About this Event
"SILKEN RESISTANCE: A Short History of Ikat"
by Dr. Richard Isaacson, Washington, DC
Central Asian ikats are among the most dramatic and spectacular hand-dyed and hand-woven textiles ever produced, enthralling both for the technique used to create them, and for their fabulous patterns and designs. They are not, however, the first or only ikats made in the world. Combining insights from archeological excavations, photo archives and museum collections, Dr. Richard Isaacson will trace the history of ikat from the 5th century to the present, concentrating on the height of production in 19th century Uzbekistan. Dr. Isaacson's talk will incorporate rarely-seen French and Russian historical photographs of local people wearing ikat garments, providing a fascinating window into daily life and social class structure from the last third of the 19th century into the early 20th century in the Uzbek region, at the eastern edge of the Russian empire.
"IKAT LIVE! Highlights from a Private Collection of Antique Uzbek Ikat Kurtas (Tunics) and Chapans (Robes,)" more than 40 garments presented on live models. Textile collector Cheri Hunter has been captivated by antique ikat textiles since she was first introduced to them at her rug & textile society in the 1980s. In 2001, she had the opportunity to travel to their origins in Central Asia, and subsequently annually to Istanbul, where ikat textiles and costumes made their way via a new "Silk Road". The imaginative 19th century tie-dyed ikat designs range from simple geometric patterns to complex, multi-colored motifs representing fruits and plants in nature, totemic figures of fertility, and auspicious and protective talismans. Tailored into tunics and coats, these ikat textiles are just as vivid and dynamic when worn in a 21st century Western setting as when they were high fashion on the dusty streets of Samarkand and Bokhara more than 150 years ago.