ESGUERRA, Clarissa M. (2019). Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats from the David and Elizabeth Reisbord Collection, Los Angeles: LACMA Collator. ISBN 978-1-943042-13-5, hardback, 112 pp., fully illustrated in colour, bibliography, glossary. Price US$ 50.
An exhibition catalogue to a lovely exhibition about ikat garments and textiles from Central Asia that date from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These garments formed part of the David and Elizabeth Reisbord collection that is now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The exhibition was well worth seeing [see the TRC blog about the exhibition].
In general, the book is based on the main types of motifs (ram, tree, etc.,) associated with Central Asian textiles, including ikat forms. In addition, the exhibition and book stress the aesthetics of ikat textiles, which is always a difficult subject as what is acceptable in one culture may not be deemed correct in another. The grouping of some of the objects in the exhibition and the book was deliberately meant to challenge Western (American) viewers.
Recommendation: This book is worth having in any library dedicated to Central Asian textiles and ikats in particular. There are some very interesting and visually pleasing garments presented in the publication. It should be noted, however, that there is very little information about how ikats were physically produced and by whom. In addition, this is a print-on-demand publication and it looks it: there are many blank pages, etc., in the copy now in the TRC Library.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, March 2020.