|One Hundred Good Wishes Quilt -- courtesy of the Kainz Family|
One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts have roots in the Chinese/Buddhist tradition of regarding patchwork as spiritually protective, especially in clothing. Silk patchwork robes called baijia pao（白家袍）were made in China for centuries, particularly for young boys, and were believed to protect children from the attentions of evil ghosts and spirits.
Even stronger roots can be found in the American tradition of making quilts to commemorate a wide range of family and community events: births, deaths, marriages, graduations, etc. Americans, and American women in particular, have often turned to quiltmaking to express strong emotions about the most important events in their lives.
I am drawn to studying One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts for many reasons:
--I've been interested in China ever since I started going to Chinese language summer camp when I was 12.
--In my academic life, I've often examined the way cultures interface with each other, and how/why multiple cultural influences can appear and merge in a single object (like a textile).
--I believe in the emotional resonance of material culture, and textiles in particular. Textile objects can symbolize and summarize so many complex ideas and feelings.
--On a personal level, as a new mother I am deeply moved by the stories of families who choose to welcome an orphaned/abandoned child into their families and I want to understand better what role the making of a quilt played in that process.
Join me as I explore One Hundred Good Wishes Quilts, and stay in touch!