The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, and Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection are delighted to announce our upcoming exhibition Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt (August 31, 2019–January 5, 2020). In conjunction with the exhibition New Threads: Recent Research on Egyptian Textiles, a scholarly colloquium, will be held on November 8–9, 2019 at the George Washington University.
On view at the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (701 21st Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20052), Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt displays a large selection of textiles representing the aesthetics of interior decoration in Egypt from the fourth to twelfth centuries. Largely preserved thanks to the desert climate, these textiles exemplify the period’s ethos. Contemporaneous architectural motifs were reproduced in many of the textiles, thus providing a visual record of the interior space. The iconography ranges from the secular to the sacred, the purely decorative to the philosophical. Mythological figures imported from classical antiquity could easily be displayed alongside Christian figures, representing the syncretic fusion of pagan and Christian beliefs. Finally, as Islam began to spread in the seventh century, great change was brought to Egypt. The presence of textiles, though, remained a constant. For centuries they held a prominent role in households and sacred spaces, functioning as utilitarian, aesthetic, and symbolic objects.
The exhibit is a collaboration between The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, and the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. It contains objects on loan from the Brooklyn Museum; Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection; Harvard Art Museums; Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Cleveland Museum of Art; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue titled Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt by Gudrun Bühl, Sumru Belger Krody, and Elizabeth Dospĕl Williams, also exhibition curators, will be for sale at the museum shop. For more information visit https://museum.gwu.edu/woveninteriors.
The New Threads: Recent Research on Egyptian Textiles colloquium will feature scholarly lectures on a variety of topics related to Egyptian textiles as well as curator-led tours of the exhibition and brand-new Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center. The speakers are Thelma K. Thomas, associate professor of Fine Arts, The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; Kathrin Colburn, conservator, Department of Textile Conservation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Warren Woodfin, Kallinikeion Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art, Queens College of the City University of New York, and fellow in Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks; Jennifer L. Ball, associate professor of art history, Brooklyn College; and Lyssa Stapleton, curator of the Cotsen Collection. For more information visit https://museum.gwu.edu/colloquium.
A related exhibition Ornament: Fragments of Byzantine Fashion is on view at Dumbarton Oaks Museum (1703 32nd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20007) from September 10, 2019 through January 5, 2020. The exhibition brings together complete tunics, parts of garments, and contemporary replicas of ancient dress to evoke the fashions of this lost world. For more information visit https://www.doaks.org/visit/museum/exhibitions/ornament
With kind regards,
Sumru Belger Krody
The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum
701 21st Street, NW • Washington, DC 20052
Opens on August 31, 2019