About DeWitt Mallary

 

Over the past three decades, DeWitt Mallary has collected, studied, written, and talked about carpets and textiles. Originally concentrating on Baluch and Turkmen rugs, his interests expanded to include most of the rug weaving areas, then to textiles beyond pile carpets.

He has:
- delivered papers and presentations to rug societies, at auction houses, at museums, and at symposiums across America and in Europe.
- presented items from his collections and chaired forums at the American Conference on Oriental Rugs.
- presented papers at International Conferences on Oriental Rugs.
- curated exhibitions at Museums and Carpet Conferences.
- taught about the history and scope of Oriental carpets.
- been a Contributing Editor of HALI magazine for the last twenty years.

 

Particularly during his many years in New York City, he has had the additional benefit of seeing many of the thousands of pieces that passed through the markets, public and private, in the past three decades.

 

Finally, he has had the opportunity of learning from dealers, collectors, auction house experts, conservators, and academics, many of whose knowledge and taste have contributed greatly to his perspective on a more sensitive understanding of these objects.

 

 

There are many different manifestations of beauty in the enormous variety of woven objects from across the recent millennia.
Some epitomize the height of refinement and sophistication, and are the pinnacles of fine art from their cultures and times. Others are the simplest expressions of the only visual art form available in the lives of nomadic people.


Some are refined and subtle, not only in their appearance, but in every aspect of their manufacture - the preparation of the materials, fineness of construction, range and quality of dyes.

Some are bold, assertive, statements with simple and powerful graphics. Almost every possible permutation between these extremes can be found.

I have been lucky enough to have had my eyes opened to the beauty of these wonderful objects, and have found them to be a doorway to appreciation and understanding of other arts, other cultures, and history. I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for this art form.

 

Here on the site, and in the inventory, you will find expressions of many of these variations - from bold strong graphic statements of "Baluch" tribal weavers to the high refinement of 17th century silks from Safavid Iran, from the extreme care and relative luxury of the finest Turkmen tribal dowry weavings to superior examples of everyday Kurdish utilitarian objects.

 

Weaving in general, and certainly most weaving from the 19th century and before, is an anonymous art form. This is one significant reason that the weaving arts have not received the degree of academic attention and public recognition that have been devoted to other art forms, "fine" and "decorative".

 

However, owning a beautiful piece doesn't have to subject one to years of advanced study of art historical and technical minutiae; it's OK to just enjoy living with beautiful things (or even one). The only real secret knowledge is this  - you have to open your eyes.