Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles. 14 July - 15 August 2019

Lingerie bag from Japan, made for the European market, 1930s (TRC 2016.2172).

Lingerie bag from Japan, made for the European market, 1930s (TRC 2016.2172).

As part of the many events around the International Convention of Asia Scholars (Leiden, 16-19 July 2019), the TRC is organising a week of lectures and workshops (14-19 July) on the theme of East-West textile connections. In addition, the TRC will set up an exhibition Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles, on the theme of Eastern textiles and their popularity throughout the ages in the Middle East and Europe. The exhibition will include over eighty textiles, garments and outfits. 

The exhibition includes a plethora of items that illustrate how people in the Middle East and Europe have for long been fascinated with Eastern textiles and dress. There will be actual fragments of silk textiles that were transported along the Silk Roads about two thousand years ago, and also a Roman-period textile that copied Central Asia forms. This type of textile (taqueté) became so popular in the Middle East that it is still being made in Egypt and, until some years ago, in Iran. Also on display are Indian block printed export textiles from the thirteenth century, which were discovered along the Red Sea coast in Egypt (and much older than any extant examples from India).

More recent textiles and garments (eighteenth century onwards) include urban and regional Dutch garments made with Indian and Indonesian materials, French woven silks with representations of Oriental figures, as well as a wide range of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian style textiles (most of these date to the twentieth century).

 

 

Asia Week programme of the TRC, 14-19 July, 2019

Jacket from the Dutch island of Marken, decorated with Indian-style material, 1937 (TRC 2007.0525c).

Jacket from the Dutch island of Marken, decorated with Indian-style material, 1937 (TRC 2007.0525c).

Asia Week programme at the Textile Research Centre (TRC), Hogewoerd 164, Leiden, from 14-19 July, organised on the occasion of the International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS), Leiden, 16-19 July.

For all TRC activities listed below, please register for participation at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . ICAS participants enjoy free access to lectures and workshops (please show your badge!); others are also very welcome, but there is a fee of €5 for lectures and €25 for the workshops.

Lectures, and the drinks/buffet on Sunday 14th and on Friday 19th are open free of charge to all who are interested to join in, ICAS participants and everybody else, but again, registration in advance is appreciated.

The programme coincides with a special TRC exhibition, Out of Asia: 2000 Years of Textiles. Entrance to the TRC Gallery is free of charge.

The TRC is open on Sunday 14th July from 13.00 – 19.00, and Monday 15th until Friday 19th from 09.30 – 17.30.

Read more: Asia Week programme of the TRC, 14-19 July, 2019

 

New online TRC exhibition. Lace Identification: 7 examples

The TRC is very proud to announce a new online exhibition about the identification of lace. The exhibition has been developed by two TRC volunteers, Lisa Dilitz and Olga Ieromina. The exhibition explains the small, but significant differences in the technique of some forms of handmade lace and their machine made imitations. The exhibition can be downloaded here.

 

Weekend Workshop: What is lace?, 31 Aug - 1 Sept. 2019

Lace is one of the finest fabrics that human hands can produce. It has been made, in its many forms, for centuries and reflects changes in life style, fashion and technology. But there are many questions around the concept of lace, including what actually is lace? How is it made? And how can you identify the various forms? These are the main questions (and there are many more) that will be answered during the two-day course.

Read more: Weekend Workshop: What is lace?, 31 Aug - 1 Sept. 2019

 

Krakow and Auschwitz: beauty and horror

Part of a costume gallery with local clothing. Courtesy Museum of Ethnography, Krakow, Poland.

Part of a costume gallery with local clothing. Courtesy Museum of Ethnography, Krakow, Poland.

On Wednesday, 5th June 2019, Willem Vogelsang wrote:

I am just back from six days in the beautiful town of Krakow, Poland. It was an academic meeting that took me there in the first place, but fortunately I had the chance to stay a few days longer to get to know Krakow a little bit better.

I was really taken with the ethnographic museum, which houses a large and beautiful collection of regional clothing from Krakow and surroundings. To be precise, the name of the Museum is the Muzeum Etnograficzne im. Seweryna Udzieli w Krakowie. It was established in the early 20th century, and its holdings are very much based on the folk art brought together by the collector, Seweryn Udziela. The Museum is currently housed in the former town hall of Kazimierski, a suburb of Krakow. Most of the collection, as said, reflects Polish culture, and in particular that of southern Poland.

Read more: Krakow and Auschwitz: beauty and horror

 

TRC online exhibitions

Craftsmen at work in the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt.

Craftsmen at work in the Street of the Tentmakers, Cairo, Egypt.

The TRC is very proud to publish the first eleven of a planned series of online exhibitions, which will highlight some of the fascinating textiles and garments in the TRC collection. The latest, Lace identification: 7 examples, has just been added. The online displays are all based on the TRC Collection and past TRC exhibitions, which can be lend out to other suitable venues. If you are interested, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it us.

Please have a look and enjoy.

The eleven titles are:

 

 

 

A Russian ribbon with a history

A St. George ribbon, produced and distributed in Russia to mark the end of World War II (May 2019). TRC collectiom

A St. George ribbon, produced and distributed in Russia to mark the end of World War II (May 2019). TRC collectiom

On Saturday, 18th May 2019, TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson wrote:

I visited St. Petersburg (Russia) on a national holiday. Victory Day, 9 May, celebrates the end of the Second World War, or, as it’s known in Russia, the Great Patriotic War. Millions had gathered in St. Petersburg to participate in a massive parade. Many carried placards with photographs of relatives who had fought and died during the war and the brutal siege the city had suffered. You could spot some people in 1940s-style military uniforms. Thousands of people also wore a ribbon on their chest.

I was curious about this wide ribbon, tied in a bow. It’s called the Saint George ribbon, after a patron saint of Russia, and has three black stripes and four orange ones. It is worn on the left side, closest to the heart, as a symbol of respect for those who  died during the war and as a symbol of pride in being Russian. Its history goes back to 1769, when Empress Catherine the Great first established the prestigious military decoration, the Order of St. George. The black stripe symbolised gun powder, while the orange symbolised the fire of war.

Read more: A Russian ribbon with a history

 

Velvet! TRC Gallery exhibition, until 27 June 2019

A length of modern velvet from Italy with a classic flower design (TRC 2018.2510).

A length of modern velvet from Italy with a classic flower design (TRC 2018.2510).

Velvet is a rich, varied and versatile type of cloth that can be used in many different and at times surprising ways. Velvet is used for garments, covering the body literally from head to foot, and worn by men, women and children. Houses are also decorated with velvets and the material has been used for soft-furnishings as well as upholstery.

The current TRC exhibition includes examples of velvet dating from the late fifteenth century to the present day. There are over 100 garments and textiles, ranging from samples of cotton, linen, mohair, silk and wool velvet (some of which visitors can touch), velveteens, kuba velvets, to children’s velvet garments, wedding dresses, not to mention a wide range of velvet hats! A real feast for the senses.

 

Postcard and stamp of a 19th century painting depicting a lady in a velvet jacket, Hungary (TRC 2018.2544).

Postcard and stamp of a 19th century painting depicting a lady in a velvet jacket, Hungary (TRC 2018.2544).

 

The luxurious character of velvet is made clear by a length of so-called Utrecht velvet (made from mohair), and also by an example of a pressed velvet that is used in the Tweede Kamer, The Hague, for a wall hanging. There is even a sample of the velvet used to decorate the Throne Room of the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain.

The TRC exhibition VELVET! was officially opened on the 22nd January 2019 by the Wethouder for Cultural Affairs (Leiden), Ms. Yvonne van Delft. It will be on view until the afternoon of Thursday, 27th June 2019.

For a brief introduction to the subject of velvet, please click here. For the complete list of objects that are being displayed, with direct references to the TRC online catalogue, click here.

The exhibition was made possible with the help of Lunsingh Meubelstoffering en Zitmeubelrestauratie, Leiden.

 

 

 

501(c)(3)

For many of us, the code 501(c)(3) means nothing, but in the US it is very important, it means that financial and object donations to a registered charity can be tax deductable for American tax payers.

From May 2019, the Textile Research Centre, Leiden (TRC Leiden) and the Tracing Patterns Foundation, Berkeley (TPF) will be working together to raise funds for textile studies and textile craftspeople worldwide.

The Tracing Patterns Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural organisation based in California and headed by textile scholar and curator Dr. Sandra Sardjono. All financial and object donations made through the TPF are tax deductible for US tax payers.

Read more: 501(c)(3)

 

Fowler Museum Los Angeles: Special exhibition curated by director TRC, 17 March - 18 August 2019

Woman's jacket from Syria, late 19th - early 20th cent., front and back (Fowler Museum at UCLA X2018.20.3).

Woman's jacket from Syria, late 19th - early 20th cent., front and back (Fowler Museum at UCLA X2018.20.3).

 

Dressed with Distinction: Garments from Ottoman Syria is the title of a new exhibition at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition explores the region’s textile production during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Syria was an international hub for the trade and production of handwoven cloth.

With a focus on the social and seasonal contexts in which garments were worn by men, women, and children, the exhibition’s presentation of these distinguished textiles enables audiences to engage with Syrian culture and weaving techniques from a bygone era.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director of the Textile Research Centre (TRC Leiden). The exhibition can be seen until 18th August 2019.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

 

TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 21-25 October and repeated 18-22 November 2019

Photograph taken at the TRC Intensive Textile Course in April 2017.

Photograph taken at the TRC Intensive Textile Course in April 2017.

In 2019, the TRC is again be running its successful five-day intensive courses on textiles. The first upcoming course is from 21-25 October, and is repeated from 18-22 November, and again four times in 2020 (16-20 March, 20-24 April, 21-25 September, 19-23 October 2020). The courses are being taught in English by Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, textile and dress historian and director of the TRC. The courses are a mixture of theoretical and practical elements, with an emphasis on trying out the various techniques of textile production (spinning, dyeing, weaving), on holding and examining fibres, textiles and finished items, all in order to learn and understand what is happening and why various combinations take place. The aim is to make textiles less ‘frightening’ and allow people to look at a textile, from virtually any historical period or culture, and be able to understand it. 

 

Read more: TRC Intensive Textile Courses, 21-25 October and repeated 18-22 November 2019

 

Ties to history. A new TRC exhibition for 2020

Statue of one of the soldiers in the tomb of the Chinese Emperor Shih Huan Ti (d. 210 BC), wearing a neckband. President Donald Trump's name is shown on a tie label in the background, advertising Trump's fashion line of ties (incidentally, made in China).

Statue of one of the soldiers in the tomb of the Chinese Emperor Shih Huan Ti (d. 210 BC), wearing a neckband. President Donald Trump's name is shown on a tie label in the background, advertising Trump's fashion line of ties (incidentally, made in China).

TRC volunteer, Loren Mealey, writes on Thursday, 3 January 2019:

In our twenty-first century, fashion appears to change every week. A man’s necktie, however, is an accessory that has endured social and cultural transformations for hundreds of years.

The traditional Western necktie has ancient antecedents and forms. The earliest representation of a piece of cloth or another material tied around the neck is a cloth worn by the first emperor of China, Shih Huan Ti, who died in 210 BC.  The accessory was depicted in his mausoleum in Xian, along with 7000 images of his warriors, meticulously carved in terracotta, and each wearing a neck cloth.

In Europe the large ruffs worn by men and women from the mid-sixteenth century for over a hundred years became iconic items in paintings of royalty and affluent merchants. Then came bandanas, bands, bolos, cravats, steinkirks, rabats, ties and all sorts of variations. But from ancient China to the red carpet of fashion shows, this men's wear accessory is consistently associated with identity, power and status.

Read more: Ties to history. A new TRC exhibition for 2020

 

Velvet! A luxurious textile in the TRC spotlights. An introduction

Postcard of an Hungarian painting by Borsos Jóseph, showing a woman wearing a red velvet jacket  with the same image on an Hungarian postage stamp (TRC 2018.2544).

Postcard of an Hungarian painting by Borsos Jóseph, showing a woman wearing a red velvet jacket with the same image on an Hungarian postage stamp (TRC 2018.2544).

Soft, smooth, silky – these are just some of the terms conjured up by the word velvet, but velvet is much more than a mere soft and silky material and often it is not even smooth!

This brief introduction, spread out over several separate pages  (see below), provides the background to the TRC Gallery Exhibition VELVET!, which opens at the TRC on 22nd January and will be on display until 27th June 2019. All velvets and the illustrations in this and following pages form part of the TRC collection and can be seen, together with many others, at the exhibition.

Velvet is one of the most luxurious textiles that has been produced in Europe and elsewhere, for at least one thousand years. Despite the fact (or perhaps because of it) that it is very expensive to make, in both time and raw materials, velvet became an essential item for any self-respecting royal court or church in Europe and is now made and used in many places throughout the world.

Velvet is used for garments, and may be covering the body literally from head to foot, and is worn by men, women and children. Houses are also decorated with velvets and the soft material has been used for soft-furnishings as well as upholstery – think of the velvet cloth that was placed over a piano or table, not to mention the precious velvet curtains.

 

Read more: Velvet! A luxurious textile in the TRC spotlights. An introduction

 

Encyclopedia of Embroidery Series update

Preparations for Vol. 8 of the Encyclopedia of Embroidery series, covering the Antarctic, are already well advanced. Martin Hense, the draughtsman for the full series, just completed the first illustration.

Preparations for Vol. 8 of the Encyclopedia of Embroidery series, covering the Antarctic, are already well advanced. Martin Hense, the draughtsman for the full series, just completed the first illustration.

During the last few months the Encyclopedia of World Embroidery series (Bloomsbury Publishing, London), has been gaining momentum. The first volume on embroidery from the Arab World came out in 2016 (see here) and to everyone’s pleasure won the prestigious international award, the Dartmouth Medal.

Since then we have been working hard on volume 2, which is about embroidery from Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau and the Indian subcontinent (see here). The manuscript for this volume has gone to Bloomsbury and the book should appear by the end of 2019. For the Bloomsbury announcement, click here. Once again many people have been helping with advice, suggestions and with providing actual examples of embroidery.

For the next few years, we are planning the following volumes: 3 – Scandinavia and Western Europe; 4 – East and Southeast Asia; 5 – Eastern Europe and Russia; 6- Sub-Saharan Africa; 7- The Americas. 

 

Read more: Encyclopedia of Embroidery Series update

 

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TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428   info@trc-leiden.nl

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, Stichting Textile Research Centre

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

TRC Gallery exhibition: 22 Jan. - 27 June: Velvet!

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Donations

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
 
Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
 
Financial donations to the TRC can also be made via Paypal: 
 
 

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