The Frist Art Museum presents rarely seen textiles from its renowned collection of Asian art

The Frist Art Museum presents Weaving Splendor: Treasures of Asian Textiles from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, an exhibition of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Persian, and Turkish textiles drawn from the most important collection of Asian art in the United States. . Organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the exhibit will be on view at the Frist from October 7 through December 31, 2022.

Made with precious materials, innovative techniques, and stunning artistry, Asian textiles have been an integral part of global trade for centuries. Whether woven from cotton, linen, silk, or wool, each garment at Weaving Splendor tells a complex and fascinating story that takes visitors on a journey along trade routes across continents, and from the 15th century to the present day.

“This exhibit provides a rare opportunity for our visitors, as these extraordinary treasures are not often displayed due to their fragile and light-sensitive nature,” says Trinita Kennedy, senior curator at the Frist Art Museum. “Our guests will not only gain a deeper understanding of the diverse historical textiles while viewing, they will learn about how Asian traditions are practiced and kept alive today, including artists from our own community, through gallery exhibits.”

With more than 65 items thematically organized into five sections, Weaving Splendor explores the various purposes for which Asian textiles were created, including for use as clothing, accessories, gifts, and merchandise. Formal court costumes in imperial China and Japan signaled rank and status within the government hierarchy, while the glamorous costumes of Japanese theater traditions and Chinese opera brought characters from a illusive world to life on stage. Textured velvets and exquisite furniture coverings define and transform interior spaces. In a recreation of a royal 16th-century Persian tent, guests are draped in sumptuous silk velvet decorated with flowers and royal hunting scenes.

A section devoted to the prominent role played by Asian textiles in diplomatic exchanges and global trade includes Indian pashmina shawls and chintzes and Persian carpets, including gifts from the Shah to the Pope around 1600. In Renaissance Europe. This spectacular example remains in excellent condition, suggesting it may have been displayed on a wall or table rather than on a walk,” explains Kennedy.

Modern and contemporary textiles from China, Japan, India, Pakistan and Turkey will conclude the exhibition. In some areas, traditions have been revived by non-governmental agencies and dedicated conservators and artists, while art forms such as carpet weaving continue undisturbed in other areas. Asia has regained its position as the world’s largest textile producer in the twenty-first century.

In addition to hands-on learning activities in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, Weaving Splendor is complemented by an education gallery with illustrated reference books, space for guests to reflect and respond, and areas where contemporary fiber artists talk and demonstrate their processes. A schedule of live performances will be updated at and is also available on touch screens in the gallery.


Curator’s Perspective: Textile Treasures from Asia at Weaving Splendor

Thursday, October 6

6:30-7:30 p.m


free of charge; First come, first sit

Presented by Ling-en Lu, Curator of Chinese Art; Kimberly Masteller, Jean McCray Beals Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art; and Yayoi Shinoda, Assistant Curator of Japanese Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The world has always turned to Asia for luxury fabrics. In this special presentation about fine fabrics and textiles from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, you’ll have the opportunity to see why. Join Nelson-Atkins curators Ling-en Lu, Kimberly Masteller, and Yayoi Shinoda and closely examine some of the finest textile treasures from across Asia featured in Weaving Splendor.

You will be introduced to works ranging from intimate objects worn on the body, to objects that define and enliven interior spaces, to dynamic costumes that support narratives on display, to symbol-laden objects that communicate power and wealth. Each of these works reveals an interesting story, including golden robes made for a Qing dynasty Chinese prince, silk carpets made by a Persian ruler as a gift to the Pope in Rome, and monumental Japanese tapestries produced for Western consumption. Around the turn of the twentieth century.

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