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Textile Department

The Textile Department contains about 36,000 various objects of decorative, applied and folk art. Сhronologically, the collection covers the period from the late XVII century to our days. Most of our exhibits are from the XIX and XX centuries.

Its scope is extremely wide: it ranges from the ethnographic material to modern authored works. Artistic value is the main criterion for their selection.

The existing system of dividing funds into sections is as follows: the costume fund, the embroidery fund, the weaving fund, the printed textile fund, the lace fund, the carpet and tapestry fund, the decorative textile fund, the beads fund.

Surely, this structure is formal enough, but it facilitates work to collect, systematize and keep extensive artistic material.

From its first days, the museum actively conducts field studies, and it resulted in the inflow of costumes, samples of peasant embroidery and weaving from different regions of Russia to our funds.

Purchases of the objects of decorative, applied and folk art from private owners and collectors play a significant role in the growth of our collection. Textile as an object of collection was interesting for quite a limited circle of connoisseurs, so the names of collectors interested in it are especially valuable for us.

The museum keeps a part of the famous collection of artistic textile gathered by N. L. Shabelskaya (1841–1904), transferred to our museum as a gift from France in 1991 by our former compatriot P. M. Tolstoy-Miloslavsky. This name of the famous owner of the largest collection of decorative and applied art from the XVII – XX centuries, the largest in pre-revolutionary Russia, is comparable in its significance to the names of such patrons as P. M. Tretyakov, P. I. Shchukin, I. A. Morozov, A. A. Bakhrushin.

Our funds also contains silk textile from the collection of N. N. Sobolev (1874–1966), a famous teacher who studied applied art and authored books on the history of Russian printed cotton and textile; a considerable part of the folk embroidery gathered by ethnographer, archeologist, and art historian N. N. Klein (1888–1972); silk textile, samples of needlework and beads from the collection of the Russian painting and decorative and applied art belonging to N. V. Rudnev (1896–1987).

In 1980s – early 1990s the museum conducted work to create the collection of authored costume and authored textile of the 1960–1980s which was transferred to our museum from the Art Fund of the RSFSR, from the Artists Union, and from Scientific Research Institute of Art Industry.

Annual exhibitions organized by the Textile Department under the common title of the Golden Autumn aroused great interest, they reflected main trends in the development of contemporary tapestry and decorative textile. Besides that, the department held personal shows of textile and fashion designers. The best works by contemporary authors who participated in our exhibitions and the exhibitions held outside our museum formed an important part of our collection.

The textile collection formed by the efforts of several generations of art historians and keepers of the former Museum of Crafts is among the biggest. It includes samples of the peasant household needlework from the XIX – early XX centuries, monastery, manor and urban needlework from the XIX – early XX centuries, beads products from the first half of the XIX century. It also represents the textile of the peoples living in Russia, in the former Soviet republics, such as lace, hand block printing, traditional costumes of various Russian provinces from the XVIII – early XX centuries, and the products of contemporary local crafts.

Our collection of beads and, partially, of needlework is based on the collection of N. Ya. Davydova and M. F. Yakunchikova who organized embroidery, weaving and carpet workshops in Tambov and Kaluga guberniyas, and cooperated with Ye. G. Mamontova in Abramtsevo, their collection was transferred to the Museum of Crafts in 1919.