Undiscovered Minimalism: Mazandaran kilims at Böhmler, Munich
The Swiss collector/dealer, based in Zurich, first encountered these kilims from northern Iran in the 1990s when he took a holiday by the Caspian Sea. He was not searching for kilims, but he came across minimal, abstract pieces that he had dreamt of finding, but had not known where to look.
Trips to the remote highland district of Hezar-jerib in Mazandaran Province allowed him to collect many of the loosely woven kilims of silky wool, with diverse patterns. Made as utilitarian pieces, the strips were stored rolled up in houses, ready for lengths to be cut off and sewn together, when required for bedding, floor covers, room dividers, storage bags and insulation. These were unknown to the trade at the time, and despite embarking on a research trip in 2009 to these in the company of the artist and Iranian weaving expert Parviz Tanavoli and other cultural historians from Tehran, the history and origins of the sophisticated flatweave designs remains a mystery.
Previously displayed in Beirut, the show is the first time most of these remarkable weavings have been exhibited in Europe. They will remain installed in the entrance hall to the Böhmler carpet department until 14 November 2014, thereafter the kilims will be available to view in the firm’s carpet showrooms. Much of this collection is documented in the book, Undiscovered Minimalism: Gelims from Northern Iran, by Parviz Tanavoli, 2011, available from the HALI bookshop catalogue.