If you like historical textiles from around the world (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this column you’re probably a fan of international works of fiber) then the new exhibit Interwoven Globe: The Wordwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 is definitely for you.
This latest textilian offering from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City features nine galleries full of fabric. The pieces of cloth on display are trade textiles, meaning they were created by one culture with the intent of being sold or traded to another culture. For example, the red and blue silks shown at left were woven in China to export to the Iberian market. The double-headed eagles symbolized the Habsburg family that ruled in both Spain in Portugal. The color palette use was one that would have appealed to Eurpean sensibilities, but if you look closely some of the motifs are indisputably Chinese. (You can see a closeup of the fabrics here and here.)
The exhibit explores the role of cloth in global trade and features 130 textiles, 30 garments, and a variety of other pieces of art and artifacts. The items on display show how trade between different cultures and countries inspired and changed the way cloth was produced and designed, from the techniques and materials used to the designs and colors found decorating the cloth.
The show will be on display through January 5, 2014, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More information on the exhibit can be found at the Met’s website or by calling (212) 535-7710.