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|
|Two dervished hats from a tomb|