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Migration as Ritual and Identity: The Cultural and Material Significance of Bakhtiari Mal Bands Open Access

Tablet weaving is one of the oldest significant textile traditions. Its practice spans centuries, continents and cultures. Tablet woven bands explore the intersection of cultural memory, ritual practice, and technical skill passed from generation to generation. In 2017, Sarah B. Sherrill donated an important collection of textiles, field material, and weaving/spinning tools to the Textile Museum. Ms. Sherrill conducted field research from 1974-1976 among the semi-nomadic and village tribal confederations of western Iran. As professor at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Ms. Sherrill was uniquely suited to document what she called "The Twilight of a Tradition." Migration is the bedrock of Bakhtiari cultural identity. The study of the Textile Museum's only Bakhtiari Mal Band is, therefore, significant in increasing our understanding of this tribal confederation's political and social power.

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