Special Exhibition

Past Exhibition

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

February 26, - May 15, 2022

The nomadic peoples of western Asia in what is today Iran, such as the Baluchs, Kurds, and Qashqais, traditionally made and passed down woolen salt bags called namakdans that featured woven patterns used to symbolize their tribe. These salt bags are attractive dyed 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 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, saddle bags, dining spreads, and other daily goods. A private collection not typically available to the public, in 2008 and 2016 the Tobacco and Salt Museum hosted a well-received exhibition that primarily showcased the collection’s salt bags and nomadic pile rugs.
For this exhibition, we are introducing around 90 salt bags, pile rugs and gabbehs that have never been made available to the public before, focusing primarily on the Maruyama Collection’s gabbehs, which are coarsely woven with thick threads and have the flavor of a nomadic tool of life. Through this, we hope that you will get a sense for the beauty and intensity of these dyed goods, devotedly woven for the rough nomadic life of travel.

※All information are given in Japanese only

[General admission fees]

General (Adults and university students)

Children and pupils of primary, juniorhigh, and high schools

Visitors over 65 years old ※Please show proof of age when entering.

※ 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 "Namakdan"
    Baluch, East Persia, ca. 1970, wool

  • photo

    Darrehshuri of Qashqai, South Persia, ca. 1970, wool