The Middle East Galleries will contain a case featuring rotating collections of textiles, thanks to support from the Coby Foundation (see “The New Penn Museum: Transformation Update”). In particular, the Museum holds two remarkable textile collections that will be showcased. The first, from the 16th and 17th centuries, includes extraordinary luxury fabrics like NEP6 (at right), with cut velvet and gold-wrapped thread in intricate floral patterns. These silks were last on view at the Penn Museum in 1918 and are on par with collections like that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Secondly, the Museum also holds fascinating Turkmen textiles from the 19th century, like the silk frock, hats, and boots at right. These and other objects for daily use were collected by Museum representative Zelia Nutall, who traveled to Russia in 1896 for the coronation of Czar Nicholas II. These objects have never been displayed.