Lecture: Splendid 19th-Century Central Asian Ikat Textiles and Their Modern Revival

Bruce P. Baganz, co-chair, board of trustees, the George Washington University Museum, and president, board of trustees, The Textile Museum

Ikat detail

Highly prized for their aesthetic beauty, dazzling nineteenth-century ikat textiles from Central Asia are renowned for their daring designs and clever color combinations. Ikat textiles derive their name from an ancient technique where yarns are protected to resist dye penetration before weaving begins. An ancient dyers art technique, ikat production flourished in the early years of the nineteenth century, especially in the Central Asian oasis cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and in towns of the Ferghana Valley. Ikat fabric was in great demand in local ethnic groups and in the export market, where it was destined for opulent costume and decorative hangings.

The Textile Museum is privileged to have two unparalleled collections of nineteenth-century Central Asian ikats. The 2005 donation by Murad Megalli comprises the 2015 Textile Museum exhibition and catalogue Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats. In 2015, Guido Goldman donated 100 personal favorites from his glorious collection of ikats. The Goldman collection catalogue, Ikat: Silks of Central Asia, is the outstanding textile-themed publication of a generation.

Highlights of Goldman’s Ikat: Silks of Central Asia, Megalli’s Colors of the Oasis and other private collections illustrate the range of artistic design that encompass the best of Central Asian ikat textiles. Photographic images drawn from nineteenth-century archives provide context to the historical significance of these textiles of the Silk Road. Today, a modern revival in ikat creation in the Ferghana Valley illustrates the complex techniques required to produce these textiles, which are popular in contemporary fashion and decor.

Bruce P. Baganz is president of the Board of Trustees of The Textile Museum, co-chair of the board of the George Washington University Museum, chairman of the Near Eastern Art Research Center, and a member of the board of the National Trust for the Humanities. Baganz was awarded the Joseph V. McMullan Award for scholarship and stewardship in Islamic rugs and textiles by the Near Eastern Art Research Center, and is the 2015 recipient of The Textile Museum’s George Hewitt Myers Award for lifetime achievements in the textile arts.

Fee: $10/museum members and GW students, faculty, and staff; $15/public. Advance registration is required; space is limited. Register online or call 202-994-7394.