Saturday, January 31, 2009

South Persian Tribal Weavings

Ann Nicholas & Richard Blumenthal

Two independent researchers and collectors from Boston

We had a wonderful program today in our textile and rug society, Textile Museum Associates of Southern California.

Lur, Qashqai, and Afshar weavers make beautiful pile rugs and flat-weaves in south Persia. Many of these woven items are small, colorful utilitarian bags and trappings that are extremely charming and collectible. Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal shared their enthusiasm for these weavings, which they have collected for twenty years. They began researching the historical and ethnographic literature, interviewing people who had experience with the South Persian nomads, and searching for photographs of 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 They found thousands of photographs, many unpublished, in rare and out of print books, university and museum archives, and personal collections of ethnographers. This work confirms many ideas about nomadic weavings; however, some commonly-held notions need to be re-examined, especially those about piled saddlebags. Now the Blumenthals have two collections: small south Persian tribal weavings, and pictures of their nomadic life. Their talk illustrated pieces from both collections, and reviewed south Persian nomadic life with emphasis on nomadic weavings, and then covered the conditions in 19th century Persia that fostered the weaving of piled saddlebags.

Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal are long standing members of the New England Rug Society. Ann has written several articles for its newsletter and exhibition reviews for HALI magazine. Their collection of small south Persian tribal weavings was exhibited at ACOR 8, where they gave a focus lecture on the south Persian nomadic life and weavings. Recently they have given talks to several rug societies and published two articles in HALI, “South Persian Tribal Weavings: Their Use in Nomadic Life” (HALI 150, 2007,) and “The Mystery Unraveled: Knotted-pile Saddlebags” (HALI 151, 2007.) .

The participants asked many questions and commented on different points raised in the lecture. We ran out of time and Cheri Hunter, the past president and current program chair stopped the question-answer and wanted to move on to show & tell. Ann and Richard had brought some of their small south Persian weavings to this well received presentation. Few members ofTMA/SC also had brought examples from their own collections for show & tell section at the end of the presentation which was held at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, Community Hall, located in Grand View Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066. The program started at 10:00 am with refreshments followed by the lecture, Q & A, show and tell. It ended at roughly 1:00 pm.

Khosrow Sobhe


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