The BMA's fine collection of more than 5,000 textiles spans nearly 2,000 years and features examples of needlework, quilts, laces, furnishings, tapestries, costumes, accessories, wallpaper, and needlework tools from America, Europe, India, Japan, China, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Central Asia. These works are displayed in thematic rotating exhibitions in the Museum's Jean and Allan Berman Textile Gallery.
Recognized for its diversity, the collection ranges from ancient Coptic fragments to innovative late-20th and 21st-century Japanese fabrics. Highlights are excellent representations of printed and woven textiles by William Morris; important late 19th- and early 20th-century fabrics by artists such as Alphonse Mucha, Léon Bakst, Raoul Dufy, and Ruth Reeves; beautifully handcrafted Japanese Buddhist priest robes, and elaborately decorated Chinese dragon robes; as well as a celebrated collection of Toiles de Jouy, including numerous examples by the renowned Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf.
Famed Baltimore collectors Claribel and Etta Cone, serious collectors of antique textiles as well as modern art, donated 800 textiles to the BMA, including nearly 400 laces spanning five centuries. The Museum also boasts an important collection of needleworks, coverlets, and quilts, including superb examples of the world-renowned Baltimore Album Quilts.
The collection is expanding to include contemporary textiles, such as those of Jack Lenor Larsen, and Reiko Sudo, chief designer of the Japanese company NUNO, which is well known for innovation in fabric design.