ICOC 2007 - Simply "Carpet Heaven"
The annual meeting of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets / ICOC is always an exciting event, but when it is held in Istanbul (as was the case in 2007) it becomes even more so. Istanbul is one of the most exotic and romantic cities in Europe as well as a center of carpet production and commerce for the past five hundred years or more.
The lovely Sultanahment district, the oldest part of the Ottoman city, where there were a number of related exhibitions. The TIEM (Turk ve Islam Eserleri Muzesi) mounted a spectacular show of early carpets from the Seljuk period, as well as various other oversized court carpets, Oushaks, etc. The TIEM also put up an amazing selection of Ikats from the collection of Mehmet Cetinkaya.
The Vakiflar Museum had two exhibitions of their incredible collection of early rugs as well, one on pile antique rugs, and one just for Kilims. In conjunction with all this the Yildiz Palace held a memorial exhibition of Kilims from the personal collection of the renowned expert Josephine Powell, who passed away earlier that year.
However, wonderful all these official events may have been, the carpet dealers of Istanbul were not to be outdone. Understandably, there was a strong contingent of Turks at the Dealers" Fair, but there were some Europeans and a few Americans as well.
Arguably, the high point was the outstanding exhibition of Turkmen rugs presented by Seref Ozen of Istanbul's Cocoon Gallery.
For the really serious antique carpet enthusiasts, there was a wonderful program of lectures held at the Swiss Hotel. These included a presentation by the pioneer scholar on Turkish village weaving and founder of Project DOBAG, Rainer Bohmer.
Whatever the nature of your interest in antique rugs, there was really something for everyone. With the magic of Istanbul itself as the final ingredient, it was just about the best ICOC ever.