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September 9th, 2017 10:25 PM
James Blanchard
Films related to tribal rugs

Hi all,

There has been much written about tribal rugs and tribal weaving groups, including social and cultural material. However, I haven't seen that much in video format. I thought it might be interesting to have Turkotekkers share information about some of the films that they have seen or have heard of that would be of interest to those with an interest in tribal rugs and textiles.

I'll start with a few that have appealed to me...

1) Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life - This is an absolutely epic documentary (from 1925) that follows the remarkable annual migration of the Bakhtiari. The focus isn't primarily on rugs / textiles (though many are seen in the footage), but it is a wonderful documentation of the nomadic lifestyle and the almost unimaginable challenge of the annual migration.

2) Gabbeh (1996) - An award winning fictional film by an Iranian film maker that focuses on the "story behind" a gabbeh. Not focused on the rugs, but another interesting film with insights into a culture within which rugs had a central place.

3) Woven Gardens (1975) - A documentary that is part of the "Tribal Eye" series by David Attenborough, this film delves into the topic of "tribal rugs" and features an engagement with the Qashqai in their traditional settings. It has good insights, though many will spot some of the errors in attribution, etc. and find it a bit fanciful. Still, a solid effort, in my opinion.

While in Istanbul, I also saw a wonderful video interview with Josephine Powell, that was part of the "What Josephine Saw". I haven't been able to track down any versions to purchase, but I would love to obtain it and view it again, if anyone has information about where it might be obtained.

I'd be interested to hear other suggestions for interesting videos / films.


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