17
August 2020

UNRAVELLING THE SILK ROAD: A TEXTILE JOURNEY

Welcome to The Arts Society South West London
Monday, August 17, 2020 - 20:00

Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia, as this lecture explains.

Wool, cotton and silk have each played a crucial role in the fortunes of Central Asia. Wool created the clothing and housing needed by the great nomadic cultures that were to dominate Middle Asia. Silk was more valuable than gold and used as currency, creating a network of trading routes that led to the first outbreak of globalisation. Cotton was the cause of Russian and then Soviet Colonisation and continues to cause controversy today as well as human misery and environmental catastrophe The felts, carpets, embroideries, robes and veils of the Silk Road stratified wealth, displayed religious and political entrenchments and changed the fortunes of this fascinating part of the world; a meeting place between Mohammed and Marx.

Chris Alexander
Chris Alexander was born in Turkey spending his childhood there and in war-torn Beirut. After school came two years at sea before studying Media and journalism at Leicester University. Chris then established a UNESCO workshop in a desert oasis in Uzbekistan reviving fifteenth century carpet designs and embroideries and became the largest non-government employer in town. Next a year in the UK writing A Carpet Ride to Khiva, then Chris moved to Tajikistan for three years, training yak herders to comb their yaks for their cashmere-like down., Next came two years in Kyrgyzstan establishing a wood-carving workshop in the world’s largest natural walnut forest. Chris, recently finished rowing and studying at Oxford, has survived his curacy at St. Barnabas in North Finchley, but is now taking two years out to focus on writing fiction, with several novels published and more on the way. He also lectures for the Art Society and leads tours to Central Asia to pay the bills. He is missing a large chunk of his heart which will forever remain in the -stans.