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Past Event

Saturday University: Textiles of Southwest China

Apr 7 2018

Seattle Art Museum

Plestcheeff Auditorium

10 AM – 11:30 AM

An amazing spectrum of textile arts originated in Asia, the source of many weaving and dyeing techniques. Cotton and silk textiles, especially from India and China, have been major export trade items for a couple of millennia. Now textile manufacturing, textile arts, and fashion from Asia are shared globally in new ways. Become familiar with the textures of textiles, past and present, from trade to technique and design to labor.

Lectures are at the Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium.
There is no lecture on May 5.

Textiles of Southwest China: Artistry and Social Meaning
Stevan Harrell, Emeritus Professor, University of Washington, Seattle

In the mountains of Southwest China and Southeast Asia, what you wear is who you are. Textile artists have traditionally spun wool, hemp, or cotton by hand, woven it into cloth on backstrap looms, and decorated it with a great variety of needlework arts. Because every local group passes on its own artistic traditions, until very recently one’s dress was a sure indicator of one’s home, as well as one’s age and gender.

In this illustrated talk, UW Emeritus Professor and former Burke Museum curator Stevan Harrell introduces the technology, artistry and social meaning of textiles made by women (mostly) and worn by both genders and all ages among the Nuosu people of Southwest Sichuan and nearby groups.

About the Presenter

Stevan Harrell is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington. He is also the former Curator of Asian Ethnology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. With a focus on China and Taiwan, he has worked to build collaborations between earth scientists and social scientists to understand better how people relate to their environments. Ongoing projects include his work as founding president of Cool Mountain Education Fund, which grants scholarships to graduates of Yangjuan School, located in the mountains of Southwest China.

Saturday University is held in partnership with the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company.


MAR 31

India's Global Textile Trade


Textiles of Southwest China: Artistry and Social Meaning

APR 14

Ikat Textiles from Indonesia and Malaysian Sarawak

APR 21

A Living Treasure of Japanese Textiles

APR 28

Fashionable Fripperies: The Decorative Trimming in 19th-Century China

MAY 12

From Factory to Fashion Blogs


206.442.8480 [email protected]

Series tickets available to the public January 30.
Full series tickets: $65; SAM members $35
Individual lecture tickets available at the door: $11, SAM members $6; free at the door for students with ID
Please arrive to your seat 10 minutes before the program starts, or your seat may be released.

Image: Man's black velvet jacket, Jiqu Jihlo, courtesy of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.