Textiles are material evidence of history and culture and can tell us much about trade, religion, traditions, migration, communities, and individuals. The intangible characteristics—the uses, meanings, stories, skills and knowledge about production—associated with these textiles are often integral to the identity and cultural heritage of individuals and communities.

The textile traditions in China of making and using quilts or bedcovers have received little attention by scholars, collectors, and museums; few examples are in public or private collections and little has been published on them. The research and collecting done for Quilts of Southwest China provides some of the first documentation of the intangible and tangible cultural heritage associated with the practices of piecing and appliquéing fabric together to form artistic and functional textiles.

Come explore this new territory of Chinese textile traditions with us.


This exhibition would not have been possible without the commitment of the following institutions to engage in and support a collaborative, bi-national research inquiry into the intangible and tangible aspects of a material culture tradition in southwest China:

Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan, USA), Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana, USA), Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA), Yunnan Nationalities Museum (Kunming, Yunnan, China), Guangxi Nationalities Museum (Nanning, Guangxi, China), Guizhou Nationalities Museum (Guiyang, Guizhou, China), and the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA).