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Fragment, Peru, 1100-1400, plain weave with discontinuous and interlocked warps and wefts
An Elegant Duality
Andean cloth has many meanings. Some are expressed through complex iconographic representations, others employ a strictly geometric vocabulary. Another form of meaning comes from the materiality of the cloth itself and way it was made. This simple cloth is composed of interlocking stepped squares in contrasting colors. The duality of the design, like the Chinese...
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It’s Black and White and Read All Over
White Room with Text takes Tracy Kendall’s signature cut and sewn construction one step further with the addition of text. This paper is based on Kendall’s In the White Room first produced in 2002 when it was shown at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. This is another design from Kendall’s collection...
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The Charming Bouquinistes of Paris
This lithograph, by artist Paul Jeffay (1898-1957) depicts the Left Bank of Paris, France, on what appears to be the Quai de la Tournelle. The main focus of the piece is on the bouquinistes, green boxes that line the Seine in the center of Paris, out of which booksellers sell used and antiquarian books. In...
Cap, Egypt, late 13th–early 14th century, quilted and embroidered silk with gilded parchment
A Quilted Cap
This cap was used in Mamluk Egypt, a period during which textiles were perhaps the most precious items in Islamic society. Its finely-woven blue silk fabric is interlaced with ‘strap gold’: strips of membrane coated with real gold foil, making it among the most expensive and desired fabric types in Egypt at this time. The...
Bourdalou
Not a Gravy Boat
At first glance, you might think this is a sauce bowl or pitcher used at the dinner table. However, it is something quite different all together, and would most definitely be an unwelcome addition to a table spread. The bourdalou, in fact, was a type of chamber pot that was specifically used by women up...
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Having your vegetables and eating them too
The famous silver tureens that the eighteenth–century silversmith Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier designed for England’s Duke of Kingston may be the most celebrated objects of his career. They were etched in a double-page spread in Oeuvre de Juste-Aurele Meissonnier published by Gabriel Huquier around 1748. This volume is one of the rare books acquired by the Cooper...
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Ajiro Marquetry: No Cabinetmaker Required
Ajiro Marquetry, composed mostly of rapidly renewable natural materials, is an environmentally responsible product offering an attractive alternative to other surfacing materials. The wallcovering consists of a single type of wood with a natural finish. The pattern is a scrolling foliate design against a checkerboard background. To increase visual interest and to make the pattern...
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Westward Ho!
In the mid-1820s, the development of press-molding radically changed the American glass industry, increasing output and bringing affordable decorative glasswares within the reach of a broader consumer market. In this new production process, workers placed gathers of molten glass in a machine press and applied pressure, forcing the glass into the contours of a mold....
Fragment, "The Lion Strangler," early–mid-12th century, Spain, silk and metallic lampas
The Lion Strangler
This rare textile depicting a figure known as the “lion strangler” is a fragment of a tunic, or dalmatic, from the tomb of Saint Bernat Calvó (1180-1243) in Vich Cathedral, Barcelona. Calvó was bishop of Vich and accompanied James I, king of Aragon, during the capture of Valencia from the Moors in 1238. This textile...