The Centre International d’Etude des Textiles Anciens (CIETA) is an international association founded in 1954 to encourage and promote research into historical textiles. Its seat is in Lyon (France), at the musée des Tissus, and its official languages are English and French.
Members are either institutions (museums, specialized libraries, university departments or other research units) or individuals (professionals in the research and preservation of historical textiles, namely museum curators, conservators, university professors and independent scholars). Currently, about 450 members represent 30 countries world-wide.
Since the CIETA’s foundation its members have sought to establish a precise terminology for the tools, processes and structures of silk-weaving. Since the 1950s they have published a number of vocabularies, each focusing on one particular language, with the definitions of the terms listed and their equivalents in a set of other languages.
The CIETA also offers Technical Courses, during which the participants learn to understand the construction of woven textiles, to use the appropriate terminology, and to represent the construction of a fabric in a weave diagram.
Over the years, CIETA members have prepared a substantial number of precise descriptions – the so-called “dossiers de récensement” – of historical textiles. These documents are available for study at the Centre de Documentation of the musée des Tissus in Lyon by prior appointment.
Every other year, the CIETA invites its members to an international congress whose programme follows a general theme. The congresses are held in different cities, usually at the end of September or the beginning of October. They provide a platform for the exchange on research projects and an opportunity to discover textile collections and discuss objects and approaches.
A selection of congress papers are published in the Bulletin du CIETA. Members regularly receive information on textile exhibitions, publications, conferences and other activities related to our field of research.
Prof. Dr. Birgitt Borkopp-Restle
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