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Weaved and Brocaded

Antique Caucasian Weaving Masterpieces

Exhibition from 16. April to 12. May 2002


Kaukasische Tasche

Kaukasisches Flachgewebe

Shasavan Mafrasch



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Caucasian flat weaves include the productions of those ethnic groups that settle in the national territories of the former Soviet republics Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Dagestan, as well as in the adjoining countries, Turkey and Persia.

Most exhibits were created in Dagestan (North Caucasia) and Azerbaijan (South Caucasia). Galerie Kelim dedicated its exposition to the scarcely known textile art of the Caucasian peoples; the origins of this collection are inseparable of its region’s past political events.

Following the December 21, 1991 Almaty / Kazakhstan Referendum, Moscow “released” 11 former Soviet Republics into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moscow’s solution lead to complete economical and political independence for the Central Asiatic countries, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kirgisien . The former Caucasian Soviet Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan elected to participate in the Referendum whereas Georgia and other, smaller republics settled with an option on eventual independence while initially remaining part of the Russian Federation. However, ultimately, this lead to the catastrophic economic collapse for Central Asian countries.

In addition to economic problems, the political turn of events also lead to fierce military disputes - disputes that are still ongoing in Tchechnia today to improve economical conditions. Borders were not effective. Looking to the West, namely to Turkey, people envisioned a chance to improve their personal viability. Accordingly, as of 1992, the number of former Soviet Republic citizens continuously increased in Istanbul. Today, the districts of Aksaray and Laleli boast some half a million such modern “nomads.”

In fact, Istanbul’s hotels and so-called Russian markets offer anything that Central Asia and Caucasia have to offer. The time period between 1992-1999, yielding some unique unknown textiles - unparalleled in workmanship and originality, was a veritable treasure “era” for the Central Asian and Caucasian textile arts connoisseur.

All pieces of this exhibition are exclusively in excellent condition - that is in “German condition.” This does not imply, however, that they are too “young.” Let us conclude with the wise words of the prominent collector, Ignazio Vok: “Not everything produced before 1800 is gold, and not everything remaining from 1900 or later can be dismissed.”

Hos geldiniz and welcome

Werner Brändl