Start . 2012
Duration . 54 months
Principal Investigator . Jessica Hallett (CHAM)
Main Research Unit
CHAM — Centro de Humanidades
Portugal’s museums, churches and private institutions house very fine and diverse collections of textiles: Indo-Portuguese embroideries; Iberian, Indian and Chinese textiles; Islamic and Portuguese carpets; Flemish tapestries; and even important reliquary finds. Research has ranged from collating inventories to conducting material, stylistic, iconographic and archival studies, with the aim of placing these objects in their historical, artistic, technological and socio-cultural contexts. Cross-cultural influence observed at diverse levels has been a major focus of study owing to Portugal’s rich maritime history and extensive overseas contacts, extensive overseas contacts from Japan to Brazil. Interdisciplinary collaboration has also gained increasing prominence as an accepted method of research.
A group of conservation scientists is currently developing important work on the analysis and characterization of dyes, which is providing useful data for identifying the geographical origins of the raw materials and finished textiles. As a result, we are now in a position to begin tracing the global circulation of these objects in the context of the Portuguese and European Overseas Expansion, from the 16th century onwards. Chemical analysis has also provided a new impetus for studies in textile conservation and the development of improved treatments, especially for carpets made of silk and wool as well as for precious metal threads, thus enhancing our capacity to preserve this rich heritage for future generations.
Jessica Hallett . Coordenator