Frist Art Museum showcases rarely seen textiles from the famous Asian art collection

The Frist Art Museum presents Weaving Splendor: Treasures of Asian Textiles from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, an exhibition of Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Persian and Turkish textiles from one of the most important collections of Asian art in the United States. United . Organized by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the exhibition will be presented at Frist from October 7 to December 31, 2022.

Crafted with precious materials, innovative techniques and stunning artistry, Asian textiles have been an integral part of global commerce for centuries. Whether woven from cotton, linen, silk or wool, each textile in Weaving Splendor tells an intricate and fascinating story that takes visitors on a journey along trade routes across continents and across the time, from the fifteenth century to the present day.

“This exhibition provides a rare opportunity for our audience, as these extraordinary treasures are not often displayed due to their fragile and light-sensitive nature,” said Trinita Kennedy, Senior Curator at the Frist Art Museum. “Our guests will not only gain a deeper understanding of the various historic textiles on display, but they will learn how Asian traditions are practiced and kept alive today, including by artists from our own community through gallery demonstrations.”

With over 65 objects organized thematically into five sections, Weaving Splendor explores the diverse purposes for which Asian textiles were created, including for use as clothing, furniture, gifts and commercial goods. Formal court dresses made in Imperial China and Japan signified rank and status within the governmental hierarchy, while striking costumes from Japanese theatrical traditions and Chinese operas brought characters from illusory worlds to life on stage. Textured velvets and refined furniture coverings define and transform interior spaces. In a recreation of a 16th-century Persian royal tent, guests are enveloped in beautiful silk velvet adorned with flowers and royal hunting scenes.

A section devoted to the major role played by Asian textiles in diplomatic exchanges and world trade features Indian pashmina shawls and chintzes and Persian carpets, including one commissioned as a gift by a shah to a pope around 1600. in the Islamic world were highly prized. in Renaissance Europe. This spectacular example remains in excellent condition, suggesting that it could have been displayed on a wall or table rather than trampled on,” says Kennedy.

The exhibition ends with modern and contemporary textiles from China, Japan, India, Pakistan and Turkey. In some regions, traditions were revived by non-governmental organizations and dedicated patrons and artists, while art forms such as carpet weaving continued in other regions uninterrupted. In the 21st century, Asia has regained its position as the world’s leading textile producer.

In addition to the experiential learning activities in the Martin ArtQuest Gallery, Weaving Splendor is complemented by an educational gallery with illustrated reference books, a place for guests to reflect and react, and a space where contemporary artists from fiber will talk and show their processes. A schedule of live demonstrations will be updated on and also available on a touch screen in the gallery.


Curatorial Insights: Textile Treasures from Asia in the Splendor of Weaving

Thursday, October 6

6:30-7:30 p.m.


Free; first come, first seated

Presented by Ling-en Lu, Curator of Chinese Art; Kimberly Masteller, Jean McCray Beals Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art; and Yayoi Shinoda, Assistant Curator of Japanese Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The world has always looked to Asia for luxury textiles. In this special presentation on fine textiles and clothing from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, you’ll have the opportunity to see why. Join curators Nelson-Atkins Ling-en Lu, Kimberly Masteller and Yayoi Shinoda for an in-depth look at some of the lavish textile treasures from across Asia featured in Weaving Splendor.

You will be introduced to works ranging from intimate objects worn on the body, to objects that define and enliven interior spaces, to dynamic costumes that support narratives in performances, to symbol-laden objects that communicate power and wealth. Each of these works reveals a fascinating story, including a golden robe made for a Chinese prince of the Qing Dynasty, a silk carpet created by the ruler of Persia as a gift to the Pope in Rome, and monumental Japanese tapestries produced for Western consumption. around the turn of the 20th century.

Mildred D. Field