Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning: Sea Change: Ottoman Textiles From 1400-1800

Detail of a textile depicting a bouquet of red, blue and white flowers on a gilt ground within a scalloped medallion with a whit
Loom-width "kemha" (detail), Istanbul, 1575-1600. The Textile Museum Collection 1.50. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1951.


During the Ottoman Empire, the sale and exchange of silks, cottons and woolens generated immense revenue and touched every level of society. As attested by surviving objects, trade with Italy, Iran and India was supplemented by both extraordinary and mundane textiles exchanged within the empire. Based on her recent book, Sea Change, Amanda Phillips offers a brief history of the Ottoman textile sector, arguing that the trade's enduring success resulted from its openness to expertise and objects from far-flung locations.

This virtual talk begins with a massive silk hanging made for Sultan Bayezid I (r. 1389-1402) and ends with a velvet floor covering made in the 1700s. Using weave-structure and visual analysis of surviving objects, Phillips will consider textiles as objects of technological innovation and artistic virtuosity. She will also highlight the ability of textiles to transform in the hands and on the bodies of their consumers, taking on new meanings and sometimes agency of their own.

This program is a partnership with the New England Rug Society and the Hajji Baba Club.

About Amanda Phillips

Amanda Phillips is associate professor in the Art Department at the University of Virginia. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, a master's from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies from Oxford. She has held Fulbright and NEH fellowships in Turkey and Max Planck and Marie Curie Fellowships in Berlin and Birmingham, where she wrote her first book (Everyday Luxuries, 2016). Her second monograph, Sea Change (UC Press, 2021) was short-listed for the Shep Prize awarded by the Textile Society of America.

How to Participate

You can register for this program online. After you register, we will email you a link and instructions for joining online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (11 a.m. EDT / 8 a.m. PDT). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included. 

About Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings

Collectors and experts discuss textile topics and display examples from their personal holdings. This series is named in honor of late Textile Museum trustee emeritus, Harold M. Keshishian. Browse upcoming programs