Velvets and Silks in historical Tyrol (1000 – 1914)

The European Textile Academy is organising a travelling exhibition “Velvets and Silks in historical Tyrol”, in Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino. This exhibition, in conjunction with the exhibition hosts and influenced by the cultural and historical events which occurred during that historical period, provides insight into works of textile art that were created in those places and which are international today. Indeed as from the 11th century, the dominant political classes, monarchs and clergy incentivised an economic developmental model based on the art and culture of textiles.

The specific location of historical Tyrol, which acted as a link between the cultures to the north and south, made the area a natural hub for the textile trade and crafts at the European level. Both the artistic and craft textile creations acted as inexhaustible sources of information and in fact we have two questions at this point: where did the ideas and technical production know-how come from and how did the local culture and ambitions of the designers develop? The changes in social structures as well as the improved economic conditions, at least for those in power and the aristocracy, during the Middle Ages encouraged the populace to improve their own clothing and living space.

In the High Middle Ages, finely crafted fabrics were reserved for the clergy and the aristocracy; the uniqueness of these materials, together with their preciousness, stemmed from an artistic assembly of high-quality fabrics finely decorated in gold and precious stones.