramsey is a principal in Shaver-Ramsey in Denver, as well as one in KRIMSA in San Francisco. He has lectured widely and has made presentations at various conferences, including ICOC and ACOR. He was a founder of ACOR, and served as its first president after incorporation. He teaches a yearly short course on rugs, The Magic Carpet Ride, and collects rugs of Daghestan, and small domestic embroideries of Turkmen and related groups. He resides in Denver and San Francisco.


Past meetings

Seccade, Part Two:

Anatolian Prayer Kilims

April 23, 2008

Reception Begins at 6:30 pm Presentation and Show and Tell: 7:15 – 9:00 pm Peter Pap Gallery 470 Jackson Street, San Francisco Telephone: 415-956-3300

As a follow-up to our well-received presentation on Anatolian prayer carpets, SFBARS will look at the variety of “seccade” prayer kilims from Anatolia. Our host Peter Pap and I will present some examples, lead the discussion, and encourage our members to show some pieces from their collections.

Unlike most prayer carpets, which tended to be reserved for use in mosques, kilim seccade were often made for personal use in the home or were portable. While most of the pile seccade were made in well known weaving workshops associated with the major towns of Anatolia, the prayer kilims were made almost anywhere. For this reason there is much greater stylistic variation in kilim seccade, and therefore they are much harder to attribute to a specific geographic location. Nevertheless, dealers and a variety of books on kilims have provided us with many precise labels. I suggest that these enable us to divide prayer kilims into several subdivisions.

One group is prayer kilims from Western Anatolia. Interestingly, the locations we usually associate with pile prayer rugs, like Melas, Ushak, Bergama and Kula, etc., are not commonly associated with kilim seccade. Instead we hear about Afyon, Dazkiri, Eskishehir, Mihalicik, Aydin, and Sivrihisar, towns somewhat further into the interior of Anatolia and away from the major coastal commercial areas. In addition there are the “Yoruk” weavings from the nomadic Turkmen tribes around Balikesir and Denizli, which are normally labeled as “Yuncu” or “Aydinli.” We will show off a classic Sivrihisar stepped prayer kilim, which exemplifies the weavings of this west Anatolian group, and may represent the seven layers of heaven.

Another group of flat woven seccade is considered to be from central Anatolia, especially from the towns and Sufi shrine centers that ring the central Konya plateau: Corum, Elmadag, Cankiri, Kayseri, Mut, and Cumra. Of this group the most recognizable weavings are the well known kilim seccades from Obruk, with their totemic antlers and snake motifs.

Southern and southwestern weavings are influenced by Arab or Kurdish aesthetics, as distinct from the more northerly seccade from the headwaters of the Tigris, Euphrates and Aras rivers. The northern kilims use more floral motifs and a softer palette. Most recognizable prayer kilims from this region are labeled Erzerum or Kars, but should more accurately be called Bayburt, Kagizman, Zara, and Gumushane. Interestingly, there seem to be no seccades from the Kurdish tribes around Van.

Other weaving centers were Sivas and Malatya. We will examine closely a group of seccade kilims from a region south of Kayseri, known as Yahyali. This summer pastureland for nomadic tribes was the ‘yurt’ of the Afshar tribes in the 14th-15th centuries, and the weavers of Yahyali are well-known in the 20th century for their pile carpets woven with a distinctive purple hue. Their kilims are less well-known but also quite distinctive. We will bring along a good map of Turkey to help us identify the weaving centers, as well as some books that illustrate other examples of seccade kilims.

SHOW AND TELL: We encourage SFBARS members to show off their own seccade kilims or other Anatolian weavings, whether you know their origin or not. Bring in your favorite piece and let us all enjoy it. Peter Pap may find some examples from his inventory and certainly will contribute his discerning eye to help us appreciate the weaving magic of Anatolian kilims.

S. Peter Poullada


We still have not received dues renewals from about 40 members. We will be sending out final reminders shortly. If you are not sure if you have renewed or not, please contact our Membership Director, Jacqueline Van Lang, at the email address provided below. We will continue to send out newsletters and announcement to everyone for the next two events, but starting in September we will only be sending newsletters to members who have paid their dues.



May 14. “A Zagros Mountain Showdown.” Simonian Gallery, San Mateo. Our theme will be weavings of the tribes of southwestern Iran. Show and tell plus a viewing of the movie People of the Wind about the Bakhtiari migrations. This is jointly hosted by The Armenian Rug Society. Details to follow later this month.


June 22. Annual picnic at Jim Dixon’s carpet palace in Occidental, California. Once again this will be a pot-luck. Please contact Nancy Sheppard, 415 315 8285 or nashesf@sbcglobal.net, to volunteer a dish

(appetizer, main course, dessert, etc.).

Members: If you know of upcoming lectures, exhibitions, etc. of potential interest to the SFBARS membership, please send the information to elizabeth.shedd@att.net.

I enthusiastically urge those who haven't yet been to the Turkmen show at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, to do so.

First and formost it's a wonderful selection of the classic rugs made by various Turkmen tribes (Salor, Yomud, Chodor, Arabatchi,Tekke, middle Amu Darya (aka Beshire). These rugs are primarily from the important Wiedersperg, McCoy Jones and Hecksher collections.

Superb examples of the various types are on display, including a main carpet and bridal trapping from the Salor tribe, a velvety striped storage bag from the Amu Darya area, and several small door cover/prayer rugs from Tekke, Yomud, Arabatchi and Besire.

There is also an occasional eyeopening surprise. Four rugs stand out in this regard--a "c gul" Yomud with bold, beautiful spacing, carbon dated 1642-1682, a Yomud bridal camel trapping with a large cloud band covering its field, an eclectic rug with various guls and a trefoil border, knot opened to the left, that is hard to place--all from the Hecksher collection.

A playful and colorful "Beshire" from the Eiland collection also stands out with it's myriad spinning and floral forms in yellows, light blues and greens all on a brilliant red field.

We hope more such exceptional exhibits will be forthcoming! Thanks to all who made the show possible!



Next Meeting

From Mughal Court to Turkmen Tradition The Mughal Floral Style and Its Manifestation in Turkmen Weavings

Speaker: Jurg Rageth, Past President, Basel Rug Society

March 5, 2008, Krimsa Gallery
2190 Union Street, San Francisco
Reception 6:30 pm, Slide Lecture 7:15-8:30
Show and Tell: Turkmen Floral Weavings

We are pleased to have Jurg Rageth, one of the cutting-edge researchers in Central Asian carpets, return to the Bay Area to give us his ideas on the origins of Turkmen carpets. This is particularly appropriate given the deYoung Museum’s current exhibit which I hope everyone has had a chance to see at least once. That exhibit shows off several “Middle Amu Darya” weavings (once the so-called “Ersari”) that incorporate floral and other Persianate designs, the most famous of which is the Mina Khani pattern. There is no doubt that the classical Persian garden carpets had an influence on the weavers of the Middle Amu Darya.

Jurg summarizes his talk as follows:

The origin of Turkmen carpet design is a delicate subject. The rich variety of designs in the Turkmen tradition has often been noted. It has been suggested that some patterns reach back to Bronze Age Namazga III pottery from Karatepe in Northeast Khurasan. In addition to indigenous patterns, diverse foreign influences have occurred over a long period of time. One of the patterns that will be discussed is probably a much later addition to the canon of Turkmen carpet design.

We will cast light on a design element adapted relatively late from the Persian tradition. A single tent band (ak yup) and a small group of five early Turkmen carpets ( khali) will be considered. All examples contain an unusual flower design which, because of its rounded shapes and naturalistic forms, is somehow “out of place" in the repertoire of geometrical Turkmen carpet patterns. This talk will not only describe similarities of this Turkmen flower pattern to the mid 17th century Mughal flower style, but also suggest a contemporary date of production for two of the pieces. The impact of the 17th century Mughal flower style on later 18th and 19th century Yomut and Ersari weavings was probably much stronger than has usually been attributed.

About the Speaker: Jurg Rageth is an independent oriental carpet and textile researcher based in Richen, Switzerland. He has been involved with radiocarbon dating and dye analysis since 1995 and has published several articles on these subjects. This talk represents part of his recent work for a forthcoming publication on Turkmen carpets of Central Asia. As head of the Basel Rug Society he was the organizer of numerous carpet and textile symposia, which have been published under his imprint.

Forthcoming Events – Mark Your Calendars!

February through March. Oasis Imagery: Carpets from Gansu and East Turkestan at the gallery of SFBARS Board member Sandra Whitman. The exhibition will consist of some 30-40 pieces dating from the late 18th through the early 20th centuries. The exhibit will be set up so that Ningxia and Gansu carpets can be compared, and examples of Kashgar, Khotan, Aksu and Yarkand carpets will allow visitors easily to see the structural differences. There will be examples of RKO carpets from the various regions which will highlight structural, composition and stylistic and esthetic differences in the weaving groups. The exhibit will encompass large and small format avian carpets in medallion, pomegranate tree of life, coffered and uncoffered gul designs from Khotan along with a fabulous fake for education purposes. 361 Oak Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 (415-861-4477).

February 26, 2008, 7:00 pm. Gallery talk on “Oasis Imagery: Carpets from Gansu and East Turkestan.” Whitman Gallery, 361 Oak Street, San Francisco.

February 28, 2007, 10:30 am. Walk-through of exhibition, Oasis Imagery. Whitman Gallery, 361 Oak Street, San Francisco.

SFBARS Event March 5, 2008, Presentation by Jurg Rageth. Details above.

March 14, 2008, 6:30 pm. Good–Better--Best, Koret Auditorium of the DeYoung Museum. A panel on Turkmen carpet connoisseurship moderated by Seattle collector Fred Ingham. Panelists include S. Peter Poullada and Carol Bier. A lively discussion from three different points of view (collector, curator, and dealer) on what makes a carpet great versus merely good. Co-sponsored by SFBARS. For further information call Textile Department or Diane Mott at 415-750-7609.

March 22, 2008, 10:00 am. Design and Pattern in the Textile Arts of Central Asia. Speaker: Carol Bier, former curator at the Textile Museum in Washington DC. Textile Arts Council, Koret Auditorium, DeYoung Museum. For further information contact TAC website at tac@famsf.org or phone 415-750-3627.

SFBARS Event April 23 (Wednesday), 6:30 – 9:00 pm. Anatolian Prayer Kilims: Yahyali

Prayer Kilims from the Collection of Peter Poullada. Peter Pap Gallery, Jackson Street, San Francisco. A display and discussion followed by a show and tell of diverse Anatolian Prayer Kilims from the collections of Peter Pap and SFBARS Members. This is a follow up to the very successful discussion and show and tell in 2006 at Pap's Gallery on Anatolian prayer carpets.

SFBARS Event Mid May, (exact date to be determined): A Zagros Mountain Showdown, highlighting weavings from the tribes of the Zagros mountains of Iran, at Simonian Oriental Rugs in San Mateo. We will also try to show the 1970's movie People of the Wind about the Bakhtiyari tribal migration.


Woven Splendor from Timbuktu to Tibet. An exhibit and symposium celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the New York Hajji Baba Club. Opens April 11, 2008 at the NY Historical Society. For information on the exhibit and the lectures contact www.hajji75.org. Reservations are required for the gala reception and the symposium.

For long term planners, the date of the ACOR 9 conference has been set for Thursday, April 30, through Sunday, May 3, 2009, at the Millennium Hotel in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Watch their website www.acor-rugs.org for updates as plans develop.


Members: If you know of upcoming lectures, exhibitions, etc. of potential interest to the SFBARS membership, please send the information to elizabeth.shedd at att.net.

San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society
6 Muir Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94610



REMINDER - Annual Membership Dues/Renewal forms for SFBARS were sent out to all Members in January. Please take the time to fill out the form and post your check to Jacqueline Van Lang, our membership director, at 6 Muir Ave, Piedmont CA 94610. We have not received renewals from about 45 Members so far this year. We will be mailing Newsletters and announcements to EVERYONE for a few more months. Please don't fall off our subscription list.

We would like to increase the number of Members receiving Newsletters by e-mail. So we have offered a $5 discount for all those giving us this option. Please take advantage of it.

The Subscription/Renewal Form can be accessed and downloaded above. Thank you.

February 2008


February 6th, 2008, 6:30 pm. Inaugural lecture for the Caroline and McCoy Jones Memorial Lecture Series, “Revisiting the Turkmen: What Have We Learned Since 1980?” Speaker: Dr. Jon Thompson. Co-sponsored by SFBARS. Koret Auditorium, DeYoung Museum, San Francisco. Admission for all attendees: $15.

February 5 and 6, 2008. Special programs on Central Asian carpets at the DeYoung Museum. Dr. Jon Thompson will present two one-day programs on pieces from the museum’s collections. The first day will focus on Turkmen carpets not in the current exhibition. The second day will be devoted to non-Turkmen Central Asian rugs. This will be a great chance to learn about Central Asian weavings from one of the world’s leading experts. The fee is $250 per day; you may sign up for one day or both. For information and reservations (each day limited to 20 people), call the Textile Department at the de Young Museum, 415-750-7610.

February 8–10, 2008. Tribal and Textile Arts Show, Fort Mason, San Francisco. Opening night gala, Thursday, February 7th., benefits departments of textiles and arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas in the de Young Museum. All day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, exhibition by tribal and textile art dealers from around the world.

February 21, 2008, 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Opening reception for “Oasis Imagery: Carpets from Gansu and East Turkestan.” Whitman Gallery (of SFBARS Board member, Sandra Whitman), 361 Oak Street, San Francisco, 415-437-2402.

(The gallery is located on Oak Street between Laguna and Octavia Streets. While there is no public parking lot nearby, there is usually on-street parking after six pm along Gough, Laguna and Hayes. Please be sure to knock loudly on the door if you come late, as guests will have moved upstairs to the lecture room.)

February 22-23, 2008. Humanities West Conference, “The Enduring Legacy of Genghis Khan.” SFBARS will be one of the sponsors and members will receive a discount on tickets. Visiting speakers include Stefano Carboni, Curator of Islamic Art of the Metropolitan Museum, Prof. Morris Rossabi of Columbia University, Prof. Daniel Waugh, University of Washington. The conference will open the evening of February 22nd and then go all day on February 23rd. Contact patti@humanitieswest.org. As a pre-conference event, SFBARS member Prof. John Masson Smith will give a talk on Mongolian textiles.

February 24, 2008. And Another Companion Program: Sunday, 1 PM to 3 PM, "New Research on Early Inner Asian Nomads," with Daniel C. Waugh. A Silk Road House Presentation, Silk Road House, 1944 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705. Sponsored by the Silkroad Foundation. Phone: (510) 981-0700. E-mail: silkroadhouse-at-yahoo.com.

Future events

March 14, 2008. “Good –Better-Best,” an award winning interactive exploration of oriental carpets by Fred Ingham from the Seattle Textile Society. Co-sponsored by SFBARS. Koret Auditorium of the DeYoung Museum. More details to follow.

Mid-April. Anatolian prayer kilims, a discussion and show and tell at Peter Pap’s gallery on Jackson Street in San Francisco. Exact date and time to determined.


Occidental , CA
Sunday June 22, 200
Open House and Picnic Begin at 12:00 noon
Show and Tell From the Dixon Collection 2:00-4:00 pm

Jim Dixon continues his welcome support of SFBARS by inviting all members, their guests and our friends from the Armenian Rug Society to his Sonoma hilltop home and carpet palace on what we hope will be a fine weekend of good weather and flowers. Please join us June 22 and admire the lovely house, the carpets and the gardens. (Note one point of etiquette: We don’t wear street shoes in the house, but socks and slippers are fine.)

In order to reduce the demands on Jim’s hospitality we are organizing the event this year as a potluck luncheon. Paper and plastic picnic supplies and basic beverages will be provided, and we’ll set up a container for recycling. Members are requested to bring savory or sweet foods: quiches, dips, Middle Eastern foods, finger foods, pasta salads, savory breads, cheese, fruit, pies, cakes and other sweets.

To coordinate the food we ask that you RSVP by calling Nancy Sheppard (415-315-8285), leaving your name and number and what you would like to bring, or sending her an email at nancy.a.sheppard@jpmorgan.com by Tuesday June 18th. Nancy will confirm to members by phone or email, once she has RSVPs and suggested dishes to make sure we don’t all bring the same thing! It helps if earlier arrivals bring main courses and savories, while later arrivals bring desserts.

Program. Jim will be digging into his always tempting storerooms to show us some fascinating treasures. We will try to start promptly at 2 pm.

This will be our last event for the 2007-2008 Season but we will start up next fall with two events in September.


Saturday, September 6. Symposium on Turkmen Culture and Ethno-history. To mark the closing of the DeYoung Museum’s exhibit on Turkmen carpets, SFBARS will be co-sponsoring a full day of presentations from scholars specializing in Turkmen culture and history.

Koret Auditorium, approximate times: 10 am-4 pm.

September 22 or 23. “The Weavings of the Tribal Nomads of Anatolia.” Speaker: Harald Bohmer. Location and details to follow. Dr. Bohmer’s latest book, Nomads in Anatolia. Encounters with a Vanishing Culture, with contributions by Josephine Powell and Dr. Serife Atlihan, newly published in English, may be obtained from Samy Rabinovic, 110 S. Front Street, Unit 500, Philadelphia, PA 19106, NomadsofAnatolia@aol.com. Price for rug society members is $140 plus $14 for shipping and handling.



September Newsletter 2008

Next Meeting

Harald Bohmer
Nomads in Anatolia - Their Life and Their Textiles: Encounters with a Vanishing Culture.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008, Emmet Eiland Gallery
1326 Ninth Street (near Gilman), Berkeley
Refreshments at 6:30 p.m. Presentation at 7:15 p.m.

The lifestyles and textiles of the nomadic peoples of Anatolia evolved from a long tradition, beginning with the first immigration of the Turkmen tribes from Central Asia into Asia Minor in the 14th century. These pastoral peoples changed the farmland of the Byzantines into pastureland. They created a variety of woven objects for both daily and ceremonial use, including many kinds of portable housing, as well as trappings for animals and the storage of their household possessions. In some areas of Turkey, camel trains were a still a common sight up through the late 20th century.

For many years, Dr. Bohmer, along with his colleague, ethnographer and photographer Josephine Powell, traveled with these nomads, collecting and photographing their textiles. Dr. Bohmers talk, in conjunction with his book, The Nomads of Anatolia, will cover specific tribes and give an overview of their daily lives, their historic winter and summer migration routes and encampments, and the textiles that they wove, including kilims, saddle and storage bags, bands, and felts. He will also discuss their current settled situations, and the future of nomadism in Anatolia.

A native of Germany, Dr. Harald Bohmer is a renowned international expert in natural dyes, and was instrumental in re-introducing their use in the revival of naturally-dyed carpet production in the 1980s in Turkey and other carpet-producing countries. While teaching chemistry at the German high school in Istanbul, Dr. Bohmer became fascinated with the colors in antique carpets in local museums. Under the auspices of the German National Development Service he researched and tested organic dye sources. He has been a guest lecturer at Marmara University in Istanbul, head of the Marmara Universitesi Laboratory for Natural Dyes, founder of the DOBAG natural dye carpet project, and General Adviser to the DOBAG project. He has presented many papers at specialist conferences, created videofilms on nomads in Turkey and natural dyes worldwide. He has published numerous articles and three books: "Rugs of the Nomads and Peasants in Anatolia" (in cooperation with Werner Brggemann), 1982; "KOEKBOYA - Natural Dyes and Textiles - A Colour Journey from Turkey to India and Beyond, (in cooperation with Nevin Enez, Recep Karadag and Charllotte Kwon), 2002; and "Nomads in Anatolia - their Life and their Textiles - Encounters with a Vanihsing Culture (in cooperation with Josephine Powell and Serife Atlihan), 2008.

Dr. Bohmer invites SFBARS members to bring examples of natural-dyed nomadic Turkish kilims, carpets, trappings and textiles for show and tell.

Whats Ahead for SFBARS in 2008-2009

November 12th. S.Peter Poullada, Weavings of the Middle Amu Darya Turkmen: New Findings from the MAD Research Project. I hope to schedule this at Krimsa (Paul, please note!)

December 7th. Annual Dinner and Silent Auction of the John Sommer Collection, tentatively scheduled forSunday evening at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.

February 4 or 5, 2009. A visiting Speaker in conjunction with the Tribal Arts Show. Topic will be weavings of the Bakhtiyari and otherSouth PersianTribes. (We will coordinate the date with the Textile Arts Council and deYoung Museumto avoid conflicting with the Jones Memorial Lecture.)

March 10, 2009. New Acquisitons Show and Tell and Moth Market. Members will have the chance to show off their pieces and, if they wish, offer them for sale or trading. To be held at Eilands in Berkeley.

Mid-April. Joint event with the Armenian Rug Society at Simonian Gallery in San Mateo. Speaker to be arranged in coordination with the ARS.

End of May (probably the 24th). Annual visit to Jim Dixon's carpet palace in Occidental.



Oriental Carpets in Early Renaissance Paintings:

A New Interpretation

Lauren Arnold

Co-sponsored with the West Coast Chapter of the Armenian Rugs Society

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rugs & Carpets, Inc.
931 North Amphlett Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94401
(Formerly Simonian Oriental Rugs Same venue, different name and different address number)

Refreshments at 7:00 p.m. Presentation at 7:30 p.m.

Join art historian Lauren Arnold for an evening of visual delights, in her digital presentation of Renaissance paintings done before 1500 that include splendid oriental carpets. Lauren will discuss her new theory on the origin and meaning of animal carpets in these paintings. (Hint: she thinks they're Armenian!)

Lauren Arnold is an independent scholar and a research fellow with the Ricci Institute at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of Princely Gifts and Papal Treasures: The Franciscan Mission to China and Its Influence on the ARt of the West 1250-1350. HJer lecture for us grew out of research she is completing for a companion volume to Princely Gifts.

Everyone is encouraged to bring related old rugs or fragments for a show and tell after the presentation. Attendees are invited to bring books as well as textiles that may related to the topic.

Directions to Rugs & Carpets, Inc.

Gallery is next door to "Simonian Rugs," which has a large, visible sign. Coming from the north, take the Poplar Ave. Exit (417) off of Highway 101 and turn right onto N. Amphlett Blvd. Rugs and Carpets is about 1/2 mile down. Coming from the south take the Peninsula Exit from Highway 101, go over the overpass, turn right onto Humboldt at the first light, go right on Bays Water, and make a right onto N. Amphlett (the frontage road) at the stop sign.

For further information, please call (650) 343-8585 or visit the Armenian Rugs society website at


A further plea for HELP !

Dues paying membership has been falling steadily for several years now and we are down from around 200 Members to around 130 at present. This will begin to effect how many events we can put on in a given year and we would like to reach out better to the Bay Area Community. As I said in the last Newsletter, we need to find dedicated members willing to take active roles. I need help in identifying speakers, finding venues and organizing events.

We need more people involved in Membership, soon we will need a new Treasurer when Pat Leiser our long serving and suffering Treasurer finally steps down. And at some point we will need a new President !! SFBARS celebrated its 25th year in the past year and my goal is to create an organization that is dynamic and self-sustaining that will go on to celebrate another 25 years.. PLEASE, get involved, join the Board, and help out.

Contact me ( 415-602-0709 ) or by email ( sppoullada@sbcglobal.net) or, if you would like, get in touch with any of the current Board Members:

Pat Leiser, Sandra Whitman, Jim Dixon, Bob Dunn, Marcia Roberts, or Rene Rausin

Your participation will be much appreciated.

Peter Poullada
President. (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((