Exhibitions/ The Secret Life of Textiles: Plant Fibers

The Secret Life of Textiles: Plant Fibers

At The Met Fifth Avenue
March 7–July 31, 2016
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Exhibition Overview

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.


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects





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)