Tekke ”Animal Tree“ Asmalyk Rug, ca. 1800

Value (2013) | $150,000 Retail$200,000 Retail
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GUEST:
My husband called me. He had been out, and he said, "Down the street there's a house that they're cleaning out, and there's a couch on the curb and a Dumpster." We were looking for a sofa for my daughter, who was moving into a condominium. And so I grabbed my mom and I said, "Let's go look." So we get to the street, and the sofa is, like, brand new, and I felt really guilty about taking it, so I walked up to the door, and I knocked on the door and I said, "Is it free?" And he said, "Yes, take it." And he goes, "What else does she need? I got a whole Dumpster full of stuff." My mom and I started going through the Dumpster, and he was helping us pull out bags of these rugs, got them home, thought they were pretty ugly and that they weren't going to look good in the condo at all, actually, and so then the more we started looking at them, we thought, "Well, maybe they're, like, something. Maybe they're, like, a collection."

APPRAISER:
And you brought four in today, and we selected this one to look at. You've done a little bit of research on your own?

GUEST:
Yes. If it's real, we did find something very, very similar to this on the Internet. It came from the Tekke Turkoman tribe, or at least these patterns did, and it's something called an "animal tree" pattern. And I'm not quite sure how to say the word, but it's an asmalyk, or something like that, rug.

APPRAISER:
Well, the Internet is an amazing tool. The trick is to know how much of that information is actually going to apply to your piece or not.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
This is an asmalyk, and it's woven by the Tekke tribe, and the Tekke tribe were one of several tribes that lived in Turkmenistan, and the Tekke were near the Iranian border.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And there's a long tradition of these nomads weaving these pieces both for utilitarian purposes and ceremonial purposes. So an asmalyk would have been made as a dowry piece, but it would have been used in the wedding procession as a ceremonial piece, and it would have hung on the side of the camel during the bride's procession. And then it would just simply go into the dowry. And we see a lot of these asmalyks from the 19th century. Most of the ones we see are from the late 19th century. This one happens to be earlier. I believe that this one is circa 1800, or it could possibly even be late 18th century.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
It's very hard to date these accurately. If we look at the back, we can see how beautifully woven it is.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Very, very fine knotting.

GUEST:
So that is handwoven?

APPRAISER:
Yes, it's hand-knotted.

GUEST:
It's hand-knotted, okay.

APPRAISER:
Yes, so there are a few hundred knots per square inch.

GUEST:
And how long would it have taken to make one of these?

APPRAISER:
It could have easily taken a year to make.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The warp threads are very fine two-ply goat hair. And the color range is also very nice for a good old Turkoman piece. The reason it's called an "animal tree" asmalyk is that it has this tree flanked by two animals. And the earlier ones, the animals have these little plumes, as opposed to the later ones, where the plumes are no longer there.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
The condition of the piece is pretty good for its age. There is a patch that's been put in, and that's a patch from another rug. That's something that could very easily be rewoven by an expert.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, you found one on the Internet that had sold at auction, and that was a related example that sold in 2004. And you mentioned that it had sold for about $140,000.

GUEST:
Or pounds, I don't know which one.

APPRAISER:
What is your gut feeling about whether it's right or not?

GUEST:
I can't even believe that it would be near that. First of all, I thought it was machine made. My husband really believes that it's real, that it's the real thing, and I'm still skeptical.

APPRAISER:
Well, I believe that a collector would pay a retail price of between $125,000 and $150,000. You are serious?!

GUEST:
I'm serious

APPRAISER:
Oh, my gosh! He was right, I can't b... (laughing) Yes, we can pay for college! Yes! Great, sell it! No, I wouldn't...

APPRAISER:
There are fewer than ten known, I believe...

GUEST:
Oh my gosh, you're kidding!

APPRAISER:
...that have ever come up in this design that have sold publicly.

GUEST:
Now I'm really going to owe my mother, because she's the one that actually dove in the Dumpster to pull the bags out.

APPRAISER:
I love it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Peter Pap Oriental Rugs of San Francisco, Inc.
San Francisco, California
Value Update (2013)
$150,000 Retail$200,000 Retail
Appraised value (2010)
$125,000 Retail$150,000 Retail
Event
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)
Form
Rug
Material
Goat hair
January 26, 2012: Appraiser Peter Pap wrote to us with a correction to a fact in his appraisal of this object. The rug's warp threads are most likely sheep's wool, rather than goat hair.

Update 12.23.2013: We contacted appraiser Peter Pap for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $150,000 - $200,000 (Increased)

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