ISSUE 148 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2006
CONTENTS & EDITORIAL
17 | LETTERS Turkmen responses; Ziegler; McCoy-Jones.
19 | IN MEMORIAM Remembering the late Heinrich Kirchheim.
21 | NEWS Milan news; Pazyryk Society; V&A tapestries.
23 | OUTLOOK Michael Franses in Edinburgh.
23 | PREVIEW ’Milestones in the History of Carpets’ at Moshe Tabibnia’s Milan gallery.
39 | CALENDAR Auctions, exhibitions, fairs and conferences.
43 | GALLERY House style advertisements.
49 | BOOKS Pfauen, Blüten und Zypressen; Titles Received.
51 | A SILK COPE Sumru Belger Krody A silk vestment from the TM, Washington DC.
55 | ‘ARTS PREMIERS’ IN PARIS Alan Kennedy, Jonathan Hope and Marcel Korolnik at the opening of Musée du Quai Branly
60 | A PERSIAN VENTURE Melanie Venes & Jennifer Wearden Two letters from the V&A archive provide a glimpse of Iran a century ago.
62 | PERSIA 1897-1899 Jeffrey B. Spurr A view of19th century Iran seen through a photograph album from the Sackler Museum.
66 | KIZIL AYAK & ALI ELI CHUVALS. Turkmen Weavings of the Middle Amu Darya S Peter Poullada New research intonon-Ersari MAD weaving.
74 | ISABELLA ERRERA AND THE BRUSSELS ROYAL MUSEUMS Mieke van Raemdonck The Isabella Errera textile collection at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels.
97 | REVIEW Exhibitions:Soviet textiles in Boston; Arkilla in Paris; paraments at the MAK, Vienna; Polynesian art in Norwich; Bogolan in New Jersey.
109 | AUCTION PRICE GUIDE The pick of of the crop in Germany, Dedham and New York.
118 | NETWORK Classiﬁed advertisements.
123 | PROFILE A Swede in Dublin, Peter Linden.
124 | ON THE MARKET Fragments before 1800 and over $1,000
The new Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum has been widely praised, and we join the chorus enthusiastically . The Art of the Islamic world, arguably the purest expression of decorative art, has enjoyed a prominent role within the educative purpose of the institution since its foundation in 1852, and has occupied one of the primary galleries since the 1950s. The current international political climate and promotion of inclusive, multi-cultural societies has helped persuade museums worldwide to refresh the focus and display of their Islamic art holdings, but that has not prevented the new V&A gallery from celebrating the sheer beauty and joy of Islamic design. The gallery’s organisation, discussed by Curator Tim Stanley in HALI 147 (pp.29-33), is centred around the Ardabil Carpet, lying ﬂat in its glass case. Its presentation lends the gallery a sense of reﬂection and intimacy. Like the Ardabil, the other objects displayed are broadly the products of court patronage, thus leaving much of the collection unrepresented: a situation which the department is keen to address and may eventually result in a dedicated space being allocated for tribal rugs and textiles. The accomplished presentation at the V&A is uncontroversial, with sensitive interior design, involving maximum curatorial input, allowing and enhancing a thoughtful, pleasing and very effective selection from a superb collection. Would that the same could be said for the new Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, which is controversial both in its purpose, and in the manner in which the museum attempts to fulﬁl its brief as a monument to the so-called ‘arts premiers’. A prestigious architectural commission, the new building represents a triumph of style over substance, with the selection and presentation of artefacts seemingly subordinated to a ‘grand’ design. The result is patchy. There is no doubting the quality of much of the tribal art displayed, but the choice of exhibits is haphazard, labelling and lighting are generally poor, and there are times when the architecture-led ﬂow of trafﬁc and the interior ﬁnish leave visitors feeling that they are trapped in a ‘primitive art’ theme park. Finally, we should applaud the powers that be at Berlin’s Islamic Art Museum for having the courage to think outside the box by admitting within their hallowed walls an exhibition, complementary to their holdings, of examples of Islamic calligraphy and the Arts of the Book organised by a leading British dealer. It shows that the ivory towers of academia and the real world of commerce can coexist without loss of dignity and propriety.
Barkcloth (detail), Hawaiian Islands, late 18th century. Length 1.12m (3'8"). Barkcloth, known as kapain Hawaii, was made by beating the inner bark of the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) into sheets that were then decorated in bold geometric patterns in red and black. This piece, comprising two sewn together sections, was probably originally part of a larger sheet. Kapawas used either as a wrapping for important people or important objects, or as a valuable item of exchange. This example was acquired in the 1850s from the University of Edinburgh Collection, where it was associated with other items of probable 18th century provenance. A smaller section of this cloth appears in a sample book at the National Museums of Scotland. Such sample books were first assembled in 1787 by Alexander Shaw, using Cook Voyage barkcloths, in response to the wide interest that was shown in Polynesian barkcloth in Europe at the time. National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh, A.UC406.
HALI 148 I 5