TRC Blog: Textile Moments

American Quilts: 200 years of dedicated recycling

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Modern American quilt with scalloped edge. Size: 234 x 204 cm (TRC 2018.3133).

Modern American quilt with scalloped edge. Size: 234 x 204 cm (TRC 2018.3133).

Sunday, 30th December 2018: Gillian Vogelsang, director TRC, announces a new exhibition at the TRC, to be opened in February 2020.

Almost four hundred years ago, in 1620, a group of 102 English Protestant Puritans left the town of Leiden where they had found refuge some ten years before, and sailed via Plymouth in England, on board the Mayflower, to Massachusetts in America. The Pilgrim Fathers, as they were to be called, are traditionally regarded as the founders of the United States. A daughter of two of the Pilgrims, namely Myles and Barbara Standish, has become famous for producing the first extant embroidery sampler in the USA, commonly known as the Loara Standish sampler. For more information on this physical link between Leiden and the Pilgrims, see the entry in TRC Needles.

To mark the 400-year anniversary of the Massachusetts settlement, in 2020, Leiden is organising the Mayflower 400 programme with a series of exhibitions, theatre productions, sports meetings, and many other events. For more information, see https://www.visitleiden.nl/nl/ontdek-leiden/specials/pilgrim

As part of the Mayflower 400 programme, the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden will be setting up an exhibition and series of workshops about two hundred years of American quilt making. This has been made possible by the recent donation of over fifty American quilts and quilt tops by Mrs. Sherry Cook and others. Examples of quilts dating from the 1830’s to the present day will be on display. A series of lectures on (American) quilts and quilt making will accompany the exhibition. There will also be practical workshops, during which various technical aspects of quilting will be explored.

The exhibition is being organised in conjunction with Sherry Cook from Washington state, USA; Susan Cave (New Zealand/The Hague) and Beverley Bennett (UK/The Hague).

   

Ties to history. A new TRC exhibition for 2020

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Statue of one of the soldiers in the tomb of the Chinese Emperor Shih Huan Ti (d. 210 BC), wearing a neckband. President Donald Trump's name is shown on a tie label in the background, advertising Trump's fashion line of ties (incidentally, made in China).

Statue of one of the soldiers in the tomb of the Chinese Emperor Shih Huan Ti (d. 210 BC), wearing a neckband. President Donald Trump's name is shown on a tie label in the background, advertising Trump's fashion line of ties (incidentally, made in China).

TRC volunteer, Loren Mealey, writes on Thursday, 3 January 2019:

In our twenty-first century, fashion appears to change every week. A man’s necktie, however, is an accessory that has endured social and cultural transformations for hundreds of years.

The traditional Western necktie has ancient antecedents and forms. The earliest representation of a piece of cloth or another material tied around the neck is a cloth worn by the first emperor of China, Shih Huan Ti, who died in 210 BC.  The accessory was depicted in his mausoleum in Xian, along with 7000 images of his warriors, meticulously carved in terracotta, and each wearing a neck cloth.

In Europe the large ruffs worn by men and women from the mid-sixteenth century for over a hundred years became iconic items in paintings of royalty and affluent merchants. Then came bandanas, bands, bolos, cravats, steinkirks, rabats, ties and all sorts of variations. But from ancient China to the red carpet of fashion shows, this men's wear accessory is consistently associated with identity, power and status.

Lees meer: Ties to history. A new TRC exhibition for 2020

   

Black and gold dissent collar

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Package containing miniature Black and Gold Dissent Collar, USA 2018 (TRC 2018.3367).

Package containing miniature Black and Gold Dissent Collar, USA 2018 (TRC 2018.3367).

TRC volunteer Shelley Anderson tells:

A recent donation to the TRC reflects some very interesting social history. The object is a small gold plated necklace (TRC 2018.3367), sold on the internet by a group called Dissent Pins. It is a stylized version of a black and gold jabot (a detachable collar, usually of lace) worn by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the US Supreme Court.

Appointed in 1993 Ginsburg was only the second woman appointed to the US Supreme Court. She joined Sandra Day O’Connor on the nine-member court. Both women realized they had a problem. "I didn't know anybody who made robes for women justices, and I think most of what was available was something like a choir robe or an academic robe," O’Connor said. She decided to wear a black robe that she had worn earlier as a judge.

She was criticized for looking like a “washed-out judge” and for not wearing some sort of judicial collar underneath the robe. "You know, the standard robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie," Ginsburg said. "So Sandra Day O'Connor and I thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman. So I have many, many collars."

Justice Ginsburg now owns dozens of jabots that she wears with her robe. She is given them as gifts, such as the French lace jabot gifted by the University of Hawaii, decorated with beads from a beach; or the white tatted jabot made by an admirer, who proudly published Ginsburg’s thank-you on the Internet. Her favourite is a simple white beaded collar from Cape Town, South Africa.

The 83-year-old Justice, known for her strong feminist legal opinions, is also famous because her collars are not just accessories. When she is giving a majority opinion she wears a light yellow collar, given to her by her law clerks. Her ‘dissent collar’, when she takes a stand against the majority opinion, is a black and gold embellished jabot. She wore this to Court the day after Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. This made her even more of a popular icon.

Her ‘dissent’ collar has been made into enamel pins and stickers, like that in the TRC collection; she’s been the subject of films, comedy skits and a rap song. Wearing a version of her black robe and lace collar is popular as a Halloween costume across the US, with its own Instagram account (#notoriousrbg).

Monday, 10 December 2018

   

Changes in the TRC Board

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Prof. Lammert Leertouwer, painted by Marike Bok.

Prof. Lammert Leertouwer, painted by Marike Bok.

Gillian Vogelsang, director TRC, writes on 15th December 2018:

At the last meeting of the board of the Textile Research Centre, on Friday 14th December 2018, the chairmanship was passed on from Prof. Lammert Leertouwer to Prof. Barend ter Haar Romeny. Lammert Leertouwer, the former Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, has led the board from 2006 onwards and has been an invaluable help in the building up and rapid expansion of the TRC. Our heartfelt thanks to Prof. Leertouwer for all his support over the years. Fortunately, he has not resigned from the Board, and we hope that he will remain involved and keep giving us his advice for many years to come.

The chairmanship has been taken over by Prof. Bas ter Haar Romeny, who already was a board member of the TRC and who is Professsor of Ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern History, Free University, Amsterdam.

 

 

   

Drawing of the TRC premises

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Drawing of the TRC premises along the Hogewoerd in Leiden.

Drawing of the TRC premises along the Hogewoerd in Leiden.

The TRC received a lovely ink drawing of the outside of the TRC premises, in the old heart of Leiden. The drawing was made by Matthew Hill, the husband of Heidi Hilliker, who participated in the October Intensive Textile Course.

The TRC can be found along the Hogewoerd in the ancient city of Leiden. The street used to be, many centuries ago, part of the dyke along the Rhine river.

The TRC is housed in a building dated to c. AD 1850, and used to be the stable block for a hotel at the back, along the Rhine river. This hotel, at the Utrechtse Veer ('Utrecht  Ferry') catered for travellers between Leiden and Utrecht, by 'trekschuit' (horse-drawn barge).

Matthew, many thanks !

   

Lecture about Zilu looms, by Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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At the international conference on the history of hand looms and the various types of looms, at the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou (China), on 31st May of this year, dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, director TRC, gave a talk on the zilu looms from Iran. She studied these enormous vertical looms beteeen 1998 and 2001 in Iran, and collected various examples of zilu floor coverings. These are characterized by the use of two colours, and designs that appear on both sides of the woven cloth. Technically, they are weft-faced compound tabby weaves, the history of which in Iran and the Midddle East goes back for at least two thousand years, but their origin may be placed in Central Asia or China. The lecture can be viewed here..

   

A participant from Serbia tells about the TRC Intensive Textile Course of November 2018

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Draginja Maskareli from the Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade, Serbia, attended the TRC Intensive Textile Course in November 2018. She wrote the following blog:

Thanks to generous support of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia and the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade, I had the opportunity to attend the five-day Intensive Textile Course at the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden, held in November 2018.

Lees meer: A participant from Serbia tells about the TRC Intensive Textile Course of November 2018

   

The Feestrok, again

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Photograph showing Mrs. Boissevain and a Feestrok, January 1949 (TRC 2018.3323).

Photograph showing Mrs. Boissevain and a Feestrok, January 1949 (TRC 2018.3323).

The TRC recently received a photograph that was taken in New York in January 1949 and shows Mrs. Adrienne M. (Mies) Boissevain - van Lennep (1896-1965). She was the driving force behind the campaign, set up after the war, for Dutch women to make and wear patchwork skirts that symbolised the liberation of the country from German occupation. In January 1949 she embarked on a lecture tour in the USA. In the photograph she proudly shows an example of a Feestrok.

One of these 'Feestrokken' is housed in the TRC collection (TRC 2011.0001a), and in the past the TRC has paid ample attention to the Feestrok and its symbolic meaning. The British journal Selvedge published an article on the subject in June 2018 (download here). The photograph adds another dimension to the visual story of the Feestrok as presented by the TRC. See also an article in TRC Needles (download here).

The back of the photograph carries the following text:

"Dutch woman to lecture for world peace. New York: Mrs. Adrienne M. Boissevain, founder of the National Skirt, a women's organization in Holland whose members wear patchwork skirts as symbol of unity and world harmony, arrives aboard liner Westerdam, Jan. 17. Her home in Amsterdam served as underground headquarters during German occupation. She is in U.S. for lecture tour, as part of crusade for world peace. She lost her husband at Buchenwald."

   

Clothes Make the Nation

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National festive women's costume designed mid-19th century by the Icelandic painter, Sigurdur Gudmundsson.

National festive women's costume designed mid-19th century by the Icelandic painter, Sigurdur Gudmundsson.

Shelley Anderson, TRC volunteer, recently visited Iceland. On Sunday, 21st October, she writes:

A visit to the National Museum of Iceland  in Reykjavik is a must for anyone who loves textiles. While there is no specific section devoted to textiles, the museum’s third floor houses the permanent exhibition “Making of a Nation: Heritage and History of Iceland”. Some beautiful examples of costumes, altar frontals, ecclesiastical clothing and domestic textiles are scattered throughout this display.

Two costumes struck me in particular, as they illustrate the close connection between dress and identity. The first is a pre-1860 ensemble that was considered the national festive dress for women. Called faldbuningur, it includes a high white headdress with a multicoloured silk kerchief; another silk neckchief (dated to 1780-1800); a jacket worn over a sleeveless bodice, both of black, woollen broadcloth with embroidered borders; a velvet belt, with a large white handkerchief in drawn thread technique hanging from it; and a blue broadcloth skirt and apron.

Lees meer: Clothes Make the Nation

   

More about American quilts and the TRC

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Sherry Cook and Adrian Pratt, with Gillian Vogelsang, at the TRC, 12th October 2018

Sherry Cook and Adrian Pratt, with Gillian Vogelsang, at the TRC, 12th October 2018

On Saturday, 13th October 2018, Gillian Vogelsang writes:

Since August 2018 we have had an exhibition called ‘Sherry’s American Quilts’ on display at the TRC. It includes over twenty quilts  and quilt tops donated by Sherry Cook. It is a gentle exhibition with some lovely items dating from the 1830’s onwards.

A few days ago we had the great pleasure of actually showing Sherry and her husband Darwin around the exhibition. They have come all the way from their home near Portland, Oregon (USA), to hand deliver another group of quilts, which they have donated to the TRC. These ‘new’ quilts date from the 1840’s to the present day (compare TRC 2018.3121TRC 2018.3127; TRC 2018.3118) and represent many aspects of American history and cultural heritage, as well as changing artistic tastes and textile technology.

Lees meer: More about American quilts and the TRC

   

Hanging by a sleeve

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Beverley Bennett sewing on sleeves for the quilts (TRC October 2018).

Beverley Bennett sewing on sleeves for the quilts (TRC October 2018).

Beverley Bennett, a TRC volunteer, reports on her work with the American quilts recently donated to the TRC (Monday, 8th October 2018):

Sherry’s American Quilts is the current exhibition at the TRC and I have taken on the task of making ‘hanging sleeves’ for some of the quilts. Why is this necessary? Well, quilts were made for beds – mostly for the warmth that the three layers (top, bottom and some form of ‘padding’) provided. However, they soon became decorative objects in their own right.

Striving to be the best at making quilts led to competitions at County and State Fairs, where quilters would show their work and compete for first place and a blue ribbon – later there were larger quilt contests where cash prizes could be won. Today there are huge Quilt Shows with prizes for every category that you can think of.

Lees meer: Hanging by a sleeve

   

An intriguing Kashmir shawl with an Afghan connection

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Kashmir shawl, attributed to Mohammed Azim Khan, the Pashtun governor of Kashmir between c. 1813 and 1819 (courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, MMA x.103.4).

Kashmir shawl, attributed to Mohammed Azim Khan, the Pashtun governor of Kashmir between c. 1813 and 1819 (courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, MMA x.103.4).

Sunday, 16th September: Not many people may know this, but for many years Kashmir in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent was ruled by a series of Pashtun governors sent to the mountains of Kashmir from the Afghan/Pashtun capital in Kandahar or Kabul.

Pashtun rule started in the mid-eighteenth century and came to an end around 1820 when the province was captured by the Sikhs, who were rapidly expanding their realm from their capital in Lahore, now in northern Pakistan.

Not much is known about the period of Pashtun domination in Kashmir. But while preparing the Encyclopedia of Embroidery from Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau and the Indian Subcontinent (London: Bloomsbury 2019), we came across a Kashmir shawl now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA x.103.4). It measures 183 x 131 cm and was woven out of goat’s hair (pashmina). The Museum has dated this example to c. 1825. What is so exciting is a Persian text stitched onto the shawl, which reads (in English): ‘O Hoseyn; ordered by the most noble governor [nawab], Mohammed Azim Khan’.

The title of nawab was commonly used in the Indo-Iranian lands for ‘governor’. So who was ‘the governor’ Mohammed Azim Khan, who ordered this shawl? And yes, Mohammed Azim Khan Barakzai was indeed one of the last Pashtun governors of Kashmir, between c. 1813 and 1819. He was a younger brother of Fath Ali Khan Barakzai, the king’s vizier, who had obviously appointed his younger brother to the governorship in Kashmir. However, Fath Ali Khan was tortured to death (blinded, flayed and dismembered) in 1818 on the orders of the king, Shah Mahmud Sadozai. Upon hearing the news of his elder brother’s death, Mohammed Azim Khan left his position in Kashmir and managed, together with his many other Barakzai brothers, to oust Shah Mahmud and his Sadozai clan and take charge of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A few years later, in 1823, Azim Khan was defeated by the Sikhs at Nowshera east of Peshawar, and soon afterwards he died of dysentery in the Lataband Pass, just east of Kabul. His son, Habibullah Khan, succeeded him in Kabul, but he was soon pushed aside by his uncles. One of these, Dost Mohammed Khan, would by c. 1825 take charge in Kabul and gradually extend his control, until, by his death in 1863, he would rule almost all of what today we recognize as the republic of Afghanistan.

The Barakzai family would dominate Afghan politics until the communist coup of 1978.

Gillian and Willem Vogelsang, 16th September 2018

   

New acquisitions for the TRC collection

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Hand embroidered bride's dress from 19th century China, decorated with wisteria flowers woven in a delicate tapestry weave (TRC 2018.2840).

Hand embroidered bride's dress from 19th century China, decorated with wisteria flowers woven in a delicate tapestry weave (TRC 2018.2840).

Saturday 8th September. Gillian Vogelsang, director TRC, writes:

The last two weeks has seen a very diverse group of textiles and garments being donated to the TRC Leiden. These include nineteenth century Chinese garments, some of them for court officials, another for a bride, and also a number of Zoroastrian textiles and garments from Yazd in Iran and dating to the early 20th century (see below). The Zoroastrian garments are part of a donation by the Katayoun Keyani and Mehraban Bondarian family in America.

There is also a group of Peruvian hand knitted caps form the 1970’s (compare TRC 2018.2913). Some of these will appear in the TRC’s exhibition about hand knitting, planned for the autumn of 2019. And from the Indian subcontinent we received a donation of ralli quilts from Pakistan/western India, and these date from the 1960’s and 70’s (compare TRC 2018.2896, TRC 2018.2897, TRC 2018.2898 and TRC 2018.2899).

Lees meer: New acquisitions for the TRC collection

   

New quilt exhibition is up !

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Setting up the quilt exhibition

Setting up the quilt exhibition

The last few weeks have been dedicated to getting the TRC’s latest exhibition ready. It is called Sherry’s American Quilts and is a ‘thank you’ to Sherry Cook for donating over 25 American quilts, tops and related items. It runs from 20th August until the 18th October 2018. On Thursday afternoon we started to take down the feedsack exhibition, which was a sad moment as we all loved this colourful and intriguing exhibition. Then we started to put up the new display with initially 25 items, but it was increased to over thirty objects as we changed position, proposed order, colours, etc.

Work continued on Friday morning and then, all of a sudden, it was there! The right objects in the right place. Highlights? Well, there is a late nineteenth century velvet crazy quilt that is made of silk velvet in jewel colours. There is also a quilt with appliqué airplanes, a design that celebrates Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic in 1927 (click here). But perhaps the quilt that is causing the most comment is a blue/white pieced quilt with a Feathered Star design. It is believed that this quilt dates to the mid-nineteenth century, or possibly earlier. It is beautifully quilted and by itself worth coming to Leiden for. But there are other quilts to see, dating from the late nineteenth century to the 1950’s, as well as items that were worked and finished by Sherry and her Amish friends.

Gillian Vogelsang, Sunday 19th August 2018

 

   

Charles Lindbergh

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Detail of a quilt with airplanes, in commemoration of Charles Lindbergh's first solo-flight across the Atlantic, in May 1927, USA, late 1920s (TRC 2018.2627).

Detail of a quilt with airplanes, in commemoration of Charles Lindbergh's first solo-flight across the Atlantic, in May 1927, USA, late 1920s (TRC 2018.2627).

The TRC recently received another box with quilts from Sherry Cook in America, in preparation of the upcoming TRC exhibition 'Sherry's American quilts', which will open at 20th August and be on display until 2nd September.

One of the quilts (TRC 2018.2627), some two by two metres, has a patchwork top made out of blocks that are decorated with an appliqué design of an airplane. The quilt probably dates to the late 1920s. The design became popular after the historic and first solo and non-stop flight by Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic. The epic flight took place on 20-21 May 1927.

   

Marken garments in the TRC collection: Ways to wear, and how to name them

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Mengying Zhang, familiarly known as Eden, is a TRC volunteer and student at Leiden University. She has been helping with cataloguing the TRC Collection and getting to know and understand about the running of a small collection, the setting up of exhibitions, and how to come to grips with some of the many stories behind the objects. This is the second in a series of blogs she is writing about her work and the TRC collection.

She writes: I would like to bring your attention to a particular variant of Dutch regional dress, namely women's upper body garments from Marken, until recently an island in the province of Noord-Holland, in what is now called the IJsselmeer, and what used to be called the Zuiderzee.

The local dress of this village is one of the most famous regional dress forms in the Netherlands, because it has been kept and worn for centuries. My personal interest in these garments is the unique ways in which the garments are worn and their interesting structures. There are three types of upper body garment, namely the mouwen, het buisje and the borsik.

Mid-20th century mouwen from Marken (TRC 2014.0681).

Mid-20th century mouwen from Marken (TRC 2014.0681).

Mouwen

The mouwen are worn in the summer time, while the buisje and borsik are winter wear and are worn over the mouwen. The buisje and borsik are not worn at the same time! Twentieth century mouwen are normally made of white cotton flannel with characteristic, red striped sleeves. Mouwen generally have a high neckline. They are fastened down the front with small hooks and eyes.

Buisje made of wool and silk, from Marken, mid-20th century (TRC 2012.0285).

Buisje made of wool and silk, from Marken, mid-20th century (TRC 2012.0285).

 

 

 

 

 

Buisje

A buisje is a black or dark blue garment decorated with woven bands that can vary in forms of decoration. There are seven buisjes in the TRC collection and they are all made of felted wool. Three of them have vertical, thin, white smouwen tripes woven throughout the garment. The neck opening of a buisje is normally trapezoidal, with bands sewn around it.

Borsik in red woollen flannel, Marken, mid-20th century (TRC 2016.0715).

Borsik in red woollen flannel, Marken, mid-20th century (TRC 2016.0715).

 

 

 

Borsiks

Borsiks are made of a similar dark material as the buisjes, but some are made of red cotton flannel. The main differences between a buisje and a borsik lie in the shape of the neckline and the use of decorative bands sewn not only onto the neckline (as in the buisje), but also along the sleeve vents and the front opening. Many borsiks are also decorated with embroidered lines on their shoulders and front sleeve seams.

 

 

Terminology

These three types of garments are often called either a jacket or a bodice, which are terms derived from the West European urban dress system. However, these terms are not always suitable. First of all, I would not consider any of them as a bodice, because a bodice is properly speaking the upper part of a dress, while all three types of Marken garments are independent garments that only cover the upper body.

When considering the term ‘jacket’, only a buisje and a borsik are appropriate terms, because a jacket is worn as the outermost layer. However, the way the mouwen are worn is much too dynamic to match a term from of the West-European urban dress system, since mouwen can be worn as inner wear, as well as an outer.

We may ask ourselves why we feel the need to define garments from other dress systems on the basis of terms designed for and originating from the West European urban dress system? Mentioning a familiar term that shares similarity with the unknown element could improve the understanding of the unknown, but replacing or translating one term with another can cause misunderstandings or make certain meanings disappear.

Mengying Zhang, Saturday 4th August 2018

   

Horse riding and a Chinese silk skirt from Indonesia

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Chinese-Indonesian skirt, pre-1930s (TRC 2012.0077).

Chinese-Indonesian skirt, pre-1930s (TRC 2012.0077).

TRC volunteer Mengying Zhang writes:

I was looking for traditional Chinese garments at the TRC Leiden and found a skirt that combines elegance and horse riding. How intriguing! It is the 馬(ma)面(myan)裙(tsyun), or mamianqun, when spelled out in the Latin alphabet.

Long wrapping skirts have been worn by Chinese men and women under a long tunic for more than 600 years, up to the mid-20th century. The occasions on which  they were worn and their gender code have changed through time, and their form has slowly evolved. The skirt in the TRC Collection (TRC 2012.0077) is typical of a mamianqun and is made up of a series of overlapping panels with symmetrical pleats. At the centre front, a split is created by two identical panels that are attached to the skirt’s waistband. These two panels are separate from each other, but come together when the waistband is fastened. A second split is formed by wrapping and fastening the skirt around the wearer’s waist, leaving an overlapping area at the centre back. Meanwhile, the pleats lay symmetrically to the sides of the wearer.

Imagine how the pleats would swing with every movement of the wearer and bring into mind the general position of traditional Chinese women, we suggest that these skirts have an elegant aura!

However, there is much more to these skirts. A number of contemporary Chinese and non-Chinese researchers believe – based on excavations – that the symmetrical pleats and overlapping splits have very practical functions. Both elements were originally meant to make it easier to ride a horse. It is easier to bend the knees, and the splits allow the two side panels to hang along the horse’s back instead of piling up on it. We could therefore suggest that the horse riding elements of the mamianqun reflect the presence and influence of the horse riding societies along the northern borders of China, clearly attested in Chinese and Mongolian sources.

The skirt from Indonesia in the TRC collection was worn by a woman of Chinese origin. She may never have seen a horse, let alone have ridden one, but her dress reflects the age-long interchange between the Chinese and the northern nomads from Mongolia and beyond.

There are actually three of these skirts in the TRC collection, all of which feature not only traces of intercultural exchange, but also elaborate decoration and structure. Should you come to the Netherlands, do not hesitate to take a look at these amazing skirts in our collection and allow yourselves to be inspired!

Mengying Zhang, 30th July 2018

   

TRC volunteer completes MA course at Courtauld's.

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Multitasking: Reading a book on fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli while knitting a jumper from a 1940s pattern. Photograph: Nelleke Honcoop.

Multitasking: Reading a book on fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli while knitting a jumper from a 1940s pattern. Photograph: Nelleke Honcoop.

Nelleke Honcoop, a former TRC volunteer, writes about her MA studies in London:

In January 2016 I became a volunteer at the Textile Research Centre. Although my undergraduate course was in Religious Studies, I have long been fascinated by dress and textiles from the early twentieth century. As a young teenager, I enjoyed spending time at my grandmother’s attic rummaging through the late 1960s, early 1970s clothing worn by my mother and aunts when they were my age. I started to collect and wear clothing from these decades, and subsequently developed this love for dress from bygone times via the 1950s, 1940s, and 1930s, back to the 1920s...

Working as a volunteer at the TRC, I started to realise it is my vocation to continue in the field of dress and textile history. Therefore, I applied to a postgraduate History of Art course at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. The special option I enrolled into is called ‘Documenting Fashion: Modernity, Film and Image in Europe and America, 1920-1960’. Obviously, the focus and timeframe could not be more perfect to me!

During nine busy months in London, I followed theoretical and thematic classes in dress history and fashion studies, visited the dress collections and archives of, among others, the Museum of London and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and spent hours at the British Library leafing through Vogue and other (fashion) magazines. My first assessed essay focused on home dressmaking and the advertisement of ‘Simplicity’ sewing patterns in Harper’s Bazaar, while my second essay addressed the promotion of rayon as a modern fabric in the interwar period.

Finally, I wrote my dissertation on the London-based, female-run textile printing workshop called ‘Footprints’ and its retail outlets in London’s fashionable West End during the 1920s and 1930s (You can read more about my dissertation on Documenting Fashion’s dress history blog (download here). After a formative, inspiring academic year in London, I graduated with distinction. However, I am not quite done with studying and working with dress and textile objects and hope to continue developing my knowledge and skills in the future.

Nelleke Honcoop, 25th July 2018

 

   

A chart of an embroidery from Mandvi, Kutch, India

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The TRC has just acquired a piece of embroidery (TRC 2018.2582) that is attributed to a Jain community from Mandvi, in Kutch, in the modern state of Gujarat, western India. It is a small band, perhaps for a sari or from a sleeve. It depicts paired parrots flanking a tree, and stylised flowers. It is a counted thread embroidery worked in cross stitch using multi-coloured floss silk thread. The motifs are basically Hindu, but they have a European feel to them, which is not surprising considering the influence of cross stich counted thread embroidery propagated by Christian missionary schools from the nineteenth century. Please click here to see a PdF version of the chart

Chart of an embroidery from Mandvi, Gujarat, India.

Chart of an embroidery from Mandvi, Gujarat, India.

 

   

An intriguing quilted shirt for a Pashai man from Afghanistan

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A quilted shirt for a Pashai man, Afghanistan (TRC 2018.2581).

A quilted shirt for a Pashai man, Afghanistan (TRC 2018.2581).

Gillian Vogelsang writes about a recent trip to Cambridge:

Willem and I have just had a textile weekend in Cambridge, England. It was meant to be a mixture of holiday and work, but embroidery dominated the time. We were there to talk with Caroline Stone and John Gillow about the Encyclopedia of Embroidery series (Bloomsbury), Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent embroidery in particular. It was intensive and hundreds of photographs were made, notes taken, embroideries examined and ‘new’ stitches identified. Not so surprising, perhaps, a number of textiles were acquired so that further technical analysis could took place at the TRC in Leiden.

Lees meer: An intriguing quilted shirt for a Pashai man from Afghanistan

   

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TRC Gallery tentoonstelling, 12 - 15 augustus 2019: Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles

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