Silk and Wool: Crosscurrent Influences in Turkish Rugs and Textiles

Gerard Paquin

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Part of the mystery and appeal of oriental carpets is their ability to borrow designs from a wide range of sources. This presentation will document the influence of Ottoman textile designs on Turkish rugs, and the impetus for those artistic borrowings. It will also examine the impact of rug design on textiles, and the use of both as architectonic elements, in tent as well as town.

Inquiry into the origins and influences of designs in rugs should do more than satisfy our curiosity. Ideally, it will lead us to a better understanding of the economic and artistic contexts of their creation. Further, any such inquiry should not it be subject to flights of fantasy and of the imagination. Identifying designs in rugs requires clear visual evidence, along with a reasonable explanation for the origin, evolution, and method of transmission. The New England Rug Society thanks our friends at the Hajji Baba Club for co-sponsoring this webinar.

Gerard Paquin is a longtime NERS member and speaker. He began collecting oriental rugs and textiles in the late 1970s. He soon realized that there was a lot more to know about rugs than could be learned from visiting dealers and attending auctions. In search of a broader knowledge of Islamic art, and of a scholarly approach to rug studies, he enrolled in the graduate program of Art History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His training there, under the tutelage of Walter Denny, started him on a path of exploration of rugs and textiles and their place in Islamic society. Mr. Paquin has presented academic papers at the GW University Textile Museum and at Istanbul Carpet Congresses in 1984 and 1994. He has written articles and reviews for HALI, The Textile Museum Journal, and Oriental Rug Review. He has been a speaker at various rug societies in the US, at two of the American Conferences on Oriental Rugs, and, most recently, at Rug Collector’s Weekend in Santa Ynez, California.

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