Martha Henze
Martin Volkmann


Volkmann-Treffen 2009

Berlin, October 23 - 25, 2009

in collaboration with the Museum of Islamic Art
Staatliche Museen of Berlin
Museum Island, Pergamon Museum
Berlin-Mitte, Am Kupfergraben

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Friends,

Johannes R. Becher, the German writer and poet of the national anthem of the former German Democratic Republic, fled the Nazis in 1935 to Moscow and was resettled from there to Tashkent in 1941. After the capitulation of Nazi Germany he returned to Berlin in 1945. He had in his lugagge a large embroidery, which is housed today in the Berlin Museum of Islamic Art.

This large-medallion suzani is the focal point of an exhibit showing 12 similar pieces from American, British, Italian and German private collections. The show is further enriched by embroideries from settlements in Central Asian Oases in the depot of the Berlin Museum, little known to the public until now. The exhibit will take place in the Museum of Islamic Art from September 28 to November 1.

Although the mostly rhetoric question, if the Anatolian Kilim had been discovered, at the Volkmann Treffen 2008, hardly needed an answer, many questions remain unanswered for those interested in suzani. At best controversial discussions take place in small, non-public circles. Even if Central Asian embroideries are part of museum collections, these wall hangings, niche dividers and bed covers, embroidered by girls and women in the households of Central Asian settlements, are kept, mostly by conservation reasons, in depots. There are signs though, that embroideries, in USA or thereabouts, are appearing on the market in order to improve collections.

The importance of the embroideries, with few exceptions, has only been fully recognized in the last quarter of the 20th century. Before that private individuals had found pleasure in suzani mainly for their decorative aspects. They were used far away from their lands and places of origin as furnishings and later became donations to public collections.

In its long tradition of dealing with oriental textiles, for the first time worldwide the Volkmann Treffen 2009 dedicates a series of lectures to the embroideries fashioned by women in the settlements of Central Asian oases. These dowry pieces have a special attraction for the viewer. Execution and colour quality play an important role. Some decorative elements point to foreign influences.

The speakers will approach the subject 'suzani' from different angles. They will, in connection with publications of prior years, contribute to a long awaited, basic discussion of the phenomenon.

Of special attraction will be statements of selected collectors about the suzani of their own choosing. Each one of these suzani shall be shown in situ to the guests as 'collector's choice'. This shall be the way to show the viewer the full beauty of the world of design of these Central Asian embroideries by way of already known or still unknown examples.

We have planned a dinner for the participants of the Volkmann Treffen for the evening of Oct. 24, 2009 in the restaurant "Humboldt's 2" of the Hotel Park Inn, Berlin - Alexanderplatz. All participants have to do their own final accounting for dinner (Buffet Euro 17 per person) plus drinks.

I cordially invite you to Berlin for the weekend of October 23 to 25.

With best regards

Christian Erber für Volkmann-Treffen 2009

Please remember that it is never too late for registration!
But, early registrations facilitate the work.

You can stay at the Hotel Park Inn Berlin - Alexanderplatz which is in walking distance from the Museum of Islamic Art.
We were able to obtain special rates available under the password "Volkmanntreffen 2009" at Euro 129 for a double room, Euro 119 for a single room per night, incl. all taxes. Please keep in mind that availability of rooms is not limited until the beginning of October. Thereafter the hotel reserves the right to limit availability unrestricted until Sept. 03, restricted until Sept. 17. All rooms have showers or baths and WC and the breakfast buffet is included in the room rate.
Please make your own reservations as soon as possible.
  Hotel Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz
Am Alexanderplatz
10178 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0) 30 - 23 89 - 4333
Fax: +49 (0) 30 - 23 89 - 4546

NB: The Volkmann Treffen 2010 will take place in collaboration with the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin from October 22 to 24, 2010.

Copyright © 2009 Christian Erber