April 21, 2013
The Magic Power of Large Medallion Suzanis
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Suzani are among the most fascinating groups of embroidered textiles in the Islamic world. They were, and still are, created in Central Asia mainly by Uzbek and Tadjik women. Every region and town has its own style, and every style is beautiful, but the most fascinating and impressive is the so-called large medallion suzani. The name refers to the large, fully embroidered main field. These embroideries make a deep impression on the viewer because of their strong colors and inner harmony. The presentation discussed the appeal of these embroideries and specific aspects of their design.
Gisela Helmecke received her Diploma in Science of Art History from Humboldt University in Berlin. She is a longtime curator in the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, supervising the departments of textiles (without carpets), metalwork, and epigraphy. She has organized exhibitions of Islamic art at the museum and abroad, and assisted in organizing others. Ms. Helmecke has traveled extensively throughout the Islamic world. She is a specialist in Islamic textiles, principally medieval tiraz (inscribed) textiles, as well as Ottoman and Kashmir embroideries. She has written many articles on Islamic topics, which appear mainly in catalogues. In 2010, she wrote "Splendour of Colour and Silk", the catalogue for an exhibition of Ottoman embroidery at the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem. In 2009, she published "Large Medallion Suzanis" in conjunction with an exhibition at the Berlin museum. In 1993, she published "A Wealth of Silk and Velvet," a catalogue of Ottoman embroidery that accompanied a large exhibition of Ottoman textiles in Hamburg, Germany. Ms. Helmecke is a member of the International Study Group "Textiles of the Nile Valley".
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