Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats

A Collection Spanning Thirty Years Makes Its LACMA Debut

As part of the LACMA’S Costume & Textile Council, I have the privilege of being able to attend viewing and receptions of some truly remarkable collections and exhibitions.  Most recently, I attended the viewing of Power of Pattern: Central Asian ikats from the collection of Elizabeth and David Reisbord, who are gifting their exquisite textiles to the museum.  Mr. Reisbord, who introduced the collection, talked about his discovery of ikats and about his journey through Uzbekistan during the post-Soviet era when people were selling all their wares, textiles included.  During the span of thirty years, the couple have acquired some ravishing chapans and munisaks (robes); pardahs (wall hangings); and kurtas (dresses/tunics) dating back to the 19th century.  Each piece was woven with attention to detail to create symbolic motifs in radiant colors, and seeing it in its entirety is mesmerizing.  I was most struck by the layering details, with pattern over pattern and meticulous embroidery peeking out from under an ikat sleeve.  The cotton fabrics lining the chapans are so charming, and the vibrancy is emotionally electrifying.  Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats open at the LACMA February 3rd and will be on view until July 28th.