Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, Beyond the Silk Road presents the museum’s collection of costume, textiles, rugs, lithographs of designs, and metal work from Central Asia.
Central Asia is a vast and largely unknown heartland where the inheritors of three thousand years of nomadic lifestyle and twenty centuries of trade are suddenly finding a new role in a changing world.
Vivid images record the stunning textiles of the region. Nomadic and city rugs, silk ikat costumes, embroidered hangings, tent bands and horse trappings reflect the extremes and interactions of tribal and urban lifestyles; while splendid horse-jewellery reflects the key role of these animals in nomad life. The book also includes a series of extraordinary late 19th century Russian chromolithographs showing a range of design elements from tiles to textiles.
The essays go beyond a simple focus on style, production and history to look at the symbiotic relationship between the nomadic and settled cultures of Central Asia, and the fascinating and blood-stained history of this wild and beautiful region, through which the old Silk Roads passed like major arteries linking the great civilisations of east and west.