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 13/6//2019.
Koru is a very small village near Orselli in the Yunt Dag but has gained the reputation for weaving the highest quality DOBAG rugs in the whole co-operative. This pretty little yastik is a good example, woven by Fatma Ozyilmaz, signed F.O. and dated 1999.
A charming little yastik (seating rug, bag) woven by the same weaver who made Lot # 9042. Clearly her favourite design, this rug may seem simple enough but the almost curvilinear design is considerably harder to memorise than more basic, angular patterns. Signed S.K., dated 2002, unused.
This yellow ground yastik has a center medallion sometimes used in large rugs in an allover diagonal arrangement but here the weaver decided to leave it with a once off small feature piece. Signed S.K., dated 2000.
Yastik locally means "small bag" although most of the pieces once woven in DOBAG were mainly the knotted pile front half, not including the traditional flatwoven back. Nice decorative pieces, each of them different, yastiks can be used on floors, hang on walls, be placed on furniture. In the Orient, such small pieces were often kept in chests and strewn around the seating area for visitors and family to sit on. This cute yastik is S.A., dated 2002.
A beautiful, elegant rug of great quality, in perfect condition throughout, signed and dated. For further info on this piece, click Recent Acquisitions, and scroll down.
The tiny village of Karaahmetli only saw a handful of families joining the DOBAG project around the year 2000. The few rugs I have handled from this village have their own character - powerful designs, a lot of open spaces plus a thicker than average pile. For its size this lovely rug is arguably the heaviest DOBAG I have come across. If you are looking for a rug to last for 3-4 generations, this is one for you! Privately owned since 2007, it has been well cared for and now, given a full wash, it has acquired a rich sheen. Clearly dated 2007 you may have difficulties finding her C C signature, but it's there. Seek and you shall find..
This late arrival from the Boehmer collection features an almost Caucasian version of the Memling Gul design, the polygons playfully drawn in no particular sequence. The surrounding spaces are packed with all kinds of useful symbols that are meant to ensure its owner a long and happy life and also protection from evil or misfortune. Signed by four different weavers, clearly women from the same family who all took part in the work. Dated 89, the rug is unused, in perfect condition.
This rug will benefit from many years of daily use on the floor, and possibly another wash, resulting in a developing sheen and patination.
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.
I think this rug was one of Harald's favourites - he loved the combination of deep purple and camomile yellow, echoing a popular colour choice in very early Anatolian rugs. It was also made by one of the best weaving families in DOBAG whose home I have visited with Harald on many occasions, often booking half finished rugs still on the loom. Like all DOBAGs, this is a unique piece, all drawn from memory, a team effort by proud women working from their family home. Signed R.Y., V.Y., dated 89. Unused, this rug will bring pleasure (and future value) to its next owner-care taker for generations to come.
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.
An attractive, very well woven short runner made by one of the best weavers in the former DOBAG project, signed and dated. For further info on this piece click Recent Acquisitions and scroll down.
A lovely runner from the Boehmers' Istanbul apartment where it lived for as long as I can remember. Karagomlek was a leading source of runner formats during the heyday of DOBAG and this is an early, beautifully drawn, example. Full of spontaneity, the weaver played around with the colours and sequences, giving the piece plenty of character and charm. The most recent DOBAGs have gone increasingly stiff and predictable, making the good old pieces much more desirable. Worth noting is how the colours have matured and softened over the years, only to become more obvious when it has been given a proper clean. Signed G.Y., in excellent condition throughout.
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.