Located behind the FSAD Lobby Area.
Embroidery is a textile surface design technique that supplements an existing textile structure with decorative stitching. Embroidery may be done by hand or machine; however, all but the blue “cold shoulder” dress have been hand embroidered. Embroidery is sometimes subtle and abstract, like the little boy’s ensemble with an eagle at the neckline. Sometimes dramatic and lifelike, like the doves in the wall hanging backdrop. In addition to hand embroidery, items in this section also feature other textile design techniques, including silk painting, patchwork, and shibori (tied resist) techniques.
The two Japanese kimono to the right are a particular type known as uchikake, which are formal and ornate, worn by brides as exterior garments (much like a coat) over their kimono and obi (tie). The hemline is weighted and would touch the ground, trailing behind the bride. Both of these uchikake feature Red-crowned Cranes (Grus japonensis), an auspicious symbol of longevity known as tanchozuru, and are believed to live 1,000 years. The tanchozuru on the orange kimono is accompanied by a turtle, another longevity symbol in Japan, believed to live 10,000 years.
The birds on the early 20th century opera coat shown to the left are challenging to identify, as the designer has taken much more artistic license in their abstraction. On the predominantly purple bird, one might spot the bill of a parrot, the crest of a Magpie Jay (Calocitta colliei), wings of a pheasant, and tail of a dove. The other bird has a blue head that looks like an Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) with wings inspired by Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and a tail like a parakeet.
This embroidered gown from the 1920s, shown above, features pairs of what could be mousebirds. The “cold shoulder” design (i.e., the shoulder cutouts) are a reminder of the cyclical nature of fashion (how many “cold shoulder” designs have you seen over the past few years?). The dropped waist and tubular silhouette, along with resplendent embroidery, is characteristic of 1920s fashion.
Embroidery is also important for home textiles. The Turkish napkin on the left was used for a wedding, and on either end pairs of falcons are depicted. The embroidery, which is done with cellulosic and metallic yarns, features what we believe to be falcons wearing decorated hoods. These hoods are the little leather hats falconers place on their birds during transport. The birds also appear to be resting on a man-made perch, further suggesting that they are falconry birds.
This 19th century crazy quilt, made using patchwork, applique, and embroidery techniques, includes representations of three different birds: a swan, whose upright wings suggest a Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), but whose sleek head and orange bill suggest a domesticated duck; an owl perching on a crescent moon, with prominent ear tufts, like a Great-horned (Bubo virginianus) or Long-eared Owl (Asio otus); and something that appears to be either a hummingbird or a jacamar with a short tail.