Exhibition: REMINDER – Embroidered Visions – Photographs of Central Asia and the Middle East by Sheila Paine

pitt-rivers-embroidered-visions

Exhibition dates: 1 November 2016 – 30 April 2017

This is a reminder that this exhibition will be open only until the end of this month, and also that a book of the same name is now available (since 25 January), priced at £10. You can find it in the PRM shop or you can purchase it online here.

This exhibition presents a selection of photographs taken by textile expert Sheila Paine during her travels in Central Asia and the Middle East in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. The images have been chosen both to demonstrate the extent of Paine’s travelling, which has culminated in books on embroidery and other subjects, and to reveal her eye for colours and textures also evident elsewhere in her research. Photographs of Central Asia were taken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and the trading city of Kashgar in western China. Scenes from the Middle East include Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and, in particular, Yemen. A video screen also shows highlights of a travel documentary presented by Sheila Paine in Yemen, originally broadcast in 1996.

The photographs have been taken from assorted vantage points, sometimes from the top of a bus while travelling between towns, at other times as more intimate portraits of people encountered. Clothing depicted ranges from plain felted cloaks to elaborately embroidered Turkmen tunics. Other photographs show the material processes behind different types of textile, from spinning wool and winding silver thread, to the manufacture of fur hats and pompom horse-trappings.

The social significance of embroidery has been central to Sheila Paine’s research. This has included seeking out and photographing makers, tracking how textiles and designs migrate across distances, and understanding the meaning, especially protective amuletic functions, applied to many of the motifs. Her published travel trilogy – comprising The Afghan Amulet (1994), The Golden Horde (1997) and The Linen Goddess (2003) – was written about the journeys featured in this exhibition’s photographs, and documents her search for the origins of a triangular amuletic motif that takes her from the Hindu Kush to North Africa. Her interest in the power of such symbols and wearable talismans also resulted in the 2004 book Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic. Travelling extensively since the mid-1980s, Paine acquired numerous textiles and amulets in the course of this work, many of which are now held in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, alongside her collection of over three thousand photographs generously donated since 2012.

For more information, visit the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Exhibition: Embroidered Visions – Photographs of Central Asia and the Middle East by Sheila Paine

pitt-rivers-embroidered-visions

Exhibition dates: 1 November 2016 – 30 April 2017

This exhibition presents a selection of photographs taken by textile expert Sheila Paine during her travels in Central Asia and the Middle East in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. The images have been chosen both to demonstrate the extent of Paine’s travelling, which has culminated in books on embroidery and other subjects, and to reveal her eye for colours and textures also evident elsewhere in her research. Photographs of Central Asia were taken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and the trading city of Kashgar in western China. Scenes from the Middle East include Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and, in particular, Yemen. A video screen also shows highlights of a travel documentary presented by Sheila Paine in Yemen, originally broadcast in 1996.

The photographs have been taken from assorted vantage points, sometimes from the top of a bus while travelling between towns, at other times as more intimate portraits of people encountered. Clothing depicted ranges from plain felted cloaks to elaborately embroidered Turkmen tunics. Other photographs show the material processes behind different types of textile, from spinning wool and winding silver thread, to the manufacture of fur hats and pompom horse-trappings.

The social significance of embroidery has been central to Sheila Paine’s research. This has included seeking out and photographing makers, tracking how textiles and designs migrate across distances, and understanding the meaning, especially protective amuletic functions, applied to many of the motifs. Her published travel trilogy – comprising The Afghan Amulet (1994), The Golden Horde (1997) and The Linen Goddess (2003) – was written about the journeys featured in this exhibition’s photographs, and documents her search for the origins of a triangular amuletic motif that takes her from the Hindu Kush to North Africa. Her interest in the power of such symbols and wearable talismans also resulted in the 2004 book Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic. Travelling extensively since the mid-1980s, Paine acquired numerous textiles and amulets in the course of this work, many of which are now held in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, alongside her collection of over three thousand photographs generously donated since 2012.

For more information, visit the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Event: Conference: Cloth and Costume in Ethnographic Museums – New Directions in Research, Care and Interpretation 

museum-ethnographers-group-conference-2017

Event dates: 6–7 April 2017

The Museum Ethnographers Group Annual Conference 2017 will address cloth and costume. Cloth is a unique technology: light and flexible but presenting large surfaces and capable of taking innumerable colours and structures, it covers and divides things, reveals and connects them. Clothing and costuming the body, to protect and conceal it, to make it beautiful or terrifying, to transform or display its many identities – bring persons and statuses into the performed social world. Since remote prehistory, cloth and costume have both created demands and opportunities for humans to devise many of our most ingenious, delicate and technically complicated artefacts.

From Inuit gut parka to ancient Nazca textiles, traditional West African grand boubou costume to Masai beadwork, Scottish plaid to Italian tapestries, Persian rugs to Indian sari to Balinese dance masks, Bismarck Archipelago masquerade puppets to Samoan barkcloth lavalava; the cloth and costume in our World Cultures collections are immensely rich, diverse and culturally significant. In recent centuries, cloth and costume have also become important material sites for the contestation of identities and moralities, economic globalisation and colonial acculturation. From the worldwide trade in European mill-woven chemically dyed and printed textiles, to the battles of Christian missionaries with imagined states of immoral native undress, to the recent conflict between the French government and wearers of the hijab and burkini, the globalisation of Western dress convention has powerfully impacted the world’s other material cultures.

How, then, do we weave together these many strands in the ethnographic museum? What is the current state of research into world cultures’ cloth and costume collections, and what new approaches are we developing to understand them better? How are historical textiles and costume being curated in the world’s museums, and reimagined in the world’s contemporary art scenes? Are we engaging with contemporary world fashion or trapped in perpetuating stereotypical imaginings of an ‘authentically dressed’ ethnographic past that may never have existed? How can we manage these challenging objects better? What are the particular conservation problems of ethnographic textiles and costume, and how can we better care for them in the future? How are we exhibiting cloth and clothing in 2017? Are we capitalising on costume’s universal appeal in our display and education programmes?

Titles and 200-word abstracts for papers addressing these and other questions are warmly welcomed. Two standard formats are offered to presenters: a full conference paper to last twenty minutes, and a shorter ten-minute presentation on work in progress. Please email your proposed title, abstract and format choice (or any queries) to andrew.mills@glasgow.ac.uk by Monday 6 February.

Booking for the 2017 conference is now open. Tickets can be purchased through the Eventbrite site.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum Ethnographers Group.

Event: London Antique Rug and Textile Art fair (LARTA) 2017

Event dates 24–29 January 2017

The London Antique Rug & Textile Art fair (LARTA) was launched in 2011 and is the only specialist fair dedicated to the appreciation of antique rug and textile art. Our event brings together quality decorative pieces and interesting collectors’ items presented by some of the UK and Europe’s most dynamic and knowledgeable dealers.

Our aim is to promote this vibrant art form to a wide audience. The scope of our interest is broad, and includes weavings from the Far East, Central Asia, Persia, India, Turkey, the Caucasus as well as from Europe and Africa, and from all periods up to the early twentieth century in Europe. Clients include collectors, interior decorators and designers, private buyers and international dealers.

The quality of the exhibitors at LARTA guarantees an event of high artistic significance and cultural merit. Many of our dealers exhibit regularly at important international antiques fairs and specialist symposiums. Several have written expert articles and books, travelled extensively to learn about the material culture and traditions of the weaving regions, and celebrated this extensive subject through exhibitions in their galleries.

When you visit LARTA, you will be able to choose from thousands of pieces at all price levels in a range of materials, techniques, colours and styles. There will be eye-catching showstoppers as well as affordable furnishing pieces and collectible rarities. In 2017, LARTA has broadened its offering to include exceptional twentieth-century carpets by modernist and art deco designers, and a very select choice of contemporary designer rugs. In addition, there will be a select presentation of Islamic art and objects. Your visit to LARTA will be a seductive feast of colour, form and texture, a truly memorable experience!

For more information, visit the LARTA website.

Exhibition: Embroidered Tales and Woven Dreams

brunei-gallery-embroidered-tales-and-woven-dreams

Exhibition dates: 19 January – 25 March 2017

The exhibition Embroidered Tales and Woven Dreams is a colour-coded social history of the vast and geographically varied landscape known as the Silk Road (or originally the ‘Seidenstrasse’, a name given to this road by the German explorer Richthofen), which stretches from Central Asia to Western Europe. Its regional history will be explored through the embroidered tales and woven textiles of the communities who lived north and south of this ancient trade corridor across Asia.

The textiles on display have recorded a wonderful vernacular art, as embroidered tales, told by women storytellers, who were guardians of their customs and traditions for their individual tribes, castes and communities.

This exhibition, with a series of related lectures by internationally renowned lecturers, will examine the immensely rich, culturally fascinating identity of the Central Asian, Middle Eastern and South Asian landscapes, through the heritage of their embroidered textiles and costumes. It is a rich seam of historical material, meticulously embroidered and woven.

While the Silk Road, as a concept, refers to an area that underwent a thousand years of turbulent history, the physical links were comprised of smaller land routes, often through difficult terrain, and passable only by specialised trade caravans.

The northern ‘–stans’ of the Uzbeks, Kyrghiz, Tajiks, Turcoman and Khazaks exchanged goods with distant neighbours in Afghanistan and northern India, and, depending upon varying political arrangements, the even more distant powers of South Asia, Persia, Byzantium, Russia and China.

The exhibition will briefly examine the political upheavals that destroyed the lives of these communities and their nomadic, semi-nomadic and settled lifestyles.

For more information, visit the website of the Brunei Gallery, London, UK.

Event: Joss Graham’s Christmas Celebration 2016

joss-graham-christmas-2016

Event date: shop and gallery open 7–24 December; private view 6 December 2016, 5–9 pm

OATG member Joss Graham will be holding a Christmas celebration at his gallery and shop in London from next week, with a private view next Tuesday evening, 6 December.

Among other art and textile objects available for sale, there will be velvet ikat cushions from Istanbul, recycled sari silk bead necklaces from Delhi, hand-knitted accessories from the Himalayas, as well as textiles from Mexico.

For more information, visit Joss Graham’s website.

Exhibition: Woven Paradise – A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries

studio-bumiller-woven-paradise

Exhibition dates: 23 October – 3 December 2016

Collector Martin Posth, author of Collected Beauty, a highly respected book on Anatolian rugs and kilims published in 2014, is presenting a selection from his extensive collection in an exhibition at Berlin’s Studio Bumiller. Forty-three Anatolian rugs and thirteen kilims from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will be shown at the exhibition entitled, Woven Paradise: A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The exhibition highlights the centuries-old history of carpet knotting and the influence that diverse cultures have had on the Turkish-Anatolian region. At the same time, it offers an overview of the different types of Anatolian rugs and kilims, introducing the viewer to their world of colour, ornamentation, variety of design and symbolism. The exhibition displays prayer rugs and nomadic rugs, funeral rugs, rugs from Anatolia’s Christian communities, and full-pile carpets that served as beds.

The bridging of Islam and the followers of other faiths (Christians and Jews, Armenians and Kurds) is a hallmark of the Ottoman Empire, and with this in mind, the exhibition aims to promote, and contribute to, a constructive exchange between cultures. ‘The exhibition can help facilitate a better understanding of our fellow citizens of Islamic heritage, thereby allowing us to encounter them more respectfully’, says Martin Posth.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive and high quality catalogue, presented both in German and English: Woven Paradise – A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries, self-published by Dr. Martin Posth.

For more information, visit the website of Studio Bumiller, Berlin, Germany.

Event: Talismanic Textiles from the Islamic World – A Talk by Dr Francesca Leoni

Event date: Friday 9 December 2016, 2.30 pm 

Dr Francesca Leoni is the Yousef Jameel Curator of Islamic Art and a Research Associate at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford. She is the curator of the exhibition Power and Protection, Islamic Art and the Supernatural currently on display at the Ashmolean (showing until 15 January 2017). In her talk for the OATG, Dr Leoni will focus on the talismanic textiles included in the exhibition.

Location: Ashmolean Museum Education Centre, Oxford.

Admission is free for members, £3 for non-members. Registration is essential.

For more information, and to book your place at this event, please RSVP on the Eventbrite page, or contact the OATG events organisers (oatg.events@gmail.com).

The exhibition Power and Protection can be visited afterwards until 5 pm. Find more information on the exhibition here.

Event: World Textile Day – Bristol

world-textile-day-bristol

Event date: Saturday 1 October 2016

Every year at the World Textile Days around the country, the organisers explore a common theme through their free exhibition, and morning and afternoon presentations (only £2 per session). In 2016, their world textile experts will focus on the role of textiles in birth, marriage and death around the world.

FREE admission to our exhibition of stitched, embroidered and woven textiles and artefacts from around the world.

FAIR TRADE – Worldwide fair trade textile, directly from the makers.

Plus:

  • 11 am presentation. Diane Gaffney – A Matter of Life and Death: Batik and Ikat in Indonesian Life.
  • 2 pm Show & Tell. Bring and discuss your own textile with one of our world textile experts. Plus: two short talks.
  • £2 per session, tickets at the door.

With these specialist world textile traders:

  • Textile Traders
  • The African Fabric Shop
  • John Gillow
  • Slow Loris Textiles – Martin Conlan
  • Tukuru Textiles from South America – Meri Hunneyball
  • Añañuca Chilean Textiles – Liz Beasley

Delicious refreshments courtesy of our hosts Saltford Community Association. Disabled access. Free parking. Stations – Keynsham, Bristol Temple Meads, Bath.

Venue: Saltford Hall, Wedmore Road, Saltford, Bristol, BS31 3BY.

For more information, visit the World Textile Day website.

Event: World Textile Day – Mundford, Norfolk

world-textile-day-norfolk

Event date: Saturday 10 September 2016, 10am – 4:30pm

Every year at the World Textile Days around the country, the organisers explore a common theme through their free exhibition, and morning and afternoon presentations (only £2 per session). In 2016, their world textile experts will focus on the role of textiles in birth, marriage and death around the world.

FREE admission to our exhibition of stitched, embroidered and woven textiles and artefacts from around the world.

FAIR TRADE – Worldwide fair trade textile, directly from the makers.

Plus:

  • 11 am presentation. Bob Irwin – Bury Me Well: African funeral textiles and rituals.
  • 2 pm Show & Tell. Bring and discuss your own textile with one of our world textile experts. Plus: two short talks.
  • £2 per session, tickets at the door.

With these specialist world textile traders:

  • Textile Traders
  • The African Fabric Shop
  • John Gillow
  • Slow Loris Textiles – Martin Conlan
  • Susan Briscoe Designs
  • Tanya Byrne – Indian textiles

Delicious refreshments to be confirmed. Disabled access. Free parking. Stations: Brandon and Downham Market.

Venue: Mundford Village Hall, St Leonards Street, Mundford, near Thetford, Norfolk, IP26 5DW.

N.B. There is still another World Textile Day to be held in Bristol this year, so if you’d like to attend this event, but it’s a little too far away, you might still be able to attend the Bristol event instead.

For more information, visit the World Textile Day website.