Textile Collection History

Textile Collection History

The Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection began in 1987, when David Lyman chose to decorate the firm’s previous offices at the Tilleke & Gibbins Building and Tonson Building with traditional Southeast Asian textiles. The offices’ interior of gray marble walls, gray carpeted floors, and gray furniture became an excellent backdrop for showing off the traditional and natural colors of lac red and indigo blue, the two predominant colors of mainland Southeast Asian ethnographic materials.

The acquisition of 78 rare textiles of museum quality from northeastern Laos four years later changed the initial objective of using textiles as permanent office decoration to creating a collection of textiles to preserve culture and educate the public.

Today, the Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection has multiplied from the original number of 50 to over 2,000 textiles, representing both majority and minority groups from all mainland Southeast Asian countries, with a small group from Indonesia.