The history of textile arts is also the history of international trade. Tyrian purple ("imperial purple") dye was important in the ancient Mediterranean. The Silk Road brought Chinese silk to India, North Africa, and Europe. In many countries, laws controlled who could buy and wear fine textiles. This was because they were a symbol of social class and status.
The Industrial Revolution started a revolution of textiles technology: the cotton gin, the spinning jenny, and the power loom mechanized production. The mechanisation of hand work was opposed by the Luddite rebellion.
- Gillow, John, and Bryan Sentance: World Textiles, p. 10-11
- Barber, Elizabeth Wayland: Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years, p. 42-70