In the 17th and 18th centuries, a passion for the printed cotton fabric known as chintz sweeps across Europe. This unprecedented craze for a material and its exotic motifs will influence society, the economy and fashion for almost two centuries. The exhibition describes in detail the key role played by many Swiss in this highly profitable industry. This ground-breaking exhibition is a journey through the history of chintz, from its origins in India to its many European imitations. Masterpieces from the finest Indian workshops and the most famous factories in France and Switzerland unlock the secrets of chintz manufacture and tell the fascinating inside story of a trade that flourishes far and wide, ultimately creating the first global product.
Used for both clothing and furnishings, these printed cloths bearing designs by talented artists are revealed in all their extraordinary variety, with everything from floral and bucolic motifs to literary and musical subjects such as The Marriage of Figaro. Sometimes they also reflect current events – the first balloon flights or the storming of the Bastille – but above all they serve as a currency of exchange in trading.