The International Conference on
Oriental Carpets, established in 1976, is an educational,
registered, tax-exempt, non-profit organisation
dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation
of carpets and related textiles.
|Statement of Aims and
The International Conference on Oriental
Carpets (ICOC) is dedicated to advancing the understanding
of carpet and related textile arts. Aims and Objectives
are the following:
- To arrange for the periodic international forums
to present papers and organise
exhibitions which are intended to encourage the
interdisciplinary exchange of
knowledge and ideas about oriental carpets by scholars,
collectors, dealers and
others of different interests, backgrounds and countries.
Such forums would
promote and stimulate rug studies.
- To arrange for the publication of conference papers
presented and of exhibition
catalogues, books and other materials.
- To encourage and maintain high standards for the
presentations and for the
- To provide the organisational structure to fulfill
the above aims and objectives.
History of ICOC
In 1976 the first international conference
on Oriental carpets (during London's Festival of
Islam) was expected to attract around a hundred
participants. Robert Pinner, the late founder of
ICOC wrote: "...it was decided to form a small
committee, book a university lecture room to hold
that number, send out invitations to some twenty
or so lecturers and advertise the dates to potential
participants. Six months later, having twice changed
the venue, the conference opened with five hundred
people overfilling the Jeannette Cochran Theatre,
and emergency half-day bus tours arranged in the
hope of tempting enough people away from the theatre
to avoid breaking its fire regulations."
Subsequent conferences have been held in: Munich
(1978), Washington DC (1980), London (1983), Vienna
& Budapest (1986), San Francisco (1990), Hamburg
& Berlin (1993), Philadelphia (1996), Milan
(1999) and Washington DC again (2003). ICOC has
also sponsored regional conferences in Baku, Istanbul,
Leningrad, Marrakech and Tehran, each accompanied
by memorable exhibitions.
The Eleventh International Conference will be held
in Istanbul April 19 - 22, 2007.
Each International Conference since 1986 has featured
between six and eight exhibitions, many of which
have become landmarks in the field of carpet and
textile art. Probably the most notable are "The
Eastern Carpet in the Western World" &
"Carpet Magic" (London 1983), "Orient
Stars" (Hamburg 1993), and "Studies in
Colour and Geometry: Turkish Pile Carpets from the
Christopher Alexander Collection" & "Anatolian
Kilims: The McCoy Jones Collection" (San Francisco,
1990). As well as exhibitions from museum collections
worldwide, ICOC exhibitions have always featured
the collections of "local" collectors,
such as "Oriental Rugs from Atlantic Collections"
(Philadelphia, 1996) and exhibitions focused on
specific groups or topics such as yastiks (Phildelphia,
1996) and khorjiin and mafrash (Washington, 2003).
Since 1986, the conferences have hosted an ever
more successful and popular Carpet exhibition, wherein
dealers from around the globe offer world-class
rugs and textiles. Recent conferences have also
included both pre- and post- conference tours which
enhance the overall ICOC experience.
An international conference exists on many levels.
As a forum for academic papers, it also serves as
a godfather to research. Publication plays an essential
role in this task not only for the text of papers
but also of ICOC exhibitions for which illustrated
catalogues provide a permanent record of otherwise
ephemeral spectacles. The papers presented at the
conference were, until 1983, published in HALI (The
International Magazine of Antique Carpet & Textile
Art), but since then have been published in Oriental
Carpet & Textile Studies (OCTS), with ICOC taking
over the publication of the papers in 1993. Exhibition
catalogues have been published by museums and by
ICOC, and often become important additions to the
literature in their own right.
Equally important, however, is the conference's
role as a meeting place. Each ICOC is an academic
and social event. It is an occasion for renewing
old friendships and rivalries and for creating new
ones, for putting faces to familiar names, for discussing
the latest fashions in rugs and theories, for being
instructed, entertained, and stimulated, by the
latest gossip about rugs and rug people. It is a
world of its own but a very accessible one. It is
one of the main strengths of the international conference
that the majority of its presentations are easily
understood by the newcomer to oriental carpets who
simply wishes to learn a little more about this
art, and quite often finds himself caught up in
it for life.
ICOC Executive Committee Members
Dennis Dodds (USA), Secretary-General
Walter Denny (USA), Chair, International Committee
Peter Bichler (Austria)
Alberto Boralevi (Italy)
Michael Buddeberg (Germany)
Thomas Farnham (USA)
Anette Granlund (Sweden)
Wendel Swan (USA)
ICOC International Committee
The International Committee oversees the broader
goals and aims of the ICOC and is made-up of representatives
from these nineteen (19) countries: Australia, Austria,
Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran,
Italy, Morocco, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia,
Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and
the United States.