Islamic Embroidery

April 20, 2010

I know I usually don’t devote a single post to one particular textile exhibit but when one comes along as special as this, I can’t resist. A Story of Islamic Embroidery in Nomadic and Urban Traditions opened at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE on April 7th. This is the first major exhibit of Islamic embroidery which features more than 200 rare textiles, including many embroideries from Central Asia, never before exhibited. Sponsored by the UAE’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), this exhibit “creates a form of abstract art and testifies to the role of Islamic women in creating an artistic tradition of great significance and beauty.” Pieces include embroidered garments and decorative objects from the 17th through the 20th centuries that “illuminate how the magnificent tradition of embroidery carried on by urban, rural and nomadic women sustained regional, tribal, and family identities through its integration in communal activities and how it evolved through the encounter of different cultures.”  The pieces created in Central Asia are of particular significance because there was much prejudice against Islamics in that region. When women gathered together to embroider it also gave them a rare opportunity for worship. This exhibit runs through July 28th and there is a series of lectures and other events that coincide with it. For more information go to http://www.emiratespalace.com then click on the event calendar then on the exhibit.

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