Damask, silk fabrics, embroidery and lace (no clothing) are all part of the Rijksmuseum’s enormous collection of flat textiles. Together with tapestries and interior textiles, it counts around 10,000 objects. The damask collection contains about 3000 pieces in all styles and for all kinds of uses, including many napkins and tablecloths. For example, there are fragments of a tablecloth embellished with the biblical story of Susanna: a technical tour de force woven in a fine satin weave for the Egmond-De Lannoy family around 1530.
Silk fabrics dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century represent a strength in the collection. Like velvet materials, they were used not only in interiors, but also for clothing or, for example, as a covering on a coffin. The textiles’ origins range from Persia and Morocco to Italy, England and France. Eighteenth-century French silk fabrics in the majority.
Holdings from Egypt provide an overview of Coptic textiles from the 3rd to the 8th century. Furthermore, there are fine examples of oriental influence on Western fabrics, such as the batik cloth by the 19th-century Dutch decorative artist Lion Cachet.