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Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning: Distinguishing Uyghur Feltmaking

Person working on a large felted textile on the ground

 

Feltmaking has existed for millennia in the cities and villages of what is now the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China — homeland of the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uyghurs. Archeological discoveries give a sense of this ancient art, which continued to flourish in the oases that dot the southern rim of the Taklamakan desert.

In this virtual talk researcher Christine Martens examines the felt processes and compares Uyghur felt with the traditions of the Turkmen, Kyrgyz and Turks, including gender roles in felt making.

Martens also examines how Uyghur cultural history and the “everyday” exist within the spiritual landscape of southern Xinjiang. She explores the participation in shrine visitation and the use of the “risala,” a treatise or guidebook governing the moral, spiritual and ethical behavior of artisans, to shed light on little-known aspects of Uyghur sacred history and accompanying rituals.

About Christine Martens

Christine Martens is an artist and independent researcher documenting and writing about textile traditions of Central Asia. She has conducted fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Northwest China as a Fulbright Scholar, IREX fellow and Asian Cultural Council grantee.

How to Participate

This program will take place on Zoom. To participate, please register online, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining. Simply follow that link at the time the program starts (11 a.m. EST / 8 a.m. PST). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.

About Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings

Collectors and experts discuss textile topics and display examples from their personal holdings. This series is named in honor of late Textile Museum trustee emeritus, Harold M. Keshishian. Browse upcoming programs