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ICOC XIV Preview


Loom-width panel of ikat silk velvet from ‘Binding the Clouds: The Art of Central Asian Ikat’, Textile Museum

The 14th International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC XIV) will come to Washington, DC from 7-11 June 2018 in collaboration with, and in support of, the Textile Museum and the George Washington University Museum.

A two-day academic programme at the Elliott School of International Affairs on the GWU campus will include two dozen lectures and panel discussions. Still to be finalised at the time of writing, it is intended that presentations focus on ‘New Attributions’ and ‘Discoveries and Recoveries’, as well as on topics related to the concurrent major exhibitions, just drawing to a close, of silk ikat hangings and robes given by Guido Goldman to both the Textile Museum and the Smithsonian Institution’s Sackler Gallery. A separate session will discuss ‘Ikats and Related Central Asian Weaving’, with papers on Central Asian textiles by international scholars including Elena Tsareva, Irina Bogoslavskaya and Elmira Gyul.

Chinese festival jacket

Gejia festival jacket, Guizhou, 21st century. Part of ‘Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China’, Textile Museum

In ‘Collecting and Museums’, Thomas Farnham will illuminate the career of well-known early 20th-century Swedish scholar and dealer F.R. Martin, while Shirin Malikova, the director of the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum in Baku, will document recent efforts to build on the museum’s collection. Italian architect Andrea Pacciani will argue that the rugs depicted by a 17th-century Italian painter reveal him as a precocious carpet collector.

‘Discovery and Recoveries’ will present lost and found classical carpets, with talks by Fatima Žutić on ‘vase-technique’ carpets in Sarajevo (see Feature pp.74-79), Beata Biedrońska-Słota on a unique Cairene Ottoman çintamani rug from the National Museum in Cracow, and Alberto Boralevi on Mamluk carpets.


Şarköy prayer kilim, Thrace, 19th century. 1.16 x 1.77 m (3′ 8″ x 5′ 8″). Mohammad Zavvar, Hazara Gallery, Oakland


Ladik prayer rug, central Anatolia, circa 1800. 1.19 x 1.77 m (3′ 9 “x 5′ 8”). Minasian collection shown by Mete Mutlu, Chicago

In ‘New Attributions’, Murray L. Eiland III will revisit the so-called ‘Herati design’, John T. Wertime will present flatwoven and knotted rugs using goat hair and mohair, while Peter Bichler will talk about ‘Defregger rugs’ from the Alpine region in southern Austria.

In addition to the Goldman ikats in ‘Binding the Clouds’, the Textile Museum will also show ongoing themed exhibitions of Chinese costume (see HALI 194, pp.112-115), as well as ‘Textiles that Communicate’ selected from diverse weaving cultures in the incomparable collections. There is also promised, for the duration of the conference at the former Corcoran Museum, now affiliated with GWU, a ‘special exhibition of extraordinary collector’s rugs and textiles’; the exact content has still to be announced. The Corcoran is also the venue for the customary Washington Sunday morning show-and-tell session.

From the evening of Thursday 7 June until Sunday afternoon, the primary conference hotel, The Hamilton, will be the setting for a separately organised Antique Carpet and Textile Fair featuring more than fifteen dealers of international standing.

East turkestan 1326 21 x 21 2_AP

Fo-dog mat, Xinjiang, 18th century . 0.64 m (2′ 1″) square. Noah Bolour, Los Angeles


Cretan skirt embroidered panel (detail), circa 1800. Silk on cotton, 0.51 x o.91 m (1′ 8″ x 3′ 0″). James Cohen, London

A post-conference extension in the Washington, DC area on Monday 11 June includes lectures combining scholarly background with a show-and-tell format on topics such as small bags and trappings, minimalist weavings, Swedish folk textiles and other special pieces. There will also be behind-the-scenes visits to museums and an evening viewing of the collections of prominent Washington, DC area collectors with receptions in their homes. This is the first time such events are included as part of an ICOC, bringing something new to an established format.


Azemmour embroidery, Morocco, 18th century. 0.27 x 0.55 m (8″ x 1′ 10″). Owen Parry, Abergavenny, Wales


Tibetan sitting mat with tree of life design (one of a pair), before 1900. 0.66 x 0.76 m (2′ 2″ x 2′ 6″). Nick Wright: East of the Bosphorus, Williamstown, MA

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