What could be a more stunning reminder of holidays abroad than a beautiful collection of textiles from far flung places? Our local library had an exhibition showing some of Judy Turner’s treasures collected over many years of travels. Her collection started when she travelled to Beijing with the British Foreign Office in the 1960s.
Embroidery over striped fabric from Guatemala
Added to over the years, she collected textiles as she travelled through Asia, India, and Africa. She is particularly interested in the cultural role the textiles play in their country of origin. The beautiful dyed, printed, woven and embroidered textiles have deep significance to their owners and are thought to convey protection or good fortune.
The Marsh Arab red rug made in Southern Iraq glowed with colour. This traditional rug was woven by men and embroidered by women. Judy Turner commented that Saddam Hussein drove the Shi’a Moslem Marsh Arabs out of their traditional home and lifestyle in the delta region of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The survivors have dispersed to refugee camps.
Marsh Arab rug from Iraq
The Toran at the top of the picture is hung over the doorway on special occasions to bring good luck and prosperity. The embroidered cloth underneath is known as a Dharaniyo is designed to hang in front of a pile of folded quilts and household items to make the room tidy. Wouldn’t all quilters worldwide want one of these beauties? Both items made in Kutch, north west India.
Toran and Dharaniyo from India
From Nigeria came the Status Robe, assembled from many narrow strips joined both horizontally and vertically to make the garment. Both the weaving and the elaborate embroidery are the work of men.
Nigerian Status robe
This pretty fabric is actually an 8.5 metre turban length from Rajasthan, north west India. The fine muslin was tie dyed and can be twisted and wound into a neatly fitting turban.
Tie dyed turban length
This is just a small part of what was displayed – all very beautiful and exotic. Judy Turner points out that in many communities art is not a picture on the wall, but a beautiful, intricately made textile. These are appreciated for the skills of the maker, and the meaning behind the patterns, and are handed down over the generations.