Small South Persian Tribal Weavings
April 11, 2010
Lecture by Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal
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South Persian nomads were among the most prolific of weavers, making both pile pieces and flatweaves. The many small, colorful utilitarian bags and trappings that enhanced their lifestyle are extremely charming and collectible.
Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal share their enthusiasm for the colorful bags woven by the south Persian nomads, which they have been acquiring for twenty years. After a few years of collecting, they wondered how weavings were really used in nomadic life. So they began reading the historical and ethnographic literature, interviewing people who had experience with the South Persian nomads, and searching for photographs of their nomadic life showing weavings in use. They found thousands of photographs, many unpublished, in rare and out of print books, university and museum archives, and personal collections of ethnographers. The work confirms many ideas about South Persian nomadic weavings; however, some commonly held notions need to be reexamined, especially those about piled saddlebags.
Now they have two collections: small south Persian tribal weavings and pictures of their nomadic life. The talk is illustrated with pieces from both collections. It reviews south Persian nomadic life with emphasis on how nomadic weavings are used and then discusses the conditions in 19th century Persia that fostered the weaving of piled saddlebags.
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