Currently on Display - The Silk Road
Exhibition Dates and Hours:
January 22-March 15, 2024
M-F, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. & Thursday evenings in February from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
Special hours for March 14, 2024 for Five Nights on Campus: Open until 9 p.m.
Monday, January 22, 12:30 p.m.
About the exhibition
Examine the textiles that gave the Silk Road its name, and travel across the trade routes that connected the cultures of Afro-Eurasia for centuries. The Silk Road exhibit weaves together the brilliant colors and feather-light textures of silks from China, India, the Islamic world, and Europe, telling the story of silk and the history of movement across empires and time. Historic textiles, jades, and jewels from the 1400’s to the present illuminate the origins of commerce and connections in the Old World and provide design inspiration for today. Featuring luxurious gowns, religious banners, brocades, saris and the designer fashions of Oscar de la Renta and Dior.
The textiles, jewelry, and gemstones featured in The Silk Road exhibit are on loan from The Ohio State University’s Historic Costumes and Textiles Collection, the Orton Geological Museum, and the Department of History. Donated by private collectors, Ohio families, the government of Uzbekistan or collected directly by Ohio State faculty and curators, the materials in the exhibit tell a wide-ranging visual story about the origins of the Silk Road and cross-cultural commerce across Afro-Eurasia. Jades from China and Southeast Asia, incense from the Mideast, and precious stones collected by the famed seventeenth-century gem-trader and diamantaire, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, in his journeys across Asia and the Islamic world showcase the non-textile materials that circulated on the Silk Road. Exquisite silk textiles from the late medieval to modern periods from the entire geographic expanse of the trade routes map the spread of silk technology and design across the globe. The ethics of Orientalist collecting in the colonial period are also explored in a reproduction of images of looted art from the cave walls of the Buddhist grottoes of Mogao, China, and in a replica of the Hope Diamond, the largest remnant of the most infamous of the Tavernier gems of Indian origin, Louis XIV’s Blue Diamond.