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September 25, 2017 to May 7, 2018


The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
at 82nd Street
New York  New York  10028
United States
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Portable Storage: Tribal Weavings from the Collection of William and Inger Ginsberg

Woven bags carried by nomads in the Middle East were designed to contain all of the necessities of life, from bedding to salt. This exhibition will highlight 19 distinctly patterned examples of woven bags from nomadic cultures in Iran, Turkey, and the Caucasus, along with one striking pile-woven saddle cover. Featuring geometric patterns as well as stylized floral and animal motifs, these textiles are both utilitarian and expressive of a highly sophisticated tribal esthetic. The 2015 gift of these brightly colored works greatly expands the Museum's holdings of tribal weavings from the region and lends insight into a way of life practiced in the Middle East for hundreds of years. The exhibition will also include two Islamic paintings from the Museum's collection that illustrate bags and trappings in use in traditional society.

Image Credit: Double saddle bag (Khorjin) (detail), ca. 1900. Northwestern Iran or Azerbaijan, Shahsevan tribe. Wool (warp and sumak weft) and cotton (ground weft); sumak extra weft wrapping (front) and weft-faced plain weave with pattern in brocaded weft (back), 52 x 20 in. (132.1 x 50.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Inger G. and William B. Ginsberg, 2015 (2015.490.43)