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Chintz in Friesland

For people that know, the exhibition of chintz ‘Sits, katoen in bloei’ (until 10 September 2017) at the Museum of Friesland in the Netherlands is a much-anticipated event, but for those that are less familiar with the textile collections of Europe, the existence of a world class collection of Indian textiles in a place more readily associated with livestock is a revelation.

The collection represents the distillation of the many years during which the Netherlands, and the VOC or Dutch East Indian Company, dominated trade with the east. This is best illustrated by a kimono in the exhibition, which shows the reach of chintz and the VOC since it was made for the Japanese market in India and then by virtue of the VOC’s exclusive licence to trade with the closed islands of Japan found its way to Europe. The exhibit has  a small catalogue and also features several contemporary works of art either inspired by  antique examples or, in the case of the reproduction that features in HALI 191, examine the complex techniques used in making the sumptuous cottons.

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