Out of Asia: 2000 years of fascination with Eastern textiles

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Lingerie bag in silk from Holland, 1930s, with Japanese motifs (TRC 2016.2172).

Lingerie bag in silk from Holland, 1930s, with Japanese motifs (TRC 2016.2172).

Gillian Vogelsang writes on Saturday 26th January 2019:

As part of the many events around the International Convention of Asia Scholars (Leiden, in July 2019), the TRC is organising a week of lectures and workshops (13-19 July) on the theme of East-West textile connections (for more information, click here). In addition, we will be having a pop-up and an online exhibition on the theme of Eastern textiles and their popularity throughout the ages in the Middle East and Europe. The exhibition will include over eighty textiles, garments and outfits and is being created with the active support of The Zay Initative, UAE.

The planned exhibition will include a plethora of items that illustrate how people in the Middle East and Europe have for long been fascinated with Eastern textiles and dress. There will be actual fragments of silk textiles that were transported along the Silk Road about two thousand years ago, and also a Roman-period textile that copied Central Asia forms. This type of textile (taqueté) became so popular in the Middle East that it is still being made in Egypt and, until some years ago, in Iran. Also on display are Indian block printed export textiles from the thirteenth century, which were discovered along the Red Sea coast in Egypt (and much older than any extant examples from India).

More recent textiles and garments (eighteenth century onwards) include urban and regional Dutch garments made with Indian and Indonesian materials, French woven silks with representations of Oriental figures, as well as a wide range of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian style textiles (most of these date to the twentieth century).

An important element in the exhibition is to show how economics and trade have played an essential role in the movement and use of textiles. To emphasise this point, there will be a selection of twentieth century Arabian Peninsula garments made from Indian textiles. The glorious nature of some of these  garments will be shown by several outfits and dresses that are on special loan for one week only, thanks to Dr. Reem el Mutwalli, founder of The Zay Initiative. Dr. el Mutwalli will also be giving a lecture about Gulf dress for women and the influence of the East.

More details about the exhibition (actual and online) and the TRC programme of workshops and lectures will soon be published online.

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Giften kunt U overmaken op bankrekeningnummer NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, t.n.v. Stichting Textile Research Centre.

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