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'Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles' at the Textile Museum

The Textile Museum goes green with an exhibit of 18 pieces that offer a glimpse into cultures that valued their fabrics so highly that they would continuously repurpose them until the cloth became too threadbare to use.



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The Texile Museum's new exhibit "Second Lives: The Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles" explores the link between environmentalism and fabric creations. This 16th- or 17th-century piece, the cover of a religious book known as a sutra, shown at bottom, was fashioned from a statement-making garment: a silk-and-gold badge emblazoned with a lion, at top. Such symbols, generally worn on the front and back of one's clothing, signified the wearer's ranking in society based on the animal they wore. The lion was at the top of the heap, so that badge probably belonged to a high-ranking military officer.

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View a culture . . . out of whole cloth
Article | With the advent of hybrid cars and green-building certifications, eco-friendly living seems increasingly widespread. Yet when it comes to textiles - clothes, curtains, bedspreads - being fashionable means frequent closet purges and trips to the mall.

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