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Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800 at The Met, New York

HALI gives readers a first look at this thrilling exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in our Summer 2013 issue (HALI 176), with exclusive images and an extensive twelve page preview, written by exhibition organiser Amelia Peck and her team of interdepartmental exhibition curators.

Even before its public opening on 16 September 2013, the MMA’s autumn exhibition has attracted high praise. ‘Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800’, which runs until 5 January 2014, is a staggering story of hidden treasures covering more than three centuries of art from all corners of the world.

The show occupies nine galleries, and brings together more than 160 fabrics and textiles, as well as paintings and books. Moving geographically from Europe to the Americas, Asia and India, the exhibition traces the world’s early sea trade routes. The New York Times describes the result as ‘a feast of transcendent artefacts variously embroidered, woven, dyed and printed, and one of the great art experiences of the season. Hybridity, a favoured buzzword in the art world these days, is shown to be as old as the sea.’

Most of the objects are drawn from the Met’s collection, but have been exhibited rarely, with a third of the show from key loans. These intriguing assortments of all things textile circa 16th-19th century includes dresses, quilts, tapestries, warrior ‘s wear, capes, curtains, carpets, kimonos, magnificent ball-gowns, shawls, sashes, priestly robes, an altar hanging, petticoat fragments, panels, ceremonial hangings pieces and a salt cellar, with some oils on canvas.

There are many marvels to follow and the sheer physical nature of the textiles gives an intense visual perception of the cross-cultural exchange of art, craft and commerce. Do not miss this exhibition!

See the full review in HALI 176 or, for existing subscribers, see the Preview online.

“Interwoven Globe, The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A dress made in France, circa 1780-85, and 18th-century hangings from around the world harnessing the Indian tree-of-life motif, in ‘Interwoven Globe, The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 16 September 2013 – 5 January 2014

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Su’a Senakut, Coromandel Coast, India for the Thai market, 18th century. Resist-dyed, mordant painted cotton . 0.69 x 1.55m. Royal Ontario Museum, 983.155.1


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