Sonntag, 20. November 2011

The World of Muslims

I was extremely excited to go to the exhibition dedicated to the Muslim World or to the World of Muslims recently opened at the Ethnological Museum Dahlem. I agree that there are many unknown things about this world and a better understanding is more than necessary. On the other hand, the complexity of a world cannot be reduced to PR-istic and simplistic ways to introducing a culture to the wide world. For example, trying to find common elements where there isn't the case or avoiding some discrepancies through a complicate but nonsensical language - "The spatial separation of genders is consistent with an ethic that regulates the relations between the genders, attributing modesty to woman and pugnacity to man" - doesn't contribute at all to a fair understanding of the other culture. It may be a way to present complicate cultures to the world without reducing it to an ennumeration of positive but purposeless words. Honesty and balanced view could a better and fair choice, isn't it?

The exhibition is covering extensively Pakistan, Tadjikistan, Afghanistan but also Iran - two burqa - Jordan - one woman's dress - or Turkey. The focus is on objects from the daily life - many carpets, embroideries, musical instruments, rifle sheaths, hijabs - presented as "commitment to faith and expression of identity" - shtenders, prayer objects - stones, calendar or camel adornments. Many are originating from the private collections of Oskar von Niedermayer or Willi Rickmer Rickmers

I loved the colours and some of the cultural information I found there. Overall, I am trying to follow a quote I spotted during the exhibition: "If you cannot say anything good, don't say anything at all". Let's the image talk by themselves, then. 

Costumes from the Pashtun area

Felt rugs of the Kyrgysz

Various models of shtenders

Iranian burqas

Two dervished hats from a tomb

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