Sacred Scraps

Sacred Scraps

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Patchwork holds a special place in the folk art of Central Asia. In this region of diverse people, cultures, and landscapes, the act of sewing pieces of cloth together can be both sacred and commonplace. Everyday objects gain beauty through the display of plentiful fabrics, but they also acquire a mystical quality. Central Asians have long honored the power of talismans to guard against illness and malevolent spirits, fashioning protective amulets from patchwork and other textiles. As in other parts of the world, these meaningful objects help mark both momentous and mundane occasions in family and community life.

Explore the many forms—some novel, some familiar—that quilts and patchwork take in this vibrant part of the world.

Featured Media

Featured Media
Featured Media

About Central Asia

About Central Asia
About Central Asia

Grassy steppes, wind-blown deserts, perilous mountain ranges and fertile valleys comprise the richly varied geography of Central Asia. This is the land that once hosted Silk Road caravans, nomadic empires and oasis kingdoms. Modern day Central Asia is home to many different ethnic groups, diverse people who have always intermingled in a region that exists today as five separate nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Meet the Guest Curator

Meet the Guest Curator
Meet the Guest Curator

An artist and teacher for most of her professional career, Christine Martens has worked since 2002 as an independent researcher documenting and writing about textile traditions of Central Asia in relationship to women’s rituals and ceremonies. In 2007-2008, she was a Fulbright scholar in Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. In 2009, she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to document felt making and accompanying traditions in Mongolia for the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. In 2013, she received an International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) award to document textiles and religious practice in Turkmenistan, and in 2014, she traveled to Xinjiang, China as an Asian Cultural Council fellow with a focus on textiles and traditions.

Since 2009, Martens has traveled to Central Asia on numerous IQSCM-sponsored research and acquisition trips, helping the museum build a world-class collection and contributing immeasurably to its understanding of quilts and patchwork as talismanic objects in Central Asian society.

Martens received her MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and was on the Visual Arts Faculty at the Spence School in New York for over 25 years. Prior to that, she taught at the New School for Social Research and Parsons School of Design.

Sponsors

Sponsors
Sponsors

Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment
Friends of International Quilt Study Center & Museum
The Robert and Ardis James Foundation
Dr. Charles and Cynthia Gibson

Event Date
Friday, May 12, 2017 to Saturday, December 16, 2017