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Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning: Defregger Carpets and Textiles of the Alpine Region

Multicolored striped carpet


We invite you to join independent researcher Peter Bichler for an online discussion on the use, production, and trade of the unique Defregger textiles from the Alpine region of Tyrol. Bichler will also briefly share recent research on leather and lace textiles from the same region.

About the Program

In the remote Alpine region of Tyrol, located between northern Italy and southern Germany, warm clothing, blankets, covers, and carpets were essential for survival. Items like the Defregger carpets also became lucrative trade goods transported through Alpine passes to the far corners of Europe. Defregger blankets and carpets were primarily made of sheep's wool, goat's hair, and linen, with as many as 16 colors used in one carpet. They were used in stately urban residences and in churches and monasteries as altar ceilings. At the height of production in 1840, weavers in the region made as many as 25,000 carpets in a single year. In bringing these goods across Europe, the Tyrolean itinerant traders, especially Defregger carpet merchants, accumulated great wealth and reputation.

About Peter Bichler

Peter Bichler was a founding member and president (1998–2012) of the Austrian Society for Textile Art Research.  In addition to lecturing internationally, Bichler has organized symposia and conferences on ethnographic textile arts and oriental carpets in cooperation with various museums. He was a contributing editor for HALI magazine. For over ten years Bichler has been a member of the Executive Committee of the International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC), and he is presently the chair of its International Committee. He first shared his research on Defregger carpets at the September 2019 ICOC tour “Carpets and Collections in the Alpine Area.”

How to Participate

You can register for this program online. Space is limited, so we encourage you to sign up early. After you register, we will email you a link and instructions for joining our program online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (11 a.m. EDT). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.  

Our regular attendees know that Rug Mornings typically include a show and tell of textiles brought in by participants. In order to simulate this experience virtually, we invite you to submit high-resolution photographs of pieces from your personal collection that fit our theme. Please send your images to us at [email protected] by Thursday, September 24, to be considered (keep in mind that we may not be able to accommodate all submissions). Please include information about where your piece was made, its approximate age, and any interesting details, and indicate if you would like your name to be mentioned.

About Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings

Collectors and experts discuss textile topics and display examples from their personal holdings. You are invited to sumbit related pieces to share during the program. This series is named in honor of late Textile Museum trustee emeritus, Harold M. Keshishian. Browse upcoming programs