Special Interest Days

October 23, 2019

Tribal Rugs: Treasures of the Black Tent

Brian Macdonald

Brian will take his audience on a journey beginning in Outer Mongolia in the 5th century BC and following the 11th century migrations from Turkmenistan, the cradle of weaving, into the Caucasus, Persia and Afghanistan. He will introduce the nomadic tribes of these countries with emphasis on their pre-1900 knotted and woven rugs, carpets and dowry bags. These tribal weavings illustrate the skill of these hardy women who produced exquisite works of woven art, using vegetable dyes and age-old symbolic representation whilst living and travelling in primitive conditions and hostile landscapes. With the advent of commercialism and chemical dyes, tribal weaving began a swift decline from the 1930s when it virtually ceased to exist in its spontaneous form.

The tribal weavings of the 19th century and earlier represent the pinnacle of achievement and wonderful free expression of the art of the nomadic weaver. Today, these weavings are highly desirable and collectable works of woven art.

About our speaker:

Brian has been dealing in antique and old tribal rugs, dowry weavings and decorative carpets from the Near East and Central Asia since 1979.

From 1972-1977 he lived and worked in Iran, spending the best part of a year amongst two tribal groups, the Afshar of Kerman province and the Qashqa’i of Fars, making him fortunate enough to be one of the few world dealers to have spent time ‘in the field’. He also travelled extensively throughout Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey and in 1990 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society for his work amongst the Persian Tribes. He has returned to Iran several times in recent years, travelling, sourcing and collecting exclusive weavings.

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