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Persophilia and technocracy: carpets in the World of Islam Festival

Armstrong, Dorothy (2023) Persophilia and technocracy: carpets in the World of Islam Festival. Journal of Art Historiography (28). ISSN 2042-4752

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URL of Published Version: https://arthistoriography.wordpress.com/28-jun23/

Identification Number/DOI: https://doi.org/10.48352/uobxjah.00004277


Recent research has sought to deconstruct the narrative of the carpets of South, Central and West Asia created by late nineteenth and early twentieth century European and North American scholars. This article builds on the methodology of that recent historiographical work, but looks at a later historical moment, the 1970s. Then, as in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the formation of ideas of Iran and Islam through the agency of carpet studies was clearly visible. It explores this process through two exhibitions held in 1976 under the umbrella of the UK-wide World of Islam Festival, Arts of Islam at the Hayward Gallery, London, and Carpets of Central Persia at the Mappin Gallery, Sheffield and the Birmingham City Art Gallery. The article argues that whilst the visibility of carpets in the Festival reinvigorated carpet studies in the short term, its exhibitions failed to offer a sustainable forward path for the discipline. Rather they reinforced already anachronistic ideas about Iran’s role in the material culture of the region and continued to focus carpet scholarship the narrow question of provenience, the place and date of making.

Type of Work:Article
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
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This article is archived in ePapers for preservation purposes

Keywords:carpets, Islam, Iran, Beattie, Pope, Riegl, World of Islam Festival
Subjects:N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Copyright Status:Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. Authors may subsequently archive and publish the pdfs as produced by the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Copyright restrictions apply to the use of any images contained within the articles. This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
ID Code:4277
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