Interesting Insights

Here, in the former GDR, people have yet not quite caught up with fashionable euphemisms, so "junk goods" are still "junk goods" and not "antiques". I went to pick up some deer antlers and wild boar canines I had bought at Ebay. The place was effing unbelievable. A huge, dilapidated, deserted-looking shanty in the deepest countryside, very probably the former chicken-house of a closed-down agricultural production cooperative (LPG)  full with amazingly interesting old stuff. Nobody who is not from the former GDR will believe that anything like that exists. I thought: "It can't be here and I will NOT be leaving the car!" But alas, it was.

I bought, too, a Schmiedeberger rug. From 1856 on, oriental rugs were copied in a town in Silesia, Schmiedeberg, with great success. The German copycats did not just go for the look, but for the quality of the oriental originals as well.

I googled for "Schmiedeberger", which had been unknown to me and came across a memory page for a stunning 19th century upper middleclass house in the town of Halberstadt which perished in post-WWII Communist East Germany. The interiors are not to my taste, although they are without doubt of stately proportions. They even make me a bit uncomfortable. After some soul-searching and my now latest entry about eclecticism I think I know what it is, namely the utter lack of "eclecticism", of informality, of clutter (as opposed to untidyness) of excitement, of inspiration, of imaginativeness. It is conventional through and through. Gabriele d'Annunzio may be garish to the extent of vulgarity, but he was never boring.

But whatever, maybe it's just too close to home for this German.

But back to my rug. The specification of the details gives one an idea of the league in which Schmiedeberger rugs used to play.
In the entrance hall a Bidjar für 10,000, next to the harmonium a Beluj for 12,000 and on top of it a Turish shawl for 400, on top of the grand piano a Turkish silk rug for 7,000, all together 29,400 Goldmark.

In the boudoir a large Ferrachan for 15,000, in the alcove a Bidjar for 4,500, at the window a Samarkand for 3,000 and at the mahogany fitted cupboards a Buchara for 5,000, all together 27,500 Goldmark.

In the study a German rug from Schmiedeberg for 5,000 and a Turkish shawl on top of the sofa for 400 could be found, in the dining room another German rug for 4,000 Goldmark.

One of the daughter's rooms was graced by an Afghan for 8,000 and the drawing room on the first floor with a Somnak for 8,000 Goldmark, all this amounted ... to a value of 82,300 Goldmark covering the floor.

Go to the website to see more pictures of a luxurious, even opulent, house and -- if you can stomach it -- how it ended.