|[Detail view: 16th-century Chinese embroidered silk coverlet from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1975.]|
Notice how Eastern and Western motifs are intermingling throughout the design? Most iconically Chinese are the dragons, flowering branches and other flattened, stylized blossoms, but take a second glance and you'll see figures dressed in European garb. Textiles that combine aspects of multiple cultures -- whether it's a specific technique, theme or style preference -- and thus have a design story to tell, too, will be the focus of The Met's upcoming fall exhibition Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 opening September 16 and continuing through January 5, 2014.
During the Elizabethan era, cloth was a major part of maritime trade and, as the Museum points out, was sometimes used as currency. Ideas were transmitted from continent to continent via textiles, a bit like designs are shared today by instagramming and pinning. See a gorgeous 18th-century hybrid here.