Event: Living with the Shahsevan – A talk by Richard Tapper for ORTS

 

Event date: Wednesday 19 April 2017, 6–9 pm

This is an Oriental Rug and Textile Society event.

Richard says: “I lived among Shahsevan nomads in the 1960s, when their weavings were almost unknown, or commonly labelled ‘Kurdish’ or ‘Qarabagh’. I visited them again briefly in 1968, 1973, and then in 1993 and 1995 – by which time of course their weavings were very well-known, and production had been widely commercialised. I shall describe life among the nomads, give some background to their history, and some details on the weaving that I observed, all illustrated with slides from the field.”
R.L. Tapper, MA PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology with reference to the Middle East.

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.

Exhibition: Textiles from Sumba, Indonesia

thomas-murray-sumba-exhibition

Exhibition dates: this is an online exhibition, available to view indefinitely

A special exhibition of textiles from Sumba, curated by HALI contributing editor Thomas Murray and drawing from his extensive collection, is available to view online. It begins:

“The island of Sumba may be found on a map between Bali and New Guinea but it exists in its own world, far apart from those antipodal lands. Divided east and west by language and environmental conditions, the west tends to be more wet and green and the east, dryer.

Sumbanese religion, Marapu, recognizes that a dualistic symmetry exists in the universe, that of male and female, hot and cold, sun and moon, cloth and metal. Here there are good and bad spirits hovering nearby, needing ritual offerings on a regular basis. The ancestors must most especially be cared for.

Sumba is thus home to one of the strongest animistic tribal societies found in Indonesia, perhaps most famous for its notorious custom of cutting off the heads of enemies and placing them on the branches of a designated tree, the pohon andung, at the entrance of the village. Such trees represented the Tree of Life as well as serving to remind viewers of the power of the raja.

Sumba has a rich megalithic heritage, featuring giant stone tomb memorials. Sumbanese houses, particularly the customary houses found in royal villages, known as rumah adat, are understood to be cosmic diagrams, with the underworld of the animals below, the mid-level for human habitation and the high roof being the realm of the ancestors. This is also the place where the pusaka heirloom treasures are stored, to be closer to the departed souls; precious gold jewelry and fabulously rare and beautiful textiles were kept just under the peak of the roof on both sides of the island. But the art of weaving and dyeing achieved greatest heights in the east, with ikat textiles adding bright colors to the dusty brown background of this, the dry side of the island.”

To view the exhibition, visit Thomas Murray’s website.

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: REMINDER – Talk by Author and Specialist Chris Aslan Alexander – A Carpet Ride to Khiva

oatg-a-carpet-ride-to-khiva

Event date: Thursday 13 October 2016, 6.15 – 8pm

This is just a reminder about the OATG event taking place next Thursday, in which Chris Alexander will be speaking about carpet weaving in Uzbekistan. Chris has also recently let us know that he will be bringing carpets and other textiles for a show and tell session after his presentation for attendees of the event to see.

Chris Aslan Alexander established two workshops in Khiva in Uzbekistan, recreating fifteenth-century Timurid carpet designs from forgotten illuminations and reviving silk carpet weaving, natural dye-making and suzani embroidery. To find out more about Chris, and about the book he has written on this subject, visit his website.

Location: The Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.

Admission is free for members, and £3 for non-members.

There are still a few places remaining at this event, so please book yours now if you’d like to come.

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

Exhibition: Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art

hangzhou-triennial-of-fiber-art

Exhibition dates: 25 August – 25 October 2016

Hangzhou, an ancient cultural city and a modern leisure city, and home to the high-profile G20 Summit in 2016, a rare opportunity and a driving force to integrate development from different aspects. On such a grand occasion, the 2nd Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art is being held jointly by Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture, Publicity Department of CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee and China Academy of Art.

This internationally famous exhibition is also a high-grade contemporary art brand of Hangzhou, as Hangzhou is home to silk as well as being the capital of fibre. The exhibition brings together fiber art by 60 artists from 20 countries and regions, many of whom are from the participating countries of G20 Summit. The exhibition presents a global conversation from the great dimensions of time and space on the significance of fibre art in terms of its history, humanity, current social practices, the environment, the internet and new technology. The world’s attention will be focused in Hangzhou again, and Hangzhou will show the world its unique, profound and charming culture and art.

Weaving & We, the theme of the 2nd Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art, is both the focus of the exhibition and the starting point of creation. Stemming from the origin ‘weaving’, the exhibits go far beyond what we know of ‘weaving’ in our daily life. The timeliness and repetition of ‘weaving’ symbolise maternal reproductive power that derives from the mother’s original creative source given by nature, and constantly promotes the evolution of human civilization. ‘Weaving’ is by no means a ready-made object, but an ever-changing action and initiative.

As long as there are human beings, there will be continuous weaving. At the same time, Weaving & We tells the secret of mutual promotion of the technique and the way. I weave, therefore I am. ‘I weave’ refers to the technique, while ‘I am’ refers to the way. The way is in the technique and lies only in the technique. I weave, therefore I am. In this way, it points out the theme that artistic works need to go back to the origin and essence of life. This event is divided into four sections featuring curatorial research and artists’ works echoing the theme. The sections are ‘needles and proverbs’, ‘body and identity’, ‘weaving and form’, and ‘scene and phenomenon’.

 

For more information, visit the website of the Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art.

Event: Talk by Author and Specialist Chris Aslan Alexander – A Carpet Ride to Khiva

oatg-a-carpet-ride-to-khiva

Event date: Thursday 13 October 2016, 6.15 – 8pm

Chris Aslan Alexander established two workshops in Khiva in Uzbekistan, recreating fifteenth-century Timurid carpet designs from forgotten illuminations and reviving silk carpet weaving, natural dye-making and suzani embroidery. To find out more about Chris, and about the book he has written on this subject, visit his website.

Location: The Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.

Admission is free for members, and £3 for non-members.

For more information, please contact the OATG events organisers (oatg.events@gmail.com).

Exhibition: Woven Power – Ritual Textiles of Sarawak and West Kalimantan

 

College of the Holy Cross - Woven Power

Exhibition dates: 31 August – 14 December 2016

Pua kumbu are magnificent, intricately dyed, hand-loomed cotton ikat textiles once woven as religious objects par excellence by the Iban and the related Dayak peoples who produced them in Southeast Asia. They were said to be full of powerful spirits and designed to be extraordinarily beautiful to attract the attention of the gods and invite them to draw near to human ceremonies. Over decades, emeritus Tufts University engineering professor John Kreifeldt amassed a comprehensive collection of pua kumbu, sungkit wraps and kain kebat skirts from Sarawak and West Kalimantan, with examples from the 1800s to 1940. Kreifeldt is the primary lender and a collaborator on this exhibition at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; other than a few textiles, most have never been displayed before in any museum.

Fieldwork anthropological essays by curator Susan Rodgers will accompany the exhibition. ‘Woven Power’ is Rodgers’ fifth exhibition of Southeast Asian textiles at Cantor Art Gallery.

For more information, visit the website of the College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts, USA.

Exhibition: Weaving and the Social World – 3,000 Years of Ancient Andean Textiles

Yale - Weaving and the Social World

Exhibition dates: 20 May – 18 September 2016

Weaving was an important artistic achievement of the ancient cultures of South America. Andean peoples first produced textiles around 10,000 BC, and created one of the world’s earliest weaving traditions. Improvements in technical sophistication occurred around 1800 BC, when growing populations, large settlements and intensive agriculture transformed the region and set the stage for the great civilizations that would follow. Lacking written languages, Andean societies used clothing to define a person’s gender, status, occupation, wealth and community affiliation. Textiles also played an increasing role in political and religious rituals. When high-status individuals died, they were wrapped in layers of fabrics and buried with cloth offerings.

This exhibition, at the Yale University Art Gallery, celebrates the significance and beauty of ancient Andean textiles, demonstrating the spectrum of their designs and functions. It features exceptional loans from private collections, including tunics, mantles and wall hangings, as well as related feather, gold and silver ornaments, weaving implements and ceramic vessels. Characterised by graphically powerful images of deities, animals and geometric motifs, and by advanced weaving techniques, these textiles reveal the brilliance of ancient South American weavers.

For more information, visit the website of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Exhibition: Friend and Foe – Animals in Medieval Textile Art

Abegg Stiftung - Freund und Feind

Exhibition dates: 24 April – 13 November 2016

Eagles, gazelles, lions or even magnificent peacocks enliven the fabrics with which the elites of society once clothed themselves. These precious textiles are material evidence of aristocratic culture; their depictions of animals play on the privilege of hunting or on the concept of courtly love. Including literary texts, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to medieval verse romances, the Abegg Stiftung’s special exhibition for 2016 illuminates the meaning of these often magical-looking textile images.

For more information, visit the website of the Abegg Stiftung, Switzerland.