Object of the Day

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Woman's Ceremonial Skirt, Democratic Republic of Congo
Unwound from the Round
            This woman’s ceremonial dance skirt from the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reflects the rich artistic textile traditions of a diverse kingdom inhabiting the fertile lands between the Kasai and Sankuru Rivers in Sub-Saharan Central Africa. Kuba cloth is made from woven raffia fiber derived...
Sidewall, "Faltenwurf" (Shadow-Folds), 1971-72. Paul Wunderlich (German, 1927-2010). Made by Marburg Wallpaper Company. Machine-printed on paper. Museum purchase from Sarah Cooper-Hewitt Fund, 1992-110-1
Your Very Own Secret Garden
Garden Court is one of the largest screen-printed wallcoverings in the Museum’s collection, and is said to be the “largest silk screen ever printed in one piece.” Because of its large size, measuring 8×6 feet, the printing necessitated a special rag paper, with a single sheet for each print. The print run was limited to...
Sampler, 1819
Children at Play
This sampler was worked by Mary Fitz (1807–1849) in 1819 at the Catherine Welshans Buchanan’s school in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. The central scene depicts two fashionably dressed women in a grape arbor, one standing and the other seated on a bench. The border is made up of compartmentalized motifs including a heart, baskets of grapes and...
Sidewall, "Faltenwurf" (Shadow-Folds), 1971-72. Paul Wunderlich (German, 1927-2010). Made by Marburg Wallpaper Company. Machine-printed on paper. Museum purchase from Sarah Cooper-Hewitt Fund, 1992-110-1
Like Hide and Seek
German wallpaper manufacturers have been commissioning renowned artists to design wallpapers for many years, and this practice became especially prominent in the post-war period. In the early 1970s, the Marburg Wallpaper Company approached a diverse group of international artists to create wallpaper designs that would reflect the taste of the time. The company wanted to...
Hanging, 1973. Peter Collingwood (British, 1922 – 2008). Linen, metal rods. Museum purchase from Friends of Textiles Fund, 1976-37-1
Structure and Material in Perfect Harmony
Peter Collingwood was trained as a doctor but abandoned medicine for a distinguished career as a weaver. He studied weaving in the early 1950s with Ethel Mariat, Barbara Sawyer, and Alastair Morton, all preeminent British weavers of the time, before setting up his own studio. Collingwood was consumed by his interest in textile structures, fascinated...
Poster, International Design Festival, Osaka, 1983. Designed by Yusaku Kamekura. Gift of Sara and Marc Benda, 2009-20-16.
Something Old, Something New
Yusaku Kamekura achieved what most only hope to accomplish in more than half a century of professional longevity. Kamekura was born in Japan’s Niigata prefecture in 1915 and was schooled at the Institute of New Architecture and Industrial Arts, built by Ranahichiro Kawakita. As a student, Kamekura was heavily influenced by Bauhaus design theories and...
Square of wool tapestry
Mystery Woman
Woven portrait busts were a popular way to decorate clothing and soft furnishings in late Roman (third-fourth century C.E.) and Byzantine (fourth-seventh century C.E.) Egypt.  Records show that woven busts could sometimes portray real people.  For example, the Emperor Gratian (d. 383 C.E.) sent the Consul Ausonius a tunic inwoven with a portrait of Constantius.[1] ...
Bandbox and lid, Castle Garden, ca. 1830–40; USA; Block-printed paper on wood support; Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt, 1918-19-7-a,b
From Protector to Entertainer, The Different Faces of Castle Garden
The building illustrated on this bandbox has served many purposes over the years. Built in 1808, it originally was used as a stronghold in New York Harbor for the War of 1812 and was first known as Southwest Battery and renamed Castle Clinton in 1817. In 1823 the Federal Government deeded the fort to New...
Bag. Made by Sally Exnights. Waterbourough, England, 1837. Silk, glass beads. Gift of Harvey Smith, 1968-135-46
A Beaded Bag
This silk bag is embroidered with colorful glass beads and embellished with a blue beaded fringe trim. The body is decorated with rows of flowers, dogs, birds, and stars. A notable feature is the inscription “Sally Exnights” and “Watersbourough 1837.” Inscriptions noting the name and home of the maker and the date of completion were...
Orange pitcher.
A Pitcher Full of Fiesta Red
This red glazed earthenware pitcher is one of fourteen colorful pieces of Fiesta ceramic tableware objects that came to Cooper-Hewitt in 1991. Designed by English potter Frederick Hurten Rhead in 1936 for the American manufacturer Homer Laughlin Pottery Co., the Fiesta dinnerware collection was an instant success with the ceramic industry and the housewives of...