TM Symposium Show and Tell, 2010

On October 17, 2010, the Textile Museum’s 2010 Symposium “Tying the Rainbow,”

concluded with a traditional show and tell.

Because of the Symposium’s focus on Central Asian ikats, attendees were encouraged to bring, to wear, if possible, ikat items.

I wandered the tent during set up, taking opportunistic photos.

There were stacks of material

organized for efficient presentation.

Michael Seidman,

the long-time, master of ceremonies for these show and tell sessions, was directing preparations.

Some of those, who were to serve as expert commentators were also examining materials.  Among them were, Andy Hale,

Elena Tzareva,

Jeff Spurr,

Gail Martin,

and Michael Franses.

Participants in costume sat or wandered about and were fair game for photography.

The lady in the next couple of images wore a dramatic hat.

Here is this hat from the side.

Anyway, there were lots of folks about in costume.

I even took someone’s purse that seemed interesting.

Michael Seidman announced that before the show and tell proper, there was to be a short award ceremony.

Several folks, well known in the rug world, appeared at the front of the tent, each with a medal around his neck.

Bruce Banganz explained that all of these folks were previous winners of the McMullan Award,  given by the Near Eastern Art Research Center.

The Center is a vehicle created by Joseph V. McMullan primarily to provide seed money for worthy rug and textile research publications.  The Center also gives this prestigious award for “stewardship and scholarship” in Islamic rugs and textiles.

Bruce said that he had  recently agreed to succeed Russell Pickering, whom McMullan had originally appointed to head NEARC , and in that capacity was presenting this year’s award to Danny Shafer of Hali Magazine.

Danny spoke briefly expressing his thanks.

Michael Seidman said that we’d begin the show and tell by treating some non-Central Asian material.

The first piece was contemporary and American.  Its designer-weaver spoke to it.

It is bamboo on linen.

Next were two Sumba Indonesian panels.  Below is the first of these.

A little closer detail.

Here is the second of these Indonesian panels.

Again, a closer detail.

These two panels were both used as men’s garments.

Next was a coat of Japanese ramie.

A little closer.

The next two pieces were contemporary American weavings,

Their designer/maker spoke to them.

They are weft ikat: silk and cotton.

The next piece was a cushion cover.

This piece was attributed by the experts to Yazd in east central Iran.

The literature indicates that Yazd was a recognized center of quality silk fabrics and carpets during the early to mid 19th century, and apparently some work continues (mention of Yazd in attributions nowadays is rare in my experience).

Here are some closer detail images.

The next piece was a child’s kimono.

It was described as stencil ikat.  The Japanese term is “katzome.”

A closer detail.

The next piece, also Japanese, was an item of “picture ikat.” The more general term for Japanese picture ikat is “kasuri.”  This variety of kasuri is “board clamped” and is called “itajimi.”

Again, a closer detail.

The item below is Ottoman.

It is linen and cotton with indigo.

A couple of closer details, this first one of part of an embroidered end.

A second detail shows the striped areas.

It was described as a “Cycladic Turkish towel.”

With the piece below we returned to Japan.

This is a “meisen” kimono.  “Meisen” items are made from broken silk threads.  This one was stenciled.

This piece is early 20th century.

The next piece was the one below.

Its design was stenciled on before weaving.

The next two pieces, also Japanese, are two kinds of picture kasuri.

The first is this one. It was made in the Kyushu district of Japan.

A closer detail.

The second of these picture kasuri pieces is this one.

This piece was described as a “double ikat,” a more complex process.

Here is a closer detail.

It was made in Honshu.

The piece below is Cambodian ikat.

It is a contemporary piece.

More details of it below.

The next piece was an item of balanced ikat.

Here is a closer detail of it.

The experts suggested that it was woven either in Yazd, Iran or in Aleppo, Syria.  Some felt it was contemporary, but others placed it much earlier, perhaps mid-19th century.

Pat Reilly showed two Chinese silk panels that are not ikats.

She had bought them in a shop that had ikats, but not attractive enough to purchase.

Here is a closer detail.

Michael Seidman said that we’d now move to Central Asian ikats and he asked Andy Hale to speak to one on a form at the front while a “fashion parade” of ikat wearers was being organized.

Andy said that this was a cheerful, unlined coat from the 1860s-1870s.

Here are some closer images and details.

The parade of ikat wearers began with the coat below.

This was described as a woman’s chapan cut on the bias.

It has two colors and was over-dyed.

The next coat was the one below.

It is all silk, unlined woman’s coat.

Woven about 1870.

The next coat was held to be an item of new production.

A one-color striped design.

Another new one-color coat.

This is a lined woman’s coat made in Tashkent.

The next coat was quilted ikat.

It has a cotton print lining.

Louise Shelley wore a contemporary ensemble by Lola Babaeva an Uzbek designer.

Louise said that it is from this designer’s 2007 line.

The next pieces were contemporary ikat by an attending designer-weaver.

A first example was the skirt on the doll below.

A second example was the fabric in the bag this designer-weaver was carrying.

A closer image of this bag’s ikat.

The next coat was 19th century.

Here is a look at its lining.

And a close-up of the embroidered hat.

The next coat was a contemporary ikat.

Its designer-weaver said she had just made it.

The next piece was a blue-wefted man’s coat.

A closer detail.

The experts indicated that this Tajik coat, late 19th to 20th century, worn as mourning dress.

Here is its lining.

Pat Reilly modeled a contemporary Uzbek coat of hers.

It is of silk and cotton.

A close look at its lining.

The next piece was a contemporary velvet coat with fur.

The next item was an embroidered velvet Uzbek coat from Bokhara.

Notice that this suzani has Ottoman type motifs.

A closer detail.

Next were some contemporary ikat panels.

Next, Michael Seidman held up a framed “selvedge” estimated late 19th century.

The following piece was described as “pure geometry.”

Estimated to the third quarter of the 19th century.

Here’s its lining.

The next piece was described as an unlined “housecoat.”

Estimated to the last quarter of the 19th century.  Two dye baths were used to create its floral design.

Another coat with a floral motif.

Estimate to have been woven in the 1880s.

The next piece was unlined with a small scale motif.

Its colors were described as deep and rich.  1860.

The woman’s coat below displays a bold design.

Estimated late 19th-early 20th century.

Here is a detail of its lining.

The piece below features large-scale plant motifs.

Its lining is Russian commercial cotton print.

The experts called this lining “lovely.”

The next coat was the one below.

The experts pointed to two distinctive color usages in this piece.

First, the purple is the product of over-dyeing red with blue.

They also admired the “clean” yellow, saying that that is hard to do.

The next piece was pure silk and quilted.

The pinkish color in some of the white areas is the result of its red wefts showing through.

Here is a detail of its lining.

Another all silk coat.

The design combines large scale botehs, leavers, floral and geometric motifs.

Some closer detail images.

The next piece is yet another all silk piece.

A closer detail.

This panel has a full backing.  This is a detail of it.

In the silk piece below,

the large-scale floral forms relate…

…keep going…

…a little further…

…to the designs on the velvet backing behind it.


The next piece is a satin silk with large-scale motifs on a yellow ground.

The experts called attention to it wider loom width.

It was purchased in Bukhara.

The next piece is taffeta silk.

Large roundels alternate with zigzag patterning.

Late 19th, early 20th century.

The experts noted the distinctive palette of the blue-wefted coat below but did not give a place attribution.

They praised the “lovely” local lining (that is, it is not the frequently seen Russian commercial cotton print).

The experts noted the wider sleeves as they described the piece below as Tajik or Tajiks in the Fergana Valley.

Here is a glimpse of its lining.

The next coat has narrower sleeves.  It is all silk.  The expert said that there is something “funny” about its color and conjectured that perhaps it has been washed.

A closer detail.

Its lining was of several different patterns of material.

Someone asked from the audience whether the use of different patterns of material in a coat lining was an indicator of greater age.  The experts said not, that it was just likely the result of running out of a given pattern.

The next coat was also one the lining of which drew expert attention and comment.  This is what it looked like on the outside.

But  the experts said the inside was better than the outside in several respects.

First, Jeff Spurr drew attention the lovely inside ikat facing,

but also the the lining fabric itself, which seemed possibly Indian.

They said that the striped ikat facing cut on the bias enhances the look of the lining material.

One sleeve of this garment drew particular attention.  First, it is composed of several different prints.

But the experts said they had never before seen anything like the beautiful blue pattern.

Michael Franses argued that we need to pay closer attention to the linings of such coats.

That we usually have better information on the dating of the commercial Russian cottons used than we have on the ikat garments proper, and while, admittedly linings can be replaced, replacement is usually detectable.

The next coat is similar to one we saw above,

with its outsized red roundel and areas of zigzag patterning.  The experts noted the narrower arms.

Above we see a glimpse of its lining.

The experts explained that the sleeves on these coats were frequently long enough to cover the wearer’s hands and the slit we see in the sleeve below was to permit the hand to emerge for use when needed.

The next coat was another all-silk item.

Here are two close details of it.

The inside lining is a local cotton fabric.

The panel below,

was bought about 25 years ago in a particular Tashkent studio (Yodgolik Margilon) that has been making ikat for five generations.

Here is a closer detail of this piece.

The next panel, is described, a little opaquely, as “Turko, done after imprisonment.”

Again, a closer detail.

The next piece was the commercial satin panel below.

The expert suggested that the dyes are likely synthetic.

The next piece was described only as a “Bukhara coat.”

Below is a back view.

Also several closer details.



The coat below was seen to have “modern vibrant color,”

but despite its “new-ish” look, was estimated to be late 19th-early 20th century.

Here are some closer details.


A back view.

Another detail.

The coat below is of raw silk.

It has a distinctive handle: rougher, stiffer than processed silk.

The design is called “karatag.”  Karatag is the name of a valley area in Tajikistan, Central Asia.  The Karatag silk industry was a subject treated in the Symposium lectures.

The experts described the piece below as,

all silk, commercial pink, wide loom width of gossamer (i.e. very thin) material.

Made after the Soviet revolution.

The piece below

features greens the result of an over-dye process.

Here are some additional detail images of it.

The next piece was described as “Bokhara, all chemical dyes, wide width coat.”

Some detials.  Attention was called to the fastening edge.



The following piece was also described as chemically dyed and factory made.  Note the embroidered sleeves.

The embroidered sleeves are a Tajik feature.



The experts said the coat below was new,

but was of good quality.

The next piece was seen to be pure silk

but its selveges are the not blue seen on older pieces.

Next came a panel in rayon.

It was described as “pre-revival.”

The next item was another new piece, lacking detail,

but, the experts said, “still pretty.”

The next piece was one a nice new taffeta silk with a wider loom width.

The experts said that it was of a better quality.  They noted its white selvedges, but added that some newer pieces now have the traditional blue selvedges.

The next piece, also new,

was described as exhibiting “faithful designs.”

The piece below,

has a “shield shape Lakai design, of the floral peacock type.    Such renditions enlarge old designs but lack detail.

There were a number of these newer pieces and they moved by rapidly.  I’m just going to give you images of a few more of them without comment.













The next item was a departure,

a piece of 19th century Russian pottery with an ikat design.

Next, were two pieces (the first below, on the right),


the second, below by itself.

These items are the creations of a young Karakalpak woman,

Kisal Kimechek,


who combines ikat with elaborate embroidery.

Below are some additional detail images of these two pieces.


The next item was a Kyrgyz woman’s hat.

It was worn under a turban.  The reverse side is the ikat shown below.



A second hat below, was described as likely a Yomut piece from Khurasan.


Next was a small bag made of part of an ikat panel.  “Repurposed” is the current euphemism.

The next two items were also instances of “repurposing.”  They were a dress


and a coat, their designer explained,

utilizing ikat panels in them.

The piece below, is

another instance of repurposing of some ikat,

this time in an attractive modern coat.

Here are some details of the ikat portions of it.

The following items were a, vibrantly colored, vest

and a skirt.

These pieces were described as “Humanware” from Tashkent, perhaps a reference to a producer.

Another modern coat followed.  Here is its front.

And below is its back.

It was described as a “Yudgorlik” chapan.

The next items were additional instances of Humanware.  First, a skirt,

and then a vest or corset.

Next was a jacket,

with Central Asian ikat designs, and another,

that seemed possibly Indian in inspiration.

Orissa was mentioned.

Now we moved to velvet ikats.

The first was the coat below.

It was described as “Bakhmal” (an Uzbek term for velvet ikat), 1860s, likely from Afghanistan.

It was said to have a “lovely lining,” (which I didn’t successfully take).

Some later additions were noted.

The next velvet coat was described as having a good design,

although of a lower quality ikat.  1860-1870.

There were some velvet ikat sleeve panels on the front board and we did those next.

The first is the one below.

The second was the one below.

They were described as 19th century, maybe Bokhora.  The designs were described with references to botehs and Turkman jewelry.

There were two velvet bands on the board.

The experts were unsure about where they had been woven.  Here are some closer details of them.

Below is a close-up detail of the one on the right.

It was indicated that they may have been used as horse buckle, maybe with saddles.  One suggestion was that they were” Arab” belts.

A belt usage is plausible since they show firm selvedges on both sides.  Remember this point when we talk about some subsequent examples that have a belt-look.

The next piece was the velvet coat below.

There was also an Uzbek velvet cap.

There were also some contemporary velvet panels.

There were even some, “hang-them-up-for-the-h0lidays,” velvet ikat stockings.

Jeff Krauss had a velvet coat.

There was one piece still on the board.

Its owner said that it is part of the edge of a garment.  The ikat material is so thin that the design “washes out” if it is placed directly on a black backing.  It has dark blue wefts.  He bought it as Central Asian, but some experienced commentators have insisted that it is Syrian.

Led by Elena Tzareva, the experts in the room agreed that it is definitely Central Asian.  Elena said that it is the oldest piece of ikat she has seen, with hallmarks going back to the 17th century.

The next piece was on a dress form.

Another that drew the description “Humanware,” this time with the addition of the word “Atlas,” which I cannot clarify for you.

The next item was this hat,

bought in Jaiphur, but made in Baluchistan.

The next item was described as a “khalat” coat.  A “khalat” is a lightweight Central Asian robe made of cotton, silk or a mixture of the two.  There are regional variations in the cut of this garment but, essentially, khalats have wide sleeves and are bordered with patterned-silk edging tape stitched onto the coat material.

The two below are lined and lightly quilted which seems a bit unusual for coats described with this term.

Here is the second one.

The next two coats were described as recent Turkmen items.

This one is a Tekke type we see frequently.

Here is the second.

Its owner reported that she bought the coat below

from Turkmen in rural Turkey.

The next two items were described as “belts” but I think at least one of them is something else.

This is the time to recall what we noticed about the earlier belts on the board (here is a detail of one for convenient examination and comparison).  Notice that the selvedges on both sides are crisp and firm, making this a plausible belt format.

Now look in close-up at details of this more recent pair.

Notice especially on the one on the left that the left hand side has a firm, crisp selvedge ut that the right hand side lacks that.  Its material almost invites attachment to something, and I think that’s what it did.

I think this left hand piece (this may be true for both items in this second pair) is not a belt at all, but rather was once attached to serve as a decoration at the edge of a coat-like garment.

(I should acknowledge here that Bob Emry is the person who drew my attention to this difference in edge treatment and who offered the alternative theory of use.  Bob says that he has a garment with two similar, decorative, edging bands in place.)

Sometimes we may say “belt” too quickly.

The next piece was described as a panel of “Bokharan” suzani.

It is unbleached, shows the use of cochineal and was estimated to have been made in 1800 or earlier.

Its back panel is also old,

as is the edging ikat.

The next piece was described as “p0tala,” the Gujarati term for “double ikat.”

It is a full-sari size with a leopards and elephants design.

Here is a closer detail.

It was followed by a similar piece with a plain field (I was too close to get it all but you get the idea).

The piece below was described as Indonesian export of a lower grade.

There is also a Gujarat reference, perhaps where it was purchased.

The next two pieces are contemporary.

They were spun and dyed by their weaver, who spoke to them.

Here is her second item which has two parts.

It is printed and woven silk.

Next were two Southeast Asian skirts, perhaps from Thailand.

Here is the second one.

These pieces do not show themselves well with this kind of informal photography.

We now moved to pile pieces.

The first of these was the framed khojin half below.

It could be read to have ikat design influences.  Middle Amu Dyra.

The next piece was the pile carpet fragment below.

It was seen to have “Ersari” kilim traces.  And there were comments on the “lovely turtle” forms.

The next piece was the one below.

This larger bag face, perhaps large enough to be a trapping, has clear ikat-influenced field designs.

A closer detail.

The experts were still using the term “Ersari.”

Another pile piece of this sort followed.

Again, “Ersari” is referenced by the experts.  Tthe ikat influence is evident.

Below is a lovely niche design, with what is usually seen as an ikat-type gul in the niche.

A very unusual blank field.  The experts said “rare.”

The next piece was a colorful Uzbek or Tajik julkiur or sleeping rug.

Here are a couple of closer detail images of it.

Because these piece are woven with symmetric knots on alternate raised warps only, the design does not show on the back.

Another lovely julkiur was the one below.

Again, ikat influence is readily seen.

The experts rated this piece as more recent than the previous one but it still seems to me to have respectable age.

The morning show and tell ended with two Persian pieces Mike Tschebull had brought.

The first of these was the South Persian spindle bag below.

The image above is of one side.  Below is the other.

Mike said this nomadic bag is mostly wool with some cotton and may have been woven by the Baseri.

A second larger piece was congruent with most ikat structure in that it is warp-faced.

This is a quilt top from northern Iran near the Caspian.  It is formed from three panels sewn together.

Its beauty is visible in closer images of its stripes.

The Symposium show and tell came to an end and Maryclaire Ramsey,

The Textile Museum’s Director, thanked everyone for coming, and reminded us that next year’s Symposium will feature African textiles.

My own thanks to Nancy Landson, who took an excellent set of notes in difficult circumstances.

I hope you have enjoyed this virtual version of the show and tell session that was the crescendo for the 2010 Textile Museum Symposium.


R. John Howe

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