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Greek Island Embroideries

December 22—May 28, 2018

Gallery 100, Main Building


About the Exhibition

Vibrantly colored and meticulously crafted, the domestic textiles on view in Greek Island Embroideries reflect the influences of cultures from across the Mediterranean. Located at a maritime crossroads between the Ottoman Empire and Europe, people of the Greek islands were exposed to artistic traditions from both the Near East and the West. Textile embroiderers, in particular, adapted a diverse array of patterns and motifs in their art.

Though inspiration was drawn from faraway societies, the embroidered textiles on display, made of linen and cotton, were created for the home and withstood daily use and laundering. Nonetheless, their interwoven silks, golds, and silvers spoke to the wealth and prosperity of a household, and to the skills of the embroiderer. Needlework traditions declined during the 19th century as the old crafts gave way to the increasing dominance of Western manufactured goods. The exhibition celebrates embroideries made between the 17th and 19th centuries and shines a spotlight on the lives of its female creators.

Greek Island Embroideries is curated by Zoe A. Perkins, textile conservator, and will be on view in Gallery 100 from December 22 to May 28, 2018. The textiles are part of a gift made to the Museum by Beatrice Lindell Cook of St. Louis.

Large print labels for Greek Island Embroideries are available on your own device or at the Taylor Hall Information Center.

Bed Tent Door (detail), 17th-18th century, detail; Greek; silk and metallic embroidery on linen; length: 114 inches, width at top: 70 inches, width at bottom: 90 inches; Gift of Mrs. Frank H. Cook 184:1952