A theory of the textile arts is notably lacking from the narrative of western art history. This absence is surprising in light of the great esteem for textiles in medieval and early modern European material culture. The present volume questions the reductive modern paradigm of painting and extends the canon of media in contemporary academic practice. Authors seek to reconstruct a neglected historical textile discourse from visual and literary sources and to weave a historical picture of a self-aware, but hitherto particularly taciturn medium of art. This book exposes meanings of the textile in early modern visual arts and literature from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives. As the collection of essays suggests, the textile – understood as a material, a medium, a technology or a metaphor – is a hybrid notion reaching far beyond the woven object, permeating and interlacing a vast swath of the history of culture and the arts. It participates in an increasing interest in crossing methodological borders within and beyond our discipline and in developing towards a general history of cultural artifacts.