Harpies, Mermaids, and Tulips: Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region

Harpies, Mermaids, and Tulips: Embroidery of the Greek Islands and Epirus Region included approximately seventy embroidered textiles created between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries for bridal trousseaux and domestic life. The textiles on display were from island groups located in the Ionian and Aegean seas surrounding the Greek mainland, and from the Epirus region on the western Greek coast. While the geographic area where these textiles were made is relatively small, the pieces are incredibly diverse in design, structure, and function. The exhibition explored how and why people living so close together produced such divergent styles of embroidered textiles, offering a unique window into Greek island societies at the intersection of two worlds: the Latin West and Ottoman East. Objects included colorfully-embroidered bed tents, bed curtains, large covers, and pillows, as well as handkerchiefs and embroidered panels from women's clothing. All of the textiles, except for two loaned objects, were from The Textile Museum's collections. Many were collected by the museum's founder, George Hewitt Myers, in the early part of the twentieth century. The exhibition was accompanied by a full-color catalogue.