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Stories of Syria’s Textiles – Katonah Museum of Art, USA

15 Oct — 28 Jan 2024


Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia highlights textiles’ outstanding contributions to Syrian culture during antiquity and between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, as well as today.

Syrian textiles are remarkable for their artistic, social, and economic significance. Finely woven clothing and furnishings are the work of highly skilled weavers and other artisans. They are also important markers of status and identity that reflect the local traditions of Syrian cities, villages and nomadic groups, and valuable luxury goods that were traded widely. Syria’s climate is ideal for silk production, and historically it was a major crossroads on the Silk Routes that connected East and West.

Since 2011, Syria has been embroiled in conflict that has resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 civilians. Millions have been displaced both internally and as refugees in other countries. Numerous archaeological sites, historic monuments, and museums have also been damaged or destroyed. With respect to textiles, longstanding traditions and knowledge are at risk of disappearing. Many Syrians are now working to preserve their tangible and intangible heritage for current and future generations, despite these exceptionally difficult conditions.

Stories of Syria’s Textiles aims to contribute to these efforts, and asks us to consider what heritage means, in its broadest sense, and why its protection merits intense commitment.

Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia is curated by Blair Fowlkes Childs, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in collaboration with consulting curator Deniz Beyazit, Curator, Department of Islamic Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and with organizational support from Emily Handlin, Associate Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Katonah Museum of Art.

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