Woven Luxuriessilk velvets at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

 

AAM Woven Luxuries Carpet 1700 EX2015 5.9_01 Carpet, 1550–1625. Iran, Safavid period (1501–1722). Cut and voided velvet with supplementary weft patterning and added borders and corner pieces; silk and metal-wrapped thread.

Courtesy of Rina & Norman Indictor. Image © Rina & Norman Indictor, photo by Sheldan Collins

 

Can you imagine anything more opulent than cloth that has been carefully handwoven into intricate designs with lustrous silks and metal-wrapped threads? Woven Luxuries: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Velvets from the Indictor Collection is currently on exhibit in the Tateuchi Gallery at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco through November 1, 2015. Curators tell us a bit more:

 

"More than just practical clothing and furnishings, silk velvets symbolized sophisticated taste and cultural power in courtly Islamic society, especially during the 16th-18th centuries. . . . Delicate and sensuous, requiring high-quality materials and specialized expertise, velvets were made in more limited quantities than other types of fine textiles. Velvets were widely admired and traded in elite circles. Gaining popularity across the world from the 15th century onwards, velvets were the textiles par excellence at the royal courts of Mughal India, Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey-the three 'superpowers' of the early modern Islamic world. These textiles were popular not only in their local contexts but also in Europe, where they impacted design and fashion. While used for ceremonial attire and robes of honor in diplomatic gift exchange, the principal use of velvet fabric was for furnishings such as carpets, throne covers, cushions, wall hangings and tent panels."

 

The ten sumptuous textiles in the exhibit are on loan from the Indictor family in New York. Ranging from full-size carpets to smaller and equally beautiful textile fragments, the exhibit is accessible and intimate-perfect for those of us as interested in the silken threads as the finished textile itself.

 

Visit the website to see more images of the textiles included in the exhibit, museum hours, and ticket information. 

 

AAM Woven Luxuries Tent Fragment EX2015.5.8_01 Tent fragments, 1500–1600. Iran, Safavid period (1501–1722). Cut and voided velvet with supplementary weft patterning; silk and metal thread. 

Courtesy of Rina & Norman Indictor. Image © Rina & Norman Indictor, photo by Sheldan Collins

 

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