Online Exhibition

Pokemon, Gangnam Style, “Bollywood,” and Kung Fu movies. These contemporary Asian multi-media products influence today’s American popular culture. The impact of Eastern cultures on the West is not new, however. And prior to the 21st century, this influence often appeared in the decorative arts, including quilts.

Reflections of the Exotic East in American Quilts presents an historical overview of the influence of Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern design on American quiltmaking. It illustrates this influence through the Eastern motifs and materials used in quilts made between 1800 and 1950. Quilts from this period reflect the ongoing Western fascination with the "Orient," and also reveal the inaccurate and incomplete European and American vision of the mysterious and alluring “exotic” East.