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Wednesday, March 12, 2014



SALE 1519 LOT 90

Estimate (Set Currency)

  • £20,000 – £30,000
  • ($33,240 - $49,860)

Lot Description

Localised light wear, a few minute cobbled repairs, overall good condition
3ft. x 4ft.6in. (90cm. x 137cm.)

Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. This VAT is not shown separately on the invoice. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Lot Notes

Traditionally in Central Asia a bride would ride an elaborately decorated camel to the marriage ceremony and to her new home. Asmalyk are camel covers made specifically for adorning the bride's camel in a wedding procession. Made in pairs, they would be draped over each side of the camel and were woven by the bride. Due to their ritual importance asmalyk are often of the finest quality and of great beauty, allowing the bride to show off her weaving ability - a skill that was greatly valued by the Turkmen. Most surviving asmalyk are attributed to the Yomut tribe but there is a rare and particularly special group attributed to the Tekke, which has two sub-groups the 'Bird' and the 'Tree and Animal' type. The present lot is a wonderful example of a Tekke Bird asmalyk and an exciting addition to the twelve examples recorded in Pinner and Franses's article 'The Bird and Animal Tree Asmalyk' in Turkoman Studies I, Aspects of the weaving and decorative arts of Central Asia, London, 1980, pp. 114-133.

Bird asmalyks were first collected by the famous Russian ethnographer and photographer S.M. Dudin in 1900, when he acquired two pairs which were published in the St Petersburg art periodical Stary Gody in 1914 and 1915 by the great Turkmenophile Baron A. Felkerzam. The West was only to learn of the existence of these asmalyk in 1927 when two examples of the Bird type were illustrated in an article by F.V. Gogel in the Burlington Magazine. Our example relates closely to one of the asmalyk in the Burlington Magazine article, a piece now in the Museum of Oriental Art, Moscow (Robert Pinner and Michael Franses, ibid., fig.217, p.116). The present asmalyk and the Burlington example both have very similar border configurations and a denser field design than many other examples, with four birds appearing on the central vertical axis. However, the drawing of leaves of the lattice and the spacing of the birds is more similar to the asmalyk formerly in the Arthur D. Jenkins collection, and the second pair of Bird asmalyk collected by Dudin in 1900 (Robert Pinner and Michael Franses, ibid., fig.222-224, pp.118-119). In all three of these comparable examples the serrated leaves of the lattice are slightly wedge-shaped and the birds are surmounted by wing-shaped ornaments and are not closed off by the inclusion of an additional upper pole, the only major difference to the present example being that the birds face to the left. 

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