Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port. Textile Society of America's 15th Biennial Symposium. Savannah. GA. October 19-23. 2016.


Copyright 2016 by Dr. Sumiyo Okumura.

Revised & updated January 2018.


Velvets are one of the most luxurious textile materials and were frequently used in furnishings and costumes in the Middle East, Europe and Asia in the fifteenth to sixteenth centuries. Owing to many valuable studies on Ottoman and Italian velvets as well as Chinese and Byzantine velvets, we have learned the techniques and designs of velvet weaves, and how they were consumed. However, it is not well-known where and when velvets were started to be woven. The study will shed light on this question and focus on the origin, the historical background and development of velvet weaving, examining historical sources together with material evidence.