Exhibition Dates: 9 December 2017 – 10 June 2018
Secrets of the Lacquer Buddha unites the only sixth- and seventh-century, life-size Chinese lacquer buddha sculptures known: one from the Walters Art Museum, one from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and one from the Freer Gallery of Art. They have never been exhibited together before.
The exhibition explores how the sculptures were made, giving new insights into these deceptively simple objects. It also highlights how science can contribute to understanding art. The Freer|Sackler Department of Conservation and Scientific Research’s experts used specialised equipment and new methods to analyse the sculptures, exposing microscopic details. Find out what tree species the lacquer came from, what type of burnt bone was mixed in, and other unexpected discoveries.
The amount of detailed background information given on the Freer|Sackler website is amazing. The essay by Donna Strahan and Blythe McCarthy on the construction of the buddha sculptures is particularly fascinating.
They discovered that pieces of wood wrapped in textiles which had been dipped in lacquer were used as a support inside some of the buddhas. The fibres from all four sculptures were identified by polarised light microscopy as bast fibres with crystalline nodes. The fibres’ colours further identified them as hemp when examined under polarised light.
A textile dated to between 1272 and 1284 also features in the essay on Lacquer, Relics, and Self-Mummification by Denise Patry Leidy.
For more information visit the website of the Freer|Sackler museum, Washington DC.
Event date: 3 May 2018, 18:00-19:00, London.
This talk by Dr Eva-Maria Troelenberg of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence will trace the history and fate of a prominent Safavid (16th century) medallion carpet. The piece had been traded to Europe probably at some point in Early Modern history. It was purchased in Venice in the late 19th century by Renaissance connoisseur and museum man Wilhelm Bode, was displayed as one of the core pieces of the “Persian-Islamic Department” of the Berlin Museums after 1904, destroyed during the Second World War, and resurrected by means of restoration and publication in the 1950s. The itinerary of this textile on the one hand reflects the central—at times ideological—position of Persian culture within an emerging canon of Islamic arts during the first half of the 20th century. On the other hand, its material history of discovery, display, destruction and reconstruction challenges the teleological notion that is inherent to many cross-cultural museum collections.
Admission to this talk at The Courtauld Institute of Art in the Strand is free but registration is required through the link below.
For more information visit the website of The Courtauld Institute of Art
Exhibition dates: 25 April – 13 December 2018, Leeds, UK
‘Resist dyeing’ or ‘resist patterning’ are terms used to encompass a wide variety of techniques through which fabric is decorated by allowing dyestuff to only come into contact with selected areas of either the yarn or the fabric’s surface. Variants of such techniques are found universally, but for this exhibition the emphasis will be on textiles from West Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Japan and Indonesia.
The exhibition will identify the principal resist-dyeing techniques, and the characteristics of the resultant products. Techniques displayed will include batik, ikat, resist block-printing, stencils, tie-dye and other stitched techniques. It will present examples of ajrakh, English Wax, katagami and shibori.
The exhibition will draw from items within the ULITA collection, particularly showcasing two relatively recent significant collections to come to ULITA, including one from OATG member Hywel Coleman. This is a substantial loan collection of batiks, ikats and weaves. Its greatest strengths are textiles from South Sulawesi, Bali, and West and East Nusa Tenggara.
For more information visit the website of ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles
Event Date: 2 May 2018, 11:00-18:00, London
John Gillow, Barbie Campbell Cole and Martin Conlan (Slow Loris Textiles) have a one day only event on Wednesday May 2nd, 11am to 6pm at St James the Less church hall, Thorndike St., off Moreton St., SW1V 2PS. (The venue entrance is opposite No.88 Vauxhall Bridge Road). African & Asian textiles in abundance from these notable collectors and dealers. Free entry.
JOHN GILLOW has traveled the world studying and buying antique textiles from Africa and Asia for over twenty five years. His seven books on antique ethnic textiles have been published by Thames & Hudson and The British Museum Press. Every year he makes at least eight buying/research trips to Africa & Asia, and he stocks a wider range of ethnic textiles than anyone else in the country.
BARBIE CAMPBELL COLE trained as an architect at the Architectural Association, London, then worked for many years as a documentary maker in Africa and Asia for the BBC and C4. For the last 15 years she has been dealing in antique jewellery and textiles from Asia and Africa, selling to museums, collectors, interior and costume designers worldwide. Her academic research into the heirloom beads of Northern Burma and Northeast India has been funded by The Bead Study Trust, ICOMOS, and the Bead Society of Greater Washington, and has been published by the Bead Study Trust and in Beads, the Journal of the Society of Bead Research.
MARTIN CONLAN is an acknowledged expert in the textile arts and crafts of Chinese tribal minorities. He has traveled extensively in China for many years, collecting and trading in antique indigo and vegetable-dyed clothing, as well as modern oriental tribal clothing and textiles, including chic and beautifully cut jackets and coats in a range of subtle vegetable-dyed colours.
Exhibition dates: 25 September 2017 – 7 May 2018, New York
Woven bags carried by nomads in the Middle East were designed to contain all of the necessities of life, from bedding to salt. This exhibition highlights 19 distinctly patterned examples of woven bags from nomadic cultures in Iran, Turkey, and the Caucasus, along with one striking pile-woven saddle cover. Featuring geometric patterns as well as stylised floral and animal motifs, these textiles are both utilitarian and expressive of a highly sophisticated tribal aesthetic. The exhibition also includes an Islamic painting from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection that illustrates bags and trappings in use in traditional society.
For more information visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum
Event dates: 11 May 2018 and 12 May 2018, British Library, London
The Atayal people of Taiwan are known for their ancient textile-weaving traditions. Join weavers Shu-li Lin and Hsiu-yu Chen for workshops and demonstrations exploring Atayal weaving techniques. This event is part of London Craft Week and has been organised in association with the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.
Weaver Shu-li Lin is based in Miaoli County, Taiwan. She studied the Atayal tradition of dyeing and waving from the elders in her community, preserving their traditional weaving skills and techniques. Combining Atayal dyeing skills with modern design elements in colour, texture and practice, her work explores environmental protection and sustainability.
Hsiu-yu Chen started weaving 12 years ago with hook and loom as a way to connect to her heritage and understand the experiences of the Atayal people, who made clothes and quilts using this method. The process of collecting the raw material, ramie, and then harvesting, cutting and peeling it, was deeply ingrained in her memories from childhood.
For further information on this free event visit the website of the London Craft Week
Event date: 28 April 2018 10:00 – 16:30, London.
The global history of collecting has been profoundly shaped by national and international politics over the past two centuries. Taking geopolitics as its starting point, this symposium will examine the history of collecting Asian art objects in a range of geographical locales, from Britain and continental Europe to East and Southeast Asia.
Topics covered include Competition and Collaboration: Stamford Raffles and Collecting in Java, 1811-1816, The First Private Museum in China? Revisiting Pan Shicheng and His Collecting in Canton, and The Poetics and Politics of Collecting and Displaying Kachin Culture.
Online registration is essential for this SOAS School of Art event and further details can be found here
Event date: 24 April 2018, 5:00pm-6:00pm, M&S Company Archive, University of Leeds
ULITA – The University of Leeds International Textiles Archive – presents an evening talk to celebrate the opening of the Resists: exploring resist-dyed textiles across cultures exhibition.
Researcher, designer and educator Dr Kate Wells discusses the unification of hand, technology and innovation in the history of resist-patterned fabrics across the world. Exploring historical and contemporary resist dye techniques, she will also illustrate the potential of new approaches and procedures to enable the survival and commercial production of resist-patterned fabric.
Following the lecture, an opening reception with refreshments will take place at ULITA (St Wilfred’s Chapel) from 6pm. The reception is drop-in, no need to book.
Further information and the link to book for the lecture can be found at the ULITA website here
Exhibition dates: 29 April – 11 November 2018
Glamorous fashion in the eighteenth century entailed first and foremost wearing lavishly patterned silks. While the cuts of both ladies’ gowns and men’s attire scarcely changed, new fabric pattern collections came out regularly. Several trends developed. Common to all is a preference for strange-looking motifs and extravagant compositions redolent of exotic worlds. The textile designers who created them were clearly inspired by much sought-after wares imported to Europe by sea from the Near and Far East.
The new exhibition at the Abegg-Stiftung, near Bern, Switzerland, presents a selection of these brightly coloured silks decorated with chinoiseries or with “bizarre” motifs, as the fantastical designs defying description are now known. The show also includes silks with exotic fruits and plants that were hardly known in Europe at the time, as well as some with intricate patterns reminiscent of oriental ornamentation. The textiles on view in this special exhibition represent a union of exquisite materials, astonishing creativity and technical accomplishment – a fascinating combination that for several decades held sway over genteel society’s taste in fashion.
For more information visit the website of the Abegg-Stiftung
Event dates: 20th-21st April 2018, London.
This two-day event at the Embassy of Indonesia will begin with the launch of a new book on Indonesian textiles entitled Nusawastra Silang Budaya. In it the author, Quoriena Ginting, shares her love for these pieces, describing 250 textiles from across the archipelago. There will also be discussions on batik, songket and ikat, as well as a guided tour of the textile exhibition. The programme also includes the opportunity to take part in a batik workshop – but places for this are strictly limited.
For more details, including how to register, click here