September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014
Beginning in the sixteenth century, the golden age of European exploration in search of spice routes to the east brought about the flowering of an abundant textile trade. Textiles often acted as direct currency for spices, as well as other luxury goods. Textiles and textile designs made their way throughout the globe, from India and Asia to Europe, between India and Asia and Southeast Asia, from Europe to the east, and eventually west to the American colonies. Trade textiles blended the traditional designs, skills, and tastes of all of the cultures that produced them, resulting in objects that are both beautiful and historically fascinating. The exhibition will include works from across the Museum's collection—augmented by a few international loans—in order to make worldwide visual connections, and will highlight an important design story that has never been told from a truly global perspective.