Exquisite Textile Exhibition: The Art of the Anatolian Kilim

Exquisite Textile Exhibition: The Art of the Anatolian Kilim

Jackie Ashton
Sep 15, 2011

Last Friday, I had the great pleasure of attending a private preview of The Art of the Anatolian Kilim exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. This world-class collection of Anatolian kilims was gifted to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by H. McCoy Jones and his wife Caroline.

The exquisite exhibition contains two dozen of the finest pieces from the collection and is a celebration of the McCoy Jones' landmark gift. Kilims are textiles that are produced using the slit-tapestry technique. These dynamic weavings were produced between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries by village women of Anatolia, the geographic region that makes up the majority of present-day Turkey. Kilims, usually woven from the wool of goats, camels or sheep, were traditionally used as floor coverings, room dividers, prayer rugs, and burial cloths and were often used to represent group identity, wealth, or currency.

Curator Jill D'Alessandro explains, "These surviving examples, in their fragmented states, show the passage of time. Although structural disintegration has interrupted the design field on some of these pieces, their colors remain deeply saturated and their patterns simple and powerful." This extraordinary exhibition, which contains the most significant Anatolian kilim collection in the world, will be in the textile arts gallery at the de Young through June 10, 2012.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the de Young's site here. (After a peek at the fabulous Anatolian kilims, be sure to check out the Picasso exhibit: Masterpieces from the Musee National Picasso, Paris which runs until October 10, 2011.)

Images: Jackie Ashton

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