Using this Site


This digital resource has been created in conjunction with the Textile Museum of Canada’s exhibition From Ashgabat to Istanbul: Oriental Rugs from Canadian Collections, on view at the Textile Museum of Canada until April 19, 2015.

Content on this site can be enjoyed at home at, or on any ‘smart’ device while in the exhibition. iPads are available for borrowing at the Museum front desk on the ground floor.

How to use this virtual resource at the Textile Museum of Canada:

    1. LookiPad_symbol for this symbol on wall panels throughout the exhibition. It indicates that you can listen to interviews with the collector of an artifact. A number will be included to help match to the correct menu option.
    2. To hear interviews, simply press play on these audio panels: Playbutton The interview will begin after a momentary pause. Seating has been provided throughout the exhibition for your comfort.
    3. To ensure the enjoyment of other patrons, we ask that you please use the headphones provided when listening to audio.
    4. Please note that all of this content is freely available to enjoy at home, via


About the Exhibition

From Ashgabat to Istanbul features seventy-five rugs from East, Central and West Asia that have been selected from the collections of the Textile Museum of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Nickle Galleries in Calgary and twenty-seven private collectors from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The exhibition combines numerous viewpoints to demonstrate the great range of Oriental weaving culture represented by court, urban, village and tribal rugs.

Interviewing members of the collecting community in Canada was an important part of this exhibition project, a way to include the collectors’ first-hand experience, their motivations and goals, and to offer insight into the phenomenon of collecting rugs through the collectors’ voices. For many collectors rugs have been an integral part of their life, physically and psychologically (“part of the family,” in the words of David B. Lotfi), an essential element of their upbringing in their homeland countries (Shir Paiwand; David B. Lotfi), or their family business for several generations (George Kasparian; Shir Paiwand; David B. Lotfi). Some see collecting as a social duty to support public institutions (Max Allen, Toronto); for others it is “a process of broadening horizons and a wonderful journey of learning” (Marshall and Marilyn Wolf), “a way to comprehend other cultures and a different understanding of the way the world functions” (David Anderson; Max Allen), fulfillment of their lives and intellectual enrichment (Ed Safarian; Ross Winter) or “the joy of the hunt, discovery, identification and acquisition” (John Broome).

But whatever reasons the collectors have, the fact that they are motivated to collect and donate to public institutions is why museums have the majority of the objects in their collections. The story of public collections in Canada in many cases is the story of the generous contributions of individuals whose personal tastes and investment have been instrumental in building Canadian museums.

In the galleries, the variety and juxtaposition of rugs from different regions and time periods highlight commonalities and peculiarities, the richness of their designs and symbolism, and cultural and individual styles expressed in compositions, patterns and colours. As a whole the exhibition manifests the compelling beauty and powerful impact of Oriental rugs, their mysterious magic conveyed to those familiar with them as well as to those who are seeing them for the first time.

– Natalia Nekrassova, 2014