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Golden silk and ancient weaving craft showcased in Qatar

Beyond utility and beauty, textiles can help us understand a country or region's traditions and culture. The Qatar 365 team followed the thread of two exhibitions where textiles are the stars of the show.

First, Aadel Haleem went to the Golden Spider Silk exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, which features a cape woven with the yarn of the golden orb-weaver spiders indigenous to Madagascar. The unique masterpiece on display is the only piece in the world. Producing and incorporating the silk took two years and 1.2 million spiders.

The Museum of Islamic Arts houses textiles from all over the world, including Africa, Asia, and Europe. Aadel had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and see how conservator Dominika Kostolníková restores textiles before they are displayed. First, she studies the fabric's composition and technique. After that, Dominika carefully chooses and applies the appropriate treatment.

Finally, Laila Humairah went across town to Design Doha, Qatar Museum's new biennale, and spoke with Maryam Omar, the creator of Weaving Poems, a special exhibition dedicated to the craft of carpet weaving by Afghan women. The designer's 10-month collaboration with the carpet weavers showcased their unwavering commitment to preserving their centuries-old craft, evoking a sense of respect and admiration.

Weaving Poems was curated by Turquoise Mountain, a non-profit organisation founded by British King Charles III in 2006. Initially focused on supporting artisans' families in Afghanistan, the foundation has since expanded its reach to more countries. Its mission is to preserve traditional handicrafts and cultural heritage that are at risk of disappearing, underscoring the urgency and significance of this cause.