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Small exhibition with close to 100 objects

on display from reopening museum to 30 August 2020

Six hundred years of Egyptian fabrics
(c. AD 400-1000)

The show focuses on fabrics dating from the first millennium AD. Textiles are extremely delicate and are therefore seldom shown in exhibitions. Textiles from Egypt therefore provides a rare and marvellous opportunity to look at this remarkable collection. Many fabrics from this period have been well preserved and display an exquisite mix of varied materials and weaving techniques.

Types of textiles

Most of the textiles in museum collections are pieces of linen with woven, embroidered or stitched details in coloured wool. These decorative and figurative pieces were often cut out of the original tunics in ancient times. For art dealers were mainly interested in specific parts of the garments: the coloured vertical bands on either side of the neck, or the circular and rectangular ornaments. In addition to these fabrics, the collection of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities also has a number of scarves, tapestries and blankets. The items are supplemented beautifully by loans from the Allard Pierson Museum, including a woven cap.

Weaving, embroidery and appliqués

The exhibition will show you how ancient fabrics were made and decorated. The techniques included weaving, embroidery, and the addition of appliqués, using a variety of materials. You will also learn more about the economic role of textiles and their production. In addition, twelve contemporary textile artists will exhibit work based on items from the museum collection.

Decorations on woven fabrics

Adorning these colourful woven fabrics, we find a range of decorative motifs, relating to subjects such as ancient Egypt, Greek mythology, and Christianity. We also find a wealth of geometrical and figurative images. In the exhibition you will learn the meanings of these motifs and the ways in which scholars read and interpret them on the fabrics. You will also hear about the most recent scientific ideas about them.

Collection: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities)

Collection: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities)

Leiden Textile festival

From 13 to 16 May 2020, you can visit the Leiden Textile Festival, an initiative of STIDOC (the Textile Information and Documentation Centre Foundation). The festival consists of events, lectures, symposiums and exhibitions. Among the centuries-old fabrics in Textiles from Egypt, for instance, you will see present-day interpretations of them by twelve artists attached to the QS2 textiles group. Their new work is based on the collection of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities. The objects are an integral part of the exhibition. The artist Monika Auch took great pleasure in coaching QS2 in their present-day interpretation of Egyptian textiles. She is the founder of WeefLab in Amsterdam. She studied textile design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, with a focus on weaving.

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