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February Newsletter 2009

Small South Persian Tribal Weavings

Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Krimsa Gallery

2190 Union Street (at Filmore), San Francisco. 415-441-4321

(Nearest public parking garage is three blocks away, on Pierce, between Lombard and Chestnut.)

Refreshments at 6:30 p.m. Presentation at 7:15 p.m.

Members’ Show and Tell of Small South Persian Weavings

Bring your favorites to share!

Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal will share their enthusiasm for the colorful bags woven by the south Persian nomads, which they have been acquiring for twenty years.

After collecting for a few years, they began to wonder how weavings were really used in nomadic life. So they began reading the historical and ethnographic literature, interviewing people who had experience with the South Persian nomads, and searching for photographs of their nomadic life which show weavings in use. They found thousands of photographs, many unpublished, in rare and out of print books, university and museum archives, and personal collections of ethnographers. Their work confirms many ideas about South Persian nomadic weavings; however, some commonly held notions need to be reexamined, especially those about piled saddlebags.

Now they have two collections: small south Persian tribal weavings and pictures of nomadic life. Their talk is illustrated with pieces from both collections. First they will review south Persian nomadic life with emphasis on how nomadic weavings are used and then discuss the conditions in 19th century Persia that fostered the weaving of piled saddlebags.

For a show and tell they will bring some of their own pieces and they encourage others to bring small south Persian weavings.

Ann Nicholas and Richard Blumenthal are long standing members of the New England Rug Society. Ann has written articles for its newsletter and exhibition reviews for HALI magazine.

Their collection of small south Persian tribal weavings was exhibited at ACOR 8, where they gave a focus lecture on the south Persian nomadic life and weavings. Recently they published two articles in HALI: “South Persian Tribal Weavings: Their Use in Nomadic Life,” HALI 150, 2007, pp 90-97; and “The Mystery Unraveled: Knotted-pile Saddlebags,” HALI 151, 2007, pp 66-73.

Coming Events

February 6-8. Arts of Pacific Asia Show at Fort Mason.

February 13-15. Tribal and Textile Arts Show at Fort Mason.

February 14. "Cloth and the Kazak Worldview," the Second Annual Lecture in Honor of Caroline and H. McCoy Jones. 7:30 pm in Koret Auditorium, deYoung Museum. At a 7:00, anyone interested can attend a walkthrough of the Textile Arts Department's conservation lab at the museum. There will also be a reception hosted by the Textile Arts Department and the Department of African, Oceanic, and American Art of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.



March 18, New Acquisitions and Mystery Rugs, plus the first SFBARS ‘Moth Market,’ a chance not only to show off pieces but to offer them for trade or sale.

An evening of socializing to allow members to exchange tales of collecting. Emmet Eiland’s gallery in Berkeley.

SFBARS End of May. Annual visit to Jim Dixon's carpet palace in Occidental.


Report on the Third SFBARS Auction and Annual Party at Fort Mason

We’d like to thank all members who participated in the highly successful social event and silent auction. We are happy to report we raised almost $4,000 to support the Society’s programs, including our sponsorship of the annual Caroline and McCoy Jones Memorial Lecture at the deYoung Museum in February. Special thanks to John and Donna Sommer for their generous contributions, and to Pat and Gary Leiser for their patience in storing all the items in their attic. We hope we can do something similar at the end of 2009, but will need members’ donations.

Silk Road Foundation and Silk Road House

SFBARS members interested in Central Asia and east-west contacts may wish to become acquainted with the Silk Road Foundation which sponsors lectures on history and archeology on the Stanford campus. Their website,, provides access to their Newsletter, including all back issues, with articles by scholars on the history and archeology of the Silk Road which you can download. You may subscribe at no cost to their Newsletter and the online announcements by clicking on “Be a Friend.” This winter they are also co-sponsoring the screening at Stanford of Soviet films set in Central Asia during the 1950s and 1960s.

Silk Road House, an adjunct of the Foundation which is located in Berkeley, presents lectures, music performances, art exhibitions and other events (including fabulous feeds) focusing on Central Asia. Hosts anthropologist Alma Kunanbaeva and musicologist Izaly Zemtsovsky, who teach at both Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, welcome new guests. At their website,, you can see photos of past events (including SFBARS past president and Silk Road House speaker, John Sommer); to subscribe to their announcements, e-mail them at . Events on their calendar for this winter are:

February 8. The Caves of Dunhuang in Photographs by Jian Wu. Opening of exhibit at 1:30 p.m.(which runs through March 15), followed by screening of the film “Mongol” commented by Alma Kunanbaeva.

Jian Wu is the official photographer of the Dunhuang Research Institute in China. He has won many awards and has published an album “Scenic Spots & Historical Sites On Silk Road” (Xingjiang People's Publishing House, 2000).

Photographs include landscapes and the fascinating frescos of Dunhuang, the stunning Buddhist caves in Western China. Known as Mogaoku , ''peerless caves,'' they were created from the 5th to 14th centuries and are like nothing else in the Chinese Buddhist world. Read more on-line:

The exhibit will be open for public viewing four times weekly: Thursdays and Fridays (4 to 7 p.m.) and weekends (1 to 4 p.m.). Silk Road House, 1944 University Ave., Berkeley 94705. Tel.: 510-981-0700.

February 11. "Hai, Nozanin," the Bukharan Jewish Folk Ensemble of Queens, New York,
performing sacred songs and prayers, secular classical music (fragments of maqoms), traditional wedding rites and songs, tunes and rhythms of Bukhara.

The Bukhara tradition is a unique blend of Turkic-Persian-Arab-Sephardic Jewish roots. Hai, Nozanin’s colorful Silk Road attire, folk instruments, singing style, dancing and spectacular presentation will give a rare and fascinating opportunity to hear the leading proponents of an ancient musical tradition saturated with inimitable rhythms and captivating tone colors.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 7:30 p.m., Jewish Community Center, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA 94709. $18/$15.

February 22. Festive Tatar program with music and costumes. 1 – 3 p.m.

International Conference

“The Turkic World, the Caucasus, and Iran: Civilisational Crossroads of Interactions,” (, July 10-12, 2009, at ARYA International University. Yerevan, Armenia.

Organizers: The journal Iran and the Caucasus (BRILL: Leiden-Boston), the Department of Iranian Studies at Yerevan State University, the Makhtumquli Feraqi Centre for Turkic Studies at ARYA International University (Yerevan), the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (Armenian Branch), in collaboration with the International Society for the Study of Iran and the Caucasus (ISSIC), Caucasian Centre for Iranian Studies (Yerevan), the Armenian-Turkmen Cooperation Centre “Partev” (Yerevan), and the Armenian Association for Academic Partnership and Support - ARMACAD (Yerevan).

The region from Central Asia to Eastern Europe and from Southern Russia to Iran has been one of the focal geographical points in world history. The main cultural, political and civilisational players in this domain have been the Iranian and Turkic peoples, while the Caucasus and the Transcaucasian region with their cultural, ethnographical and linguistic uniqueness have served as a connecting link and an arena for wars and peaceful cohabitation. Though the main stress of the conference will be on the cultures, histories (including archaeology, etc.), languages and literatures of this vast area, presentations on modern political and regional issues, as well as human ecology topics are also welcomed. The conference seeks to emphasise links between the Turkic world, the Caucasus, and Iran.

For further information contact: Dr. Khachik Gevorgyan, Secretary of the Organising Committee,, or Makhtumquli Feraqi Centre for Turkic Studies, Arya International University, Shahamiryanneri street, 18/2 Yerevan, Armenia, arya@arminco. com

ACOR Cancellation

From Sharon Fenlon, President, ACOR Board of Directors: The 9th American Conference on Oriental Rugs (ACOR 9), scheduled for April 30 to May 3 in St Louis, MO, has been postponed to a later year. While we deplore this decision immensely, it has become apparent over the past several weeks that incoming registrations for both conferees and dealers' fair participants have fallen so short of their targets that ACOR cannot possibly meet its contractual agreements with its vendors, making this postponement inevitable.

We will fully reimburse all registration fee and/or dealer fees, hotel room payments and any other prepaid ACOR charges either by check or credit card refund within the next 45 days. Should any questions arise regarding reimbursement, please address them to Annie Linville Grinstead at

We look forward to announcing the next conference at such time as an economic turnaround makes the prospect feasible. With best wishes, Sharon Fenlon.

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[Members: If you know of upcoming lectures, exhibitions or the like of potential interest to the SFBARS membership, please send the information to]

San Francisco

Bay Area

Rug Society

6 Muir Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94610

SFBARS Board Members

Peter Poullada President

Jon Eldan Secretary

Pat Leiser Treasurer

Jacqueline Van Lang Membership

Elizabeth Shedd Newsletter

Hillary Dumas Website

Jim Dixon

Renee Rausin

Sandra Whitman

Murray Eiland Emeritus

John Sommer, M.D. Emeritus

Members may contact Peter Poullada at

The San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society is a nonprofit organization whose publications and events are supported by your subscriptions. Individual subscriptions are $40 annually, $60 for two people at the same address. Please send renewals, address changes, or subscriptions to Jacqueline Van Lang, SFBARS Membership, 6 Muir Ave., Piedmont, CA 94610. For more information about SFBARS, including information about membership, an archive of past Newsletter articles, rug pictures and other features, please explore the SFBARS website at