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Previous Exhibitions
 
The Sultan's Garden
Skirt (phaa sin), Laos, Oudomsai Province,
Lue People, ca. 1950. TM 1992.41.1. Ruth
Lincoln Fisher Memorial Fund.

Out of Southeast Asia:
Art That Sustains

April 12 through October 13, 2013

Southeast Asian textiles first served as markers of ethnic identity, distinguishing neighboring communities by pattern, color, and technique. Now commercial production challenges these practices, yet the artistic wealth of these several hundred groups continues to inspire artists from around the world. Out of Southeast Asia: Art That Sustains explored the intersection of these rich traditions and their interpretation within contemporary art and design. Read the gallery guide.

Historical textile artworks from The Textile Museum’s magnificent Southeast Asian collections—including batiks from Indonesia and brocades and ikats from Laos—were displayed alongside the work of four contemporary textile artists and designers: batik artists Nia Fliam, Agus Ismoyo, and Vernal Bogren Swift, and weaver Carol Cassidy. All of their works originate in Southeast Asian concepts, realized in certain design elements, technical details, and philosophical underpinnings. Out of Southeast Asia demonstrated how contemporary artists are preserving the traditional arts even as they interpret them in new and innovative ways.

 

The Sultan's Garden
Fragment of a floral serenk from a costume, Istanbul, lLate 16th century. TM 1.57. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1951.

The Sultan's Garden:
The Blossoming of Ottoman Art

September 21, 2012 through March 10, 2013

Ottoman art reflects the wealth, abundance, and influence of an empire which spanned seven centuries and, at its height, three continents. The Sultan’s Garden chronicled how stylized tulips, carnations, hyacinths, honeysuckles, roses, and rosebuds came to embellish nearly all media produced by the Ottoman court beginning in the mid-16th century.  These instantly recognizable elements became the brand of the empire, and synonymous with its power.  Incredibly, the development of this design identity can be attributed to a single artist, Kara Memi, working in the royal arts workshop of Istanbul. The Sultan’s Garden unveiled the influence of Ottoman floral style and traces its continuing impact through the textile arts—some of the most luxurious and technically complex productions of the empire. Read the gallery guide.

An exhibition catalog, The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art, co-authored by Sumru Belger Krody and Walter Denny accompanied this exhibition and is available in The Textile Museum Shop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors in The Textile Learning Center

The Textile Learning Center offered visitors a hands-on opportunity to discover how textiles are made.

The Textile Learning Center

Since 1997, the Textile Learning Center has engaged and delighted thousands of visitors while teaching them the "vocabulary of textiles." The Textile Learning Center has temporarily closed in preparation for the museum's transition to the George Washington University. Plans are underway for a completely new and updated learning center to open in the new museum in fall 2014. Learn more about the exciting future of The Textile Museum.

The Textile Museum offers a variety of online resources to delve deeper into how textiles are made and the ways in which cultural traditions, the environment, and even the economy influence the character of handmade textiles. Visit one of our online exhibitions, or click here to access a PDF of the terms most commonly used to describe handmade textiles.

 

Pillar rug, China, Ningxia, 19th century, TM R51.2.1

Pillar rug, China, Ningxia, 19th century. TM R51.2.1. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1927.

Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep
February 3, 2012 through January 6, 2013

2012 was the East Asian calendar’s Year of the Dragon, and in celebration, Dragons, Nagas, and Creatures of the Deep presented a global selection of textiles depicting dragons and other fantastical creatures of legend.

Across the world and over the centuries, dragons have taken many forms, from the beneficent nagas (divine snakes) of East and Southeast Asia, to the fearsome flying beasts of Western traditions. Whether viewed as good or evil, these powerful creatures became symbols of prestige for those who were permitted to use their images to decorate clothes and furnishings.

Drawn entirely from the museum’s collection, the textiles in this exhibition illuminated imaginative images of mythical creatures as diverse as the peoples who created them.

 
Ayako Nikamoto works on her piece inspired by the museum’s permanent collection. Photo by Lee Talbot.

Sourcing the Museum
March 23 through August 19, 2012

The word “museum” derives from the ancient Greek mouseion—"temple of the Muses"—home of goddesses believed to inspire creativity. The Textile Museum’s permanent collections provided the source of creative inspiration for eleven contemporary artists.

Invited to participate by renowned textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, the artists explored the Museum’s historically and culturally varied collections, and the exhibition will display the twelve new artworks the artists created, alongside the fabrics that inspired them. The historical textiles highlight the wide scope of the Museum’s collections, ranging from rare Pre-Columbian and Late Roman weavings to Japanese kimono and Central Asian ikats.

Diverse in background, preferred technique, and aesthetic, but all at the height of their careers, the invited artists include Olga de Amaral, James Bassler, Polly Barton, Archie Brennan, Lia Cook, Helena Hernmarck, Ayako Nikamoto, Jon Eric Riis, Warren Seelig, Kay Sekimachi, and Ethel Stein.

 
Uchigi (ceremonial court robe) (detail)
21st century
Silk, woven in the futae-orimono technique
Courtesy of Hyoji Kitagawa

Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop
March 23 through August 12, 2012

Japan has a remarkably refined textile tradition, and for centuries the Japanese have admired the silks produced in the Nishijin neighborhood of Kyoto as the epitome of beauty and opulence. Woven Treasures will feature some of the sumptuous pieces created in one of Nishijin’s oldest and most illustrious workshops: Tawaraya.

With a history stretching back more than 500 years, the Tawaraya workshop is renowned for supplying the Japanese Imperial Household with yusoku orimono—fine silks in patterns, weaves, and color combinations traditionally reserved for the garments and furnishings of the aristocracy, including the Emperor.

This exhibition was organized with the help of Mr. Hyoji Kitagawa, the 18th generation head of the Tawaraya, who was recently designated a Living National Treasure for his knowledge and preservation of this unique cultural inheritance. The kimono, screens, and other colorful silks in the exhibition demonstrate the technical and aesthetic mastery of the Tawaraya workshop while providing insight into the pageantry and refinement of Japanese court culture.

 
Man’s Status Cloth, D.R. Congo, Shoowa people, Early 20th century. Jeff Spurr collection, Photo by Don Tuttle.

Weaving Abstraction: 
Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa

October 15, 2011 - February 12, 2012

The textiles of the Kuba kingdom are among the most distinctive and spectacular works of African art. Emerging in the early 17th century, the Kuba kingdom grew into a powerful and wealthy confederation of 18 different ethnic groups located in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. While they have fascinated artists, collectors and designers for over a century, this will be the first major museum exhibition in the U.S. to showcase the artistic inventiveness and graphic power of Kuba ceremonial dance skirts within a wide-ranging survey of Kuba design. More than 140 exceptional 19th- and early 20th-century objects will be on view, including ceremonial skirts, ‘velvet’ tribute cloths, headdresses and basketry from the permanent collection of The Textile Museum, the National Museum of African Art, and several private collections.

 
Sutra cover (detail), made from rank badge. China, 1500-1644. The Textile Museum 51.3. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1932.

Second Lives: the Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles
February 4, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Throughout the world, textiles were historically so valuable that threadbare fabrics were seldom completely discarded. Drawn from The Textile Museum's permanent collection, this exhibition highlights the ways people in various cultures have ingeniously repurposed worn but precious fabrics to create beautiful new textile forms. Examples include a rare sutra cover made from a 15th-century Chinese rank badge, a vest fashioned from a Pacific Northwest coast Chilkat blanket, and a large patchwork hanging from Central Asia stitched together from small scraps of silk ikat and other fabrics. Also featured are a pictorial kantha from India embroidered with threads recycled from old saris, a coat from 19th-century Japan painstakingly woven from rags, and other recycled textiles. Second Lives complements the major spring exhibition, Green: the Color and the Cause.

 
A Woman of Substance, 2010.
Silk (recycled blouses), waxed linen thread; coiled; 12″ x 10" x 10". Lent by the artist. Photo by Liz LaVorgna.

Green: the Color and the Cause
April 16 - September 11, 2011

Visit the exhibition online at www.textilemuseum.org/green to explore all the works on view and join the "green" conversation.

Many cultures traditionally associate the color green with nature and its attributes, including life, fertility and rebirth. In recent years, green has become the symbolic color of environmentalism. This exhibition will celebrate green both as a color and as a cause, exploring the techniques people have devised to create green textiles, the meanings this color has held in cultures across time and place, and the ways that contemporary textile artists and designers are responding to concerns about the environment.

The exhibition will include a selection of work from the Museum’s collection, along with extraordinary work by contemporary artists and designers from five continents.  For the first time in the Museum’s almost 90 year history, this exhibition will present two site specific installations― a handmade paper sculpture of the eco-system of coastal New Jersey which emulates the ebb and flow of an important estuary and a lace-covered arbor in the Museum’s garden embedded with grass seed which will sprout, mature and die during the period the exhibition is on view. Like all of the contemporary works, these installations will help continue today’s Green conversation.

The Green exhibition and website are made possible in part through generous support from The Coby Foundation, Ltd.E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, an anonymous donor, Virginia McGehee Friend, and Martex Fiber Southern Corp. / Jimtex Yarns.

 
Robe
Woman's Robe (munisak)
Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Bukhara, mid-19th century. The Textile Museum 2005.36.106.
The Megalli Collection. Photo by Renée Comet

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats
October 16, 2010 through March 13, 2011

Central Asian ikats are distinguished by bold, original designs using vibrant colors and are prized for their great beauty. In the streets of Central Asian oasis towns, a man’s clothing defined his status in society and proclaimed his wealth. In the home, and during family ceremonies, ikat textiles provided luxurious embellishment. Today the influence of ikat designs can be seen in contemporary fashion and home décor.

These textiles derive their name from the technique used to create them, wherein bundled warps—and sometimes also the wefts—are bound and dyed several times before weaving, resulting in eye-catching designs in dazzling colors. Ikats display Central Asian artists’ and weavers’ attention to the harmony between design, color and execution in order to create these master works.

The Textile Museum mourns the passing of its friend Murad Megalli, who was killed in an airplane crash on February 4, 2011. It was through the generosity and foresight of Murad Megalli that this remarkable collection of Central Asian ikat textiles is available for the world to share in the appreciation of their beauty. Megalli, recipient of the 2010 Textile Museum Award of Distinction and Museum Trustee, donated his collection of nearly 200 spectacular nineteenth-century ikats to the museum.

A beautifully illustrated catalog presenting all of the textiles from The Megalli Collection was in conjunction with Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, hardcover copies are available for sale in the museum shop. To make a donation in support of The Megalli Collection, please click here.

 

 

Qanat (tent hanging), India, Golconda
Early 18th century
The Textile Museum 6.129
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1944

The Art of Living: Textile Furnishings from the Permanent Collection
February 12, 2010 - January 9, 2011

Homes and furnishings shape the human experience of everyday life. Each culture designs domestic environments that reflect its own social traditions, aesthetic preferences, political and economic circumstances, and local climate.

The Art of Living highlighted the historical and cultural breadth of The Textile Museum's collection through the display of textile furnishings, including hangings, rugs, chair covers, cushions and other materials made in societies ranging from the late Roman Empire and colonial Peru to Edo-period Japan and Victorian Britain. The varied furnishing textiles in the exhibition, made to provide protection, comfort, color and pattern in homes from the ancient Mediterranean world to 20th-century America, documented the lifestyles enjoyed by their original owners as well as the technical and artistic accomplishments of their creators.

 
Helix, 1970. Lucienne Day. Manufactured by Thomas Somerset. Printed Linen. The Collection of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III.

Art by the Yard: Women Design
Mid-Century Britain

May 15, 2010 - September 12, 2010

The art of textile design changed radically after World War II as Britain was transformed from a country devastated by war into an optimistic consumer society. Three women designers were pivotal in this artistic revolution: Lucienne Day (1917- 2010), Jacqueline Groag (1903-1985) and Marian Mahler (1911-1983). Incorporating dramatic saturated colors and bold motifs inspired by artists like Alexander Calder and Joan Miró, these young designers transformed the market by inspiring elegant yet affordable product lines that brought the world of contemporary art into everyone’s homes.

Art by the Yard: Women Design Mid-Century Britain showcased these groundbreaking women designers, highlighting the work of Lucienne Day, through the display of textiles together with preliminary drawings and collages, ceramics and period furniture, all drawn from the Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown, III Collection of British Textiles.

 
Dress, Fall/Winter 1990/91, Issey Miyake (b. 1938), Japan. Collection of Mary Baskett.

Contemporary Japanese Fashion:
The Mary Baskett Collection

October 17, 2009 – April 11, 2010

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Japanese designers Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto shocked the fashion world by introducing avant-garde styles that challenged received Western notions of “chic.” Informed in part by Japanese traditions such as the kimono, obi and the art of origami, these designers produced radical garments with shapes and textures often incongruous with the natural contours of the human body. Their designs—characterized by asymmetry, raw edges, unconventional construction, oversized proportions and monochromatic palettes—effectively overthrew existing norms and set the stage for the postmodernist movement in the fashion industry. Miyake, Yamamoto, and Kawakubo remain three of the most successful designers in today’s fashion world, and under their tutelage a new generation of Japanese talent has emerged.

This exhibition, an expanded version of an earlier showing at the Cincinnati Art Museum, included avant-garde garments from the collection of Mary Baskett, an art dealer and former curator of prints at the Cincinnati Art Museum who has been collecting and wearing Japanese high fashion since the 1960s.

 
Nuno Mercury
Mercury, Reiko Sudo and Keiji Otani, 1997.
100% silk.

Fabrics of Feathers and Steel:
The Innovation of Nuno

October 17, 2009 - April 11, 2010

The worldwide success of Japanese fashion designers owes much to the talented textile designers and manufacturers who enable their creative visions. Led by artistic director and co-founder Reiko Sudo, Nuno (meaning “functional fabric” in Japanese) integrates the techniques, materials and aesthetics of traditional Japanese textiles with cutting-edge technologies in order to create some of the world’s most innovative and influential fabrics. Experimenting with an eclectic array of materials ranging from stainless steel and aluminum to bamboo and bird feathers, as well as unorthodox finishing methods, such as burnishing, burning, and chemical dissolving, Reiko Sudo and her team have broadened the parameters of contemporary textile design.

The exhibition featured 18 examples from the Nuno studio, dating from the time of the company’s founding in 1984 to the present day. This exhibition was presented in conjunction with Contemporary Japanese Fashion: The Collection of Mary Baskett, inviting visitors to experience the design process from start to finish – from structure to style.

 

Manchu woman’s robe, China, late 19th century. The Textile Museum 2007.13.4. Donated by Elizabeth Ickes.

Recent Acquisitions
March 6, 2009 - January 3, 2010

In the past eight decades, The Textile Museum’s collection has grown from a modest group of 275 rugs and 60 related textiles to nearly 18,000 objects from around the world. Each year, through the generosity of private donors and through income from endowed funds, the Museum’s holdings continue to evolve.

This exhibition celebrated the Museum’s rich collection and shared with the public a selection of 19 of the most artistically and culturally compelling objects The Textile Museum has acquired within the last five years. Exhibited pieces included hats from Peru and Cameroon and a turban from India, a contemporary batik from Java, Indonesia, a turkish prayer rug, and a grass raincoat from China, among others.

 
Central Diamond
Center Diamond, circa 1920-1940, maker unknown. Probably made in Lancaster County, PA. International Quilt Study Center & Museum, 2003.003.0071.

Constructed Color: Amish Quilts
April 4 – September 6, 2009

Amish quilts are among the most striking and famous of all American quilt types. Renowned for their play of color and strong geometric patterns, their similarities to modern art have been noted ever since the 1971 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York entitled Abstract Design in American Quilts.
The parallels are perhaps most striking with regard to color field paintings and art that explores the manipulation of visual effect.

This exhibition, on loan from the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, featured 25 examples from the center’s highly regarded collection. The quilts represent three specific regional groups, each with its own distinctive features, drawn from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, from Midwestern communities and from Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. Each of these Amish communities produces unique quilts that reflect the availability of materials, influences from non-Amish neighbors, and the relative conservatism of individual communities as determined by their Ordnung, or community guidelines.

Constructed Color: Amish Quilts was curated by Rebecca A. T. Stevens, Consulting Curator, Contemporary Textiles at The Textile Museum in coordination with the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.

 
Batik
Kain panjang (long cloth used as lower body wrapper) Java, Yogyakarta Ann Dunham Collection No. 6

A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks
August 9-23, 2009

For two weeks only, textiles from the collection of Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother, were view at The Textile Museum. This marked the final stop on a national tour of the exhibition A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks.

Early in her life, Ann Dunham explored her interest in the textile arts as a weaver, creating wall hangings in earthy shades of brown and green for her own enjoyment. After marrying Lolo Soetoro and moving to Indonesia in the 1960s with her son Barack Obama, Ann Dunham was drawn to the vibrant textile arts of her new home and began to amass the collection from which the exhibition objects are drawn. The wide variation in the batiks reflects the range of colors and of patterns, both classic and contemporary, that captured her imagination, and provides a window into the rich culture from which these fabrics originated.

This exhibition was organized by the Embassy of Indonesia with the support of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board and Maya Soetoro-Ng, on behalf of Ann Dunham's family.

 

Carpet
East Caucasian rug (detail), Caucasus, 19th century. From the Collection of William Fern. Photo by Don Tuttle Photography.

Timbuktu to Tibet: Rugs and Textiles of the Hajji Babas
October 18, 2008 - March 8, 2009

Through the display of objects from a wide geographic area encompassing Africa, West Asia and Central Asia, Timbuktu to Tibet explored the central role that textiles have played in many disparate cultures across several continents. The exhibition told the story of the people who made the textiles, the ways they lived and worked, and the functions of their weavings. It also chronicled how the Western understanding and appreciation of non-Western textiles has changed over the 20th century, through the history of the 75-year-old Hajji Baba Club, the nation's oldest society of rug and textile collectors.

Over the years, the Hajji Baba Club has greatly impacted how we view, appreciate, study and promote textiles and rugs as works of art. George Hewitt Myers, founder of The Textile Museum, was an involved member of the Club, and it continues to boast an active membership today. The Club's history, coupled with exhibition's thematic focus on the cultural context and functionality of the objects, provided a delightful journey for those unfamiliar with textiles as well as specialists in the field.

Noted scholar Jon Thompson authored the accompanying catalogue,Timbuktu to Tibet: Exotic Rugs and Textiles from New York Collectors, and served as guest curator of the exhibition's initial showing at the New York Historical Society. The Textile Museum's showing was organized by Sumru Belger Krody, associate curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections, and accompanied by a wide range of public programs.

Generous support for the exhibition was provided by the Page and Otto Marx, Jr. Foundation, the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Foundation, Bruce P. and Olive W. Baganz, Vinay S. Pande, Bruce J. Westcott and Security Energy Company.

Additional support provided by The National Gallery of Art Design Department of the Smithsonian Institution, The National Museum of African Art and the Arthur M. Sackler and Freer Gallery of Art.

 
Image
Coca bag, Bolivia, northern Potosí, possibly Laymí, 1950-75. The Textile Museum 2007.29.18. Latin American Research Fund.
Image
Man's coca bag, Bolivia, Charazani area, mid-20th century. The Textile Museum 1989.28.9. Latin American Research Fund

The Finishing Touch: Accessories from the Bolivian Highlands
February 15, 2008 - February 1, 2009

In 2007, The Textile Museum acquired a large group of charming accessories from the Bolivian highlands. That group of belts, bags and other items inspired this exhibition, which also included Bolivian textiles already in the Museum's collection.

Although small, Bolivian accessories are often invested with great care and even more fully decorated than larger shawls and ponchos. Some are used in daily dress, while the more elaborate examples were often made for festival costumes. The bags serve a variety of purposes, from decorative accents in festival dress to utilitarian containers for the farmer's lunch in the fields. The exhibition also featured other garments, such as the Charazani area woman's headband, still called by its Inca name, wincha, and the small shoulder ponchos of the Tarabuco area, still called unku, the Inca word for tunic. The broad range of techniques, patterns and items in the exhibition reflected the many regional variations that characterize the cultural wealth of the Bolivian highlands.

The Finishing Touch: Accessories from the Bolivian Highlands was curated by Ann P. Rowe, Research Associate for Western Hemisphere Collections.

 
Shindigo Space
Hiroyuki Shindo, Shindigo Space 07 (detail), 2006. 'Shindigo shibori'-dyed cotton and hemp and Shindigo balls (polystyrene wrapped with hemp and dip-dyed). Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Joel Chester Fildes.
BATIK
Kain panjang (long cloth, hip wrapper) detail, Indonesia, Yogyakarta (in the style of Ceribon), Chinese-Indonesian, 20th century. Commercial cotton, resist patterning. The Textile Museum 1998.11.16. Gift of Beverly Deffef Labin Collection.

BLUE
April 4 - September 18, 2008

The human perception of color is a complex sensory phenomenon filtered through the eyes, brain, language and multiple layers of social experience. While shades of red (examined in the 2007 Textile Museum exhibition RED) quicken the pulse and increase blood pressure, blue induces a calming effect and is widely perceived as a “cool,” tranquil color.

BLUE explored the creation and meaning of the color blue on textiles produced across time and place, with particular emphasis on contemporary artists’ use of natural indigo dyes. Until the invention of chemical dyes in the late 19th century, peoples worldwide relied largely on indigo-bearing plants to achieve blue-colored garments, household furnishings, artworks and even body paint. Many cultures attributed talismanic properties as well as health benefits to indigo, and the mysterious transformation of this temperamental dye has long been steeped in myth and magic.

The exhibition featured blue textiles ranging from Greco-Roman and pre-Columbian tunic fragments to installations by internationally renowned artists. Hiroyuki Shindo, a Japanese artist who grows and processes his own indigo to produce innovatively patterned textiles, as well as Maria Eugenia Davila and Eduardo Portillo, who raise silkworms and dye threads with natural dyes in Venezuela, highlighted the ways that artists around the world are embracing this ancient dye to create works that speak to their own experience.

BLUE was curated by Lee Talbot, Assistant Curator, Eastern Hemisphere Collections, and Mattiebelle Gittinger, Research Associate, Southeast Asian Textiles.

Generous support for the exhibition was provided by blue

 

Private Pleasures: Collecting Contemporary Textile Art
September 28, 2007 - February 17, 2008

Collecting has played a central role in the shaping of art history as a discipline. Private Pleasures highlighted this aspect of the discipline through the display of contemporary textile art drawn from private collections in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The exhibition explored both the individual preferences of the collectors and presented the textiles as outstanding examples of the art form. This discussion included the history of textile art from the mid-20th century to the present day and the genre's place in contemporary art history.

Featured artists included Olga de Amaral, Archie Brennan, Nick Cave, Nancy Crow, Lia Cook, Ritzi Jacobi, Michael James, Louise Nevelson, John McQueen, Jon Eric Riis, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Rossbach and Cynthia Schira, among others. The exhibition was curated by Rebecca A. T. Stevens, The Textile Museum's Consulting Curator for Contemporary Textiles and accompanied by an evening lecture series funded by Eleanor T. and Samuel J. Rosenfeld.

 
Ahead of His Time: The Collecting Vision of George Hewitt Myers
September 28, 2007 - February 17, 2008

In 1925 George Hewitt Myers founded The Textile Museum with a collection of 275 rugs and 60 related textiles drawn from the traditions of non-Western cultures. With the establishment of The Textile Museum, Myers demonstrated his commitment to championing the appreciation of textiles as works of art. Ahead of His Time explored his collecting interests and strategies, and emphasized the richness and importance of the Museum's holdings acquired by him. As the exhibition showed, Myers collected not only for personal pleasure but with the aim of improving the aesthetic sensibilities of others. The eventual establishment of a museum for the appreciation of textiles as art was the culmination of his efforts in this regard.

A small but representative portion of The Textile Museum's collections acquired by George Hewitt Myers was displayed, including items rarely exhibited before. A selection of some of the finest textiles from both the Eastern and Western hemispheres reinforced the theme of collecting explored in all three of the Museum's fall 2007 exhibitions. The exhibition was curated by Sumru Belger Krody, the Museum's Associate Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections in collaboration with Ann P. Rowe, Curator of Western Hemisphere Collections.

Visit the Online Exhibition

 

Textiles of Klimt's Vienna
August 3, 2007 - January 6, 2008

Vienna was a center of creative activity between 1897 and 1932 with the emergence of the Secession and the Wiener Werkstätte. These artists' associations were intended to challenge the prevailing conservative and historicizing tendencies of many Vienna artists and exhibitions. Participants also strived to encourage among the public a heightened sensitivity to, and appreciation for, culture and the arts in everyday life. The line between fine and applied arts became blurred, and the concept of Gesamtkunstwerk, or unified work of art, was introduced. This resulted in a full range of objects and furnishings being designed for specific interiors to create a unified, harmonious ensemble.

The founding group of young artists who formed the Secession included the architect Josef Hoffmann, the painter Koloman Moser, and the painter Gustav Klimt, who was elected president. Workshops for painters, cabinetmakers, gold and silversmiths, jewelry makers, leather workers and bronze founders thrived during this era. Wiener Werkstätte fabrics were designed by a multitude of talented designers and were then produced on an industrial basis.

The goal of this intimate, focused exhibition was to examine the artistic values and development of the Secession and Wiener Werkstätte through textiles, one of the most resonant and revealing aspects of artistic creativity of the time and a key element in the realization of Gesamtkunstwerk. On view were approximately 50 textiles and related objects including fabric samples, a sample book, fabric covered books and boxes created by Josef Hoffmann, Dagobert Peche, Maria Likarz-Strauss and other textile artists working in Klimt's era.

 

Architectural Textiles: Tent Bands of Central Asia
March 30 - August 19, 2007

The trellis tent is a brilliant invention. It has made nomadic life possible across Central Asia for at least one and a half millennia. An important component of its construction is a woven tent band which girdles the lower part of the wooden roof struts. This critical engineering element provides the tension necessary to brace the roof dome against outward collapse under the load of heavy felts and the force of strong steppe winds. Beyond serving a utilitarian function, tent bands are often elaborately decorated.

Architectural Textiles: Tent Bands of Central Asia highlighted this unique and fundamental weaving. The exhibition included tent bands made by different Central Asian ethnic groups, including Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Kazakh. Approximately 40 objects drawn from The TM’s collections and private holdings were included in this exhibition, representing a wide range of structures, colors, designs and materials. Supplemental materials provided a richer context to deepen understanding of the lost world of the nomads. These included period photographs of nomadic life and weaving for discussion of textile structure. An educational gallery taught visitors about the exhibition, such as how to read a tent band. Richard Isaacson, a former member of The Textile Museum’s Advisory Council, served as the guest curator.

 

Tommy USA
Thomas Cronenberg
2004
Collection of the artist

RED
February 2 - July 8, 2007

RED explores the complex uses and meanings of red in textiles across time and place. Included in the exhibition are 21 varied textiles from the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East that delve into the significance of this bold color. Complementing the textiles is a series of photographs depicting the use of red textiles in contemporary life, including an official portrait of Nancy Reagan standing in the Red Room of the White House.

The textiles on view are drawn from The Textile Museum’s collections of more than 17,000 rugs and textiles as well as other holdings. Contemporary objects in the exhibition include the tapestry-woven TOMMY USA, on loan from artist Thomas Cronenberg. Part of his “Identity Series,” TOMMY USA is a self-portrait that explores the artist’s identity as he moved from America, the land of his birth, to Germany, his ancestral country, and from the “straight” to the “gay” world. In reflecting on his choice of color Cronenberg says, “The color red is central to this work for its visual and emotional impact.” The exhibition also includes a Halston ballgown from the 1970s and an AIDS Awareness lapel ribbon on loan from the Whitman-Walker Clinic.

 

Man's tunic (sonhtengkhrang)
Sunghtu people
Cotton and silk
complementary weft patterning
The Textile Museum 2006.8.33

Mantles of Merit: Chin Textiles from Mandalay to Chittagong
October 13, 2006 - February 25, 2007

Mantles of Merit is the first major exhibition devoted to the sophisticated textiles from the Chin peoples, an ethnic minority group some two million strong who live in the hills of western Myanmar, northeastern India and eastern Bangladesh. Traditional textiles play a central role in Chin practices marking the achievement of merit in this life and the next, as well as serving as clothing and as badges of identity and status. This exhibition introduces a variety of Chin ceremonial textiles, which are traditionally created on back-tension looms with homegrown cotton, flax or hemp, and often dyed with indigo or other locally produced natural dyes. Included are blankets, tunics, loincloths, hanging panels and other garments. The exhibition also includes historic and contemporary photographs, the latter taken during the curators' extensive fieldwork in the region.

 

Fragment of a multiple-medallion carpet
Iran or Afghanistan
Khorasan Province
Safavid Period, second half of the 16th century
The Metropolitan Museum of Art,The Page & Otto Marx Jr. Foundation Gift and Rogers Fund, 2001

Pieces of a Puzzle: Classical Persian Carpet Fragments
September 1, 2006 - January 7, 2007

This exhibition reunites for the first time the three known fragments of a superb and unusual late 16th-century Persian carpet of the so-called Khorasan type. Khorasan type carpets, distinguished by superb color and drawing, are named for a large province in northeastern Iran where they are thought to originate. The type has been defined only in recent times and is not well known to the public since most surviving examples are fragmentary and have not been displayed. Included in the exhibition are one large field and border fragment belonging to The Textile Museum; another large field fragment, with beautiful colors and drawing, from a private collection in New York; and a small border fragment with splendid color from the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The large fragments are unpublished and the carpet as a whole is little known. In bringing the actual pieces together for close inspection in one space, the exhibition guides visitors in sharing the process of research and discovery experienced by the curator. The exhibition will also include a selection of Persian carpet fragments from the same time period, including others of the same Khorasan class.

 
Pillow face
Skýros, Northern Sporades
18th century
The Textile Museum 81.99
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1950
Harpies, Mermaids, and Tulips: Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region
March 17 - September 3, 2006

Harpies, Mermaids, and Tulips: Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region included approximately 70 embroidered textiles created between the 17th and 19th centuries for bridal trousseaux and domestic life. The textiles on display were from island groups located in the Ionian and Aegean seas surrounding the Greek mainland, and from the Epirus region on the western Greek coast. While the geographic area where these textiles were made is relatively small, they are incredibly diverse in design, structure and function. The exhibition explored how and why people living so close together produced such divergent styles of embroidered textiles, offering a unique window into Greek island societies at the intersection of two worlds: the Latin West and Ottoman East. Objects included colorfully-embroidered bed tents, bed curtains, large covers, and pillows, as well as handkerchiefs and embroidered panels from women's clothing. All of the textiles, except for two loaned objects, were from The Textile Museum's collections. Many were collected by the Museum's founder, George Hewitt Myers, in the early part of the 20th century. The exhibition was accompanied by a full-color catalogue.

 
Kilim, Iran
The Textile Museum R33.28.1
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1926

Seldom Seen: Director's Choice from the Museum's Collections
February 10 - July 30, 2006

Seldom Seen: Director's Choice from the Museum's Collections presented Director Daniel Walker's selection of 28 textiles from The Textile Museum's permanent holdings, which number more than 17,000 objects. In consultation with the Museum's curatorial staff, Mr. Walker selected each object based a compelling visual quality or aspect, sometimes more than one - form, surface treatment, color,or refinement of concept or expression. The resulting exhibition was varied in terms of culture and function, representing the major areas of textiles traditionally collected by the Museum. Included were textiles from South America, Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Japan.

 
Caftan, Central Asia Kazakh, Late 19th - early 20th century. The Textile Museum 2002.5.1. Gift of Caroline McCoy-Jones

Silk & Leather: Splendid Attire of 19th-Century Central Asia, An Exhibition in Honor of Caroline McCoy-Jones
September 2 - February 26, 2006

Silk and Leather: Splendid Attire of 19th -Century Central Asia featured different types of garments and accessories worn by the ruling class and urban and nomadic elites of the region which today encompasses Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and part of Kazakhstan. The exhibition included seven stunning coats as well as children's clothing and accessories such as hats, boots, belts, pig tail covers, purses, pouches and veils. The 38 objects featured in the exhibition were drawn from The Textile Museum's holdings as well as private collections.

Silk and leather have lengthy, intertwined histories as materials for Central Asian dress. Silk was first and most prolifically produced in China, where for centuries its source and production methods were closely guarded secrets until they were carried to Central Asia and beyond. Leather, felt and fur as well as a distinctive clothing style that included trousers, made life easier for the horse-riding nomadic pastoralists of the vast, sparsely populated Eurasian steppe bordering on China and Central Asia. The nomads' mobile economy and potent cavalry enabled them to extort vast quantities of coveted luxury goods from the Chinese - first and foremost silk - which they both consumed and sold.

Until the Russian conquest completed in the late 19th century, the western part of Central Asia, with its ancient urban centers of Samarkand and Bokhara, was ruled for much of its history by different groups who originated in the Eurasian steppes. Although they largely gave up their nomadic lifestyle, these ruling elites retained their taste for rugs, textiles and the garments worn on the steppe. The copious production of silk, its brilliant dyeing and multifaceted use in textiles of urban and nomadic manufacture, along with the continued use of leather, were all part of the spectacular blossoming of the textile and related arts during the 19th century in west Central Asia.

 
Yusuke Tange. Lotus Pond in Summer (detail), 2003. Folding screen. Rozome. 67" x 51"

Rozome Masters of Japan
October 14, 2005 - February 12, 2006

Rozome Masters of Japan featured the work of 15 contemporary Japanese artists and included folding screens, scrolls, panels and kimono all
created using rozome, a wax-resist dyeing technique unique to Japan. The exhibition was complemented by a selection of Japanese textiles from The Textile Museum’s own collections. Rozome has roots in ancient Japan, dating to the Nara period (645-794), but was eclipsed by other resist-dye techniques after the Heian period (794-1185). The technique experienced a revival of popularity in the early part of the 20th century, when Kyoto-based kimono specialists began to reexamine the possibilities of the wax-resist medium. Rozome flourished after World War II as artists became interested in the technique as a vehicle for unique image-making and self-expression on cloth. Today, in the hands of these talented artists, rozome is used to create technically breathtaking, complex works whose imagery ranges from traditional botanical and landscape subjects to contemporary abstract compositions.

Rozome Masters of Japan was organized by Betsy Sterling Benjamin and Ann Wessmann in collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Art, supported in part by grants from The Japan Foundation and Friends of Fiber Art International. The Textile Museum's presentation of the exhibition was supported in part by The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and The Rau Foundation. A fully-illustrated catalogue published by the Exhibitions Department at the Massachusetts College of Art accompanied the exhibition.

 
Fragment (detail), Huari style
Peru, probably found on the south coast
ca. AD 750-800
The Textile Museum 2002.20.1
Anonymous gift

Gods and Empire:Huari Ceremonial Textiles
July 1, 2005 - January 15, 2006

During the 7th and 8th centuries the Huari Empire conquered a vast area of what now constitutes modern day Peru. Archaeological evidence of the Huari Empire includes fine tapestry-woven textiles featuring colorful and distinctive iconography. Gods and Empire: Huari Ceremonial Textiles explored what this iconography tells us about Huari religious and ceremonial practices and the development of the empire over time.

The centerpiece of the exhibition was a large tapestry panel that was donated to The Textile Museum in 2002. It came to the Museum as a group of fragments that were reassembled and prepared for exhibition by the Museum's conservation department. Unlike most other known Huari style tapestry textiles, it is clearly not a garment, and its iconography also suggests a prominent ceremonial function. Also included in the exhibition were examples of Huari style garments and related ceremonial textiles.

 

 

Wrapper (hinggi kombu)
Indonesia, Sumba
Sumbanese people
Cotton
Warp ikat
The Textile Museum 68.1
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1953

Textiles for This World and Beyond:
Treasures from Insular Southeast Asia

April 1 - September 18, 2005
Long before Islam and Christianity were established in the islands of Southeast Asia, the people who settled the area had developed a philosophy for existence in a highly unpredictable world. Textiles play an important part in many of the beliefs and customs which are followed to this day. Textiles for This World and Beyond explored the role that textiles in Indonesia and Malaysia play in daily society, and how textiles are used in ceremonies to maintain harmonious relationships with the deceased or the gods. This was the first exhibition of a group of 19th- to early 20th-century Southeast Asian textiles acquired by The Textile Museum in the last 25 years. Many of the more than 60 objects had not been exhibited at The Textile Museum or elsewhere in the United States prior to this exhibition. Many of these textiles were acquired by the Museum in 2000 with a grant from The Christensen Fund in Palo Alto, California. The exhibition was curated by Dr. Mattiebelle S. Gittinger, The Textile Museum’s Research Associate for Southeast Asian Textiles. A leading scholar in the field of Southeast Asian textiles and culture, Dr. Gittinger has curated numerous exhibitions and published extensively. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully-illustrated color catalogue.

 
Salt bag (namakdan)
Iran
1930-1975
The Textile Museum 1992.11.1
Ruth Ketterer Harris Memorial Collection

Beyond the Bag: Textiles as Containers
January 28 - June 5, 2005
While containers perform the practical functions of holding, carrying and covering everyday items, they are also objects of creativity made with a designing and purposeful eye. Beyond the Bag celebrated the use of textiles as utilitarian containers and gave visitors an opportunity to investigate the many ways various cultures have exploited the unique properties of textile containers to suit their needs. Through the objects on view, visitors gained insight into the lifestyles of different cultures and their various storage and transportation needs. Included in the exhibition were objects from both Eastern and Western Hemispheres drawn from the Museum's collections.

 

 
Shawl
Kashmir
1860s
The Textile Museum 1978.16.1
Gift of Mrs. Jefferson Patterson

A Garden of Shawls: The Buta and Its Seeds
October 1, 2004 - March 6, 2005

The natural grace of the gardens of Mughal India was reflected in the patterns of trees, vines, and flowers that decorated textiles of the period. Kashmir shawls express this taste for fluid softness, flower-bright color, and rhythmic design. One of the most recognizable design motifs in Kashmir shawls is the flame-shaped cluster with a bent tip, known as the buta or paisley motif. A Garden of Shawls: The Buta and Its Seeds included spectacular variations of the buta in both Asian and Western shawls, and explores the landscape of its design in history. Accompanying the shawls in the exhibition were complementary textiles of several different materials, techniques, and periods beginning with fragments found in Egypt and going back more than a thousand years. All of the objects were drawn from The Textile Museum's collections.

 
Seat mat
China, Xinjiang, Khotan
Late 18th - early 19th century
The Textile Museum 56.1.3.
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1915
Floral Perspectives in Carpet Design
August 27, 2004 - February 6, 2005
Floral motifs are represented in the arts of many cultures and are ubiquitous in carpet design. Floral Perspectives in Carpet Design examined this phenomenon from three perspectives - spiritual, cultural, and artistic - as rendered in the designs of 17th- to 19th-century Indian, Chinese, Central Asian, Persian, and Turkish carpets. The exhibition explored the variety of floral motifs and how these motifs speak to the transfer of ideas from culture to culture. Included in the exhibition were 12 carpets drawn from The Textile Museum's collections, many of which were collected by the Museum's founder, George Hewitt Myers.
 
Obi
Japan
20th century
The Textile Museum 1984.28.4
Ruth Lincoln Fisher Memorial Fund

Over One, Under One, and Much More...
July 2, 2004 - January 2, 2005
This exhibition explored the diversity of patterning achieved in plain-woven textiles from Asia to the Americas. Every weaving tradition around the world includes plain weave, the simplest interlacing of warp and weft. However, weavers of different cultures create an amazing variety of patterns within this unvarying alternation. This diversity results from individual weavers' cultural traditions, the particular types of yarns available in their areas, and their own creativity.

 
Jon Eric Riis, Icarus #3, 2002
Tapestry weave and stitching, silk and metallic thread, crystal beads
63" x 104"

By Hand in the Electronic Age: Contemporary Tapestry
March 27, 2004 - September 5, 2004
This exhibition included the work of 14 contemporary artists using tapestry technique, one of the oldest, most versatile textile techniques used to produce designs and pictures in cloth. Featuring a single work by each of 12 Hungarian artists, By Hand in the Electronic Age also took an in-depth look at two North American artists, Jon Eric Riis and Marcel Marois, to demonstrate how a tapestry artist, like a painter, develops his or her own style and themes. Through works ranging from pictorial to abstract, the exhibition showed that this labor-intensive technique is not an abandoned anachronism but continues to be a vibrant medium of artistic expression. By Hand was curated by Rebecca A.T. Stevens, Consulting Curator, Contemporary Textiles, The Textile Museum.

By Hand in the Electronic Age was accompanied by a full-color catalogue, available for purchase through the Museum Shop Online.

By Hand in the Electronic Age was presented with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada/ avec l'appui du ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce international du Canada, The Ministry of Cultural Heritage of Hungary, The Embassy of the Republic of Hungary, Washington, DC, The Rau Foundation, The Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, Deena and Jerry Kaplan, Cynthia and J. Alton Boyer, and Eleanor and Samuel Rosenfeld.

 
Roundel
China, Late 17th or early 18th century
The Textile Museum 51.29A
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1931 

Timeless Connections:
Exploring Tapestry Weave

April 16, 2004 - August 1, 2004
Tapestry is one of the oldest, continually used techniques in the creation of complex textile designs. With objects drawn from the Museum's collections, this exhibition provided a broad historical and cultural context for the concept of tapestry weave. Tapestry structures, materials, designs, and the cultures that use tapestry weave were represented through objects from India, Turkey, Mexico, China, Peru, and Egypt among others.

 
Poncho
Chile, Araucania, Mapuche people
The Textile Museum 1987.12.1
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Frederick J. Dockstader
Draped, Wrapped, and Folded:
Untailored Clothing

January 30, 2004 - June 6, 2004
Though simple in form, untailored clothing can reveal a great deal about both the wearer and the culture from which the clothing originates. While some cultures prefer to make highly-tailored garments that echo the human form, other cultures favor rectangular lengths of cloth worn draped, wrapped, or folded about the body. The design and decoration of untailored clothing can reflect a high degree of visual complexity and artistic expression that can be unexpected given the simplicity of its form. The exhibition highlighted this unique blend of complexity and simplicity in a showcase of 19 untailored garments from Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
 

Wedge weave blanket, Navajo
19th century
The Textile Museum 1962.37.1
Museum purchase

Navajo Blankets of the 19th Century: Selections from The Textile Museum Collections
September 5, 2003 - March 14, 2004
During the 19th century, southwestern American Indians used colorful handwoven wool blankets as clothing, cloaks, baby wraps, bedding, furnishings, saddle pads, and trade goods. Featuring 16 blankets made between 1800 and 1890, Navajo Blankets of the 19th Century highlighted the powerful aesthetics and significant trends that characterize nineteenth century Navajo weaving. The exhibition also explored how Navajo blankets were made and how experts today analyze Navajo blankets' materials, structures, and designs to assess and assign dates to each textile. Navajo Blankets of the 19th Century was curated by Ann Lane Hedlund, director of the Gloria F. Ross Center for Tapestry Studies at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson.

 

 

Log Cabin variation by Augusta Duncan Robert & Helen Cargo Collection International Quilt Study Center University of Nebraska-Lincoln

African-American Quilts from the Robert & Helen Cargo Collection
October 3, 2003 - February 29, 2004
An exhibition that featured African-American quilts from the South, primarily Alabama. Quilts from this region represent an important chapter of American quilt history and reflect the diverse traditions that merge to form the American quilting heritage. Each quilt is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of art with visually arresting patterns ranging from traditional to original designs, from patchwork quilts, to story quilts and strip quilts, each distinguished by a lively improvisation that juxtaposes bright or subdued colors with bold design. The quilts incorporate a wide variety of new and recycled fabrics including plaids, crepes, denims, flannels, twills, pillow ticking, and feed sacks. Most of the quilts in the exhibition were made since the 1970s, although several of the anonymous quilts date to the early 20th century. All of the quilts featured were drawn from the Robert and Helen Cargo Collection at the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Ndop cloth, Cameroon
Hausa Culture, 1950s
The Textile Museum 1982.44.52
Bequest of Irene Emery


The Art of Resist Dyeing
July 5, 2003 - January 5, 2004
This exhibition, drawn exclusively from The Textile Museum's collections, focused on how textiles from many cultures across the globe are patterned by the process of resist dyeing. In resist dyeing, areas of either woven cloth, or yarns to be woven, are protected from dye penetration. By tying, stitching, or covering areas of selected yarns or a whole cloth during the dyeing process, an endless variety of designs and patterns can be created. Familiar examples of resist-dye patterning include batik and tie dyeing. The Art of Resist Dyeing highlights the use of resist dyeing across many cultures and explores the variety of techniques used and the diversity of results achieved.

 
Rug (detail)
Spain, second half 15th c
The Textile Museum R44.2.2
Acq. by George Hewitt Myers in 1931

Mamluk Rugs from Egypt:
Jewels of The Textile Museum's Collection

March 28 - September 7, 2003
A stunning display of one of the most significant groups of classical carpets this exhibition of Mamluk rugs from Egypt highlights one of the great strengths of The Textile Museum's
collections. Dating from the late 15th century, Mamluk rugs form a cohesive design group that demonstrates an exuberant play with geometric shapes and stylized forms. Woven in a three-color palette of brilliant reds, greens, and blues, the tones of Mamluk rugs evoke rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The use of simple geometric forms, repeated within circles and squares, relates these rugs to architectural decoration of the time, and to other arts such as metalwork, enameled glass, inlaid stone, and illuminated manuscripts.

Generous support for Mamluk Rugs from Egypt was provided by Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham, Saudi Aramco and Sotheby’s New York.

 
Talish Mikhayllu tribe in their summer quarters on Mt. Sabalan. Courtesy of
Peter Alford Andrews, 1970. ©

Hold It: Textiles as Containers
January 31 - June 8, 2003
Drawn exclusively from The Textile Museum's collections, Hold It celebrated the use of textiles as containers. While containers perform the practical functions of holding, carrying and covering everyday items, they can also be objects of creativity, made with a designing and purposeful eye. In comparison to rigid materials such as clay, wood, or glass, containers made from fabric are closely related to that which they contain; the form of a textile container is seldom fully realized until it is in use. The objects in the exhibition demonstrate the flexible and artistic nature of textile containers and shed light on the various cultures that use them.

 
Carpet, Western or Northwestern Anatolia
The Textile Museum R34.2.8
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1913

The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets
September 13, 2002 - February 16, 2003
The art of Turkish pile carpets represents one of the world’s oldest and richest carpet-weaving traditions. The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets provided a unique opportunity to explore the artistry of this enduring tradition, which has been the subject of wonder and admiration in both the East and West for hundreds of years. The exhibition featured more than 50 Turkish carpets, dating from the 15th to 19th centuries, drawn from the collections of The Textile Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum and several private collectors.Purchase the accompanying catalogue on-line at the Museum Shop.

 
Silk kimono
Japan
late 19th early 20th century
The Textile Museum 1990.1.1

Secrets of Silk
June 28, 2002 - January 5, 2003
Is silk really stronger than steel? Can a silkworm produce a strand of silk more than a mile long? What gives silk its luster? These and many other fascinating questions were answered by Secrets of Silk, an exhibition exploring the production and use of one of the world's most luxurious fibers. The textiles on view highlighted the creativity of different silk weaving cultures around the world and showed how weavers and embroiderers have produced textiles that delight the eye with their vibrant colors and lustrous sheen. The exhibition also explored the unique properties of silk and the labor-intensive process of silkworm cultivation. Textiles drawn exclusively from the Museum's collections, such as the colorful kimono shown at right, were on view

 

Warping of a discontinous warp in Q'ero. Photo by Emilio Rodriguez.

Hidden Threads of Peru: Q'ero Textiles
March 22 - August 18, 2002
Q'ero is a remote indigenous community in Southern Peru on the eastern slopes of the Andes. Q'ero textiles are woven on a staked out loom primarily from alpaca and llama hair, using indigenous, and in many cases pre-Hispanic, techniques. These handsome textiles represent a rich and complex tradition, and are distinguished by 3-color patterning (equally clear on both sides of the fabric), and monochrome stripes made by using yarns of opposite directions of spin. The exhibition included approximately 40 Q'ero textiles from The Textile Museum's collections as well as several examples from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and from private collectors. Decorated textiles included women's shawls, men's ponchos, and coca bags. The exhibition was curated by Ann Pollard Rowe, Curator, Western HemisphereCollections, The Textile Museum.

 
Artist Lia Cook pictured with her work Big Baby.
Cotton, rayon; handwoven
39" x 142"

Technology as Catalyst: Textile Artists on the Cutting Edge
February 15 - July 28, 2002
An exhibition of textile art created using revolutionary digital technologies. Technology as Catalyst explored the marriage of high-tech equipment and handwork that enables contemporary artists to implement traditional textile concepts with new-found freedom and flexibility. Included in the exhibition were six contemporary artists -- surface designers Junco Sato Pollack and Hitoshi Ujiie; Carol Westfall and Susan Brandeis, who both employ a variety of weaving, digital printing, and dyeing techniques in their work; and master weavers Lia Cook and Cynthia Schira. The exhibition was curated by Rebecca A.T. Stevens, Consulting Curator in Contemporary Textiles, The Textile Museum.

 
Chuval, Turkmen Uzbek Uzbekistan
Last half of the 19th century
L2001.1.2
Robert Emry, Arlington, VA

From the Amu Darya to the Potomac: Central Asian Bags from Area Collections
September 7, 2001 - February 24, 2002
From the Amu Darya to the Potomac
featured a selection of Central Asian pile bags, dating from the 19th century and earlier, that combine beauty with diverse utilitarian function. Objects included in the exhibition were drawn from private collections in the Washington area as well as from The Textile Museum's collections. Examples of bags made for different purposes were featured, including a chuval (large wall storage bag), khorjin (saddlebag), and namakdan (salt bag). The bags were all drawn from the Turkmen, Baluch, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz ethnic groups. The exhibition was guest-curated by Dr. Richard Issacson

 

Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery
February 18 - July 30, 2000
Click on the banner below to explore the on-line component of Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery, an exhibition presented at The TM in the year 2000.

 

Click here for a list of past exhibitions dating from 1985 to the present

 


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