|ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / exhibitions|
The story of Islamic embroidery in
nomadic and urban traditions
works on view include embroidered garments and decorative
objects dating from the 17th to the 20th century that
illuminate how the magnificent tradition of embroidery,
carried on by urban, rural and nomadic women, sustained
regional, tribal and family identities through its
integration in communal activities, and how it evolved
through the encounter of different cultures. The
Andalusians influenced textile-makers in Morocco; the
Ottomans influenced artists in Algeria; and all across
Central Asia there was continual interchange among
Mongols, Uzbeks, Pashtuns, Tajiks, Turkmen and more.
The types of textiles on view fuelled the bustling trade of the region's bazaars and filled the packs of camel caravans that traversed the desert from Central Asia to Russia, Turkey and beyond. They defined the wearer's social status - from the ruler's magnificent gold-embroidered velvet robes to the labourer's striped cotton and the nomad's wool. The creation and use of textiles also marked the most joyous and poignant events of family life, from the rites of birth and marriage to those of burial.
Most of the materials in the exhibition were made by women specifically for their families and for members of their communities. For this reason, the Central Asian examples
particularly compelling, since Islamic identity in these
countries was strongly discouraged, or even punished, for
many decades, and embroidery gatherings provided women
with a rare opportunity for Islamic worship.
The exhibition features textiles from a number of Central Asian tribes, including a fine example of phulkari embroidery, which was made as part of the preparation for marriage, from the former district of Hazara (now the Pakistani North West Frontier Province); an intricately embroidered Turkoman woman's robe with motifs including latch-hooks, curving ram's horns, stylised tulip buds and rosettes; long cloth bands used to hold the high piles of bedding of wealthy families, made by the Lakai and Kungrat Uzbek tribes; an embellished saddle cloth, showing the status and social identity of the rider, from Rasht, Iran; and a suzani, a large, bed-cover sized wall hanging that was included in a dowry, densely embroidered with four large bouquets of flowers, common to urban dwellings in Central Asia.
Other notable objects in the exhibition are wall hangings, door hangings, shawls and chest covers from various regions of Morocco in the 17th through 20th centuries, 18th century shawls from Algeria, and silk embroiders from Sindh and the Swat Valley in Pakistan. â Emirates News Agency, WAM
|home content||Last revised May 18, 2010|