Silk Road Splendor

Hats on the Silk Road

by Russell S. Fling
Book Cover

Selections from the Preface by Nannette V. Maciejunes, Executive Director Columbus Museum of Art

I'm so pleased to have been asked to write this foreword, for Russell Fling is a longtime friend and an important member of the Columbus Museum of Art family. In the past, we have had the opportunity to display parts of Russ' remarkable collections, and we have been involved not only with this book but also with his previous publication Khans, Nomads & Needlework: Suzanis and Embroideries of Central Asia.

Russ is a true collector, and true collectors do so very much more than just to accumulate or to gather objects into one place. ... He amply demonstrated this with his first book accompanying his collection of beautiful Central Asian embroideries, and now he not only builds upon that knowledge, but he also explores a new world of hats found along the famous Silk Road. His incredible collection of hats of all descriptions formed the foundation for his exploration of the world and times in which they were made. As the collection grew, so too did Russ' knowledge, one building upon the other until a cache of more than one hundred hats and this publication resulted. ...

This publication serves as a catalog for that exhibition, but it is much more than that: it is a reference to the hats worn in a part of the world that today is a center of turmoil. And while travel to that turbulent corner of our global may be problematic in 2015, we can take some comfort that, through Russ' scholarship and desire to share his knowledge and his collection with us, we gain a glimpse of a part of the world that is neither well known nor understood.