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2OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             MEDIA CONTACT:  Matthew Lindsay

April 1, 2003                                                    (202) 994-1423;




Exquisite Antique Woven Containers Featured at GW’s

Luther W. Brady Art Gallery

April 10-25


EVENT:          Khorjin and Mafrash from U.S. Collections, an exhibition of

                        extraordinarily rare and beautiful antique woven containers from

                        Northwest Persia used for the transport of personal belongings and

                        bedding.  This exhibition is held at The George Washington University’s

                        Luther W. Brady Art Gallery in conjunction with the 10th International

                        Conference on Oriental Carpets from April 17-23 in Washington, D.C.


WHEN:           April 10 – 25, 2003

                        Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


WHERE:        Luther W. Brady Art Gallery

                        Media and Public Affairs Building, 2nd Floor

                        805 21st Street, NW

                        Washington, D.C. (Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro, Blue and Orange lines)


COST:            Free and open to the public




An integral component of this year’s International Conference on Oriental Carpets is the exhibition Khorjin and Mafrash from U.S. Collections, which took more than three years of planning.  The George Washington University is one of only three participating institutions – along with The Textile Museum and The Corcoran Gallery of Art – by special arrangements made with the conference’s planners in Washington.  Aesthetic interpretation of the embroideries relates them specifically to other types and classes of textiles and generally to the visual arts across media, geography and culture.  Scholarship furthers our understanding of how the embroideries reflect the worldview of their makers, relating the textiles to other aspects of Northwest Persian material culture, and placing them within their religious, cultural and historical context.           


Approximately 60 examples of khorjin (two-pouched saddlebags) and mafrash (box-like storage and transport bags) will be on view in the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery and in the 2nd floor lobby cases.  These rare bags often represent the epitome of personal Near Eastern textile art in the 19th century.  Many objects will be complete with original backs, conveying information rarely seen in any exhibition of like material.  Others will be the decorated faces of the bags.  The objects will illustrate several structural techniques used in the region: sumak wrapping, kilim and pile, among others.  Sumak Bags of Northwest Persia and Transcaucasia written by John Wertime, co-curator of the exhibition, explains that sumak is a sophisticated flatweaving technique used for transport bags in the Near East.


The woolen khorjin and mafrash were woven by nomadic pastoralists and village-based women in Northwest Persia and Transcaucasia and represent some of the oldest bags of their kind to survive.  While the khorjin and mafrash in the exhibit are predominantly from the 19th century, the roots of this woven art appear in the area as early as the 5th – 4th millennia B.C. 


The first International Conference on Oriental Carpets was held in 1976, during a Festival of Islam in London, and was attended by an unanticipated and overwhelming crowd of 500 or more.  Each international conference since 1986 has featured between six and eight exhibitions, often landmarks in the field of carpet and textile art.  The conference in Washington this year coincides with the celebrations of Passover and Easter.  The appreciation of the artistry and decorative art of the Oriental carpet crosses borders and cultural identities, and may be viewed as a much-needed bridge to cultural understanding.  Thus, popular appeal of collecting carpets proves to engender a gathering of ideas.  This international conference is dedicated to advancing the understanding of carpet and related textile arts, primarily of the eastern hemisphere.


The exhibition at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery is curated by Wendel Swan and John Wertime, and coordinated by Seymour Perlin, M.D.


For more information, please call Lenore Miller, director of

GW’s University Art Galleries at (202) 994-1525.

For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at





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