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Exotic Rugs To Be Shown At NY Historical Society Exhibition

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Dozens of dazzling Oriental rugs and textiles will be the centerpiece of "Woven Splendor from Timbuktu to Tibet: Exotic Rugs and Textiles from New York Collectors," a major New-York Historical Society exhibition examining the history of the Oriental rug in New York and the story of the Hajji Baba Club -- the nation's oldest and most prestigious rug collecting club, celebrating its 75th anniversary -- opening Friday, April 11 and running through August 17, 2008, at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (between 76 and 77th Streets.) Woven Splendor will feature some 75 objects belonging to current Hajji Baba Club members, including world-renowned rugs, costume and other Near Eastern/Central Asian textiles. The exhibition will explore how rugs were produced and used in their countries of origin, as well as how Americans initially understood these objects. In addition to textiles, the show will incorporate photographs depicting Oriental rugs in the homes of Club founders in the early 20th century and images revealing how such objects were originally made available through galleries and World's Fairs. A companion installation, Orientalism in New York, will serve as a prelude to Woven Splendor, providing historical context by examining the fashion for Orientalism in New York during the late 19th century. Through paintings, prints, photographs and books as well as silver, lighting, and metalwork – most from the Historical Society’s extensive collections -- the display will explore New Yorkers' fascination with the "Orient.” The installation will include paintings of Orientalist artists that hung in New York salons, as well as depictions of New Yorkers sporting traditional Middle Eastern dress and photographs of opulent New York interiors. It will also feature decorative arts inspired by the East, including Islamic-style silver made by Tiffany & Co. and Moorish-style chandeliers and lighting from Tiffany Studios. For more information, visit www.nyhistory.org.

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