The History of Quilting: From Ancient Egypt to 18th Century Provence
Quilt history is a subject that teeters between scholarship and craft and, for this reason, well-documented historical accounts of the development of the art of quilting are regrettably lacking. Lamentably, only a small number of professionally-trained scholars work in the field. That quilts are considered to be a part of the female domain, contributes to their lack of presence in formal historical studies. To make matters worse, quilt scholars have for the most part gathered and published quantifiable data regarding quilts and their production, and yet interpretative studies that place them within their social, historical, cultural, and theoretical contexts are lacking. Many of the leading quilt researchers have been qualified as “amateurs” without the necessary scholarly training to provide more advanced and meaningful assessments. Most scholarly writings on quilting are published as articles in journals or anthologies. Of the monographs on quilt history that do exist, the majority target lay readers who are not interested in academic “jargon” and include patterns for quilt makers to use. They often forgo notes that would indicate the sources consulted. As the present book demonstrates, quilting and its various techniques have a long and complex history that can be traced as far back as the ancient Egyptian era. The quilted objects produced then were intended as symbols of power and religious practice. It was not until the 12th century that quilts began to appear in the domestic setting and these were intended as luxury items for consumption by the aristocracy.