Josephine Powell - 1917-2007
With no intimation or knowledge before hand, we were in Istanbul on business this past January, 2007, when we heard of Josephine Powell's passing.
Of course we went to her funeral.
It was at the 'foreign' cemetery in Istanbul, and people were there from both Europe and the States. It was probably more interesting to see who was there as much as who was missing.
When we first encountered her in Istanbul, in the late 1970's, she already had captured the hearts and minds of the Turkish antique kilim dealers.
A fearless wanderer with a fantastic eye for both detail and artistic merit, she accumulated one of the most beautiful and important collection of "early" kilims and textiles in the world.
I recall when she showed slides of her kilims to a very sophisticated audience of kilim collectors , dealers and museum curators. There was audible gasps and outcries as each new piece was presented.
Truly an amazing and fearless woman. She traveled amongst Tribal peoples and on very lonely back roads through inhospitable territory - from Afganistan to the interior of Anatolia, with only a dog for company. Her pictures are a treasure, as are her accumulated artifacts.
We have the privilege of introducing her first to the American and European textile community by an early article we wrote on her for the Oriental Rug Review.
Her massive accumulation of photos, materials, field notes, and textiles are in the process of being preserved.
More on this later.
Saul & the Sun Bow crew