A wide range of textile-related events coming up

A new exhibition has just opened at the Royal Geographical Society in London celebrating Early British women explorers in Arabia. It will run until 5 March 2023.

The exhibition features photographs, paintings and maps of Arabia illustrating the journeys of five extraordinary British Women: Lady Anne Blunt (equestrian), Gertrude Bell (diplomat and archaeologist), Freya Stark (writer and explorer), Lady Evelyn Cobbold, and Princess Alice Countess of Athlone.

Freya Stark S0000661/RGS-IBG


On Thursday 9 February 2023 Frances Wood will be giving an online talk on Chinese Illustration and Printmaking in China. She will discuss the “fascinating history of Chinese illustration—from the invention of printing in the 7th century through to the development of the complex sets of woodblock printing we see today.

Early illustrations were mainly of Buddhist subjects but by the 10th century books of all types, from literature to technological manuals, were widely available: expensive editions were beautifully illustrated whilst cheap chapbooks flooded the other end of the market. Colour illustrations and prints appeared from the 12th century, made from complex sets of woodblocks, most notably the ‘New Year’ prints that decorated houses at that auspicious festival.” – Museum website.

Frances has worked for more than 30 years as Curator of the Chinese collections in the British Library. I think that many of these woodcuts may show people in the dress of that time. This talk is one of a series linked to the current exhibition at the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath entitled Revolution, Propaganda, Art: Printmaking in Modern China, which runs until 3 June 2023.

For more details and registration for this free online talk, which begins at 18:30 GMT, please click here.

The video below, created several years ago by Francis Gerard and Haiyao Zheng, should hopefully whet your appetite.


On Saturday 11 February 2023 the New England Rug Society will be hosting an online talk on Swedish textiles. This event is co-sponsored by the TMA/SC and the Textile Museum. This speaker is Gunnar Nilssen and his subject is Northern Delights: Swedish Textiles from 1680 to 1850.

“Certain textile techniques unique to rural communities in Sweden have a long history, and the best pieces stand comparison with the most celebrated traditional textile art elsewhere in Europe, including the best Flemish-weave and röllakan examples. Yet they remain little known outside their locality.  In times past, the peasantry in Skåne, southern Sweden, devised and utilised five different textile techniques about which little has been written in English.  In this program, Collector Gunnar Nilsson lets us into the secrets of munkabälte, dukagång, krabbasnår, upphämta and trensaflossa.” – Press release

This talk takes place at 18:00 GMT (10:00 PT, 13:00 ET), and you can register for it here.

Carriage cushion, röllakan (interlock tapestry), 48 x 121cm, Skytts härad (county) southwestern Skåne, inscribed and dated (in mirror reverse) END-IHS 1780


On Tuesday 21 February 2023 the Hajji Baba Club will host an online talk by independent researcher Gebhart Blazek entitled Maghreb Mastery.

“The Moroccan carpet weaving culture is commonly described as a female domain, which has always been passed on from mother to daughter, from generation to generation. Production served only the family’s own needs, and commercialization did not take place until the 20th century. This picture certainly has a strong justification, but on closer examination it is inaccurate and appears more multifaceted and differentiated in detail.

In the Middle Atlas, as well as in eastern Morocco and beyond in the more easterly regions of the Maghreb, professional male master weavers who carried out orders for wealthy families as itinerant craftsmen played an important role. In addition, in the local context, the works of semi-professional female master weavers also had a major impact on local production for everyday family needs.” – HBC website.

Non-members are welcome to attend this Zoom event, which takes place at 17:00 ET, 22:00 GMT. Click here for more details and registration.


The next OATG event takes place on Thursday 23 February 2023, when Dr Alex Green of the British Museum will give a presentation on Honouring the Buddha: Trade textiles and Burmese wall paintings.

The production of art in Burma is primarily related to the generation of merit, and objects made in homage of the Buddha were necessarily objects of beauty. For example, upon entering a temple the viewer is enveloped in a richly textured environment, comprising architectural spaces, sculptures, and mural paintings. The Burmese murals were explicitly produced in order to create a sacred space as beautiful as the heavens that was worthy to commemorate the Buddha and house Buddha images. To do so, artists and donors incorporated the imagery and patterning of luxury textiles into the wall paintings, demonstrating a strong conceptual overlap between these two art forms. This presentation considers the ways in which luxury trade textiles impacted the production of wall paintings in Burma, focussing upon the 17th to 19th centuries.

This event begins at 18:30 GMT and as usual is free for OATG members, with a small fee for non-members. More details and how to register can be found here.

A reminder to all members that recordings of past events can be found in the Members Resource area of our website, using the current password – which can be found at the back of each Asian Textiles journal. The recent talk by Rachel Peat on Japanese textiles in the British Royal Collection has now been uploaded. The password will shortly be changing, so look for it in the next edition of our journal.


A new exhibition opens this month at Japan House in London, and runs until 11 June 2023. Kumihimo translates as ‘joining threads together’ – something that the exhibition organisers have been doing since 1652.

Kumihimo: Japanese Silk Braiding by Domyo brings the story of Japanese braiding to life with floor-to-ceiling installations, absorbing video, creative displays of equipment and tools and more than 50 different examples of the braids themselves, imaginatively presented throughout the gallery. The exhibition is divided into three sections; The History of Kumihimo, which explores its 1300-year past; The Structure of Kumihimo, which allows guests to get up close to the processes; and The Future of Kumihimo, which encourages guests to join in the discussions on future possibilities and potential.” – Japan House website

Tickets are free and can be booked through this link.

This video shows two different tools used to make the braids. I found the process quite mesmerising.