CMA Staff Picks: Will Rowan
Hello, I’m Will, and I’m the Facility Operations & Systems Manager at our beloved Columbia Museum of Art. I lead security and facilities teams, working hard to provide overwatch and safety for staff and visitors, safeguard the artwork, and ensure an enjoyable experience for guests while they visit the museum and our wide collection of art and artifacts.
As a student of the Middle East and an American military veteran who spent multiple years in places from Jordan to Afghanistan, I am absolutely enthralled with the silk prayer carpet from Tabriz, Iran, in Gallery 5 of Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World. Persian/Farsi was the first language that the U.S. Army taught me, and I received a lot of information on carpet making and its history, impact on a family’s income, marketability to those not from the Middle East, and use for religious purposes. A good silk carpet can bring in a hefty sum from a collector, but its compactness, durability, colorful sheen, and elegance make for an appropriate prayer carpet while traveling. Tabriz is well-known in the region for silk carpets, and this particular piece is a shining example of their capabilities. Its definitive qualities make it stand out from ones I’ve seen made in places such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and Syria.
Prayer Carpet, late 19th century
On view through May 14 in Reverent Ornament: Art from the Islamic World