Exhibit -- Luxury Textiles, East and West
LACMA exhibit runs from February 20, 2003 to August 15, 2004
Monday, April 07, 2003
10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the museum’s Department of Costume and Textiles by showcasing some of its finest treasures. Presented in three rotations, Luxury Textiles East and West highlights more than 75 outstanding objects that demonstrate the role textiles play in relation to ceremonial occasions, public and private spaces, and social identity. Dating from the 14th century through the 20th century, and originating from Europe, Asia, and North America, these lavish garments and decorative objects give visitors a greater understanding of the extraordinary textiles in LACMA’s permanent collection. Luxury Textiles East and West will be presented in three rotations: Luxury Textiles East and West: Ceremony and Celebration is on view February 20 through July 20, 2003; Luxury Textiles East and West: Dress and Identity is on view August 7, 2003, through February 29, 2004; and Luxury Textiles East and West: Opulent Interiors is on view March 25 through August 15, 2004.
Luxury Textiles East and West: Ceremony and Celebration
In both Europe and Asia, opulent textiles have been used to celebrate rites of passage, honor deities, sanctify spaces, bedeck officiants, dazzle participants, and earn merit for donors. Luxury Textiles East and West: Ceremony and Celebration is divided into two broad sections consisting of ritual garments and ceremonial textiles.
A selection of ritual garments introduces LACMA’s outstanding vestment collection. Fine examples from Europe, Japan, and China are shown along with a selection of other ritual attire such as Buddhist needleloop diadems and an elaborately embroidered Ottoman Sultan’s ceremonial barbering apron. Spectacular ceremonial textiles from the collection depict how highly decorated textiles help to define ritual spaces, and are sometimes imbued with supernatural powers. Rare examples from the permanent collection include a complete 14th-century, bell-shaped chasuble, an embroidered chalice veil from approximately 1600 and meticulously woven cloths from South and Southeast Asia, including a large elephant patola.
Luxury Textiles East and West: Dress and Identity
Nothing defines a person’s place in the social or political hierarchy more clearly than attire—color, material, technique, and imagery on the textiles of dress all play a critical part in establishing these distinctions. Luxury Textiles East and West: Dress and Identity presents outstanding examples of textiles that indicate gradations of rank or status or proclaim socio-economic superiority. The exhibition includes examples of textiles from different cultures that identify the wearer’s position in a court or merit-based tradition, including a 16th-century, two-pile velvet Venetian senator’s badge and a 19th-century Indonesian bride’s gilded wedding skirt indicating her temporary elevation to ‘royal’ status during the marriage ceremonies. The role luxury textiles played in conveying one’s privileged place in society is also explored in the exhibition. Although definitions of what constitutes luxury vary from culture to culture, common denominators are the use of costly (and often imported) materials, labor-intensive production methods, and controlled silks and velvets with gold thread as status symbols. Among people without an elaborate court hierarchy, however, textiles decorated with trade items (shells and beads) or densely patterned with imported silk thread were items of luxury and used to embellish only the most beautiful textiles worn for the most important occasions.
Luxury Textiles East and West: Opulent Interiors
Luxury Textiles East and West: Opulent Interiors examines the ways in which textiles have aesthetically enhanced living spaces from the United States to Europe and China. The textiles in this rotation are grouped into sections representing floor coverings, furniture and bed covers, wall hangings, cushions and curtains. Examples range from a 15th-century Flemish millefleur tapestry to a five-color, 17th-century Mughal velvet tent panel. The museum has a fine collection of bed hangings and furnishings from which some of the most outstanding examples have been chosen. Embroidered bed hangings, quilts and bed covers from the 16th to the 19th century convey how much attention and artistry have been lavished on such decorative textiles.
LACMA’s Department of Costume and Textiles
The department of costume and textiles houses an encyclopedic collection of more than 25,000 objects representing more than one hundred cultures and sub-cultures, and two thousand years of human creativity in the textile arts. The collection is almost equally balanced between textiles and dress and is recognized worldwide.
Museum Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday noon–8 pm; Friday noon–9 pm; Saturday and Sunday 11 am–8 pm; closed Wednesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Call (323) 857-6000, or visit the the LACMA web site at www.lacma.org .
General LACMA Admission: Adults $7; students 18+ with ID and senior citizens 62+ $5; children/younger students $1; children 5 and under are admitted free. The second Tuesday of every month, general admission is free to all.
Tel: (323) 857-6000
Sponsor(s): Los Angeles County Museum of Art