I do not have a favourite textile artifact in the Nickle’s collections—I have many. Some were gifted by Dr. Lloyd Erikson, some from other generous donors—some, I had the privilege of selecting and purchasing. I acquired this beautiful textile for the Nickle while attending an international carpet conference in Istanbul in 2007. It is a horse cover from Azerbaijan—a country whose carpet making is so skillful and so revered, it was inscribed on UNESCO’s 2010 list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is an example of soumak, a special textile technique that produces fine, crisp designs. I love the rows of birds and blossoms, the ‘flaming’ boteh (known more widely as ‘paisley’) not to mention the tiny camels, diamonds and patterned stripes. And the blues. The colours of the sea and sky at twilight with rows of delicate stars. It is an evocative primary source that suggests distinctive values, skills, and lifeways– not to mention a love of horses!
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