Special Exhibition

Past Exhibition

The Maruyama Collection
Nomadic Arts: The Tribal Salt Bags and Rugs from Western Asia

January 21, Saturday – April 9, Sunday, 2017

The nomadic peoples of western Asia in what is today Iran, such as the Baluchs, Qashqais, and Kurds, traditionally made and passed down woolen salt bags called namakdans that featured woven patterns used to symbolize their tribe. These salt bags are attractive woven textiles decorated with elaborate patterns and feature unique, aesthetically pleasing convex shapes. Used to control livestock, among other purposes, the salt bags are important artifacts that teach us what salt meant to nomadic peoples and its important roles in daily life.

The Tobacco and Salt Museum also focuses in part on such artifacts.
On display in this exhibition is the Maruyama Collection, a large collection of nomadic people’s dyed and woven items consisting primarily of pile rugs and kilims that are up to a century old and unobtainable even in western Asia, as well as salt bags, saddlebags, dining spreads, and other daily goods.

A private collection not typically available to the public, in 2008 the Tobacco and Salt Museum hosted a well-received exhibition that primarily showcased the collection’s salt bags and other bags for daily use.
For this exhibition, we are introducing around 70 salt bags and pile rugs that have never been made available to the public before, focusing primarily on the Maruyama Collection’s pile rugs, which are richly appealing in a way unique to nomadic peoples. Through this, we hope that you will get a sense for the beauty and intensity of these goods, devotedly woven for the rough nomadic life of travel.

[General admission fees]

General(Adults and university students)
Group(20 or more):150yen

Children and pupils of primary, juniorhigh, and high schools
Group(20 or more):50yen

Visitors over 65 years old ※Please show proof of age when entering.
Group(20 or more):100yen

※ With age certificate, visitors over 65 years old are admitted for half price.
※ With disability certificate, free admission for disabled persons and one accompanying attendant.

  • photo

    Salt Bag
    Baluch, East Persia:Zabol
    ca. 1920

  • photo

    Salt Bag
    Baluch Turkmen, East Persia
    ca. 1930