Thursday, April 18, 2013

Expanding Our International Collection

By Marin Hanson
Curator of Exhibitions

One reason why this research trip to Xi’an is so exciting for us at IQSCM is that our collection currently does not have any pieces from northwest China (Xi’an is in Shaanxi Province, on the edge of the less populated, far western portion of China). But we do have many excellent examples of patchwork and quilting from other parts of the country.

One of our collection’s strengths is ethnic minority quilt covers from southwest China. Members of the Maonan, Buyi, Yao and other minority groups make applique and patchwork bedcoverings, of which we have many representatives, like this one from Guangxi Province.

Many southwestern Chinese ethnic groups also use patchwork, quilting, and applique to construct elaborate garments, as well as utilitarian objects like baby carriers and diaper pads.

One beautiful costume example is this quilted Miao jacket.

Ceremonial objects, like this rare and visually impressive Longpo Yi, or “Dragon Wife’s Robe” from the Yi people of Yunnan Province, are also sometimes made with patchwork.

The Longpo Yi is used during funeral processions and is worn by a female descendent of the recently deceased.

We are looking forward to learning about patchwork from a different part of China--Shaanxi Province--and to adding new examples to our collection.

Marin Hanson is the Curator of Exhibitions at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She holds undergraduate degrees from Grinnell College and Northern Illinois University and earned her MA in museum studies and textile history with a quilt studies emphasis from UNL. She is currently pursuing doctoral research on cross-cultural quiltmaking practices, with particular emphasis on China and the United States.

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