ISSUE 149 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2006
CONTENTS & EDITORIAL
17 | NEWS Remembering Roger Cavanna; SNY’s Blau sale.
19 | OUTLOOK Michael Franses travels to Paris to report on this season’s best art offerings.
24 | PREVIEW Venice and the East; Bakshaish and Serapi carpets inMilan; Istanbul’s treasures in Holland.
39 | CALENDAR Auctions, exhibitions, fairs and conferences.
41 | GALLERY House style advertisements.
45 | BOOKS Vok Collection, Suzani 2reviewed by Penny Oakley; Titles Received.
50 | SERIAL IMAGERY James W. Reid Comparing repetitive imagery in early Peruvian textiles and 20th century art.
55 | THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIRDS Vanessa Drake Moraga Exploring avian symbolism in Andean textiles in the ﬁnal extract from Animal Myth and Magic.
60 | INDIAN LIGHT ON CHIN TEXTILES David W. & Barbara G. Fraser The ‘Ancient and Modern’ award-winning essay on the textile traditions of Chin hill tribes of India.
66 | IN THE SAMARKAND STYLE Elena Tsareva Classifying, and tracing the history of a distinctive group of 19th century ikat textiles.
72 | CARPETS OF KHORASAN Daniel Walker How an exhibition at the Textile Museum, Washington, sheds light on this rare group of classical Persian carpets.
91 | REVIEW Exhibitions: Salmon skins in Paris; David Collection Islamic art; Tabibnia’s masterpieces; carpets inCracow. Fairs: Tribal art in Santa Fe.
105 | AUCTION PRICE GUIDE Top lots from the London sales in autumn.
113 | CARPET DESIGN FOCUS Aspecial advertorial section.
133 | NETWORK Classiﬁed advertisements.
139 | PROFILE Asian textile dealer Tadashi Morita.
141 | PARTING SHOTS Snapshots from Edinburgh, Santa Fe and Milan.
144 | LAST PAGE Jessica Hemmings speaks to the new Director of the Mingei International Museum, San Diego.
Classical carpets dominate our immediate horizon at present, which is great for those who have a preference for the art of the court or, better, for weavings that represent formal artistic styles and cultural traditions. Venice and its relationship with the East, including, of course, classical weavings, is the subject of a major exhibition in Paris, Khorasan carpets are being presented and discussed in Washington, and a commercial exhibition to challenge all others is at Moshe Tabibnia in Milan (see pp.95-97), and requires serious attention here. The most obvious reason is that anyone who loves rugs must delight in the opportunity to see the weave, texture and colour of theseprecious and rare gems in the ﬂesh (there is no substitute, and even a high quality magazine comes a distant second!). The structured nature of a gallery setting brings, too, the opportunity to make immediate comparisons. A so-called ‘Damascus Chessboard’ carpet, for instance, juxtaposed with a ‘Para-Mamluk’ and a Mamluk, creates a grouping which suggests that the superﬁcial similarities between these carpets are outweighed by their subtle differences. Conversely the Brunk Karapinar, displayed in a room with an Ushak double-niche rug, a ‘Lotto’ carpet and a ‘Transylvanian’ prayer rug, demonstrates the afﬁnities between the last three and shows quite how extraordinary, even revolutionary, the design architecture and colouration of the Karapinar are. I’m often told that it is a severe handicap to talk about rugs without having seen them face to face. On occasion I have found this difﬁcult to accept since it implies that “your views are not valid until you have seen what I have seen.” Unfortunately the time and effort that it takes to travel to museums and see some of the world’s iconic carpets, if and when they are on display, make this ideal unachievable. All the more, then, the Tabibnia exhibition offers a rare and invaluable opportunity to test the truth of the “see it before you speak” maxim (I’m forced to admit it contains some truth). Finally, it would be wrong to ignore the contribution that the catalogue, written by Jon Thompson, will make to the carpet studies field. As discusssed at the recent Textile Museum Symposium in Washington, the heyday of classical carpet studies is little more than a distant and romantic memory, but the extent of Thompson’s work and the interest of some of the hypotheses he explores are capable of setting a new foundation for future studies, This is a hope Tabibnia is keen to support, particularly in light of the fact that some of the pieces are reportedly on reserve and sales are under way. This rich vein of rug heaven will continue in our pages as well as within the international community at large. As ICOC Istanbul draws near, the mysteries of the Istanbul museums beckon, with the promise of what, in my estimation, will be the best conference to date.
Khosagii aurmon(detail, see also p.68), Karatag, Hisar Valley, Tajikistan, second half 19th century. Raw silk, ikat, slit-tapestry, tabby. The vivid colours and technique of this group of Central Asian resist-dyed ikat textiles may have their roots in the Samarkand silk weaving tradition: no more than ﬁve shades are used in Karatag silks, but are combined in an idiosyncratic way. Their structural uniqueness lies in the method used to combine warp and weft ikat, using a plainwoven structure known as putgardon (‘returning weft’), in which the wefts go from both sides to the centre of the panel and return on a continuous shed, a technique usually associated with tapestry weaving. Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, 2917-47
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