Thursday, August 2, 2012

Central Asian Ikat

Uzbek Ikat by megan_n_smith_99
Uzbek Ikat, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

Yesterday my mother, my sister, and I went to The Seattle Asian Art Museum to see their exhibit of Central Asian Textiles which closes on August 5th. The photo here is not from that show-- photography was not permitted-- but this ikat is similar to the ones we saw. This image is in the public domain, from the Smithsonian collection, via Wikipedia. It's an Uzbek weaving from the mid 19th century.

In Ikat, the warp, weft, or often both, are dyed before the piece is woven. They are dyed using wax resist techniques to create patterns. It has to be done very carefully and precisely to achieve the intricate patterns as shown here. Originally natural dyes were used, but in the late 1800s commercial dyes started being used. The show also including samples and information about natural dying. That part of the show had been put together by Michele Wipplinger of Earthues. If you are in the Seattle area you can visit their store / studio in Ballard. They also offer classes in natural dying techniques.

from SAAM's website:

“Everybody wears a coat like a rainbow… No matter how humble or hungry a man may be, and even if he has but a single garment, it is made of the most brilliantly colored material he can find.”

- William Eleroy Curtis, 1911

The Central Asian countries featured in the exhibit - "The Silk Road" were on historical trade routes so they artwork was the result of the blending of a number of cultures - Indian, Persian, Russian, and Chinese. One thing I found very interesting is that the linings were as colorful as the outsides of the robes - often utilizing brightly colored stripped fabrics.

The show also features images of some other Central Asian art - notably architecture, tile work, and carved wooden panels. It was interesting to see the clear relationship between the motifs.

My mother is a weaver, and my sister has traveled a lot in Central Asia, so we all enjoyed the show.

I thought the show might inspire some paintings - it might inspire me to do some more pieces in my Minaret series, which is inspired by Islamic architecture.

1 comment:

tanders said...

I bet the show was eye popping