Textile and Costume Collection

The seventeen thousand items in the Textile and Costume Collection are mainly from Europe, but several other continents are well represented. They embrace many periods of textile art and textile production techniques. Historical technical devices also feature in the collection. The earliest items making up a coherent group are Coptic textile fragments. There is a remarkable and quite substantial collection of medieval and early modern chasubles, and the embroidery collection embraces a vast array of European patterns and is particularly strong in úrihímzés – embroidery by Hungarian noblewomen from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. Old tapestries are small in number but of outstanding quality, and there are a large number of modern tapestries from the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century. The largest section is of European woven silks from the thirteenth to the nineteenth centuries, mainly samples and fragments, which are of particular interest to textile specialists. The lace collection covers nearly every type of needle and bobbin lace. The department also holds the world’s second-largest collection of Ottoman Turkish rugs (after the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art in Istanbul). Among them are the fine “Transylvanian” rugs named after the region where many of them were held. There is also a remarkable collection of Iranian, Caucasian, Turkmen and European woven and knotted carpets.