Fibers are the most important components of a textile. Everything related to the production of a textile—yarns, dyes, weaving, and patterns—begins with and is determined by the type and quality of the fibers. At The Met, the Museum's comprehensive textile collection, the conservators' expertise, and state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation come together to make possible a detailed examination of fiber characteristics and technology through a series of three installations that will be focused on plant fibers, animal fibers, and synthetic fibers.
This first installation in the series reveals the technological transformation and beauty of the most important plant fibers—linen, hemp, ramie, and cotton—used by various cultures around the world in North Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, from the Dynastic period of Egypt to the present day.
Noh Costume (Mizugoromo; detail), 19th century. Japan. Plain-weave, ramie warp, and hemp weft, 43 3/8 x 64 1/2 in. (110.2 x 163.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2002 (2002.386)