Embroidered Blouse from Peshawar, Pakistan

Pitt Rivers Museum


Talks                                  Visits to Collections

Exhibition Tours                 Show and Tell


Members can access our online events using the same password for the current year's magazine

New event!


10 December 2020

at 6.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Travellers in the Great Steppe – Nomads and their Textiles

A Talk by

Nick Fielding

Nick Fielding will speak about his new book Travellers in the Great Steppe: from the Papal Envoys to the Russian Revolution. In addition to some of the wonderful travellers’ tales he has uncovered about these remote and under-explored regions, he will also talk about representations and descriptions of nomadic textiles published in accounts of their journeys.

Nick Fielding is a journalist and author. As well as working on the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday, he has travelled extensively in Central Asia, southern Siberia and Mongolia over the last 40 years, both on horseback and on foot. His book South to the Great Steppe: the travels of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson in Eastern Kazakhstan 1847-52 was published in 2015. He writes the blog Siberian Steppes and is a previous editor of OATG’s Asian Textiles.

Registration will open about 4 weeks before the event via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG paypal account. Tickets for non-members will be avialble from the 20th of November 2020.

The Zoom- link for the event will be send to registered attendees.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: Book cover.


Tuesday, 26 May 2020


at the V&A in London

This event has been cancelled.

Introductory Talk

to the Exhibition


Kyoto to Catwalk

A Talk by Project Curator

Anna Jackson

On 29 February, the V&A will open Europe’s first major exhibition on kimono. The ultimate symbol of Japan, the kimono is often perceived as traditional, timeless and unchanging. Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk will counter this conception, presenting the garment as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion.

The exhibition will reveal the sartorial and social significance of the kimono from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and in the rest of the world. Rare 17th and 18thcentury kimono will be displayed for the first time in the UK, together with fashions by major designers and iconic film and performance costumes. The kimono’s recent reinvention on the streets of Japan will also be explored through work by an exciting new wave of contemporary designers and stylists.

Highlights of the exhibition include a kimono created by Living National Treasure Kunihiko Moriguchi, the dress designed for Björk by Alexander McQueen and worn on the album cover Homogenic, and original Star Wars costumes modelled on kimono by John Mollo and Trisha Biggar. Designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Rei Kawakubo and John Galliano will reveal the kimono’s role as a constant source of inspiration for fashion designers. Over 315 works will be featured, including kimono especially made for the show, half drawn from the V&A’s superlative collections and the rest generously lent by museums and private collections in Britain, Europe, America and Japan.

Please note that spaces for this event are limited. Booking via Eventbrite will open in mid-April. You will need to book your ticket for the exhibition separately. For more information on the exhibition click here.

Image: Outer-kimono for a young woman (uchikake), 1800 – 30, probably Kyoto, Japan. © Image Courtesy of the Joshibi University of Art and Design Art Museum, 2204-36

The recording will be available for members soon.


21 October 2020

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Cloth that Changed the World:

A New Exhibition on the ROM’s collection of Indian Chintz

A Talk by

Dr Sarah Fee, Senior Curator, Global Fashion & Textiles (Asia and Africa) at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

For the first time in 50 years, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)'s world-renowned collection of Indian chintz is being presented to the public in a new original exhibition. Lead curator Dr. Sarah Fee will share highlights from the exhibition and discuss its wider narrative arc that traces 750 years of global trade in, and desire for, this most-influential of India’s trade textiles, from medieval times to the present. She will also share the challenges of bringing the exhibit to fruition during this time of global pandemic.

Sarah Fee is Senior Curator, Global Fashion & Textiles (Asia and Africa) at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (ROM). She holds degrees in Anthropology (Grinnell College, BA, Oxford University, MSt) and African Studies (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, PhD). She joined the ROM in April 2009 where she is responsible for the museum’s collection of 15,000 textiles and fashion from Asia, Africa, and eastern Europe. In addition to Madagascar, where she did her doctoral research, she focuses on the textile arts of the wider western Indian Ocean world.

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG paypal account.

The Zoom- link for the event will be send ca. one week before the event to registered attendees.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: Indian Chintz from the ROM Collection.

*Please note that the Ashmolean Museum open but currently not holding any group events. For an interactive exhibition visit have a look here.

Guided Tour of the Exhibition


8th- and 19th- Century Greek Embroideries

with Exhibition Curator

Dr Francesca Leoni and Textiles Conservator

Sue Stanton

Through a selection of highlights from the Ashmolean Museum  collection, this exhibition explores the visual richness and technical sophistication of 18th- and 19thcentury Greek embroideries, as well as their debt to the many artistic traditions that flourished around the Mediterranean.

For more information on the exhibition click here.

Image: EA2004.6 © Image Courtesy of the Asmolean Museum, University of Oxford


*This Event is now cancelled.


Four centuries of Japanese and Indonesian textile connections

A Talk by

Dr Maria Wronska-Friend

The exchange of textiles between Japan and Indonesia was initiated probably in the 17th century by the Dutch traders who, until 1868, had a monopoly in the trade with Japan. As the trade goods used to be dispatched from the ports of Java, at times textiles destined for Indonesian markets were sent to Japan where they became highly treasured goods, incorporated into local dress or used in the tea ceremony. At the same time, at least from the beginning of the 19th century, residents of Java highly treasured Japanese katagami fabrics brought to Batavia as a return cargo from Nagasaki.

Japanese fascination with Indonesian textiles, especially batik, continues until today with at least a dozen of workshops on the northern coast of Java specializing in the production of batik kimonos, obi and silk fabrics decorated with a fusion of Japanese and Indonesian motifs. The talk will be illustrated with examples of contemporary batik fabrics made on Java for Japanese customers.

Dr Maria Wronska-Friend is an anthropologist and museum curator. Her research interests include textiles and garments of Southeast Asia in global perspective, in particular cross-cultural transfer of textile technology and aesthetics. She gained her PhD at the Polish Academy of Sciences focusing on Javanese batik technique in European decorative arts in 1890-1930. Since 1992 she is associated with James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, where currently she is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow.

Unfortunately due to travel restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus outbreak Maria Wronska-Friend is unable to travel to the UK from Australia. As a consequence, we are sorry to announce that her talk Kimono and Sarong. Four centuries of Japanese and Indonesian textile connection on April 16th has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule the talk for a later date this year or next year.

We will also be reviewing other planned events as this unprecedented situation develops over the coming weeks.

Image: Hand-drawn batik on silk made in 2018 in Yogyakarta, Central Java, for the Japanese market. Private collection.

Postponed to 2021.

Book Talk

A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing

with author

Dr Rachel Silberstein

A plethora of embroidered and trimming ornament – ribbons, borders and appliqued motifs piled onto jackets, robes, skirts, trousers, and accessories – was the defining characteristic of late Qing fashion. This trend was ultimately caused by the growth in commercial workshops which produced textile handicrafts in greater volume and for greater numbers of consumers than ever before, widening access to fashionable techniques, materials, and design. Despite the importance of these commercial workshops, both to dress production and local economies, they have received little attention from dress and art historians more interested in imperial design and constructing an idealized view of genteel ladies sewing their own dress.

This talk examines the expansion of commercialized dress and embroidery production during the late Qing period. With a focus on Suzhou, the center of fashionable dress production and embroidery, it shows how this city benefitted from the Gu embroidery trend, and how the expansion of commercial embroidery created networks of urban guilds, commercial workshops and subcontracted female workers. Though little attention was paid to these workers, objects of fashion reveal much about women’s participation—as both producers and consumers—in the commercialization of textile handicrafts. By reading objects of clothing and accessories from museum collections alongside pattern-books and advertisements, we will see how embroidery shops and accessory producers sought to brand and market their wares, and in turn, what these efforts tell us about the conflict of gender values inherent to the commercial production of dress and embroidery.

Rachel Silberstein is a historian of visual/material culture and gender in early modern China, with a particular interest in fashion and textile handicrafts. She earned a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford (2014). Previously ACLS / Henry Luce Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Rhode Island School of Design, she is currently a lecturer at the University of Washington. Her book, A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing, published with the University of Washington Press, combines texts and objects to investigate how handicraft commercialization changed women’s engagement with fashion during the mid-late Qing period. She has also published research on Qing fashion in the journals Fashion Theory, Costume, and Late Imperial China.

Image: Figure 1.2. An anonymous family portrait of four generations of a Manchu family in late Qing Beijing, ca. 1853. Ink and mineral pigments on paper, 185.5 × 384 cm. Mactaggart Art Collection (2007.23.1), University of Alberta Museums. Gift of Sandy and Cécile Mactaggart. (detail)

The Oxford Asian Textile Group programme includes talks, events and visits on a variety of textile-related topics. Lecturers are from the UK as well as overseas specialists visiting England.

Talks are usually held at either the Education Department of the Ashmolean Museum or at the Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.

OATG talks are free for members and £3 for non-members.

For more information or programme suggestions, please contact

© 2020 by The Oxford Asian Textile Group.

Gujarati block print

Newberry Collection, c.1900

Ashmolean Museum