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Binding the Clouds

The Art of Central Asian Ikat

May 2, 2018 – July 9, 2018

GW George Washington Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st Street NW, Washington DC 20052


The traditional term for ikat technique in its Central Asian heartland is Abrbandi, which translates as ‘binding clouds’, hence the title of this fabulous exhibition of 35 Central Asian hangings from the collection of Dr Guido Goldman, who donated 76 pieces to the museum. The origins of the textile are attributed to the workshops of the ancient oasis city of Bukhara.

As the curator Sumru Belger Krody writes in her introduction, ‘the tremendoius variety and richness of the stylized and abstracted floral motifs seen in these ikats are testimony to the designers’ ambitious artistic goals, ingenuity and improvisational skill. While the designs are complex, each element is well-defined and balanced, resulting in powerful unified compositions.’

Goldman’s first sighting of a colourful ikat was in 1975 in a New York gallery, where he was reminded of the abstract paintings of Wassily Kandinsky.


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