30 Gorgeous Photos of Traditional Textiles

A kaleidoscope of fabrics from across the globe.

In many parts of the world, textiles are a vital element of culture. Sometimes they have ancient stories woven into their patterns. Sometimes they incorporate rare natural fibers. Sometimes they’re produced using millennia-old methods passed down along generations. And other times, they’re just really pretty.

But as cheap mass-produced fabrics flood local markets around the world, there is a growing devaluation of textile arts. And because it’s becoming more and more difficult to make a living from textile work, artists are passing away without passing down their knowledge while younger generations pursue more lucrative industries.

This collection of photos showcases a sampling of the most beautiful traditional textiles from around the globe. This is an art in desperate need of preservation.

(above) Saris, New Delhi, India

Woven Blankets, Urubamba, Peru

Kente Weaving, Ghana

Indonesian Handwoven Textiles, Bali, Indonesia

Woven Cloth, Mexico

Tartan Plaid Wool Fabric, Nova Scotia, Canada

Inca Patterns, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Vintage Angelo Testa fabric, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California

Meghwal Veil, Bhirandiara, India

Textiles, Otavalo, Ecuador

Knit Jacket, Oakland, California

Hand Embroidery, Germany

Traditional Textiles, West Timor, Indonesia

Kimono Fabric, Kyoto, Japan

Handmade Textiles, Lakiya, South Israel

Woven Textiles at De Ploeg, Netherlands

Kazakh Rug, Mongolia

Wool Throw, Liverpool, England

Wet-Felted Merino Wool, Norway

Handwoven Silk Ikat, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Silk Scarves, Bursa, Turkey

Handmade Textiles by Narda Capuyan, Philippines

Cath Kidston Retro Fabrics, London, England

Hand-Stamped Silk Batik, Java, Indonesia

Handwoven Wool Termeh, Yazd Province, Iran

Silk Kimono, Japan

Traditional Fabric Patterns, Ghana

Handwoven Scarf, New Jersey

Tie Dyed Fabrics, Baishah, China

Woven Sock, Wales

Tela tipica, Guatemala


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Jessica Marati

Jessica Marati currently resides in New York City and covers travel and sustainability for EcoSalon. Catch her weekly column, Behind the Label.