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`A Carpet Ride to Khiva and Central Asia’
Thu 2nd Nov 2023 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Featured Image Attribute
Khiva, minaret, minor, kalta minor, short minaret, unesco world heritage, majolica, turquoise, color, museum city. By courtesy PXFUEL.
Description of Lecture
This is a narrative approach to the revival of 15th century carpets in Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan. Illuminations on vellum – containing the only surviving representations of textiles from this era – flourished, despite the Islamic prohibition on representative art – and are all we had left of Timurid Carpets until Chris Alexander’s workshop began to weave them to life again. The lecture will examine the traditional role of carpet weaving and embroidery in the social lives of Central Asian women and how social and political influences led to the decline of textile production. How do the constraints of gender-inequality, corruption and the sourcing of natural dyes from neighbouring Afghanistan continue to challenge attempts at reviving the rich textile heritage of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand?
Lecturer: Chris Aslan Alexander
Chris spent his childhood in Turkey and Beirut and later studied Media and Journalism at Leicester University. After graduation he moved to Uzbekistan where he established a UNESCO Workshop reviving 15 Century carpet designs and embroidery designs. He had to leave Uzbekistan and returned to Cambridge to write his book `A Carpet Ride to Khiva.’ Chris then spent several years in the Palmirs Mountains of Tajikistan training yak herders to comb their herds for Kashmir like down. He has worked in several Central Asian countries and has published a second book `Unravelling the Silk Road.’ He is now based in Cambridge.