The DOBAG project is a unique chapter in carpet history, started by Dr Harald Boehmer in 1981. Over recent years weaving has gradually ceased, prices have (justifiably) risen and my main search now is for the best of old examples from DOBAG. Harald Boehmer sadly passed away in 2017 and the family recently offered me his personal DOBAG collection, picked over a period of 30 years. Most pieces were carefully stored, only a small number used in Dr Boehmer's Istanbul apartment, all of them kept in immaculate condition. Only one or two pieces remain unsold and they, together with my other old DOBAGs, are listed herewith, in order of size (beginning with smallest). Updated 15/9/2019.
A charming little rug, or "yastik" (bagface), part of the late Dr Harald Boehmer's private DOBAG collection passed on to me by his family. Unused, perfect throughout, signed and dated. For further info on the piece, click Recent Acquisitions, and scroll down.
I have recently purchased another couple of old DOBAGs from the collection of the late Dr Harald Boehmer, founder of the DOBAG project, whose main collection I bought and sold last winter. This piece is an early example from the beginning of the project, before the weavers had got used to the idea of signing their pieces. We know it came from knotted logo in the upper kilim it was woven in Ayvacik and we also know the weaver's name Fatma San.
The difference between the first pieces, full of quirky irregularities and charm, and the final examples woven in recent years before the project came to a halt, is striking. In perfect condition, unused, it now shines like a jewel after the first wash in almost 40 years.
This is one of three DOBAG rugs recently brought back into stock, having been carefully looked after by its first owner and hence in perfect condition. This piece has a powerful star design on almost plain ground with a quirky star border. The pile is among the longest I have seen in a DOBAG, making it one of the heaviest I have handled. HIghly suitable for areas with heavy traffic, the rug can only improve with age with a life expectancy of several generations if looked after respectfully. Dated 2007 and the weaver has also signed it rather cleverly - take a moment and see if you can find it.
I always knew that DOBAG rugs were hugely superior to anything else woven in Turkey, if not the Orient, today. The thoroughly researched natural dyes, the hand spun winter wool and the exceptional quality of weaving has now proved to be outstanding. This rug has been in constant use for almost 30 years and now, after a good cleaning, it has acquired a patina and glow reminiscent of antique Caucasian rugs. If the next caretaker looks after it well, it will survive for generations to come, and look better as it gets older. Signed S.Y. by the weaver.
A rock solid DOBAG example with thick, lustrous pile and dense knotting. The offset rows of traditional "oklu" motifs is charmingly lifted by heart and butterfly motifs, signed E.Y. and dated 2007. In perfect condition having been well looked after for 10 years by its first caretaker, now lifted to perfection after a professional wash adding glow and patina to the wonderful quality wool.
This wonderful rug features the so called Holbein design, after rugs of this design painted by Hans Holbein in the 17th C as backdrop decoration. This was always one of Harald Boehmer's favourite DOBAG designs, only a couple of families knowing it off by heart (with endless variations).
This example also feature one of the most powerful borders, plus a number of weaver signatures in the upper half of the field, incl the date 1988. In unused condition, stored away until the next custodian comes along.. This rug will last for several generations to come even given daily use on the floor, it is that strong and robust. And, like good Burgundy wine, it gets better with age.
A highly decorative 30 year old DOBAG rug of a very useful, and rare, size. The design is highly reminiscent of Turkoman "Bokhara" carpets, yet this style of Anatolian weaving was known from the 16th C. The painter Hans Holbein so often used these rugs in his work that the local DOBAG weavers came to know it as "Holbein".
The rug has been lovingly cared for by its first owners, hence its near perfect condition, with the added glow and patination that good DOBAGs acquire with age. Signed S.C.K.
During the peak of the DOBAG project, Karagomlek was one of the leading villages where the women liked weaving the runner format - they take a long time to complete (a piece like this probably around 4 months) and there was no income until the piece was finished.
Now that the project has ceased working, I'm on the lookout for good quality old examples in perfect condition. This is one of them, 26 years old and in excellent, original condition throughout, full pile and free of repairs or stains - just given a good clean and ready to go. The design, especially the border, is very appealing, showing skill and flair in her choice of colours and motifs. Signed E.Y.
This is an example of the super class "gabbeh" rugs woven in Iran from the late 1990's. Modelled on the original, utilitarian rugs woven by their migrating ancestors, these rugs are much finer and more sofisticated than the coarse, but very powerful, rugs woven a century ago. The best grade of these rugs now command very high prices in the trade as they are labour intensive and employ the best wool and natural dyes available in Fars. This example, around 15 years old, has now been professionally cleaned with a great glow in the lanolin rich wool as a result.