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

The Frist Museum of Art 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 one of the most important collections of Asian art in the United States. . Organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the exhibition will be open at the Frist from October 7 to December 31, 2022.

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

“This exhibition provides a rare opportunity for our audience, as these extraordinary treasures are not often displayed due to their fragile and light-sensitive nature,” says Frist Art Museum Senior Curator Trinita Kennedy. “Not only will our guests gain a deeper understanding of the various historical textiles on view, they will learn how Asian traditions are practiced and kept alive today, including by artists in our community through gallery demonstrations.”

With more than 65 objects organized thematically in five sections, Weaving Splendor explores the various purposes for which Asian textiles were created, including use as clothing, furnishings, gifts and trade goods. Formal court clothes made in imperial China and Japan signified rank and status within the government hierarchy, while magnificent costumes from the traditions of Japanese theater and Chinese operas brought characters from illusionary worlds to the stage. Textured velvets and exquisite upholstery defined and transformed the interior spaces. In a re-creation of a 16th-century Persian royal tent, guests are enveloped in gorgeous silk velvet decorated with flowers and scenes of a royal hunt.

A section devoted to the central role of Asian textiles in diplomatic exchange and global trade features Indian shawls and chintzes, pashminas, and Persian rugs, including one commissioned as a gift from a shah to a pope around 1600. “Woven rugs in the Islamic world were highly valued in Renaissance Europe This spectacular example remains in excellent condition, which suggests it could have been displayed on a wall or table rather than walked around,” explains Kennedy.

The exhibition closes with modern and contemporary textiles from China, Japan, India, Pakistan and Turkey. In some areas, traditions have been revived by non-governmental agencies and dedicated patrons and artists, while art forms such as carpet weaving have continued in other regions without interruption. In the twenty-first century, Asia has regained its position as the world’s largest textile producer.

In addition to experiential learning activities in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, Weaving Splendor is complemented by an education gallery with illustrated reference books, a place for guests to reflect and respond, and an area where contemporary fiber artists will speak and demonstrate their processes. A schedule of live demonstrations will be updated at and will also be available on a touch screen in the gallery.


Curators’ Perspectives: Textile Treasures from Asia in Weaving Splendor

Thursday, October 6

6:30-7:30 p.m


Free; first come, first seated

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 textiles. In this special presentation of exquisite textiles and clothing from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, you’ll have a chance to see why. Join Nelson-Atkins curators Ling-en Lu, Kimberly Masteller and Yayoi Shinoda for a close examination of some of the luxurious textile treasures from across Asia featured in Weaving Splendor.

You will be introduced to works that range from intimate objects worn on the body, to objects that define and enliven interior spaces, to dynamic costumes that support the narratives in the show, to objects loaded with symbols that communicate power and wealth. Each of these works reveals a fascinating story, including a golden robe made for a Chinese prince of the Qing dynasty, a silk carpet created by the ruler of Persia as a gift to the pope in Rome, and monumental Japanese tapestries produced for Western consumption. around the end of the twentieth century.

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