Carpets of Gold and Silk

Dan Walker

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Coffee House Club
20 West 44th St
6th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Doors open 6:00pm
Lecture 6:45pm

“Carpets of Gold and Silk:” Deluxe Carpet Production in Seventeenth Century Iran. Carpets produced in 17th century Iran, under Shah ‘Abbas and his successors, are typically made of luxury materials – silk, soft and lustrous sheep wool of high quality, and metal brocading – in a fine weave. Most plentiful among these are the well-known Polonaise carpets, so named because of their mistaken link to Poland. But there are other examples that differ from the Polonaise. They are far fewer in number, of substantially higher quality, and draw from a different range of design sources. This paper will examine the most impressive among these, a small group of carpets with pictorial designs, taking into account the sources of particular unusual design elements.

Daniel Walker came to the Art Institute of Chicago in October, 2010, with an appointment as the Pritzker Chair of Asian Art and Curator of Islamic Art and Chair and Christa C. Mayer Thurman Curator of Textiles. He came to Chicago from Washington, D.C., where he served for four years as Director of The Textile Museum. Prior to that he was head of the Department of Islamic Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for seventeen years and held an endowed chair named for donor Patti Cadby Birch from 1997 to 2005.

Over the 37 years of his museum career, Mr. Walker has published and lectured widely on diverse topics related to textiles and carpets, Islamic art, and museology. He has organized 22 exhibitions, including Flowers Underfoot: Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era, named one of the best exhibitions of 1998 by the New York Times. He is currently working on an exhibition of classical Persian carpets for the Art Institute.