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Exhibition “Expedition Mittelalter”

As one of the programme points during the Textile Forum, we went on an excursion to see the special exhibition “Expedition Mittelalter” at the Schnütgen-Museum in Cologne. If you can arrange it, I heartily recommend going there, as you will get treated to a lot of beautiful things usually buried in the archives. This includes, obviously, textiles.

Among them: a puzzling (at least to me!) embroidery of a horse or unicorn on a black (yes, black) linen background, dated to the 15th century. An incredibly beautiful reliquiary bag embroidered with silk in counted stitch and with a flat gold strip (also puzzling, because I have no real idea on how that strip was stitched in, and oh what would I give to see the back of that thing!). Plus a plethora of other textiles. Oh, and the Anno chasuble – a samite cloth dyed with real mollusc purple, dating to about 1000.

As opposed to most special exhibitions in German museums, in this case all the objects are from the hosting museum’s own archives, and so you are allowed to take photographs for private purposes (no flash and tripod, so come prepared with a steady hand).

The only downside is that there is no catalogue. There’s a comic book that you can complete with a kind of treasure hunt during the exhibition, which is nice and fun in its own way, but nothing even remotely helpful if you’re trying to learn more about the individual objects. But yes, that’s the only downside, and the pieces themselves are really making a visit worth its while.

The exhibition will run until January 28, 2018, so there’s still a bit of time to travel there.

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One Response to Exhibition “Expedition Mittelalter”

  1. Heather says:

    The cartoon makes a nice reminder of a couple of things and treasure hunts however simple allow viewing from a different angle, especially if otherwise there is so much that it could all become an overwhelming wash. Sadly, the artist wasn’t briefed on how the textiles were made: there’s a handsewn tapestry developing through the pages.

    A proper catalogue containing photos and details would have been good.

    Where else can you see a fly invading a church or Gabriel smoking?

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