Connecting cultures, the painted cottons drove the spice trade in Southeast Asia, drew Europeans to India, caused riots in Paris, and ultimately gave rise to the Industrial Revolution, spreading as they did a universal design vocabulary.
In the current issue of ROM Magazine (Spring 2017), Sara Fee writes about Painted Cottons – Painted And Printed Textiles That Changed The World. (Read the article here.) In a few short sentences, she turns history upside-down, and reminds me why museums are so important!
In our increasingly technocratic society, we are being cajoled, hectored and assailed on all sides to INNOVATE, and we forget how much we owe to our forebears. Museums show us again and again that the past is present, and the stories they tell us are our human capital. Shame on us if we don’t re-invest it!
Lewis Lapham often cites this pithy quote from Goethe:
He who cannot live on [at least] three thousand years is living hand to mouth.