Fragment, 1292–1190 BC (19th Dynasty), Egypt, painted gesso on linen, Gift of Robert de Rustafjaell Bey, 1915-24-1-a.
Adorned for the Afterlife
This colorful piece from ancient Egypt is actually only a fragment of what would have been a larger funerary mask, meant to adorn a mummy in preparation for the afterlife. The fragment depicts typical funerary iconography and adornment, including chest pectorals and a type of broad necklace called a wesekh collar (meaning ‘breadth’ or ‘width’),...
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View from the Stairs
Charles Salagnad made this drawing in 1872, during a phase of renovations at the now-famous Newport mansion, Château-sur-Mer.  The house was built two decades earlier for the wealthy China trader William Shepard Wetmore (1801-1862). Wetmore’s newly married son, George Peabody Wetmore, commissioned one of Gilded Age society’s preferred architects, Richard Morris Hunt, to transform his late...
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From Paper to Porcelain
For the Paper Porcelain tableware series, designers Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings sought to translate paper models—an integral part of their design process—into porcelain. First, they sketched the forms, geometry, and color of the cups and saucers. The two-page concept drawing below, in Cooper Hewitt’s collection, was cut from the designers’ Moleskine sketchbook and dates...
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August Designgrams
Enjoy our monthly round-up of some of our favorite moments captured by visitors. Make sure to tag your photos #cooperhewitt on Instagram to be featured next month! @ann___c found low lighting in the Design Triennial. @jayhvyn zoomed in close on a Giambattista Valli confection. @ellyshiacandra captured the Carnegie Mansion in an impressive sketch. @alicebaltg lived...
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Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: Best Friends
Two years ago, we launched a series of monthly blogs titled “Meet the Hewitts” in order to provide a social history of the Cooper Union Museum and its founders—sisters Sarah and Eleanor Hewitt—from 1859 to Sarah Hewitt’s death in 1930. We are supplementing that history with “Cooper Hewitt Short Stories,” brief observations about prominent figures...
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To Your Health
An interesting trend appearing on wallpapers in the 1950s are designs with groups of like objects arranged as if on display. These patterns all seem to contain objects deemed collectible as they include buttons, luggage stickers, or liquor labels, all neatly lined up. And while not a collectible there are also similar designs with produce....
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A Camera Worth A Thousand Words: Eastman Kodak’s Baby Brownie and the Rise of Popular Photography
When the Eastman Kodak Company first began manufacturing its line of Brownie cameras in 1900, photography was still the domain of trained operators who charged considerable fees for formal portraits and commemorative images of formal occasions. Within the next ten years, however, snapshots became increasingly popular in American culture: holidays, birthdays, and even the everyday...
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Summer of ’69
The brightly saturated colors of this August calendar page seem like a perfect salute to summer. To create the designs for this 1969 calendar, Takeshi Nishijima applied a paper-dyeing technique based on the traditional resist-dyeing process of katazome. Katazome relies on the use of katagami (stencils) to create hand-patterned textiles, most of which were used...
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The Bandhani Bandana
This bandana was made using a resist-dye technique called bandhani. A method of tie-dying, bandhani involves tying pieces of cloth with fine thread in order to block specific areas from the dye. The term bandhani derives from the verb bandhna in Hindi-Urdu (Urdu: باندهنا, Hindi: बानदहना), meaning “to tie” or “tying”. This piece was originally white and dyed yellow, while the...