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THE history of textiles is the history of human ingenuity. From the very earliest needles of 25,000 years ago to the techno textiles of today, they have been fundamental to existence, but also enjoyed, prized and valued by every culture. Many of the materials, techniques and forms used in ancient times remain in use today, both as essential aspects of production in many regions of the world and as ingredients in textile arts. Silks from China, ikats from Indonesia, cottons from India, tapestries from Flanders, the ravishing appeal of different weaves, dyes and patterns was the motivation for trade and the exchange of ideas.

A textile curator and consultant for English Heritage and the National Trust, Mary Schoeser’s ten-chapter book presents a chronological survey of textiles around the world from pre-history to the present day, exploring what they are made from, how they function in society and the ways in which they are valued and given meaning. T&H’s World of Art series includes the most densely researched art books on the market and this book is one for makers, collectors, designers, and all textile and fashion professionals.