בסוף יוני 2017 (29.6-24.6) השתתפתי בכינוס השנתי של ועדת התלבושות מטעם איקו"ם. נושא הכינוס היה: "The Narrative Power of Clothes", והוא נערך בקולג' לאופנה של לונדון ונמשך 5 ימים כאשר בכל יום ניתנו כ-16 הרצאות שכל אחת הוגבלה ל-15 דקות בלבד.
מקצתן של ההרצאות היו קשורות לדמויות מסוימות וסיפוריהן האישיים שהשפיעו על אופנות הלבוש באירופה ובקנדה. מענין במיוחד היה לשמוע על נשים יצוגיות בהונגריה וביגוסלביה בימים ש בהם שלט משטר קומוניסטי. למרות הגבלות שהטיל השלטון הנשים מצאו דרך לעצב את בגדיהן ולהיות מעודכנות היטב במה שקורה מעבר למסך הברזל. הרצאות אחרות בדקו התאמות של בגדים דתיים – של כהני דת, הטבלה ועוד לסביבה חדשה, כמו בגדי הכמורה של כמרים ששירתו במזרח הרחוק ועברו שינוי מרחיק לכת בהתאמתם ללבוש המזרח הרחוק, או בגד הטבלה מלכותי הולנדי מן המאה ה-18 שצריך היה להתאים אותו לצרכים של היום. היו הרצאות שתיארו תהליך מורכב של שחזור ורסטורציה של בגדי דמויות הסטוריות. הרצאה מענינת של בית הספר המארח הייתה עדכון מדהים ביצירת מצגות לתערוכות שמאפשר שילוב של צילומי סטילס, צילומי פרטים, וידאו, צילום תיעודי -הכל בו זמנית, מה שמאפשר להציג לבוש יחד עם דמות מסוימת שלבשה אותו, פרטים מוגדלים ממנו, ארוע הסטורי בו שימש ועוד. הרצאה משעשעת הייתה אודות בגדים מנייר ותהליך הייצור שלהם. תהליך איסוף של רקמות בנות זמננו בעבודת שדה במקסיקו תואר יפה בהרצאה אחרת והצגת תהליך קבלת אוסף של שאלים ארוגים בדגמי פייסלי בבוסטון היה מרתק.
ההרצאה שלי עסקה בדמותה של דבורה דוידוף, בת העדה הבוכארית, ממשפחת סוחרים ויזמים אמידה מאד, שבאופן נדיר קיימים תצלומים רבים שלה בארכיון התצלומים שלנו. התצלומים מציגים אותה בכל שלב מכריע בחייה (שידעו תהפוכות רבות) ומאפשרים מעקב ממש דידקטי אחר השינויים בלבושה – למן הסגנון המסורתי, דרך שילוב הסגנון האירופי עם הבוכארי, מעבר מוחלט לאירופי וכלה בחזרה לסגנון המסורתי דוקא עם העלייה לארץ. באופן זה ניתן היה גם להציג פרקים משמעותיים בתולדות העדה. ההרצאה התקבלה בחום, עוררה ענין, שאלות ומחמאות והתבקשתי לפרסם אותה בכתב העת של אגודת הלבוש הבריטית.
טקסט ההרצאה בסוף הדוח כאן למטה.
מלבד ההרצאות ביקרנו בבית הספר ללימודי ההסטוריה של האופנה והטקסטיל בלונדון שנוסד ב-2012 והתרשמנו עמוקות מהרצינות והעומק בו נלמדות טכניקות תפירה ורקמה, גזירה ועיצוב הגוף שכבר פסו מן העולם, והכל בהתלהבות כובשת.
כמו כן ביקרנו בארמון קנסינגטון, שם זכינו להדרכה מקיפה על האוספים של הארמון וכן בתערוכת בגדיה של הנסיכה דיאנה שמושכת קהל רב אך לדאבוני מצאתי אותה מאד מיושנת וקיטשאית.
ביקרנו גם במוזאון ויקטוריה ואלברט, שם התכבדנו בהרצאה של אוצרת התערוכה על בלנסיאגה וביקור בתערוכה. למרות שאין חידושים מפתיעים באופן התצוגה, מצאתי אותה עשויה היטב, קומוניקטיבית ללא הצטעצעות ובטעם.
ניצלתי את הזמן גם לביקור במוזיאונים: The British Museum – פשוט אינסופי (חזרתי לשם 3 פעמים)
The Jewish Museum of London
Modern Tate Gallery – ראיתי שם עבודה נפלאה של ברוס נאומן שמאד רלוונטית עבורי
Victoria&Albert – תערוכה מקיפה של בלנסיאגה, תרבות ולבוש ממרכז אסיה ומזרחה ותערוכה אודות פינק פלויד.
National Gallery – בדקתי בעיקר התפתחות בתיאור לבוש הנזירות מן המאה ה-13 עד ה-16 בציור.
One woman- many transitions
Deborah Davidoff from Tashkent, Uzbekistan as a model of the transformations of Jewish women's dress in the Bukharan realm from early 20th century till mid-20th century.
Out of the 20,000 photographs documenting dress and lifestyle of various communities in Israel in the Isidore and Anne Falk Information Center for Jewish Art and Life at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, I chose to focus on the images of Deborah Davidoff from the Jewish Bukharan community. In our archive, it is very rare to come across photographs of one woman depicting several periods in her life, which not only illustrate the changes that occurred in her life, but also depict the traditions and trends of dress in the various places where she lived before immigrating to pre-State Israel in Palestine.
All of the dramatic passages she experienced throughout her life took place in the shadow of major historical events which brought with them cultural influences that affected many aspects of life.
1– First let us examine the historical and geographical background of the Bukharan community. The term Bukharan Jewry is actually a name for all the Jewish communities situated in the republics of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tadjikistan –A political division carried out by the Soviet Union between 1924-1936, and which became independent following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and to this day. In essence, we are speaking about the Jewish communities in the cities of Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Kokand, Shahri-sabz, Farghana, etc. We do not know for sure when the Jews arrived in this region of Central Asia. The oral tradition dates the period of settlement to the time of the destruction of the First Temple in the 8th century BCE, but some historians and researchers date it much later to the 6th century A.D. In any case, the name "Bukharan community" derives from the Bukhara Emirate established in the 16th century, and where the largest Jewish community existed. Being located on the Silk Road, this allowed the Jews to prosper from the silk industry which included weaving, dyeing, especially Ikat dyeing, and commerce.
2 – Deborah Davidoff was born in 1887 in Tashkent – the capita of Uzbekistan today – to a family of wealthy merchants who founded the Jewish community in Tashkent in the mid-19th century and became pillars of the community. Her father, Joseph Davidoff, was the head of the large Torgovi Dom company which included many commercial enterprises including real estate, textiles, the production of cotton, breweries, oil and coal digging and the export of agricultural products. Here on the right Deborah is shown at the age of six among her siblings, all dressed in Bukharan tradition which is a smaller version of adult dress.
3 – The custom at that time was to keep families together through intermarriage. Therefore Deborah was betrothed at the age of nine to her cousin Abraham whom her father very much wanted as a son-in-law, also for the family business. Abraham had been engaged to her older sister, but she died before the marriage and Deborah consequently became his fiancée. Even though it was an arranged marriage, according to her granddaughter, they were very happy together and produced seven children. Here, on the occasion of her bethrothal, she is also dressed as a little woman in a wide silk floral dress. Her skull cap embroidered in gilt and silk threads and the typical hair curl on her forehead.
4 - Extended Family Davidoff in front of their house early 20th.
Deborah and Abraham Davidoff belonged to a thin layer of rich bourgeoisie within the Jewish community who identified more with the European Russians and saw them as a means of advancing their commercial and cultural development and to elevate their social status among the ruling Muslim majority.
5,6 – As a minority, the Bukharan Jews were discriminated by the Muslims and were forced to obey Omar laws requiring them to pay heavy taxes and placed restrictions on where and how they could live. These laws also included the way a Jew was allowed to dress, prohibiting them from wearing lavish clothes in public and forcing the men to tie a rope around their waist and to wear a special hat, as can be seen here. Under such pressure, some of the Jewish merchants saw a window of opportunity opening to them with the Russian conquest in Central Asia which began in the beginning of the 19th century and reached its peak when the Emirate of Bukharan was conquered in 1868. With much ingenuity these Jewish merchants became involved with Russian merchants, importing new industrial innovations from Russia to this undeveloped region, especially in the region of Tashkent and the Farghana Valley where they improved the textile industry there.
7– At around the age of 17, we see Deborah photographed with an unidentified woman and holding her first daughter Anuta while pregnant. Both of the women are dressed in silk tie and dye dresses, very typical of the region. The cut of the dress is very wide and their gold embroidered caps and the hair curl on their forehead. The main innovation in their dress is a silk vest, already machine sewn and with a European collar, already attesting to the western influence on their dress.
8,9 – In the museum collection we have Plangi and Ikat dresses in the traditional cut, usually with a Chinese collar. As mentioned before, textile dyeing was a typical craft among the Jews until the end of the 19th century. Afterwards the Jews were mainly merchants and this craft was carried out by local dyers.
10 – In this photo we see Deborah, in her late teens, with her sisters and her mother in the center. We can see how the Ikat dresses are already sewn with European influence – gatherings, flounces, lace ribbons decorating the chest and the sleeves. They are wearing Bukharan gold jewelry typical to wealthy married women. Their hair is braided under gold embroidered caps with a fold in the middle which was the fashion at the time.
11 - From the same period, the early 20th century, we have in our collection dresses and coats which show European influence, either in the choice of the textiles which arrived with the Russians to the area or in their cut and the machine sewing. The textiles from Russia were industrial but adhered to the vibrant colors suited to the Bukharan taste.
12 - Here you see several caps from our collection.
13 – Here we see Deborah in her 30s, still in Tashkent, when she already adopted the European style of dress and manner, in the spirit of the Russian bourgeoisie of the early 20th century. Her hairdo was totally changed and became upswept and voluminous. Her dress and jewelry – her accessories were now modern as you can see from her wide-brimmed hat with artificial decorations, a watch pendant, and a fashionable purse knitted from silver threads.
14 – Here we see Deborah and Abraham both reflecting a European appearance that is natural as if they were born into it. It is obvious that they are a well to do couple from the highest strata of Tashkent bourgeoisie living in an upscale Russian neighborhood. As in so many Jewish families in the Diaspora, this elevated style of living was short lived and the collapse of their good fortune, when it came, was total. In the case of Deborah and Abraham, it was tragic. After using the Jews of Bukhara as a means of expanding their domination to Afghanistan and China, the Russians began to take measures limiting their freedom and economic prosperity. This tendency became more extreme following the October 17 revolution with the Soviet conquest, the wealthy merchants were declared as capitalists and their properties were nationalized. Between 1924-1936, all the central Asia region was divided into separate republics under the Soviet Union umbrella.
15 - In this family photo of Deborah, Abraham and their children, their dress is less elegant and is typical of modern eastern European dress from a much later period. There is no doubt that the economy of the family was deteriorating. They tried to escape from the Bolsheviks and moved for a short time to Karshi, close to the city of Bukhara. They were forced to move to Moscow in 1927, where they stayed for a short period. The Davidoffs and their extended family, including the parents of Deborah and Abraham, left Uzbekistan, and part of them immigrated to Israel between 1912-1914.
16 - Here is Deborah at the end of the 1920s. From their time in Moscow, we have only one photo of Deborah dressed in a fur coat and hat typical of the time. The Communists refused to grant Abraham an exit visa so the couple had to undergo a fictious divorce. Deborah immigrated to then Palestine by herself with part of her children in the beginning of 1929. Abraham had to stay behind and planned his escape via Iran where he subsequently was murdered, it is assumed by robbers. His place of burial is unknown.
17- After Abraham's death, Deborah remained with his family, as was the custom in the Bukharan neighborhood in Jerusalem. The custom of this conservative community to obey the mother-in-law and to obey the dictates of the elderly women. They thought that Deborah, as an adult widow, should revert to the traditional Bukharan dress and here you see her in Jerusalem towards the end of her 40's in a wide, long dress and a wrapped scarf covering her forehead. This is typical of the elderly women in her community.
18,19– Deborah is seen with her children. Returning to the traditional dress was not easy for Deborah since she was already accustomed to the modern European Russian dress and customs. It was done only because of social pressures from the community. According to her granddaughters, Abraham, from his exile in Russia, knew that Deborah was being asked to change her lifestyle and wrote to her not to give in to this pressure. But, of course, he could not imagine what was the reality here and how forceful was the social dictates of the community in Jerusalem. Deborah continued to raise her young children with very little economic means. Some of the older ones were already married, and were wearing modern westernized dress. Only Deborah had to wear Bukharan clothing.
20 – This is a photograph of her extended family in Palestine. In the center is her with mother-in-law the typical modest head covering of the elderly Bukharan women. Except for the mother-in-law and one other woman, all the others are dressed in modern clothes.
21– It is interesting to note that although the young generation of the Bukharan community looked completely Israeli, traditional dress was followed during feasts and ceremonies of the life cycle, especially weddings. Almost every couple from the Bukharan origin wore traditional clothes for their engagement party or the henna ceremony, but modern style dress for the marriage ceremony itself. So here you can see Deborah's youngest daughter at both her engagement party and wedding. This custom is maintained till today but the traditional dress is imported from Uzbekistan and is a synthetic copy of the original.
22 - Here is Deborah in the wedding of her granddaughter wearing traditional Bukharan clothing. She is in her last years and at her side is her sister-in-law and her first born daughter, all of them also in traditional dress and jewelry. There is no doubt that going back to the traditional dress from the height of modern dress is an unusual phenomenum. Through research in the various communities we can observe the tendency to adapt modern dress as a way of conveying flexibility, progress, the need to be up to date, the will to fit in withon the greater community and in that way to declare their identification with the ruling class. We can compare the reverting to the traditional dress of Deborah with what happens to women in conservative societies who tend to change their manner of dress as they age, abandoning colorful clothes for more solid, dark and drab shades. At the same time, their religious observance becomes more pronounced.
23- By going back in the dress of Deborah is an exceptional step and perhaps expresses more than anything the crisis of her life from independent married women to one living under the domination of her mother-in-law. In the conservative Bukharan courtyard of the 30s in the Jerusalem. From a wealthy woman of high socio/economic status she became one of poor means in a new country, doesn't speak language. Perhaps the difficulites of the language prevented her from adapting to the new Israeli/Hebrew culture and she could not break out of the circle of conservative Bukharan society. She saw her daughters and only son getting married and raising families. In her last years she suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed. She died in 1947 at the age of 60.
מאת: נעם ברעם בן יוסף, האגף לאמנות ותרבות יהודית, מוזאון ישראל, ירושלים