display system
Detail of reed screen
Reeds & Wool:
Patterned Screens of Central Asia

This in the only exhibit in North America to focus entirely on Kyrgyz reed screens. These screens and their story were largely unknown outside of Kyrgyzstan while it was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1920-1991). Richly textured and beautiful, reed screens were made by nomadic Kyrgyz women as traditional furnishings for their yurt dwellings.

The exhibit includes a complete display system comprised of interpretive exhibit panels and display supports for the reed screens.

Exhibit Content
The exhibition contains 13 Kyrgyz screens(chiy)--produced in the19th and 20th century--from the Sommer-Krieger Collection:
•the long kanat chiy were placed between the yurt's lattice frame and its outer felt covering, helping to insulate against winter cold
ashkana chiy function as space dividers, separating the central fire and cooking area from the women's area where food and utensils are stored.
The screens are made by wrapping unspun dyed wool around tallgrass stems according to a pattern retained only in memory. The full design emerges when the reeds are twined together with binding cords.

The motifs of Kyrgyz reed screens are similar to patterns seen on flatwoven kilims, mosaic felt rugs, and silk ikat fabrics made by Central Asian nomads. Some scholars have suggested that Turkish tribal carpets have their origins in the design and function of these reed screens. Pile woven and felted textiles from Central Asia are included in the exhibit for design comparison. The technique is explained through a hands-on reproduction "weaving" frame.

Exhibit Development
Guest Curator Dr. John L. Sommer of Fremont, California, was a member of the board of directors of the Textile Arts Council, San Francisco, a trustee of the Textile Museum, Washington, DC, and president of the San Francisco Bay Area Rug Society.

Reeds & Wool was produced by Kauffman Museum whose projects have received awards from the American Association of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, Mountain-Plains Museums Association and Kansas Museums Association.

Exhibit Tour
June 29 through September 6, 2011, The Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Reeds & Wool is available to galleries with monitored access for 8-12 week venues. For further information on scheduling Reeds & Wool contact Chuck Regier, Curator of Exhibits at Kauffman Museum.
Phone: 316•283•1612 E-mail: crregier@bethelks.edu

exhibit panels
exhibit installation photos

download exhibit information

exhibit description
(588 KB PDF)
exhibit text
(68 KB PDF)
exhibit panels
(1.3 MB PDF)
exhibit photos
(1.3 MB PDF)

316•283•1612   kauffman@bethelks.edu
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