Orient Stars 2

Saturday 02. October 2021 at 6 p.m.

98 Lots
  • Orient Stars 2

    The "Orient Stars" collection assembled by E. Heinrich and Waltraut Kirchheim is one of the most important rug compilations in the world. Consistently targeting objects of art historic and cultural importance, it rivals the holdings of major museums. On the occasion of the 7th International Conference on Oriental Carpets held in Hamburg in the summer of 1993, the entire collection then comprising 218 objects was exhibited for the first time at the Deichtorhallen. The magnificent book "Orient Stars. A Carpet Collection" was published at the same time and has since become a milestone in rug literature. The exhibition later travelled from Hamburg to Stuttgart where it was on show at the Linden-Museum for two months.

    Publication of their treasured carpets marked a high point in the collecting lives of the Kirchheims, but at the same time it was a hiatus and a departure from the rug groups that had attracted their interest in the beginning. Like so many other collectors, they had initially focused on 19th century Caucasian rugs. Their purchase of the "Bellini" carpet in 1986, which Heinrich Kirchheim first called a "fling", turned out to be a momentous decision. It opened the door for the Kirchheims to the fascinating world of historic Anatolian rugs. They now expanded their compilation with a view to this new collecting field which gradually came to replace their previous preferences. The Kirchheims acquired Anatolian kilims and village rugs of the so-called “yellow group”. The 1990 exhibition of the collection compiled by the American architect Christopher Alexander, comprising early and largely fragmented carpets, had a profound influence on Heinrich Kirchheim, heralding a change in paradigms. After meeting the Kirchheims at the TEFAF fair in Maastricht, Michael Franses invited the couple to Istanbul for a museum tour in September 1991. Nazan Ölçer, who at the time was the director of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul, made it possible for them to view the best and oldest pieces in the museum. The Vakiflar Museum and the Topkapi Museum also opened their storerooms. This journey and the intense impressions of early Turkish carpets it gave them had a deep impact on the Kirchheims and became a defining moment in their lives. From then on their collecting activities focused on early Anatolian tribal rugs, and the Kirchheims went in search of the best and earliest examples that were still available or would emerge from time to time. While the preparations for the publication and the Hamburg and Stuttgart exhibitions were underway, Heinrich Kirchheim was tirelessly hunting for further gems and began to conceive a second exhibition, at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, and second publication featuring the new acquisitions, some of which were spectacular. At the time, Michel Franses had already agreed to write a second book.

    Following the major events of 1993, the Kirchheims began restructuring their collection. They needed to decide which pieces were absolutely essential and which they would be prepared to part with. First a number of museums received generous donations: the Linden-Museum in Stuttgart, the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin und the Museum Schloss Rheydt in Mönchengladbach. Six early Anatolian carpets went on loan to the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and were exhibited there from 1993/94 to 2012. A decision was then taken to sell a major part of the collection at auction. Our “Orient Stars” auction of 88 carpets, kilims, silk embroideries and other textiles took place 22 years ago, on 2nd October 1999. At the time, the famous type A Star Kazak achieved the highest hammer price of DM 290,000. The proceeds of the sale were invested in new acquisitions. Several pieces published in “Orient Stars”, but not included in the catalogue of this second auction, were sold privately to fund the acquisition of the 32 objects purchased as of 1993.

    Private art collections are dynamic rather than static. They reflect the changing perspectives of their owners and illustrate a process of development. Similarly, the nature of the Orient Stars Collection changed after 1993. Most of the new acquisitions are fragments of very old and rare Anatolian tribal rugs, and they will nearly all be published for the first time in Michael Franses’ new book. The established "classics" among Anatolian rugs – the textbook types from the Ottoman period traditionally exported to Europe – had ceased to captivate Heinrich Kirchheim. His search for the origins led him to nomad tribal rugs and their ancient designs. Some examples surfaced in Turkey; others emerged in areas as remote as Tibet where they had survived in monasteries for centuries. Heinrich Kirchheim thus became the protagonist of a new philosophy, and there was no turning back from the path he had embarked upon. By then Michael Franses had become his chief consultant. Heinrich purchased a fairly large group of early Anatolian tribal rugs from Garry Muse who had sold important pieces to the Kirchheims before. Further pieces were sourced from other art dealers or at auctions. The collection now numbers a total of 95 pieces. The sensational "Faces" rug, no. 218 in the first book, is the oldest known Anatolian carpet dating from the Islamic era. Carbon dating carried out at ETH Zurich proves that it was made in the period between 1050 and 1200. It has always been the collection’s pièce de résistance.

    The plans that Heinrich Kirchheim had been pursuing came to a sudden end with his early death in 2006. The Berlin exhibition never took place, and the project for a second publication was suspended. When in 2019 the Kirchheim family decided to sell the collection at auction and commissioned us with the project, we agreed immediately to cooperate closely with Michael Franses, who knows the objects in the collection like no other. At the request of the heirs Michael began working on the second book, making good on an old promise he had given to his friend Heinrich. “Orient Stars 2” will have the same format and design as the first book, and 75 items in the collection will either be illustrated for the first time or republished and discussed in detail according to the latest findings. Its date of publication is September 2021.

    Our “Orient Stars 2” auction will offer all 95 rugs and other textiles as well as three rare specialist books on historic carpets. Our descriptions of the objects in the catalogue are either citations from descriptions in the “Orient Stars 2” publication and identified as such by (MF = Michael Franses), or else they are our own descriptions identified by (DM = Detlef Maltzahn). However, the latter follow the gist of Michael’s discussions, including the details he gives on age, provenance and iconography. We have used abbreviations to avoid constant repetition of the full titles of both publications and the full details of the exhibition dates:

    OS 1 = Kirchheim, E. Heinrich (publ.), Orient Stars. A Carpet Collection. Stuttgart and London 1993
    OS 2 = Franses, Michael, Orient Stars II. A Carpet Collection. London 2021

    The complete details of exhibitions in museums are the following:

    Hamburg, Deichtorhallen, “Orient Stars“. 6 May to 20 June 1993
    Stuttgart, Linden-Museum, “Orient Stars“. 3 July to 29 August 1993
    New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993/94 to 2020 (loan of six objects)
    Osaka, National Museum of Ethnology, “Jutan, Woven Flowers of the Silk Road”, 1994
    Mönchengladbach, Museum Schloss Rheydt, “Orient Stars“, September 1995
    Istanbul, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, “Early Turkish Carpets from the 13th to the 18th Centuries“. 26 September to 12 November 1996
    Cologne, Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst. “Glanz der Himmelssöhne“. 15 October 2005 to 16 January 2006
    Milan, Pinacoteca di Brera, “Crivelli e Brera”, 26 November 2009 to 28 March 2010

    Detlef Maltzahn
    Wiesbaden, September 2021

    • Lot1
    • OriginEast Caucasus
    • Dimensions148 x 107 cm
    • Age18th century
    • Estimate EUR7,000 - 9,000

    This small red-ground rug from the Shirvan area is striking with its unusual and very rare design that appears to have no direct successors. Four large vertical cartouches with white surrounds dominate the corners of the field. The mirrored interior drawing of white, seemingly totemic designs, possibly animal-tree symbols, stands out boldly from their midnight blue ground. Five octagons and two slender midnight blue bars which taper to triangular points at the top, resembling obelisks, have been placed between them at the field centre. Four small birds and a number of botehs complete the main design. The white main border is filled with small hexagonal cartouches in changing colours, aligned like beads on a string and with inner hooks that may be animal symbols. Very finely woven and minutely detailed in drawing, this unique rug probably dates from the 18th century. The meaning of its design has not been deciphered yet, but it may be associated with older garden carpets. (DM)

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    RIPPON BOSWELL, A 30, 18 November 1989, lot 101 *** OS 1, no. 24

  • Yellow-Ground Garden Design Kuba

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    • Lot2
    • OriginEast Caucasus
    • Dimensions145 x 98 cm
    • Agepre 1800
    • Estimate EUR8,000 - 10,000

    This gorgeous Kuba was first published by Galerie Eberhart Herrmann in 1978 (SOT, no. 37). As a loan from the Kirchheim Collection, it was on view at the 1985 “Alte Orientteppiche” exhibition at the Munich Völkerkundemuseum and republished in the catalogue by Martin Volkmann (no. 64). Later, in 1993, it was exhibited at the Hamburg Deichtorhallen. – There are less than ten surviving examples of this rare group of early Caucasian village rugs with a golden yellow field and a black-ground border. They are so similar in their field and border designs, colours and dimensions that careful examination is needed to detect the differences. In the pre-commercial period, i.e. before 1850, the often isolated villages and tribal communities had their own design traditions that remained unchanged for many generations. Reminiscent of garden carpets, the field design is an endless repeat of tree forms, blossoms and smaller motifs placed in offset rows and drawn in the geometrical style of the Caucasus. In this organisational form and in the guise of a floral composition, we encounter a whole cosmos of mythological animal figures and pictograms encrypted to varying degrees. The same is true for the ornamentation of the white vine in the main border which is only apparently floral. – The fact that such a piece was in the Albert Figdor Collection before 1930 shows that true cognoscenti recognised the beauty and artistic merit of these colourful Kuba rugs at an early stage. (DM)

    Exhibited: Munich, Völkerkundemuseum, 1978; Hamburg, Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    FALKE, OTTO VON (ed.), Die Sammlung Dr. Albert Figdor - Wien. Part one. Exhibition catalogue Artaria & Co., Glückselig G.M.B.H. Wien & Paul Cassirer, Berlin. Vienna-Berlin 1930, no. 190 *** TKF-WIEN (publ.), Antike Orientteppiche aus österreichischem Besitz. Vienna 1986, no. 58 *** HERRMANN, EBERHART, Seltene Orientteppiche IX. Munich 1987, no. 34 *** RIPPON BOSWELL, A 35 Dominguez Coll., 28 March 1992, lot 146; A 38, 15 May 1993, lot 160

    HERRMANN, EBERHART, Von Lotto bis Tekke. Seltene Orientteppiche aus vier Jahrhunderten. Munich 1978, no. 37 *** VOLKMANN, MARTIN (ed.), Alte Orientteppiche. Ausgewählte Stücke deutscher Privatsammlungen. Munich 1985, no. 64 *** OS 1, no. 27

  • Borjalou Kazak

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    • Lot3
    • OriginSouth West Caucasus
    • Dimensions291 x 161 cm
    • Age19th century
    • Estimate EUR3,000 - 4,000

    When Heinrich Kirchheim began collecting carpets, he was particularly captivated by village rugs from the Caucasus. This rare Borjalou Kazak which he purchased from Nagel in Stuttgart in 1986 always remained one of his favourite pieces. This is due to the rug’s cheerful appearance created by the playful design woven in very beautiful, brilliant colours. In the red field, large rosettes divided into eight segments are arranged in an apparently casual way with a floating lightness. Small rosettes likewise composed of eight segments fill the spaces between the primary ornaments. In the upper left corner we see a small, highly abstracted figure extending its arms. The knotting structure and the border design of three equally wide bands decorated with reciprocal trefoils in different colour combinations are typical features of Borjalou Kazaks. Another example of the group was published by Schürmann. (DM)

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    SCHÜRMANN, ULRICH, Caucasian Rugs. Ramsdell 1974, no. 9

    NAGEL Stuttgart, auction 317, 10 December 1986, lot 4250 *** OS 1, no. 29

  • Sumakh with Lesghi Stars

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    • Lot4
    • OriginEast Caucasus, Kuba-Shirvan
    • Dimensions283 x 148 cm
    • Ageca. 1800 or earlier
    • Estimate EUR10,000 - 12,000

    The production of flatweaves in the sumakh technique (English term: reverse weft-wrapping) probably had a long tradition in the south and east of the Caucasus, but we are not sure how far back it goes in time. The oldest surviving examples are usually dated to the 18th century. In terms of their designs and ornaments, the formal language of sumakhs is not inherently different from that of the pile rugs in the regions where they were woven; only their style of drawing is distinctly geometrical on account of the technique. – Woven in a long format, this impressive sumakh is one of the early examples dating from around 1800 or earlier. It is very finely woven with many carefully worked details, and its rich range of colours is impressive. At the centre of the field, five large Lesghi stars in two different colour combinations form a design bar on the black-brown ground, and the free spaces along the sides are densely filled with tree motifs and small ornaments. The surrounding red field is thickly covered in hook forms and blossoms which extend around the stars almost like a protective wall. In the black-brown main border, a vine zigzags around forms that can be read as halved polygons or abstract animals. The fineness of the weave, stylistic features and the palette suggest that this sumakh originates from the Kuba-Shirvan region. (DM)

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    OS 1, no. 31

  • Shahsavan Shadda

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    • Lot5
    • OriginSouth East Caucasus, Moghan-Savalan
    • Dimensions300 x 207 cm
    • AgeSecond half 19th century
    • Estimate EUR5,000 - 7,000

    This large cover woven in a single piece was made by a Moghan Shahsavan tribal group. It has a design of multi-coloured horizontal stripes of varying widths in an arrangement that provides the rhythm of the composition. The light yellow stripes divide the surface into five sections. – In most of the comparable Shahsavan kilims the stripes are plain colour sections, meaning that they are undecorated. The dense embroidery of small-pattern design bands seen in the narrower stripes of this elaborately and very finely woven example is all the more striking. The wider, alternately red and blue stripes depict four-legged animals as well as a number of birds and hexagons composed of crosses. Such narrative pictorial elements are often encountered in Shahsavan flatweaves. – The cover was exhibited at the 6th ICOC in San Francisco in 1990 and published in the accompanying book, "Pacific Collections". Two years later Heinrich Kirchheim purchased it at our auction A 35, "Viola Dominguez Collection", and then published it in "Orient Stars". In 1993 it was exhibited at the 7th ICOC at the Hamburg Deichtorhallen. (DM)

    Formerly: Viola Dominguez, Santa Monica

    Exhibited: 6th ICOC San Francisco 1990; Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    EILAND, MURRAY L., Oriental Rugs From Pacific Collections. San Francisco 1990, no. 64 *** RIPPON BOSWELL, A 35 Dominguez Coll., 28 March 1992, lot 32 *** OS 1, no. 33

  • Shahsavan Mafrash Side Panel

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    • Lot6
    • OriginSouth East Caucasus, Moghan-Savalan
    • Dimensions44 x 47 cm
    • Agemid 19th century
    • Estimate EUR500 - 700

    A narrow side of a Shahsavan cargo or storage bag (mafrash) from the Moghan-Savalan region, finely woven in the sumakh technique. The typical design of three horizontal stripes used to adorn all four sides of the mafrash, so it was a continuous repeat. Nested hooked diamonds in an offset arrangement fill the central band. According to Andrews/Wertime, this distinctive design known as "gara giynakh" was commonly used by the Geyiklu and Talesh Mikayllu tribal groups of the Moghan region. The two golden yellow stripes have been designed as animal friezes, each with a procession of four alternately red and blue peacocks facing to the right. (DM)

    Mounted on canvas and attached to a wooden frame.

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    HERRMANN, EBERHART, Kaukasische Teppichkunst im 19.Jahrhundert. Munich 1993, no. 34 a *** WERTIME, JOHN T., Sumak Bags of Northwest Persia & Transcaucasia. London 1998, no. 60

    OS 1, no. 38

  • Shahsavan Bag

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    • Lot7
    • OriginSouth East Caucasus, Moghan-Savalan
    • Dimensions40 x 43 cm
    • Agemid 19th century
    • Estimate EUR400 - 500

    Two fragments of Shahsavan flatweaves have been joined here to make a bag with carrying straps at the top. Very finely woven in the sumakh technique, the face shows a rare repeat of offset rows of geometrical abstract palmettes on a midnight blue ground. It is considerably older than the back, which stems from a striped kilim or a mafrash. The original border of the face has now been lost. Seeing that the face and back are stitched together and form a whole, it is somewhat confusing that the bag is listed as two separate numbers in the "Orient Stars" publication. (DM)

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    RIPPON BOSWELL, A 30, 18 November 1989, lot 131 *** OS 1, nos. 39/40

  • Azerbaijani Silk Embroidery

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    • Lot8
    • OriginNorth West Persia, Azerbaijan
    • Dimensions73 x 75 cm
    • Age1650 - 1750
    • Estimate EUR6,000 - 8,000

    A silk embroidery in a diagonal darning stitch, with chain stitch used for the outlines. The net-like open-work cotton foundation of the field is not embroidered all over. Here, the design sections stand out from the ground with a three-dimensional effect. The subtle palette of pastel shades (mid and light blue, dusky pink, jade green, ochre, beige, white) as well as three browns and black outlines is a characteristic feature of this group of antique textiles from Azerbaijan, for which Schürmann coined the term “Surahani”. He believed that they were Caucasian pieces made in Baku, the large coastal city in the Russian part of Azerbaijan. This has been contradicted by more recent research. It is now assumed that the embroideries were produced in Tabriz, in the North West Persian part of Azerbaijan. – Square silk embroideries of this size served as wrapping cloths for women’s personal utensils. Like comparable cloths made in Anatolia, they are known as "bokçe“. Their designs present a wealth of different compositions. Here, the central field is dominated by a large eight-pointed star with a dark brown ground and an inner white octagon radiating eight arrows. It is surrounded by a vine of geometrical motifs. Four light blue cartouches fill the lateral spaces, and the corners contain truncated octagons enclosing a star. The border is decorated with arrow forms alternating with pinwheel motifs. Compositions similar in concept are seen in a piece published by Black/Loveless in 1981 and in the embroidery exhibited at the 9th ICOC in Milan in 1999. (DM)

    Mounted on canvas and attached to a wooden frame, acrylic glass cover. 

    Formerly: Dikran Kelekian, New York; Karekin Beshir, New York; The Textile Gallery, London; Galerie Bausback, Mannheim

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    BLACK, DAVID & LOVELESS, CLIVE, Embroidered Flowers from Thrace to Tartary. London 1981, no. 13 *** CONCARO, EDOARDO & LEVI, ALBERTO, Sovrani Tappeti. Il tappeto orientale dal XV al XIX seculo. Milan 1999, no. 76

    BAUSBACK, PETER, Islamische Stickereien aus vier Jahrhunderten. Mannheim 1985, pl. 20 *** OS 1, no. 45 *** HALI PUBLICATIONS (publ.), Stars of the Caucasus. Silk Embroideries from Azerbaijan. London 2019, ill. 10.12, p. 206

  • Azerbaijani Silk Embroidery

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    • Lot9
    • OriginNorth West Persia, Azerbaijan
    • Dimensions26 x 56 cm
    • Age1650 - 1750
    • Estimate EUR1,500 - 2,000

    This triangular silk embroidery is finely worked in stem stitch throughout. It was probably produced in Tabriz. The purpose of these small-format textiles is unknown. Surrounded by a narrow blue vine border at the two gable ends only, the golden yellow field is filled with geometrical abstract blossoms shown in side view. They form an ascending design of five parallel rows, with the number of motifs continuously decreasing upwards until finally a single blossom remains under the apex of the gable. Leaning slightly to the right, the blossoms appear to sway as if moving in the wind, creating the impression of lightness and rhythmic movement conveyed by the composition. Small arrows pointing downwards between the rows of blossoms complete the design. (DM)

    Backed with a black fabric and mounted on a wooden board, acrylic glass cover

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    SOTHEBY'S New York, auction of 3 February 1988, lot 72 *** OS 1, no. 56

  • Red-Ground Palmette Carpet

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    • Lot10
    • OriginSouth Caucasus, Karabagh
    • Dimensions184 x 128 cm
    • Age17th/18th century
    • Estimate EUR15,000 - 18,000

    The blazing red field contains a repeat of nine palmettes arranged in rows of three. Eight of the palmettes are almost identical in shape and colour. Each is enclosed in a white, cypress-like form with deeply incised serrated outlines along its sides. The same motif is often encountered in Caucasian dragon rugs. The ninth palmette in the middle of the field is not only larger than the others and different in shape, but it is also contained in a wide dark brown heptagon. This central motif immediately catches the eye. The free spaces left by the primary design are filled with eight smaller palmettes cut by the horizontal borders at the upper and lower ends of the field as well as various flowers. The leaf and calyx design of the narrow white main border was widespread in the Caucasus. – Only five antique originals of this group are known, including the frequently published example from the Protestant Church of Szepsiszentgyörgy, Transylvania (see Végh/Layer). The two primary motifs of the latter alternate regularly, and its design is more closely spaced than that of the Kirchheim rug, which is outstanding in its clarity of composition. Teodor Tuduc, the Romanian master forger, must have been aware of the Szepsiszentgyörgy palmette rug, because he had several copies made which he later sold as “originals”. The illustrations of some of his fakes in the publication by the fictitious author Dr Otto Ernst (itself a forgery) provided the basis for these transactions. (DM)

    Detailed discussion and art historical appraisal by MF in OS 1, p. 92

    Mounted on canvas

    Formerly: Bergi Andonian, New York

    Exhibited: Hamburg Deichtorhallen 1993; Stuttgart, Linden-Museum 1993

    VÉGH, GYULA & LAYER, KAROLY, Tapis Turcs, provenant des Églises et Collections de Transylvanie. Paris 1925, pl. XXX *** IONESCU, STEFANO, Handbook of Fakes by Tuduc. Rome 2010, ill. XX, p. 103

    HALI 68, 1993, ill. p. 100 *** OS 1, no. 60 *** FRANSES, MICHAEL, In search of the origins. In: HALI 205, 2020, ill. p. 88