Cotton and Silk, Coral and Carnelian: Costume and Ornament of Turkestan
Thu May 21st 2009, 7:30pm
The Silkroad Foundation, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and the Center for East Asian Studies.
Main Quad, History Corner, Building 200, Room 303
Free and Open to the public.
Speaker: Anita Habdank-Kolaczkowska, Board Director of the Silk Road Foundation and of the Silk Road House in Berkeley Sponsored by the Silkroad Foundation, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, and the Center for East Asian Studies The complex, centuries-old traditions of weaving, textile design, embroidery and jewellery-making in Turkestan - a vast area of arid steppe and fertile oasis, stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east, the Aral Sea in the north to the Hindu Kush in the south -- were determined by both climatic and natural conditions of the region. The towns along the caravan-routes of the Silk Road produced magnificent and sophisticated handicrafts using ancient techniques, patterns and symbols, as did many small nomadic groups in the region. While some traditional designs have been preserved and are still used today in textiles and ornament, much of the symbolism and significance of these antique patterns has been lost. Under Russian occupation in the 1870s, synthetic dyes were introduced, replacing the subtle natural plant-based colors used previously in textiles; these synthetic dyes harshened colors and, in some cases, oxidized the thread so that it soon disintegrated. Subsequent Bolshevik and Soviet rule in the twentieth century disrupted and re-shaped Central Asian societies, making many traditional forms of dress and ornamentation impractical and unpopular. This presentation will include slides and descriptions of historical 19th and early 20th century fashions in the clothes and jewellery of the ancient Khanates of Turkestan.
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