Member Program: Social Fabrics: Inscribed Textiles From Egyptian Tombs

Textile fragment with embroidered script in a straight line
Tiraz textile fragment (detail), 922-923. The Textile Museum Collection 73.17. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1931.


The Harvard Art Museums’ exhibition Social Fabrics: Inscribed Textiles from Egyptian Tombs looks at “tiraz” – highly prized textiles enhanced with woven, embroidered or painted Arabic inscriptions – to trace the structure of medieval Egyptian society during a transformative period. It reveals a story as interwoven and complex as these delicate objects themselves.

Join curator Mary McWilliams as she discusses her research for the exhibition, which includes five tiraz artworks from The Textile Museum Collection.

About Mary McWilliams

Recently retired from the Harvard Art Museums, Mary McWilliams has worked in a variety of museums, including The Textile Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Gallery and the Negarestan Museum in Tehran, Iran. She studied art history at Wellesley College and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. Reflecting her primary areas of interest, McWilliams’ lectures, exhibitions and publications focus on the decorative arts of the Islamic world, especially textiles, ceramics and lacquer. Recent exhibition catalogs include Technologies of the Image: Art in 19th-century Iran (2017) and In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art (2013).

How to Participate

This program is for museum members and will take place on Zoom. If you are already a member, please register online, and we will email you the Zoom link and instructions. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST). If you are not currently a member, you can join or renew online.

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