A selection of current and upcoming textile events

A new exhibition opened this week at the Textile Museum in Washington. The subject is Prayer and Transcendence and it runs until 1 July 2023.

“In the Muslim faith, carpets create physically and spiritually “clean” spaces during the daily ritual of prayer. Drawn from five collections, this exhibition introduces the purpose and iconography of classical prayer rugs from across the Islamic world, as well as design comparisons from the Jewish tradition.” Museum website

The examples on show come from several different collections and date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. A gallery guide can be accessed here, and a two-day colloquium will be held in late March – more details to follow.


A wonderful selection of Ukrainian textiles is on show virtually on the ICOM website. They have brought together pieces from museums in France, Poland, Serbia, Canada and Hungary. The link to the Ukrainian Folklore Society page isn’t working, but you can access it by clicking on the Royal Ontario Museum section, then clicking Next Collection.


The next OATG event takes place this 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.

Ceiling, Yokson temple, Myitche, central Myanmar, c. late 18th century


The de Young Museum in San Francisco will host a free online lecture on the subject of Persian Carpets and Women’s Creative Work next Wednesday 1 March at 1700 PT, which is 1am in the UK, so sadly just for the nightowls. In this talk Minoo Moallem will link the history of technology, women’s creative labour, and textile art. This is the link to the talk.

The following day, Thursday 2 March, the Fowler Museum will host a conversation on two different exhibitions related to the Jain religion, which will be moderated by Amy Landau. The exhibitions in question are Visualizing Devotion: Jain Embroidered Shrine Hangings at the Fowler Museum and Being Jain: Art and Culture of an Indian Religion at Museum Rietberg in Zurich.

This conversation will address how museum curators and educators have worked closely with local communities to understand the practice of religion in everyday life. This Zoom event begins at 11:00 PT, 14:00 ET, 19:00 GMT. For more details and registration for this free event click here.

Hangings from the Fowler Museum exhibition
Jain Cosmology: The Cosmic Man. India, Gujarat or southwest Rajasthan, 19th century, painting on paper, Museum Rietberg, acc. no 2014.157a. Provenance: 1968-2014 collection Eberhard and Barbara Fischer, gift of Eberhard and Barbara Fischer. © Museum Rietberg, Zurich


The Museum of East Asian Art in Bath is celebrating International Womens’ Day on Wednesday 8 March with a free online talk by Mary Ginsberg, who has curated their current exhibition Revolution, Propaganda, Art: Printmaking in Modern China. The title of her talk is Women in Modern Chinese Prints: Stylish Beauties and Revolutionary Warriors.

“Before the establishment of the PRC, women were much more commonly presented as glamourous, urban beauties. In the 1950s, artists transformed these women into model socialist workers. Until the end of the 1970s, almost all art had political content, and images of women conformed to propaganda requirements. Since the Cultural Revolution, women are shown as individuals, rather than types. This talk will survey Chinese women in 20th century graphics, including advertisements, popular prints and posters.” Museum website

This talk takes place online at 18:30 GMT and booking is required.

Image ©: Dandelion, 1959 by Wu Fan


Thursday 9 March sees the opening of an exciting new exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. Ikat: A Compelling World of Cloth runs until 29 May 2023 and showcases over one hundred examples of textiles from across the globe using the ikat technique. These include hangings and coats from Uzbekistan, kimono from Japan, ponchos from Bolivia and several textiles from across Indonesia.

Pardah hanging (detail), late 19th century, Silk Road (Uzbekistan)