Collection

Working with the MoMu/UA Study Collection: Materials and Technology Analyses

Skirt (19th century, China). Inventory number: 81073 A/B. Materials and techniques: Cotton; Silk; Glass; Paper; Metal; Metal thread; Sequins; Beads

Skirt (19th century, China). Inventory number: 81073 A/B. Materials and techniques: Cotton; Silk; Glass; Paper; Metal; Metal thread; Sequins; Beads

This skirt was such a grateful object to do research on because of the story it tells about the rich culture and refined traditions in China during the Qing-Dynasty. Next to conservation treatment, a complete study was performed on the iconography of the embroidery and the materials and techniques that were used. This was done through literature research, analyses by microscope and X-ray fluorescence. The iconography of the embroidery (butterflies and flowers) indicate that the skirt was worn by a woman: the butterfly is a woman’s symbol, which stands for elegance and immortality, while flowers are a symbol of fertility. Blue is the colour of immortality, healing, relaxation, trust, ect. And red is the colour for happiness. These two colours indicate that the skirt might have been worn on the owners’ wedding day.

Words by Bernice Brigou and Natalie Ortega, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences, research group Heritage & Sustainability. Project supported by the Flemish Government.