“B” for Bordados: An Exhibition of Embroidered Textiles from Mexico. Rebecca Devaney, MFA Textile Art and Artefact, National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Student in Haute-Couture Embroidery, Ecole Lesage, Paris.

Casta painting, De albarasado y mestiza, barsino, Miguel Cabrera, 1763, oïl on canvas, 131 cm x 103 cm. Madrid, Museo de América, Inv 00009.
Detail of European needlework technique introduced in the 18th century, Cecilia Mundo Rincon, Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas. Image copyright Rebecca Devaney.

When the Europeans arrived to Mexico in the 16th century, textiles was a highly developed and mastered craft amongst the indigenous people. Spinning and weaving were integral parts of daily life for girls and women and in the indigenous cosmovision textiles were protected by goddesses; the Aztecs revered Xochiquetzal, who was said to be the first to spin and weave thread on a backstrap loom and the Mayas believed that the Moon Goddess Ixchel was the patron of spinning and her daughter, Ichebelyax was the patroness of embroidery. Continue reading “B” for Bordados: An Exhibition of Embroidered Textiles from Mexico. Rebecca Devaney, MFA Textile Art and Artefact, National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Student in Haute-Couture Embroidery, Ecole Lesage, Paris.

“P” for Pattern Book: Norwich Textiles exported to Central and South America in 1763.

“There are other woollen fabrics coming from England, whose consumption is even more important than drapery. (…) All these fabrics are as highly esteemed in Mexico as they are in Spain (…). Indeed, some manufactured in France are even finer than those produced in Spain, but nevertheless those made in England are superior, as regards the variety of length, breadth and colour.” (Translated from Jean de Monségur, 1709, chap. XXXVII)

Pattern book, Norwich, 1763, worsted wool samples mounted on paper, 27 x 16 cm. London, Victoria and Albert Museum, given by Mrs Bland, 67-1885.

Continue reading “P” for Pattern Book: Norwich Textiles exported to Central and South America in 1763.

“F” for Feathers: Symbols of European Rulers in the Renaissance. Les plumes : symboles des rois de la Renaissance. Chloé Nevicato, MA in History and Anthropology, University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Dans l’imagerie de l’Amérique ibérique, la plume tient une place majeure. Pour les indiens de l’Amazonie, le mythe, dit de l’origine de la couleur des oiseaux, permet par exemple de comprendre les symboles des plumasseries. Un monstre cannibale ou un immense serpent, par exemple, semait alors la terreur parmi les hommes. Les oiseaux décidèrent de s’allier pour vaincre ce monstre. Après la victoire de ces derniers, ils se partagèrent la peau multicolore du monstre en guise de trophée. Ainsi, les oiseaux se distinguaient entre eux en arborant une ou plusieurs couleurs distinctives. Les aras, victorieux, ont donc un plumage multicolore. En s’inspirant de ce mythe, les Indiens utilisèrent les oiseaux et leur plumage pour penser la distinction sociale. En effet, le port des parures dépend chez les Indiens de critères circonstanciels (usage quotidien ou rituel particulier) et catégoriels (usage déterminé par le sexe, la classe d’âge ou la position rituelle).

Continue reading “F” for Feathers: Symbols of European Rulers in the Renaissance. Les plumes : symboles des rois de la Renaissance. Chloé Nevicato, MA in History and Anthropology, University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne.

“F” for Feather: Pre Hispanic Feather Textiles from Peru, Lena Bjerregaard, Centre for Textile Research, SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

Organic material remains for thousands of years, when there is no humidity, no light, no air. In the graves along the coast of Peru such conditions are present, and textiles, feathers, bone, straw etc. have been preserved for thousands of years. Continue reading “F” for Feather: Pre Hispanic Feather Textiles from Peru, Lena Bjerregaard, Centre for Textile Research, SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)

“F” for Spanish Fashion: Fashion in Las Meninas by Velázquez in 17th century Spain. Amalia Descalzo Lorenzo, Professor of Culture and Fashion at ISEM Fashion Business School, Universidad de Navarra, Madrid

There is no doubt that the painting, universally known as “Las Meninas”, is the most famous work of Don Diego de Silva Velázquez (Seville, 1599-Madrid, 1660). This painting has been the subject of many studies but perhaps one aspect that has been overlooked by most scholars is the importance of the clothing, a protagonist in all the portraits that Velázquez painted.

Las Meninas, 1656, Velázquez, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y, (Seville 1599-Madrid 1660), oil on canvas, 318 x 276 cm. Madrid, Museo nacional del Prado, Inv. P01174

In 1656 Velazquez painting “Las Meninas”. At this time, Spanish fashion is genuinely Spanish, unlike in the rest of Europe, which faithfully followed the fashions of the Court of Versailles, very different from the conceptual and aesthetic point of view to the Spanish one. In the painting, the Infanta Margarita is centre stage accompanied by her ladies-in-waiting, María Agustina Sarmiento and Isabel de Velasco as well as Maribárbola, a dwarf of German origin and Nicolasito Pertusato. The three ladies are luxuriously dressed, groomed and made up in the fashion of the court of the time in which the baroque “guardainfante” stands out. Continue reading “F” for Spanish Fashion: Fashion in Las Meninas by Velázquez in 17th century Spain. Amalia Descalzo Lorenzo, Professor of Culture and Fashion at ISEM Fashion Business School, Universidad de Navarra, Madrid

“T” for Trade: 18th century Handkerchiefs – The Swedish East India Company Trade. Viveka Hansen, Textile Historian, The IK Foundation, (UK)

The aim with this study is to focus on a small branch of the Swedish East India Company’s dealing in fabrics used for handkerchiefs. Observations from my earlier research related to Carl Linnaeus and his “Apostles”, a hand-written Swedish account book from one of the Company’s ships and preserved pieces of cloth will give some evidence for such goods. 18th century handkerchiefs seem overall to have been an accessory that was worn out – the most natural cause for its rarity – or dropped, used for various purposes as collecting insects/plants, given away or even stolen according to notations in some travelling accounts and journals from the 1740s to 1760s.

Map of Cadix, Dagbok hållen p. Resan till Ost Indien, Begynt den 18 octobr: 1746 och Slutad den 20 Juni 1749, Carl Johan Gethe. Stockholm, National Library of Sweden, M 280, p. 29. This map, illustrated in the East India traveller Carl Johan Gethe’s journal (1746-1749), is of the ideally sheltered harbour of the city of Cadix, where many of the Swedish East India Company ships lay at anchor in order to replenish their stores and carry out trade. The Linnaeus’ apostle Olof Torén’s first voyage stopped over there in 1748; the apostles Pehr Osbeck (1750) and Christopher Tärnström (1746) spent several months in Cadix and its environs on their way to China.

18th century handkerchiefs are sometimes mentioned in contemporary hand-written letters, travel journals or account books connected to the Swedish East India Company trade. Continue reading “T” for Trade: 18th century Handkerchiefs – The Swedish East India Company Trade. Viveka Hansen, Textile Historian, The IK Foundation, (UK)

“N” for New Habits: New Goods from the New World. Nadia Fernández de Pinedo, Associate Professor at the Department of Economic Studies, Universidad Autonóma, Madrid

Creoles take a lot of chocolate and atole but much better than the one made by the Indians.” (Translated from Jean de Monségur, 1709, chap. VII)

De español y negra, mulata, Casta painting, Andrés de Islas, 1774, oil on canvas, 75 x 54 cm. Madrid, Museo de América, Inv. 1980/03/04
De español y negra, mulata, Casta painting, Anonym, Mexico, c. 1775-1800, oil on copper, 36 x 48 cm. Madrid, Museo de América, Inv. 00053

Trading networks among Europe, Asia and America modified the habits of Europeans. Many patterns of consumption were the result of centuries of relations between East and West. The colonizers of territories determined the distribution of certain products and exotic luxuries were selectively adopt, from their indigenous origins to their worldwide consumption. Continue reading “N” for New Habits: New Goods from the New World. Nadia Fernández de Pinedo, Associate Professor at the Department of Economic Studies, Universidad Autonóma, Madrid

“L” for Lace: The variation of Taxation Schemes for Lace Import in the Ancien Regime. Marguerite Coppens, Honorary Curator Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels. Honorary Chair of the French Association of Textiles Studies (AFET), Paris

La dentelle, un des premiers produits d’exportation des Pays-Bas du Sud, était envoyée par voie de terre et de mer pour fournir toute l’Europe et, via Cadix et Séville, habiller les élégances des Indes occidentales. Cette exportation, vitale pour son économie, était évidemment encouragée : les dentelles étaient libres de sortie.

Portrait of a lady, Miguel de Herrera, 1782, oil on canvas, 125 x 101 cm. Mexico, Franz Mayer Museum Collection

Continue reading “L” for Lace: The variation of Taxation Schemes for Lace Import in the Ancien Regime. Marguerite Coppens, Honorary Curator Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels. Honorary Chair of the French Association of Textiles Studies (AFET), Paris

“S” for Shoes: A gendered shoe from 17th century-Copenhagen. Vivi Lena Andersen, Curator and Archaeologist at the Museum of Copenhagen, Denmark

Shoes were invented 40.000 years ago. Presumably for protection against extreme cold, hot or rocky surfaces and poisonous animals and plants, but shoes became much more than a simple garment for protection. It also became a tool for social survival. Continue reading “S” for Shoes: A gendered shoe from 17th century-Copenhagen. Vivi Lena Andersen, Curator and Archaeologist at the Museum of Copenhagen, Denmark

“R” for Recycling Brocaded Silk, from Profane to Sacred. Bernard Berthod, Dr ès Lettres, Curator Musée de Fourvière (Lyon), Vice-Chair of ICOM-Costume Committee

Aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, la paramentique est souvent l’affaire des couvents même si dans les grandes villes, des tailleurs et brodeurs proposent des vêtements liturgiques. Les pieuses fidèles alimentent régulièrement les monastères par des dons de robes et d’étoffes variées, souvent de belle qualité mais passées de mode. Une autre source de matière première est le trousseau des jeunes filles qui abandonnent le monde pour la paix du cloître. Lorsqu’elles sont bien nées, le trousseau est à la hauteur de la condition familiale et l’ouvroir monastique a tôt fait de transformer les beaux atours en de non moins belles chasubles. Continue reading “R” for Recycling Brocaded Silk, from Profane to Sacred. Bernard Berthod, Dr ès Lettres, Curator Musée de Fourvière (Lyon), Vice-Chair of ICOM-Costume Committee

“L” IS FOR LYON. THE MARKETING AMBITIONS OF EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FRENCH MERCHANT MANUFACTURERS, OR WHERE DID ALL THE LYONNAIS SILKS GO? LESLEY MILLER, SENIOR CURATOR OF TEXTILES, VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON/PROFESSOR OF DRESS AND TEXTILE HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Lyon in the south-east of France was by the late 17th century the silk-weaving capital of Europe, its products ranging from simple, lightweight plain silks to elaborate brocaded silks woven with silver and gold. It was to these patterned silks that the city owed its reputation, as designers created new ranges of patterns seasonally, thus outdating silks woven to the previous season’s designs. The frontispiece commissioned for the final volume of the inventory of the papers of the silk weaving guild in the late 18th century suggests that these silks sold on four continents, including in the Americas. ‘As long as extravagance reigns, the manufacture will survive’, proclaimed the legend on the drawing. Continue reading “L” IS FOR LYON. THE MARKETING AMBITIONS OF EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FRENCH MERCHANT MANUFACTURERS, OR WHERE DID ALL THE LYONNAIS SILKS GO? LESLEY MILLER, SENIOR CURATOR OF TEXTILES, VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON/PROFESSOR OF DRESS AND TEXTILE HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

“T” for Traditional Mexican Woman Dress called: Huipil. Lena Bjerregaard, Conservator, Guest Researcher, Centre for Textile Research/SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen

The lady on this Casta painting is wearing a huipil (from Aztec: huipilli) – the pre-Columbian and contemporary native women costume in Mexico and Mesoamerica. Continue reading “T” for Traditional Mexican Woman Dress called: Huipil. Lena Bjerregaard, Conservator, Guest Researcher, Centre for Textile Research/SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen

“M” for MANTA. Lena Bjerregaard, Conservator, Guest Researcher, Centre for Textile Research/SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen

In the pre-Columbian times the woman’s outer garment was the mantle, or the manta. The mantle (Spanish: Manta, Quechua: Lliclla) of the pre-Columbian Inca ladies was a square textile, which was held together with a pin in the front. This garment was for many centuries the favourite over garment all over Peru. It was in classic times woven in alpaca wool on an upright loom, but was later also sewn together from two rectangular textiles woven on the back strap loom. Continue reading “M” for MANTA. Lena Bjerregaard, Conservator, Guest Researcher, Centre for Textile Research/SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen

“Y” for Yellow Moiré silk Dress. Laura G. García-Vedrenne, M Phil student in Textile Conservation, Centre for Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow

A stunning yellow moiré dress from the early 18th century is conserved in the collection of the National Museum of History in Mexico City. This dress consists of two parts: a bodice that closes at the front, and a skirt that was probably worn with a small panier underneath. Both of them were tailored with a fabric that was intentionally cut and sewn in order to symmetrically place the metal brocade motives throughout the dress. On the inside, the bodice possesses a fine, bright pink lining. Continue reading “Y” for Yellow Moiré silk Dress. Laura G. García-Vedrenne, M Phil student in Textile Conservation, Centre for Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow

“H” for Headdress: The Gandaya, a colourful silk knitted bonnet in Global-Spain. Victoria de Lorenzo, MA alumni at the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum, London

According to the 1803 dictionary of the Real Academia Española, gandaya meant both ‘type of hair bonnet’ and ‘mischievous, idle, free living’. No scholar has ever paid attention to the relationship between these two meanings and the majismo. The gandaya was a headdress usually knitted, colourful and, depending on the wearer’s wealth, made of silk. It was characterized by a lavish hanging tasselled ‘tail’ that swayed loosely following the movements of whoever wore it, captivating everyone’s attention. Not surprisingly, majos borrowed this accessory (originally a Catalan-Valencian adornment, therefore autochthonous) for the essential mise-en-scène of their ‘figure’. Continue reading “H” for Headdress: The Gandaya, a colourful silk knitted bonnet in Global-Spain. Victoria de Lorenzo, MA alumni at the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum, London