PHILADELPHIA -- "Antique Rugs of the Turkmen Tribes: Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Private Collections" will be on display Jan. 16 through April 4 at the Arthur Ross Gallery, 220 S. 34th St., Philadelphia.
The Arthur Ross Gallery is open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Rarely exhibited together due to their large size, "Antique Rugs of the Turkmen Tribes" brings together several Turkmen main carpets, as well as other trappings and smaller utilitarian pieces that date from 1800-1875.
Among the finest and most intriguing carpets in the world, Turkmen carpets were first studied in the 1870s by Russian artists and military officers during expeditions to newly acquired territories in Central Asia.
Home to many key collectors, Philadelphia last hosted a major exhibition of Turkmen rugs in 1996 as part of the eighth annual meeting of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets.
When he was invited by the Arthur Ross Gallery to curate a rug exhibition, Dennis R. Dodds chose 35 connoisseur quality pieces, including eight main carpets.
"I knew that a number of top Turkmen pieces had been acquired in the past seven years by local collectors and that it had not been possible to display several very good main carpets in 1996 due to space limitations," Dodds said.
The exhibition will also include a lecture titled "Turkmen Carpets: Tribal Messages from the Past" by Dr. Elena Tsareva, curator of textiles, Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation, at 5 p.m., Feb. 5, in Room 306 of the Fisher Fine Arts Library, adjacent to the Gallery in the old Furness Building on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
"Antique Rugs of the Turkmen Tribes" is supported by the Friends of the Arthur Ross Gallery, Penn Middle East Center and Jerry Sorkin of J. M. Sorkin Distinctive Rugs and More in Wayne, Pa.
Additional information about the exhibit is available at 215-898-2083 or www.upenn.edu/ARG.