Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Room 5 | Textiles gallery

Explore the beauty and variety of Eastern Art objects on display in the Textiles gallery.

Textiles gallery


'From outside the house-gates they heard Circe, the Goddess with the comely braided hair, singing tunefully within by the great loom as she went to and fro, weaving with her shuttle such close imperishable fabric as is the wont of goddesses, some lively lustrous thing.'

(Homer, The Odyssey)

Textile making is one of the oldest technologies. The earliest evidence for loom weaving goes back to about 7000 BC, but twisting and knotting yarn into ropes and nets was practiced much earlier.

Textiles are easier to transport than ceramics and glass. As trade items they have had a key role in the transmission of design and technique.

They can be appreciated as works of art in their own right. But our understanding of textiles is enhanced if we know about their historical and social role, and when we understand something about their making.

Clothing is more than protection from the elements. It is identified with gender, age, status, and cultural identity.


Objects may have since been removed or replaced from a gallery. Click into an individual object record to confirm whether or not an object is currently on display. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis, so contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular Eastern Art object.

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