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Saturday, August 29, 2009

 "Fabric of Radiance and Splendor:
Many Yarns of Central Asian Ikat"

  with Sumru Krody,

Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections
The Textile Museum, Washington, DC

    Ikat fabrics, which were used to create functional objects while displaying Central Asian artists’ and weavers’ attention to the harmony between design, color, and execution, are considered works of art that embody Central Asian society’s aesthetic values. Produced by a group of ethnically diverse artisans—from dyers to weavers to tailors—nineteenth century Central Asian silk, and silk and cotton ikats are distinguished by bold, original designs using vibrant colors, and are prized for their great beauty, and their sheer vibrancy and creativity of the designs. The ikat fabrics were sought after for making long robes that adorned the royal and upper-middle-class urban women and men in the homes and streets of Central Asian oases towns. Central Asian clothing defined social rank, wealth, domestic role, tribal affiliation, and geographic origin. How these garments were constructed and the kinds of fabrics used were extremely important to provide important visual clues about an individual. Through the unique collection of ikats given to The Textile Museum four years ago by Murad Megalli of Istanbul, this presentation will explore ikat , and discuss the artistic, technical, cultural, economic, and historical aspects of Central Asian ikat production, placing these beautiful fabrics into context as clothing and furnishing worn and used by Central Asian people 200 years ago.
      A native of Izmir, Turkey, Sumru Krody is a graduate of Istanbul University, with an advanced degree in archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. For the past fifteen years she has been a curatorial assistant, Associate Curator, and now Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections at The Textile Museum. Her previous exhibitions include Flowers of Silk & Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery (2004-5) and Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region (2006), and she authored the accompanying catalogs. Most recently Krody adapted the Textile Museum exhibition Timbuktu to Tibet: Rugs and Textiles of the Hajji Babas, and is in the process of creating an exhibition and catalog for the Megalli ikat collection, to be on exhibit at the TM in October, 2010. Sumru invites TMA/SC members to bring examples of Central Asian ikat from their collections for a show & tell.




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