As Spain expanded its empire in the late 1700s, it established institutions in Alta California. Four presidios acted as administrative centers to oversee missions, pueblos, and ranchos reales, or royal ranches. The Presidio de San Francisco was established as a response to the perceived threat of Russian and British invasion. It was New Spain’s northernmost outpost, and was relatively isolated. Supply ships were infrequent, arriving about once a year. However, before the San Francisco Presidio was established, the San Francisco peninsula was home to 10,000-20,000 indigenous people who spanned 55 tribes and spoke five languages. Continue reading “I” is for Identity: Clothing and Identity at the Presidio de San Francisco in the New Spanish World. Candice Ward, MA Student, California State University
Textiles dominate the pages of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Peruvian inventories, dowries, receipts between merchants, and appraisals. In almost all cases, textiles, silver, and jewelry are assigned the highest prices and given the most detailed written attention in archival documents. Even with the introduction of other art forms, like painting, in the colonial period, textiles maintained a privileged position as luxury goods. Continue reading “T” is for Cumbi Tapestries: Peruvian Textiles in the Spanish Colonial Home. Julia McHugh, Douglass Foundation Fellow in American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Atlantic trade of objects and people between Brazil and Europe as of the 16th century has contributed to the diversification and abundance of birds and bird feathers onto the European market, for the valuation of exotic animals, as well as for the introduction into Europe of new aesthetic ideas and color schemes inspired by American nature and feathers. Continue reading “F” for fans made of feathered-flowers, birds and insects. Exoticism and frivolity in the consumption of fashionable objects traded between the New World and the Old World. Maria Cristina Volpi, Associate Professor School of Fine Arts, University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
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.
“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)
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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)
“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)
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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