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 "Looking Behind the Veil ... Reading Between the Lines:
Embroideries from the Mediterranean Sea"

Christian Erber

 Engineer, Textile Collector and   Independent Researcher

 Munich, Germany

The Ottoman Empire always enjoyed great talent for embroidering fine weavings, and fashioning them into wall hangings and scarves.  Only works serving as representative pieces and embroidered exclusively with metal threads were produced in ateliers.  By the 16th century women embroidered cloths, scarves and veils in their haremliks, which were closed to visitors.  This tradition of domestic activities continued into the beginning of the 20th century.  We have few sources that testify to these activities, and extremely rare documentation concerning the spreading of patterns and motifs further away from Constantinople (Istanbul) and into the entire area of the Mediterranean area ruled by the Ottomans, like Greece and the Maghreb (Algeria and Morocco.)  This lecture will point out the importance of these stitchery works, using citations of early travel books and comparing motifs and patterns in the fashioning of varied and diverse embroideries.

Christian Erber is a native of Bavaria, and was educated at the Munich University of Technology.  He is currently employed as a freelance structural-engineer.  In 1987, Christian cofounded the Munich-based "Society of the Friends of Islamic Art and Culture", and since 1992 has organized the annual Volkmanntreffen, an annual conference on a topic of rugs and textiles from Islamic cultures.  In 1992/1993 he was a member of the organizing committee of ICOC VII in Hamburg/Berlin, and curator of the exhibition "A Wealth of Silk and Velvet".  He and his wife, Dietlinde, collect antique Ottoman and Central Asian embroideries, including an extensive collection of Uzbek suzanis.  Christian invites TMA/SC members to bring examples of Ottoman and other Mediterranean-area embroideries for show & tell.


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