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Saturday, February 18, 2017

10 a.m. Refreshments     10:30 a.m.  Program

Arab Abstraction: 

Kilims of the Arabs of Uzbekistan


Richard Isaacson, PhD.

Independent Researcher and Curator, Washington, DC

The Arabs originally arrived in Uzbekistan during the conquests of the 7th century, and Arab artisans were again brought by Timur early in the 15th century to build Samarqand.  By the second half of the 19th century, they were creating large, geometrically patterned and surprisingly modern-looking kilims, tapestry-woven on big horizontal looms.  Long-overlooked by modern scholars and collectors, and now mostly forgotten, Uzbek Arab kilims were made in substantial numbers for sale in the bazaars across Central Asia, and were as popular and widespread in their day as blue jeans are in the modern world.  Richard Isaacson’s talk will employ not only photos of existing antique Arab kilims, but also vintage photographs of these kilims, made during their period of greatest popularity, and which have been located in antique books, museums, and photographic archives around the world.  They will illustrate the popularity of these weavings, their widespread use by all strata of society, and their geographic distribution across all parts of Central Asia.  

***As a special bonus, Richard will end with a brief digression to discuss one well-known weaving of special interest, the Türkmen eñsi, among the most beautiful rugs of Central Asia.  He will reveal his recent research results from photographic archives that provide new information about the use of this rug, made to cover the door of the nomadic tent.

Richard Isaacson attended Columbia and Stanford Universities before receiving his PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Maryland. He taught at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, then moved to the U.S. National Science Foundation in Washington, DC where he served as the Program Director for Gravitational Physics. He simultaneously pursued a strong interest in art and oriental carpets.  Dr. Isaacson has been active at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC, lecturing frequently and serving as a member of the Textile Museum Advisory Council. He was Guest Curator for the exhibition Architectural Textiles: Tent Bands of Central Asia, and From the Amu Darya to the Potomac: Central Asian Bags from Area Collections (Sept 7, 2001--Feb 24, 2002).  He was a member of Local Organizing Committee for the 10th ICOC (2003), Washington, DC. He also served as the Exhibition Project Manager for the ICOC show Treasures from the Museums of Uzbekistan, held at the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Washington, DC.

He has published in Oriental Rug Review, HALI, Steppe, and Carpet Collector magazines, and has written the exhibition catalogue Architectural Textiles: Tent Bands of Central Asia. His latest publication is on archival photographs showing the use of Türkmen Door Rugs.

Luther Hall,  Lower Level     St. Bede’s Episcopal Church

3590 Grand View Blvd.  Los Angeles, CA  90066-1904

Just south of the 10 freeway, and west of the 405, near the intersection of Centinela and Palms.  Free parking.

Admission:    TMA/SC members  Gratis . . . . .  Guests  $10



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