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Saturday, November 20, 2010

 "Scoartze: Romanian Folk Kilims"
Stefano Ionescu
Independent Carpet Scholar and Engineer,
Rome, Italy

The so called scoartze flatweave “kilims” may be considered a major creation of Romanian folk art, due to their utilitarian and ceremonial roles, as well as for their artistic value. They are a fusion of local tradition and outside influences, ranging from Anatolia to France. These textiles are scarcely shown in rug books or featured in HALI magazine, while auction catalogues or dealers just use brand names as ‘Bessarabian’ or ‘Thracian’. Stefano Ionescu’s lecture will elucidate several key points about scoartze, including the production areas (Oltenia, Valachia, Transylvania, Moldavia and Bessarabia) and the characteristics of kilims from each, and dating elements, plus he will show pictures of fine examples from the main collections. Typical patterns and symbolic messages associated with these kilims, as well as local tradition versus foreign influences, will be part of the talk.

Stefano Ionescu was born in Timisoara, at the border of Transylvania; he graduated in Bucharest and has lived in Rome since 1975, where he had a career as an engineer. As an independent scholar on Oriental carpets, he has dedicated more than ten years to the study of the Anatolian carpets in Transylvania. This region continues to be the repository of the richest and best-preserved corpus of small Turkish carpets outside the Islamic world. In order to explain the presence of these rugs, Ionescu published a comprehensive study, Antique Ottoman Rugs in Transylvania, which documented the entire collection of the Black Church, together with the most important examples from the Transylvanian Churches and from museums inside and outside Romania. The book was awarded the Romanian Academy Prise in the History of Art, a very rare event in the rug literature. Mr. Ionescu leads tours to Transylvania to see the nearly four hundred examples attributable to the golden period of Ottoman weaving, from the 16th to 18th cent.: ‘Holbein’, ‘Lotto’, Selendi and a wealth of so-called ‘Transylvanian’ rugs, in the churches where they have been on display for hundreds of years. He invites TMA/SC members to bring examples of Romanian, or “Bessarabian”, kilims to share with the group.

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