The Oriental Carpet as “Islamic Art”

Wendel Swan

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Coffee House Club
20 West 44th St
6th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Doors open 6:00pm
Lecture 6:45pm

Carpets and textiles from the Near East are commonly thought of and referred to as “Islamic Art.” However, beginning with a discussion of the term “Islamic Art” itself, Wendel Swan encourages a look at oriental rugs in relationship to a continuum of other forms of Near Eastern art and suggests that many of our woolen collectibles are part of a tradition that far pre-dates Islam. He believes that one cannot really understand Oriental rug patterns without examining ancient cultures and traditional arts.

In his presentation entitled The Oriental Carpet as “Islamic Art”, Wendel will provide an overview as to how Islam and pre-Islamic arts coincided to influence the evolution of oriental rugs and spread the designs and patterns that we associate with them. Using extensive slides and real rugs brought in by our members, he will show the relationship between rugs and other media in the Islamic and pre-Islamic world such as architecture, ceramics and calligraphy.

Members are encouraged to bring rugs or textiles that fall into any one of these categories: any purely geometric rug, prayer rugs, Persian city rugs with figures or medallions and early Turkish rugs in particular. In addition, any “Islamic” works of art having a design relationship to rugs are most welcome.

Wendel was the president of the Washington Textile Group and the International Hajji Baba Society for 16 years.  He serves on the Board of Trustees at The Textile Museum in Washington, is chair of the Executive Committee of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC), chaired the 10th ICOC that was held in Washington in April of 2003 and has lectured at various rug societies, the Smithsonian, museums and rug conferences throughout the United States and in Europe.