Turkish Rugs on Tudor Walls: 16th-Century Trade between England and the Islamic World
Five hundred years ago, Protestant England, newly estranged from Catholic Europe, forged lucrative trade, diplomatic and cultural relations with the Muslim powers of Eastern Europe, Anatolia, North Africa and Persia. By the late 1500s, few prosperous English homes lacked Ottoman carpets, silks, ceramics or tapestries. These goods, as well as domestically produced versions of them, later found their way into English daily life. Yet, as much as the English admired the sumptuous wares, the island nation wrestled over doing business with peoples it often deemed "heathen." This exhibition examines that fundamental attraction and ambivalence.