From the earliest needles of 25,000 years ago to techno textiles used in Space Shuttle parachutes today, textiles have been fundamental to human existence and achievements, and have informed developments in other areas from agriculture to metallurgy. Textiles are global commodities, common to every culture and for a long time the motivation for trade, the exchange of ideas, and sometimes even conflict. Silks from China, carpets from Persia, ikats from Indonesia, cottons from India, fine linens from Flanders—each of these has helped to shape the modern world. This groundbreaking book surveys, from prehistory to the early twenty-first century, how textiles are made, what they are made from, how they function in society, the ways in which they are valued and given meaning, and the messages they contain. The author shows the intricate relationships between different cultures’ textile traditions and demonstrates the significance of the materials we all take for granted in our everyday lives.
Groundbreaking…An invaluable introduction to this vast and fascinating subject.
— New England Antiques Journal
Mary Schoeser is a textile historian and curator who has advised English Heritage, the National Trust, Liberty of London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Arts, London.