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The show

One of the greatest empires in history, the Persian one, influenced by many different cultures but strong with a well-rooted identity, has been for centuries among the most important textile centers in the world: some documents attest to a high-level silk production in Iran since the eleventh century and, albeit with alternating phases of great flowering and decline, the activity continued until the mid-nineteenth century.

The most important centers for the production of the precious fabric were Yazd, Kashan, Isfahan and Tabriz, where the family businesses that followed the whole process of silk manufacturing were concentrated: from here all the fabrics destined for the production of precious objects and clothing departed. in every corner of Persia and beyond.


The MAO Museo d'Arte Orientale preserves in its collections a wide selection of these fabrics and the need to periodically put them to rest now allows us to show some of them that have been kept in the deposits for some time: this new selection of artifacts, along with others on temporary loan from Palazzo Madama, it will find space in the Gallery dedicated to Islamic art from the countries of Asia starting from 1 October and will be visible until September 2021.


Among the pieces on display, two fragments of nakshe are striking (from naqqash, which means “design”), a dense silk embroidery on canvas characterized by a floral design arranged in diagonal bands. With such embroidered panels were made the pants of Iranian women, brightly colored, voluminous on the legs and gathered at the ankle, as we see in the Persian miniatures of the first half of the nineteenth century.

Particularly valuable is a fragment of fabric dating back to the 15th-16th century, decorated with scenes from the love story of King Chosroes and Princess Shirin narrated by the famous Persian poet Nizami (1141-1209). Very rare, it bears poetic inscriptions that enhance the beauty of the fabric itself, declaring "There has never been a more beautiful fabric. One could say woven with the threads of your soul ”.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Via San Domenico, 9-11
10100 Torino


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