Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


The Karakalpak people are a semi-nomadic, Turkic-speaking tribe situated near the southern end of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, whose textile folk art forms a distinct thread in the larger fabric of the Central Asian textile tradition. The I.V. Savitsky State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan in the northwest of Uzbekistan near the southern end of the Aral Sea houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of Karakalpak textile art. Passionately collected by Igor Savitsky despite Soviet prohibitions, he singlehandedly preserved records of a dying culture. This presentation will focus on aspects of the collection as it relates to the customs and traditions of the region as well as to the unique history of its founder. The museum is currently attempting to bring about a revival of Karakalpak embroidery and patchwork traditions.