Source Acquisition of Fine Tribal and Nomadic Textile Art Since 1978
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The Sun Bow Story
In 1977 the initial Sun Bow Trading Co. crew was inspired to create a purely tribal, nomadic and village textile art gallery. We strongly felt that this genre of textile art was not being given the attention it deserved in the oriental rug world. There were very few, if any, tribal and nomadic specialists worldwide. The original Sun Bow partners were Saul & Majid Barodofsky, Susan Ida Smith, later Gary Muse, and finally Ananda Cronin.

We felt that the original -- and most collectable -- of all oriental rugs should be recognized and have their own presentation. And we felt that they should be offered by individuals who knew precisely what they were showing and were able to provide an in-depth background on the peoples who made them. The questions of provenance and intended usage were important criteria to present to the public, as well as the ever-important distinction of "Art."

Our backgrounds were in Art, History, and Clothing design. We were all world experienced travelers who had visited the weaving regions of the Middle East, and we believed that source location would be our edge in securing both the best examples and the best prices for our customers.

Sun Bow has always considered itself a textile art gallery. We have presented many Charlottesville exhibitions of a groundbreaking nature. Among others, we held the first showing of "Tulus" (hospitality rugs from central Turkey), the first North American exhibition of Middle Eastern Women�s handwork ("By the Hands of Fatima"), the first North American exhibition of the textile art from the western Ottoman Empire/Eastern Europe ("Thracian Textiles"), Traditional Clothing from the Silk Road, and an exhibition of non-woven textiles from the Middle East (including felting, knitting, embroidery, beading, wrapping, and twining). All the above were exhibited in our gallery.

We have also exhibited in other galleries throughout the United States: Prayer Rug exhibitions, Art on the Floor (Kilims as Art), Antique Kilims, Bags and decorative Weavings, and Pictorial Tribal Textile Art, among others.

The very nature of this business lends itself to working closely with museums and universities. Saul Barodofsky is a frequent lecturer at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. and a guest curator at the Bailey Museum in Charlottesville, VA, among others. Furthermore, Sun Bow is a source for museums� acquisition of textiles from the tribal world. A good number of our "finds" have been featured in museum exhibitions and books. Sun Bow also offers lectures and slide shows of both our travels and our textiles. These slide shows and lectures have been held at universities, museums, rug conferences and rug societies all over the United States.

Perhaps the most famous of Sun Bow�s museum exhibitions were the Yurt Exhibitions. Sun Bow owns two yurts, a Kazak and a Khirgiz, that we located and secured in Chinese Turkistan. These felted, round nomadic dwellings are the only two completely and originally furnished yurts in the West. It was important for us to have the yurts appointed with the exact furnishings of the nomadic families who lived in the dwellings -- not recreated with what we think they should have, or might have had.

To date, the yurts have had 5 museum showings. They have been very well received by both the public and the media. Everybody loves a yurt!

Since we locate our acquisitions as close to the makers as humanly possible, we must travel to their home countries. To date we have made over 70 trips into the Middle East. We have visited Turkey, Northern India (for the Tibetan refugees and the Banjara Gypsies), North East Pakistan (the Khyber Pass and the Afghan refugees), Chinese Turkistan (for the Eastern Turkomans - Uyghurs and Uzbeks/Kazak/Khirgiz nomads), Egypt (for the Bedouins), Tashkent (for central Asian textiles), Cyprus (for embroideries), and Daghistan and Azerbaijan (for Caucasian pieces). And we�re not done yet.

Saul Barodofsky & the Sun Bow Crew

Past Crew Members:

Susan Ida Smith, An Original Kilimji, World Traveller, & Massage Therapist; Majid Elbers, Creative Seamstress; Gary Muse, Famous for his Collection of Bits & Pieces; Anne Breaud, Textile Artist & Needlepoint Specialist; Scott Boltwood, PhD, Old English & Gaelic Literature; Stephanie Owens, Video & Life Artist; Lusana Santosa, Modern Artist & Curatorial Specialist; Adam Geiser, Fullbright Scholar, Islamic Studies; Fawn Pattison, Linguist, Artist, & World Traveler; Greg Bottoms, Author; Jake Bushings, Jazz Musician & Farm Manager; Lisa Williford, Graphic artist, with scholarly emphasis in Art History & Archeology & Olivia Johnston, Anthropologist;  Linda Samuels - fiber artist, and enthusiastic specialist of early Americana arts and crafts

The Present Sun Bow Crew:

Saul Yale Barodofsky, Historian and Frustrated Ethnographer; Stephanie Tanner, Textile Artist; Barry Matthews - a martial arts enthusiast and a quick study; Ananda Cronin, Nurse Practitioner and World Traveler Extraordinaire.

We've been outfitting caravans
from Downtown Charlottesville since 1978.
   Awaiting the Pleasure of Your Visit
Traditional Tea Served
  Store Address
by appointment only

Sun Bow Trading Company
900 C Harris Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

Mailing Address
Sun Bow Trading Company
P.O. Box 1482
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902