Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Something Unexpected - Day Two

Today, as I compared my robe to several other pieces at the IQSCM one particular thing stood out - color! Now both pieces - one garment, one more similar to a table runner - feature half square triangles that are hand pieced together. The unique thing is the use of similar colors of silk. Both pieces have orange, dark red, several shades of blue, green, gold, and a light tan. The combinations when set off by a navy ground or border are extremely striking. We know these two pieces come from different areas SW China and Tibet, but I think both makers chose their fabrics carefully, choosing what would be pleasing to the eye.

- Amanda Lensch

Chinese double-sided black work looks much like American counted cross stitch. It would require exceptional eye sight and nimble fingers.

Baby carriers are made by young girls before marriage. Some girls buy finished pieces at market and assemble them at home. Might be similar to a quilt kit?

- Ruth Walker

How amazing it was today to see an image in the book "Chinese Dress" (by Valery Garrett) of the Qing Dynasty’s Prince Chun II wearing a waistcoat, an "informal black hip-length jacket," that appears to be an exact match to the one I am studying from the IQSCM collections.

- Anna Rolapp

Is it a “Quilt”?

By definition a quilt is three layers hand or machined quilted together with a distinctive pattern of quilt stitching through all layers. Right? Well, what I discovered today is I’m working with an object that isn’t a quilt but the top layer of a Chinese bedcover or, to use the French word, a duvet cover. (See “translations of “duvet”)

In the world of quilt research it’s important to agree on terminology. This piece would have a back fabric to form a pocket, then be filled with other warmth-adding materials, before it became a bedcover. But because the three layers are not stitched together, it’s not a “quilt!"

Is it a nice hand appliquéd object? Yes. Is there a foundation piece that the appliqué is attached to? Yes. So, technically, it is not a quilt. Right?

We must agree on our definitions before we can full research an object. Wow, a whole new world is right at my fingertips.

- Dottie Evans

Today's afternoon was spent comparing other textiles -- quilts or other things -- to our study pieces. Marin provided me with some of her own personal objects, brought home from her China travels -- a baseball-style cap, a bookbag, and a jacket, all from her travels in 1992 and she brought in a vest (adorable!) she purchased for her little boy during our May trip. She also sent me pictures from a quilt accessioned into the collection of the Denver Art Museum (DAM) in the early 1990s.

If you put images of all these pieces together, WOW! They all have a similar flavor. In fact two blocks in the study quilt and that of the DAM are as much alike as they could possibly be without being identical!!! WOW!

However, the most fun and interesting was taking a block from the recently acquired Bai Jai Bai quilt (my study piece), made in 2013, and comparing it with a block from the older Bai Jia Bei (“Hundred Families Quilt”) that we received from Xi'an Jiaotong University Art Museum. The older one was made approximately 30 years ago in the Chinese tradition for a new baby.

Setting these blocks side by side -- very different -- very much the same -- very interesting!! WOW WOW WOW!

- Cindy DeLong

Check back tomorrow for the results from Day Three of Something Unexpected.

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