From gods and monsters to palatial splendours,
feast your eyes on the rich colours
and thrilling patterns of the exotic East.
It takes a very special image to make the cut at Surface View, but when we came across these gems in the Ashmolean we fell instantly and completely under their spell. Eclectic, exotic and ethereal, the colour-infused collection is an absolute treasure trove, and provides a window into a fascinating sweep of history and the spread of decorative influences from the East.
Amongst the treasures, a wealth of beautiful textiles fragments feature richly embroidered geometric patterns dating from the 10th Century. You can see why they were such a hit with Western aesthetes. By the late C19th and early C20th centuries, when Europe’s interest in traditional Indian and Islamic textiles was reaching its peak, this rich source of inspiration was like a shot in the arm for European decorative arts and found expression in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement.
At Surface View we’re thrilled by the possibilities and the potential for these works to be interpreted afresh to create dramatic contemporary interiors. We also love the Oriental imagery featured in the collection; the C19th Japanese woodblocks and Chinese prints which run the gamut from vibrant theatricality through delicate serenity. Immerse yourself in the East with our Ashmolean collection.