A Carpet Ride to Khiva


Chris Aslan Alexander

A link to Chris's talk has now been sent to Members only by email.

November 25th 2020 at 7pm for 2 days only

The talk is available to Members only, and the link was sent on 24 November. If you have any problems accessing the talk please email info@theartssocietycorinium.org

The talk is available until the evening of Friday 27th

Exploring the revival of fifteenth century timurid carpet design from Persia

This is a narrative approach to the revival of 15th century carpets in Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan. Illuminations on vellum – containing the only surviving representations of textiles from this era – flourished, despite the Islamic prohibition on representative art – and are all we had left of Timurid Carpets until Chris Alexander’s workshop began to weave them to life again.

The lecture will examine the traditional role of carpet weaving and embroidery in the social lives of Central Asian women and how social and political influences led to the decline of textile production. How do the constraints of gender-inequality, corruption and the sourcing of natural dyes from neighbouring Afghanistan continue to challenge attempts at reviving the rich textile heritage of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand?

Chris Aslan Alexander

Chris was born in Turkey (hence his middle name) and spent his childhood there and in war-torn Beirut. After school, Chris spent two years at sea before studying Media and journalism at Leicester University. He then moved to Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan, establishing a UNESCO workshop reviving fifteenth century carpet designs and embroideries, and becoming the largest non-government employer in town.

After a year in the UK writing A Carpet Ride to Khiva, he moved to the Pamirs in Tajikistan, training yak herders to comb their yaks for their cashmere-like down, spending three years there. Next came two years in Kyrgyzstan living in the world’s largest natural walnut forest and establishing a wood-carving workshop.

Chris has recently finished rowing and studying at Oxford and survived his curacy at St. Barnabas in North Finchley, but is now taking two years out to focus on writing fiction, with several novels published and more on the way. He also lectures for The Arts Society and leads tours to Central Asia to pay the bills. He is missing a large chunk of his heart which will forever remain in the -stans.

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