Purchase, James J. Ross, William B. Goldstein, Holly and David Ross, and James J. and Gladys W. Strain Gifts, 2013
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 351
"Spark" is perhaps the most ambitious and complex silk cloth (lamba) produced by a group of master weavers who over the last decades have overseen a revival of classical Malagasy silk weaving from their base near Antananarivo. Although the seamless design of such works suggests they are a single woven fabric, they are assembled from nine handwoven lengths. Each of these passages is the product of an individual artist and combines ikated warp and handpicked weft patterning. This composition presents a rich profusion of color and pattern that produces unity from dynamic variety. The ordering of light and dark stripes is reflected across a vertical center, while the narrow passages of geometric, floral, and winged forms spread horizontally across the face of the cloth. These formal elements were drawn from nineteenth-century textiles from the region, which the weavers mined from fresh inspiration. The title of the work is a reference to the signature zigzag chevron pattern produced in the repeated ikat motif.
[Simon Peers, Antananarivo, Madagascar, until 2013]