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Textiles as Treasures: Cultures of Consumption in Central Asia and Beyond

A Program on Central Asia Conference

Saturday, March 5, 2011
9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
314 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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Photo of Kyrgyz woman with patchwork, courtesy of Christine Martens
Photo by S.M. Dudin courtesy of Anahita Gallery, Santa Fe

Weaving together the study of material culture with the history of the communities who commodified it, Textiles as Treasures brings together historians of trade with ethnographers and collectors to unravel the collusions of artisans and merchants that sustained a Cotton no less than a Silk Road across Eurasia. As commodities formed through the interaction of the raw materials, tastes, cultural traditions and skills of the many different peoples brought together by trade, Central Asia’s textiles form the material record of a long history of cultural entanglement. By examining the social lives of textiles that range from nomadic carpets to urbane silks and brocades, the conference traces the weft of human relations that was woven by the movement of these treasured textiles within Central Asia and beyond. Framing aesthetic no less than commercial value as correlations of space and contact, the conference uncovers the different cultures of consumption that between the tents of Transoxiana and the bungalows of Los Angeles have lent so many meanings and functions to these quintessential products of the Central Asian steppe.

RSVP now for Textiles as Treasures


A boxed lunch is available for purchase for $10 in advance.
Please register through the RSVP system.

We gratefully acknowledge support from theTextile Museum Associates of Southern California Inc. (TMA/SC) for this event.


9:30-10:00 Coffee and Refreshments

Panel I: Textiles as Commodities (Historical Perspectives)

Jon Thompson, Ashmolean Museum (ret.), Oxford University

The Traditional Weaving Culture of the Turkmen: What Happened in the 1870s?

Claude Markovits, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris

Indian Merchant Networks and their Role in Commercial Exchange between India and Central Asia (XVIth-XIXth Centuries)

Andrew Hale, Independent Scholar, Anahita Gallery, Santa Fe

Trade and Tradition: Nineteenth Century Textile Production and Commercialization

Discussant: Monica Smith, UCLA Department of Anthropology

12:30-2:00 Lunch Break

Panel II: Textiles as Craft (Contemporary Perspectives)

Mary Dusenbury, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas

Central Asian Ikat Today: Networks of Design, Production and Marketing

Lotus Stack, Curator Emerita, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Adapting Artistic Sensibilities and Traditional Technology to Contemporary Market Opportunities

Chris Martens, Independent Researcher, New York

Quilts and Patchwork of Central Asia

Discussant: Roy Hamilton, UCLA Fowler Museum


Show and Tell: Central Asian Rugs and Textiles from Local Private Collections

6:00-7:00 Wine and Cheese Reception









Parking is available for $10 on the UCLA campus in Parking Structure 5. Directions and parking instructions for UCLA can be found at: http://map.ais.ucla.edu/portal/site/UCLA/menuitem.3f8e7342ad4ca217b66d4ab4f848344a/?vgnextoid=e590cd255551c010VgnVCM200000dd6643a4RCRD.

Cost : Free. Boxed lunch is available for advance purchase.

Sponsor(s): Asia Pacific Center, Center for India and South Asia, Textile Museum Associates of Southern California Inc. (TMA/SC)