International Report

compiled by Dominique Cardon, International Advisor to the Board of

TSA Editor’s note: Dominique Cardon inaugurates a column featuring museums, research centers, and associations concerned with textiles outside of North America. Contributions from fellow textile artists, producers, and researchers are welcome and should be sent to: 

This introduces an international scholarly association; two academic centers of textile research in Europe; two European museums with important textile collections; a museum and an association dedicated to natural dyes in Asia; and a sister newsletter in Australia. The international section lists pending events these groups are hosting.


The Museum of Natural Dye Arts, Daegu, South Korea

Director: Prof. Kim, Ji-Hee

A year-long celebration marks the tenth anniversary of this beautiful, privately owned museum dedicated to traditional uses of natural dyes in Korea, with all of the collections on display. Tour groups can experience hands-on dyeing at the museum.



Earth Network, Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

Director: Hisako Sumi

Founded in 1994, Earth Network is an NGO. The organization’s objectives are: to preserve the indigenous dye-producing flora and fauna as well as natural fibers of Japan; to study, maintain and develop Japan’ s cultivated dye-plants, animals, and dyeing techniques; and to share knowledge and materials concerning dyes and pigments internationally.

Earth Network members cultivate dye-plants including three different species of indigo-plants, Japanese madder and murasaki Lithospermum erythrorhizon, and analyze pigments and bacteria. They collaborate with the Pharmacy Department and the Silk Laboratory of the University of Hokkaido. They hold annual workshops in their branches in different parts of Japan, keeping detailed research notes on the results.




The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research, Copenhagen, Denmark

Director: Professor Marie-Louise Bech Nosch, CTR

The Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research (CTR) organizes seminars, conferences, and courses in textile history at all academic levels. CTR is located both at the SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen and at the National Museum of Denmark. The primary focus of the CTR until 2016 is the connection between textiles, environment, and society in the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. This is explored via two research programmes with sub projects and affiliated PhD projects. The director, Marie-Louise Nosch, works with project managers Ulla Mannering and Eva Andersson, both archaeologists, and Karin Margarita Frei, geochemist and archaeologist. CTR’s scientific mission is to promote, expand and consolidate textile research in the academic world.



The Department for the History of Textile Arts, University of Bern, Switzerland

Director: Professor Birgitt Borkopp-Restle, PhD and The Werner and Margaret Abegg Endowed Chair for the History of Textile Arts Within the Institute of Art History, the Department for the History of Textile Arts offers specialized MA and PhD programs in “Art History, with Special Qualification in the History of Textile Arts”. Lecture courses and seminars aim at acquainting students with the history of silk weaving, embroidery, tapestry, and costume from the Middle Ages to the present day, addressing specific questions and problems related to these arts and to individual objects. The courses also consider the relationship between textiles and other applied or decorative arts and discuss the roles of different objects in the framework of interior space and of liturgy and ceremony. Research projects address numerous topics, for example textile production, the use and significance of textile objects in artistic and political contexts, the repertoire and transfer of patterns, and the role of textiles in exchange between cultures.

A close cooperation with museums dedicated to the decorative arts and the textile arts in particular is intended to offer students opportunities for intensive study and appreciation of original objects. Excursions to public and private collections, church treasuries, and palaces are a regular part of the department’s activities.

In order to characterize scholarly research on the textile arts as a dynamic process in which students are encouraged to participate, the Department for the History of Textile Arts pays special attention to embedding new and ongoing research discourses in seminars, lecture courses, and excursions. As the classes are also open to students of the four other art-historical departments of the Institute at Bern University, dedicated respectively to the History of Architecture, Medieval, Early Modern, and Contemporary Art, the study program also takes an active part in reintegrating the textile arts into the subject area of art history.

For admission to the MA program, a BA degree in art history is required. Students should be able to follow courses in German and read English and French. Papers and MA theses may be written in English and a number of other languages.



The Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France

Director: Stéphane Martin

Consisting of nearly 30,000 objects including archaeological fragments measuring a few centimeters to architectural elements such as nomadic tents from Asia or Africa as well as traditional costumes, the Musée du quai Branly textile collection positions the museum among the leading reference institutions in this field. About 300 pieces are on display, covering four geographical areas. Textiles are fragile materials particularly sensitive to light and infestations, hence rotations or exhibition renewals are planned annually, allowing visitors to appreciate the richness of this corpus. The collection was essentially formed from field gatherings performed during the nineteenth century. Donations and acquisitions continue to enrich it. The museum also boasts a large set of archaeological pieces from Peru, covering most of the cultural and geographical areas of this country. Results of classification and systematic study should be available soon.


Contact:, Christophe Moulherat, Scientist in charge of analyses of the textile collections, Department Patrimoine (heritage ) and Collections, Centre for Conservation/Restoration

Textile Collections and Research at Katoen Natie, Antwerp, Belgium

Katoen Natie, an international logistics service provider and port operator, is home to a collection of about 1400 textiles and 700 textile related objects from antiquity displayed in five galleries. The largest gallery, called the Tunic Gallery, shows 20 complete late Roman or “Coptic” tunics as well as a collection of shoes, sandals, hairnets, and two Fayum portraits. Additional highlights include a large Egyptian textile fragment of a linen mantle, radiocarbon dated (14C: 2010-1770 BC, 95.4% probability) and a sandal made from plant fiber 14C dated to the same period (Middle Kingdom). The gallery of early Islam and the Silk Road contains large fragments of carpet knotted with the Turkish knot (dated twice: 14C: 760-400 BC, 95.4% probability).

The institute conducts research on these artifacts examining types of textiles, the construction of tunics, dye analysis, especially if unusual dyes were suspected, such as Murex purple (4 pieces), Indian lac, and cochineal. Radiocarbon dating was performed on more than 200 textiles, socks, shoes, and sandals. The collections can be seen by guided tour, by appointment only.

Contact: phone: 0032 32216811



Australian Natural Dye Newsletter

This is a useful link with Australian artists and designers working with natural dyes, managed by Jane Suffield.




Centre International d’Etude des Textiles Anciens/International Centre for the Study of Ancient Textiles—CIETA, Lyons, France

katoen natie

President: Dr. Birgitt Borkopp-Restle, Professor, Department of History of the Textile Arts, Institute of Art History, University of Bern, Switzerland

CIETA, founded in 1954, is an international, scholarly association of museum curators, textile conservators, and researchers in the history of textile arts: woven textiles, tapestry, embroidery, lace, costume, and others, from archaeological finds to modern works of art. This world-wide network of over 400 members is administratively based in the Musée des Tissus in Lyons. Every odd year CIETA members meet for a three-day congress to present and discuss recent studies, followed by excursions organized to discover local and regional textile collections and gems of the host city.

CIETA offers specialized courses, sessions techniques, that introduce participants to the technical analysis of woven textiles. Sessions are held in Lyon and consist of two sequences of two weeks each, normally over two subsequent years. The sessions techniques are open to members and non-members, but as they are much in demand and the number of available places is limited, those who wish to attend usually wait two years or so before they can be admitted.

Each June and December the CIETA Gazette informs members of developments within the association, current and upcoming textile exhibitions, conferences and workshops, recent publications, and new research projects. The Bulletin du CIETA regularly publishes in-depth studies, mostly developed from papers presented during the congresses.

The CIETA Vocabularies present the technical terminology used in the description of woven textiles with precise definitions in a number of languages: French, English, German, Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.

CIETA has a substantial number of institutional members, namely museums in Europe and the United States holding important textile collections. Libraries wishing to receive and provide access to the CIETA publications are welcome as subscribing members.


Contact: Lyon office,; President,