Woven Luxuries, Indian, Persian and Turkish Velvets Past

March 13 to Nov 1, 2015 - San Francisco, CA, United States

Silk velvets have been preeminent luxury textiles in many parts of the Islamic world and Europe, especially from the 15th century onwards. They were often used for clothing and furnishings, such as as carpets, spreads, bolsters, hangings, and exchanged as diplomatic gifts.

The 11 textiles in this exhibition are selections from a private New York collection, providing a glimpse into the richness and diversity of Iranian, Indian and Turkish silk velvets. Spanning three distinct cultural areas with their own design sensibilities and tastes, this group of textiles showcases different techniques of velvet production and suggests their varied uses.

Of special note are the two complete 17th-century carpets from India and Iran, each measuring nearly 6 by 4 feet and retaining not only their design elements but also their vibrant colors. These, along with nine other substantially sized textile fragments, show the cultural exchange between the Mughal, Safavid and Ottoman empires—linked by shifting ties of political, religious and economic rivalry

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