Embroidered Paradise – Textile Treasures from Central Asia

Category: Exhibitions

Embroidered Paradise – Textile Treasures from Central Asia 12 October 2007 – 6 January 2008.

Located on the ancient Silk Route, Uzbekistan is known for its rich and colourful textile traditions. Embroidered Paradise – Textile Treasures from Central Asia presents the magnificent embroidery collection of Tair F. Tairov, Professor of International Law. In terms of quality this collection is one of the finest of its kind in the whole world. Parts of it have been display at the Historical Museum of Moscow, Professor Tairov’s hometown, where they aroused fascination with long lines of visitors queuing to see the works. Consisting of priceless family heirlooms from Uzbek homes, the present selection of some 300 textiles dating from the 18th to the early 20th century is on show for the first time as a major display.

Shahrisabz 19th century -Design Museo
Shahrisabz 19th century -Design Museo

Over the decades, Design Museum has also presented the finest achievements of the applied art of far-off lands and ancient cultures. Three years ago, Professor Tairov’s collection of ikat-dyed clothing was on show at the museum, and it is now followed by embroidered works. Among the peoples of Central Asia, women have traditionally been appreciated for their embroidery skills, which have been maintained by the members of tribes residing permanently in towns and villages and by nomadic tribes such as the Lakais. This tradition did not know any religious boundaries. Girls’ dowry textiles included painstakingly embroidered bridal bed covers, which were begun immediately upon the birth of a girl. Their preparation would continue until the wedding. Skilfully embroidered works were a prominent aspect of celebrations and ceremonies. The members of leading families would dress in smocks embroidered throughout, women would cover their hair with embroidered headwear and the skullcaps worn by Jewish men were decorated with gold and silk thread. Also the horses of prominent men had blankets embroidered with gold and silk thread.

The largest pieces are suzanis, embroidered on silk or cotton and used as wall-hangings or bed covers. Their rich compositions of plant and floral motifs executed skilfully with small stitches reflect the boundless love of nature of the peoples of Central Asia and their fine sense of colour and composition. The range of embroidered textiles used by the Lakais to decorate the walls of their yurts and as storage bags is astounding.

Embroidered Paradise – Textile treasures from Central Asia at Design Museum offers a splendid aesthetic experience while leading the visitor to a world of crafts skills rarely seen in our present industrialized environment. A richly illustrated catalogue in English/Finnish will be published in connection with the exhibition. Price 43 €.

Location and more information: Design Museo, Korkeavuorenkato 23, Helsinki

Source: Media release October 2007, Design Museo

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