Antique textiles are among the most beautiful, versatile and historic art forms and handicrafts that are still widely available. Although the oldest artifacts have disintegrated, many antique textiles are exceptionally well preserved, portable and highly decorative examples of artistic ingenuity. There are ethnic textiles like ikat cloths and clothing that feature a magnificent combination of resist dyeing and weaving while others feature exquisite surface decorations. Craftspeople used dyes, paints, resists, decorative embroidery stitches, weaving techniques and imaginative processes to create the most unimaginable works of art. The diversity of antique textiles is unparalleled. Some items like salt bags, saddle covers and Turkoman chyrpy jackets combine form and function while other textiles are purely decorative works of art that have no other purpose but to delight the viewer's eyes.
Cut velvet textiles are exceptionally beautiful examples of weaving and creative artistry while other antique textiles feature embroidered accents and surface embellishments made from fine silk floss or metallic threads. Antique Indian shawls feature a superb combination of fine fibers and outstanding designs while other woven textiles and ingrain carpets are more restrained. Across the world, people have fashioned textiles to commemorate important events, to recognize outstanding achievements and to decorate the person and spaces of high-ranking individuals. Textiles are relics of ethnic groups, empires, colonial conquerors and indigenous people. Antique textiles are part of our world heritage and represent one of the most diverse art forms in existence.
Antique Textiles, Embroideries, and Suzani: Some of the oldest textiles in existence are the 4th-century Coptic pieces from Egypt. These pieces arose from the early Christian populations living in Egypt and have survived nearly two millenia. More recent textiles include shawls and American flatweaves. There are also many other types of collectible textiles such as saddle bags and clothing. All of these pieces are prized by collectors for their uniqueness and provenance.
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31 Rugs Found in Antique Textiles
Created in Egypt around the 6th century, this remarkable Coptic textile displays an outstanding geometric pattern emblazoned with inconspicuous cruciform motifs.
This stunning antique Coptic textile features a remarkably advanced and incredibly detailed variety of classical patterns executed in the Copts' famed brown dyes.
Origin: Egyptian Rugs Size:
0 ft 8 in x 0 ft 10 in
(0.2 m x 0.25 m)
This antique Coptic textile depicts a primitive portrait embellished with simplistic details that add a stylistic richness to this unique textile piece from Egypt.
This sumptuous antique Oriental silk textile from China has an exquisitely drawn classical Chinese design of staggered lotus palmettes, vines and cloudbands.
Style: Textile Origin: Syria Size:
1 ft 8 in x 2 ft 2 in
(0.51 m x 0.66 m)
Lavish woven patterns and shimmering embellishments decorate this superb antique Syrian textile creating a pattern that represents a convergence of art and culture.
This lush antique Ottoman Embroidery from Turkey has a complex, closely arrayed design of flowerheads.
This sumptuous antique Oriental Indian velvet textile is based upon the silk twill textiles of the early Byzantine and early Umayyad or Islamic periods.
This spectacularly styled vintage French tapestry features a fantastical naturalistic landscape scene decorated with stylized plants and ornate avian creatures.
Featuring brilliant colors, intricate zef borders, detailed cuffs and colored tassels, this overcoat exemplifies the tribal style.
The compositon on this elegant antique Kashmir "Millefleurs" shawl is meant to be seen as a delicate tree of life emanating from an amphora-like vase between sprays of palm leaves.
Style: Textile Origin: Peruvian Size:
3 ft 8 in x 4 ft 4 in
(1.12 m x 1.32 m)
This graphic vintage Peruvian textile features a splendid mirror-image pattern with angular llamas and quirky animal figures set over a lenticular background.
Stitched by Azeri artisans on the fringe of Daghestan, this elaborate antique embroidered Kaitag displays a formal medallion decorated with symbolic figures.
Featuring an intricate all-over pattern in brilliant yellow, this Indian textile piece makes a dramatic statement.
Created circa 1900, this antique, handwoven shawl features a magnificent quatrefoil medallion decorated with writhing floral motifs and stunning silvery details.
Woven in Italy, this velvet textile piece features a repeating floral pattern set over a burgundy field.
This lovely John Kachel antique American Ingrain carpet has a lovely allover design of leaves, rosettes, and flowers repeating symmetrically across the soft ivory ground.
In the tribal tradition, this Uzbek textile features bold colors and woven ikat patterns.
Featuring a Pierre Olofsson work, this vintage velvet tapestry is an op-art masterpiece with dynamic colors and abstract forms that create tantalizing illusions.
This incomparably lovely antique Dalmatic or liturgical vestment from the Hapsburg period in Austria has a graceful design of naturalistic foliage sprawling gently across an ivory ground.
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