Woven Witness: Afghan War Rugs at San Jose


Catalogue cover page

I was delighted to be invited to the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum, in San Jose, California, to participate in a weekend of discussions about war carpets. Two of the three exhibitions – a selection from the Collection of Patricia Markovich, of Oakland, California, plus the travelling exhibition  “Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory” (curated Ariel Zeitlin Cooke, and written with Marsha MacDowell and available here), were of relevance to the study of Afghan war carpets. In addition, the Museum had the Afghan Freedom Quilt on display, and in this catalogue has published (in both English and Farsi) the personal histories of its makers. The stories which emerge in all of these exhibitions and texts remind us of the depths to which the circumstances of war drives its victims, and yet how powerfully evocative are the forms of textile art and communication which result. The catalogue is published by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 520 South First Street, San Jose, California 95113-2806. Tel 408.970.0323, http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org. The catalogue includes revised versions of the essays first published by Nigel Lendon and Tim Bonyhady in The Rugs of War, 2003.

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