Exhibition dates: 25 September 2017 – 7 May 2018, New York
Woven bags carried by nomads in the Middle East were designed to contain all of the necessities of life, from bedding to salt. This exhibition highlights 19 distinctly patterned examples of woven bags from nomadic cultures in Iran, Turkey, and the Caucasus, along with one striking pile-woven saddle cover. Featuring geometric patterns as well as stylised floral and animal motifs, these textiles are both utilitarian and expressive of a highly sophisticated tribal aesthetic. The exhibition also includes an Islamic painting from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection that illustrates bags and trappings in use in traditional society.
For more information visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum
Exhibition dates: 24 March – 29 July 2018, Washington DC
With their brilliant designs, ikats are among the most distinct fabrics produced in Central Asia. The name, derived from the Malaysian word for “to tie,” refers to the distinct technique of making these textiles: bundles of threads are painstakingly patterned by repeated binding and dyeing before being woven. In present-day Uzbekistan and the Fergana Valley, the fabric is known as abri (cloud) and the technique as abrbandi (tying clouds), referring to the fluid yet bold motifs in bright colors.
Not surprisingly, ikats caught the attention of contemporary designers, most notably Oscar de la Renta (died 2014). In 2005 de la Renta included ikat designs in his collections, an innovation that was soon followed by other designers in the United States and elsewhere. Since then ikat motifs have become ubiquitous—from couture gowns to jeans and T-shirts, and from carpets and sofa coverings to stationery and wallpapers.
This exhibition brings together about thirty of the finest historical Central Asian ikat hangings and coats from the Freer|Sackler collections, donated by Guido Goldman, as well as seven of Oscar de la Renta’s iconic creations. The aim is to explore the original use and function of these dazzling fabrics and the enduring appeal of their extraordinary designs.
This exhibition runs almost concurrently with Binding the Clouds: The Art of Central Asian Ikat at the Textile Museum, also in Washington DC
For more information visit the website of The Freer/Sackler
Exhibition dates: 10 March – 9 July 2018, Washington DC
Across Central Asia, oasis towns were once awash with the rainbow colours of ikat fabrics. Through exceptional artworks recently donated to the Textile Museum, this exhibition focuses on the sophisticated art of dyeing known in this region as abrband (binding the clouds).
A lifelong devotee of the arts, in 1975 Dr. Guido Goldman first encountered Central Asian ikats, an art form that employs a sophisticated resist-dye technique to create vibrant abstract patterns in dazzling colours. He subsequently became a passionate collector and went on to build the world’s premier ikat textile art collection. This pursuit led to preservation, education, and a widespread public interest that was influential in the modern revival of Central Asian ikat technique and design. In the late 1990s he organised a stunning exhibition drawn from his collection which traveled to major museums in six cities. Concurrently, he produced what is recognised as perhaps the best art book ever published of a single textile collection, IKAT: Silks of Central Asia, the Guido Goldman Collection.
In 2015, Dr. Goldman donated his favourite 73 ikat textile panels from his collection to The Textile Museum in honour of Bruce P. Baganz, growing the museum’s holdings to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of Central Asian ikats in the world. Highlights from Dr. Goldman’s collection will be on view at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum in this exhibition, along with a simultaneous exhibition of other Goldman-donated ikat textiles to the Smithsonian at that institution’s Freer-Sackler Galleries.
For more information, visit the website of The Textile Museum
Books on textiles or carpets are often organised by geographical region and therefore styles, types of dyes or knots. Fahmida Suleman, curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum, has upended that tradition to show the links between the objects and their purpose.
“I’m looking at the social history, how these textiles relate to a person and their everyday life,” she said in an interview. “It’s not just what you wear but what surrounds you. It includes amulets you carry with you, prayer rugs and contemporary works of art that people use to convey a message about the politics of their time.”
Suleman’s new book, “The Fabric of Life: Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia,” is therefore organised by themes: childhood; marriage and ceremony; status and identity; religion and belief; house and homestead; politics and conflict.
The book, published by Thames & Hudson in collaboration with the British Museum, has lavish photographs of more than 200 pieces. These are among 3,000 held by the museum.
To read the full review visit the website of The Arab Weekly
The book is available from The British Museum website here
While not strictly related to textiles, this article will surely bring back great memories for the many OATG members who have visited Uzbekistan.
It chronicles a love affair with flatbread with the author, Eric Hansen, visiting nonvoy (bread bakers) in Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench. There are so many examples of the importance of the bread – placing it under a baby’s head in the hope of a long life, under the legs of a toddler to wish them a blessed journey through life etc. Hansen also meets a chekich ustasi (bread stamp master), responsible for making the wooden and metal stamps which form a decorative pattern on the non.
To read the full article visit the website of AramcoWorld
After a hiatus of more than ten years, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum are pleased to announce the relaunch of the Textile Museum Journal.
Established in 1962, the Textile Museum Journal is the leading publication for the exchange of textile scholarship in North America. The peer-reviewed journal promotes high-quality research on the cultural, technical, historical and aesthetic significance of textiles from Asian, African and indigenous American cultures. Last issued in 2004, the journal resumed annual publication last month, thanks to a Founding Patron gift from the Markarian Foundation, and is now available in an online format.
Table of Contents
Textile Museum Journal, Volume 44
Toward a Grammar of Textiles: A Reconsideration of Medieval Textile Aesthetics and the Impact of Modern Collecting
Nomad Textile Bags from Central Asia in the 19th and 20th Centuries: Geographic Distribution, Decoration, Semantics
Through the Renaissance Frame: Carpets and the Beginnings of ‘Islamic Art’ in Nineteenth-Century Vienna and Berlin
Pope Innocent VIII’s Mamluk Carpets from Cairo in Context: Their Manufacture and Acquisition
Rosamond E. Mack
Rethinking Mamluk Carpet Origins
For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum, Washington DC.
Event date: Monday 13 November 2017, 6–7:45pm
Talk by Dorothy Armstrong, PhD candidate Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, UK.
We welcome back Dorothy, who last shared about her research on synthetic dyes in Persian carpets in an Asian Textiles article (number 56) and at an OATG talk in 2013. This time we will hear about her current research and how the West reinvented the Ardabil carpet as the world’s greatest carpet.
Dorothy is a visiting lecturer on the Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art’s History of Design MA, where she teaches Material Histories of Asia. She is also writing a PhD entitled ‘The Relationship between the West and “Oriental” carpets since 1840: Re-making, Re-purposing and Re-imagining’. Before she joined the Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art, she studied Islamic art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.
Location: The Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.
OATG events are free for members and £3 for non-members.
Should you require disabled access, please do get in touch beforehand to make sure the necessary provisions are made.
For more information, and to book a place at this event, visit the Eventbrite page.
Event date: Wednesday 25 October, 7pm
This is an Oriental Rug and Textile Society event.
Ali Istalifi gave the successful lecture on Central Asian Ikat at the SOAS Brunei Gallery World Ikat Textile Symposium in 2016. Born in Afghanistan to a family of dealers for three generations on Kabul’s famous Chicken Street, Ali has a large collection, and unique access to the subject as a fluent speaker of Dari. He will bring textiles to show us.
The talk will be held at St James Conference Room, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL.
The Conference Room entrance is in the Church Place passageway, which runs between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly. There is a wrought iron gate signed ‘Church Hall Conference Room’ leading downstairs. Drinks and snacks will be served.
Piccadilly Circus tube is 5 minutes’ walk, and Green Park Tube is 10 minutes’ walk. There is free parking in St James Square after 6.30pm.
Please note this is an Oriental Rug and Textile Society event, but non-members are welcome to attend: £7 single lecture, £5 students, or choose £20 for one year’s membership (11 events).
For more information, visit the website of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society.
Event date: Saturday 23 September 2017, 10am – 4:30pm
Every year at World Textile Days around the country, the organisers explore a common theme through their free exhibition, and morning and afternoon presentations (only £3 per session). In 2017, their world textile experts will focus on the role of colour in textiles.
FREE admission to our exhibition of woven, printed and embroidered textiles from around the world.
FAIR TRADE MARKET from makers, workshops and villages around the world.
- 11 am presentation. Magie Relph – quilter, collector, textile trader and author of African Wax Print: A Textile Journey.
- 2 pm Show & Tell. Bring and discuss your own world textile with one of our world textile experts. Plus: a short talk.
£3 per session or £5 for both, tickets at the door.
- Throughout the day: demonstrations by the Braid Society.
With these specialist world textile traders:
- Textile Traders – Jim and Diane Gaffney
- The African Fabric Shop – Magie Relph and Bob Irwin
- Tukuru South American Textiles – Meri Hunneyball
- Khayamiya Egyptian Appliqué – Joan and John Fisher
- Indian Textiles – Tanya Byrne
- Nepalese Textiles – Karen Haggis
- Indian Silk – Suzy Rowe
Delicious refreshments provided by our hosts Frodsham Patchwork Group. Disabled access. Free parking. Station: Frodsham.
Venue: Frodsham Community Centre, Fluin Lane (B5439), Frodsham, Cheshire, WA6 7QN.
For more information, visit the World Textile Day website.
Exhibition dates: 17 September 2017 – 8 July 2018
Dating to the first half of the sixteenth century, LACMA’s two spectacular Persian carpets, both the gift of J. Paul Getty, have only rarely been exhibited due in part to their size and sensitivity to light. Now, these large and sumptuous carpets will be shown sequentially, affording visitors the opportunity to see two of the world’s most renowned Persian carpets and to learn of their fascinating history before and after they left Iran. The Ardabil carpet will be on view from 17 September 2017 – 19 February 2018, and the Coronation carpet will be exhibited from 24 February – 8 July 2018.
The large number of carpets surviving from sixteenth-century Iran compared to earlier periods reflects not only a high level of carpet production but also perhaps a change in the nature of their manufacture. During this period, carpet weaving evolved from a rural, nomadic craft to a national industry and an internationally acclaimed art form, as the first shahs of the Safavid dynasty (1501–1732) established royal factories in cities such as Tabriz, Kashan, Kirman and Isfahan. The two great Persian carpets presented here belong to this period of cultural, political and religious flowering.
For more information, visit the website of LACMA, Los Angeles, USA.