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TMA So Cal (Textile Museum Associates of So Cal)
It is now more than a hundred years since George Hewitt Myers began assembling
the collection that still forms the heart and soul of the Textile Museum. Myers left his
collection of over 4000 carpets and textiles to the Museum at his death in 1957 and,
since then, the balance of the institution’s holdings of over 18,000 objects have
been donated or purchased. In his preparation of selections for the recent Textile
Museum exhibition Seldom Seen: Director’s Choice from the Museum’s Collections,
new TM Director Dan Walker had the opportunity to review many of these rugs and
textiles, This talk will offer a sampling of what he found, all highlights from Museum’s
collection, textiles and carpets representing many of the areas of the strength in the
collection. Among these, are a Peruvian kilim, one of Myer’s favorite pieces acquired
by him in 1926. Both pieces were recently exhibited in the Director’s Choice
exhibition.

Dan Walker assumed the Directorship of The Textile Museum in 2005. He was
recruited from a seventeen-year stint as head of the Islamic Department at The
Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he had become the first occupant of the
endowed chair named for Donor Patti Cabury Birch in 1997. From 1975 to 1988 he
was Associate Curator and then Curator of Ancient, Near Eastern and Far Eastern
Art at the Cincinnati Art Museum. His military service included intensive language
training in Persian and a long tour of duty in Iran. Mr. Walker has published and
lectured extensively on diverse topics related to Islamic art, particularly carpets and
textiles, and has made notable acquisitions. Over the course of his career he has
curated eighteen exhibitions, including the landmark Flowers Underfoot: Indian
Carpets of the Mughal Era for the Metropolitan, and the recent Seldom Seen:
Director’s Choice.   

The event received a warm welcome as can be seen in the pictures below. First,
Cherri Hunter introduced Daniel Walker to the audience and then, Mr. Walker
resumed his 45 minutes interesting and marvelous slide show presentation.  He
talked about how George Hewitt Myers was first interested in carpets, started with
prayer rugs. He then became interested in Persian and Indian court carpets which
were more complicated in weave and design. He had some interests in village rugs.
Myers showed some interest in Spanish carpets. There is a special type of Spanish
carpets called “Armorial Type” belonging to the 15th century, of which there maybe
8-10 rugs from the same family. An army general had these pieces made for his
estate. The Textile Museum owns two examples of these Spanish Armorial rugs.

Mr. Myers acquired some Mamluk rugs of Egypt. He also added few pieces of
Dragon rugs to the collection of the Textile Museum. These rugs are usually
commercial Caucasian carpets with dragon and phoenix. Few Yamut and Salour
Turkmen rugs are among other items he acquired for the Museum before his death
in 1957. He also gathered many fragments of Persian rugs and Indian carpets which
belonged to the bigger sizes of rugs. In 1925, he bought a marvelous Safavid Kilim
which was a royal court production made with metal (silver and gold) threads. This is
roughly 8 feet long.

After the session ended, several participants asked questions which were kindly
answered by Daniel walker.
TEXTILE MUSEUM ASSOCIATES OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA,
INC.
Los Angeles presents
October 7, 2006
Community Room, St. Bede’s Episcopal Church
3590 Grand View Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066-1904

Great Textiles and Carpets in The Textile Museum

With

Daniel Walker
Director, The textile Museum, Washington,  D.C.