‘The Cloth That Changed The World’ Opening At The Ro


TORONTO: For the first time in 50 years, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)’s a world-renowned collection of Indian chintz will be presented to the public in a new original exhibition opening September 12, 2020.

The Cloth that Changed the World: India’s Painted and Printed Cotton celebrates the technical mastery, creativity, and far-reaching influence of India’s vividly painted and printed textiles, from the early origins of dyeing and weaving to the artisans working today.

On display in the Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, through to Fall 2021, this extraordinary exhibition presents 20 recognized masterworks alongside 10 new acquisitions
and rare loans from prestigious world collections.

“India has given the world many extraordinary fashions, but none so influential as its painted and printed cotton, known as Indian chintz,” says Dr. Sarah Fee, the exhibition’s lead curator, and the ROM’s Senior Curator, Global Fashion & Textiles.

“These coloured and patterned textiles shaped global human history, art and industry in ways that continue to influence us even today.”

The exhibition also explores the consequences of global consumer desire for the textile, from its role in inspiring Europe’s Industrial Revolution and the intensification of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, to present-day environmental concerns.

Set to open in April 2020, The Cloth that Changed the World was put on hold while the Museum was closed due to COVID-19.

It is generously supported by Exhibition Patron ROM Friends of Textiles and Costume & Burnham Brett Endowment Fund. Also on display is Florals: Desire and Design, in the European Special Exhibitions Gallery on the third floor, which examines the connection between Indian chintz, Europe’s decorative arts and the birth of botanic science.


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