Media Release

Elegance Under Foot: Turkish Weavings

Lawrence, KS, June 25, 2012 – A new exhibition on view through July 8 on the Spencer Museum of Art’s fourth floor, features highlights from a private collection of Turkish Kilims, an amazing group of weavings that encapsulate Turkish history, culture, and tradition into astonishing designs for rugs. These Kilims all came from small villages throughout Anatolia and the Kurdish regions of Turkey, and they range in date from late 19th century through the 1960s.

Elegance Under Foot is made possible by the generous support of the Jedel Family Foundation and the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

“A pair of Kansas City friends—collector Harrison Jedel and artist Dale Eldred—acquired these kilims directly from their makers and at village markets in Turkey in the 1960s and ‘70s,” says Susan Earle, SMA curator of European & American art. “The carpets offer rich resources in the realms of art, textile history, religion, design, and Turkish culture. Collected during a highpoint of kilim weaving in Turkey, these flat-weave rugs provide a fascinating glimpse into an exceptional art form and the culture that created them.”

Kilims are a type of flatweave tapestry or carpet that historically have been used as floor coverings, door flaps, tents, prayer rugs, and eating cloths. Traditionally woven by women, kilim weavings and their techniques are passed down from mother to daughter. The carpets on display are all made of sheep’s wool that has been hand-dyed. Many of the colors derive from natural materials, like safflower, while some of the brighter hues come from commercial dyes. Color and the combination of patterns are the most important aspects of a kilim’s character. The patterning in a kilim often expresses symbolic meanings and the identity of the village, tribe, or nomadic group that produced the weaving.

Media Contacts

Susan Earle

Susan Earle
Curator, European & American Art
Spencer Museum of Art

Elizabeth Kanost

Elizabeth Kanost
Communications Manager