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Virginia Miller

Stone sculptures from Mesoamerica representing a supine male figure, approximately life-size, whose backbone is bent in an anatomically impossible position. His feet are flat on the ground, knees drawn up, and head turned sharply toward the viewer. The hands grasp a round or rectangular receptacle resting on the abdomen.

The largest number (eighteen) occurs at Chichen Itza, where the first excavated example was discovered in 1875 by the explorer Augustus Le Plongeon. He dubbed the sculpture “chacmool,” which he believed meant “powerful warrior” in Maya, although it is generally translated as “red” or “great” jaguar paw. The inaccurate term has since been applied to all examples, regardless of culture.

Although difficult to date, chacmools first appear between 800 CE and 1000 CE. They are found contemporaneously at Chichen Itza and Tula, where a dozen examples are known. The sculptures occur in the Tarascan region, and as far afield as Costa Rica and El Salvador. There are several Aztec ...


Sarah Scaturro

[Çaglayan, Hüseyin]

(bNicosia, Aug 12, 1970).

British fashion designer born in Turkish Cyprus. Chalayan won the British Fashion Award for Designer of the Year in 1999 and 2000. He is best known for his cerebral designs that reference architecture, geopolitics and technology, as well as exploring the theme of transformation.

Chalayan was educated in Cyprus before moving to London to attend Central St Martins College of Art and Design, where he graduated with honours in 1993 with a BA in fashion. His innovative final year collection titled ‘The Tangent Flows’ consisted of silk and cotton garments that had been covered in iron shavings and buried for six weeks in a garden. These garments, exhumed right before his show, had developed a rusty, earthy patina that commented on the beauty of decay by echoing the process of burial and rebirth. Soon afterwards, his collection was featured in the windows of the London store Browns.

Chalayan founded his eponymous line the next year with his first commercial collection ‘Cartesia’ for Autumn/Winter ...



Jane Feltham

Pre-Columbian culture of South America. It centered on the Chancay Valley of the central Peruvian coast, ranging north and south to the Fortaleza and Lurín valleys, and is known for its distinctive pottery and textile styles. Chancay culture flourished between c. 1100 and 1470 ce, under Chimu rulership in the 15th century. Vessels and textiles have been found at such sites as Cerro Trinidad, Lauri, and Pisquillo, mostly in graves covered with stout timbers and a layer of earth.

Chancay vessels were made by coiling; modeled features sometimes occur, but elaborate jars were molded. The fabric, fired to a light orange, is thin and porous. Some vessels are covered with a plain white slip, but most are also painted with brownish-black designs. Forms include bowls, goblets, tumblers, cylindrical jars, and ovoid jars with rounded bases and narrow, bulging necks that sometimes end in a flaring rim. Vessel heights range from 60 mm for bowls to 750 mm for jars. Animals (especially birds and reptiles) and humans are frequently modeled on the upper shoulder or around a handle. More elaborate jars are zoomorphic or consist of two flasks connected by a bridge. Some show scenes, such as a dignitary being carried on a litter. Vertical black bands often divide design areas, within which are patterns of stripes, wavy lines, crosshatching, diamonds, triangles and dots, checkers, volutes, and stylized birds or fishes, sometimes in asymmetrical halves. Characteristic of the style are large, necked jars with faces (known as ...


Lourdes Font

[Gabrielle Bonheur]

(b Saumur, Aug 19, 1883; d Paris, Jan 10, 1971).

French fashion designer (see fig.). Chanel was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. Of the modernists who dominated the inter-war period, only Chanel was still active through the 1960s. She began her career as a milliner c. 1909; as a couturière she had two careers, from 1915 to September 1939, when she closed her house at the outbreak of war, and from February 1954 through 1970. Her longevity allowed her to claim or accept responsibility for such milestones as the elimination of the corset and the emergence of the ‘little black dress’, which actually resulted from many factors including the contributions of other designers. Her real achievement was the creation of a personal style that she shared with other women.

Chanel was the daughter of itinerant market peddlers from southern France. Her parents were based in the Loire valley town of Saumur when she was born. When she was 11 years old, her mother died and her father abandoned her and her two sisters at the nearest orphanage. At 18, Chanel became a charity student at a boarding school in the garrison town of Moulins. At 20, she worked ten hours a day as a seamstress at a shop that sold lingerie and linens. Like other Frenchwomen of her age and class, she dreamed of fame and fortune as a music hall star, but when she made her début at the café La Rotonde in Moulins in ...


Gordon Campbell

[Fr.: ‘caterpillar’]

Velvety cord, having short threads or fibres of silk and wool standing out at right angles from a central core of cotton thread or wire. Chenille is used in trimming and bordering dresses and furniture. The term also denotes a type of embroidery needle.

C. Anderson-Shea: ‘Metamorphosis: From Yarn to Fabric’, ...


John E. Vollmer and Verity Wilson

revised by Kate Lingley

The preeminence of silk in the economic and cultural development of China, and its unique, highly specialized technology, has significantly affected perceptions of Chinese textiles and weaving technology. To ancient Greeks and Romans, China was known as Seres, the Land of Silk. By the Han period (206 bce–220 ce) silk-weaving had reached a level of sophistication that was to continue with remarkable consistency for the next 1500 years.

Ethnology, archaeology, and documentary evidence, however, provide a complex picture of Chinese textile technology covering areas other than the silk industry. In general, the back-strap loom, circular warping, S-twist spinning, and a predominance of warp-faced fabrics characterize Chinese cloth production, elements that link Chinese textile-production technology to that of parts of Southeast Asia and South America. Yet, despite remarkable achievements and sophisticated textile merchandising systems, basic technological innovation was lacking in Chinese weaving. Factors contributing to technical conservatism include family-centered management and a possessive attitude towards special skills. The tendency for artisans to keep their skills secret or to pass them on only to their sons meant that many techniques for producing beautiful fabrics were scattered unsystematically and were eventually lost....


Gordon Campbell

(b Flensburg, March 6, 1866; d Wiesbaden, Jan 5, 1945).

German designer. After an early career as an interior designer he turned to the design of tapestries (subsequently woven at the Scherbeker Kunstgewerbeschule), porcelain (table wares), drinking glasses (for the Theresienthaler Kristallglasfabrik) and silver cutlery. After 1914 he worked primarily as a painter and writer.

M. Zimmermann-Degen and H. Christiansen...


Denise Carvalho

(b Belo Horizonte, Oct 23, 1920; d Rio de Janeiro, Apr 25, 1988).

Brazilian painter, sculptor, interactive artist, and art therapist. She was a cofounder in 1959 of the Neo-Concrete movement, whose members laid the foundation for much of Brazilian contemporary art. The Neo-Concretists broke with the rigidity of the rationalism of Concrete art and advocated a more sensorial, interactive art. Lygia Clark and her creative soul-mate, Hélio Oiticica, created participatory works that challenged not only longstanding artistic dogmas, but also the role of the art object itself, as well as the role of the artist, the spectator, and the art institution. Their most groundbreaking works required the viewer to be part of the artwork and thereby experience it sensorially, all of which made their work difficult to categorize. Clark came to see even her exhibitions at major art events as meaningless, and her emphasis on person-to-person dialogue eventually led her into art therapy. Without a therapeutic license, she devoted her last decades solely to treating patients with her own form of art therapy....


M. B. Whitaker

[Raymond Oswald]

(b Liverpool, June 9, 1942; d London, Aug 8, 1996).

English fashion designer. Clark revolutionized London fashion for young women during the pivotal transition from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, embracing the youth movement of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and the raucous and reckless spirit of the drug-riddled 1970s. He and his wife, textile designer Celia Birtwell (b 1941), collaborated to create boldly printed, sexy evening wear and well-tailored yet feminine sportswear (see fig.). Their work was sold at the London boutique Quorum until its close in 1975.

Born Raymond Oswald Clark to a working-class family in Liverpool, Clark was raised in northern England in Oswaldtwistle—his family’s ancestral village, to which he owed his middle name. Granted a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, Clark was a star fashion design student. British Vogue featured the young mastermind in August 1965 at the age of 23. He entered into a business partnership with Alice Pollock and they opened the boutique Quorum, which was distinctive for its range of products: dresses, trousers, suits, coats, sweaters, stockings and accessories. That Clark was designing much of what the boutique sold speaks to his vast skill set and artistic vision. His innovative cutting and draping techniques and experimental use of different fabrics made him capable of producing slinky, often bias-cut, jersey gowns with plunging necklines but also expertly tailored suits. The contribution of his talented wife’s textiles added to the depth of his opus. Birtwell’s nature-inspired prints were both striking and romantic (...


Ann Poulson

The costume of ancient Greece and Rome, as represented in sculpture, frescoes and vase paintings, and often associated with the divinities of mythology, democratic ideals and powerful empires, is fundamental in the history of Western dress. Despite the fact that the Greek system of pure drapery was the polar opposite of the tailored costume that ultimately prevailed after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Greek system has been one of the greatest influences on Western fashion. Twentieth-century fashion designers, for example, have been particularly attracted to its principles and its elegant simplicity. Although not always dominant, classicism has never been completely absent from fashion.

The apogee of Greek art occurred during the Classical period (c. 500/480–323 bc) when there were three main garments: the peplos, himation and chiton (see Dress, §II, 2). The peplos, worn by women, was a single rectangle of wool woven to the proportions of the wearer. In the Classical period it was folded in half lengthwise to cover the front and back of the body and again folded down at the top, then secured at each shoulder with a fibula, or pin. One or more belts could be worn to anchor the garment to the body. The ...


David Blayney Brown


(b Rostock, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1582; d London, 1658).

German painter, designer, illustrator and printmaker. He probably studied first in the Low Countries. He was perhaps in Denmark c.1611, but then spent four years in Italy, mainly in Rome and Venice, where he met the English ambassador Sir Henry Wotton. By 1617 he was living in Copenhagen; an inscribed drawing of Apollo and Marsyas from this period is in the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen. Between 1618 and 1623 Cleyn was employed by Christian IV at Rosenborg Slot, decorating the King’s writing closet with pastoral landscapes, Venetian views, genre scenes and grotesque designs. Commissions followed for larger subject pictures (which show pronounced Venetian influence) and for similar decorative schemes for the royal castles at Frederiksborg (Fireworks), Christiansborg (Children on their Way to School) and Kronborg. In 1623 Cleyn visited England, with a letter of introduction to Prince Charles (later Charles I) from the English envoy in Copenhagen, Sir Robert Anstruther. In the Prince’s absence in Spain, he was received by James I, who wished to retain his services for himself and sent him back to Copenhagen with a request to Christian IV to release him. Work in progress kept Cleyn in Denmark until late in ...


(b Aelst [now Aalst], Aug 14, 1502; d Brussels, Dec 6, 1550).

South Netherlandish painter, sculptor, architect and designer of woodcuts, stained glass and tapestries. Son of the Deputy Mayor of the village of Aelst, he was married twice, first to Anna van Dornicke (d 1529), the daughter of the Antwerp painter Jan Mertens, who may have been his teacher; they had two children, Michel van Coecke and Pieter van Coecke II (before 1527–59), the latter of whom became a painter. He later married Mayken Verhulst, herself a painter of miniatures and the mother of three children, Pauwel, Katelijne and Maria; they are shown with their parents in Coecke’s Family Portrait (Zurich, Ksthaus). Mayken is credited with having taught the technique of painting in tempera on cloth to her son-in-law, Pieter Bruegel the elder, who married Maria in 1563. (For family tree see Bruegel family.) Van Mander also stated that Bruegel was Coecke’s apprentice, an allegation no longer universally accepted in view of their substantial stylistic differences. Although the names of other students of Coecke’s, including ...


Gordon Campbell


(b Doesburg, Oct 31, 1841; d Laag-Keppel, May 28, 1930).

Dutch decorative artist. He trained as an architect at the firm of L. H. Eberson in Arnhem. From c. 1867 to 1870 he lived in Paris, where he was involved in the preparations for the Exposition Universelle of 1867. After returning to the Netherlands he concentrated increasingly on the applied arts. From 1884 until 1889 he was the artistic director of the Rozenburg delftware factory in The Hague, which was established by W. W. von Gudenberg in 1883. It was not only Colenbrander’s designs of ornamental china that were revolutionary but also the asymmetric, whimsical, but at the same time elegant, decorative patterns, which were applied in bright, transparent colours. His motifs seemed to indicate an awareness of oriental decorations, which he may have seen at Expositions Universelles, although for the most part they were original. After a disagreement with the management, he left Rozenburg in 1889 and spent several years working in different fields within the applied arts, including interior design and textiles....


Ksynia Marko

See also Tapestry

For the purposes of conservation, it is necessary to place tapestries in a category of their own. There are several reasons for this. Tapestries have always been expensive and highly valued, especially since they often incorporate fine silk and metal threads. The skill of manufacture and pictorial subject matter, together with the fact that they were designed by such well-known artists as David Teniers (ii) and William Morris, have given them a cultural significance and monetary value more commonly associated with paintings than with textiles. From a practical point of view, certain characteristics of the tapestry-weaving technique, along with the great size and weight of many hangings, give rise to specific problems that need to be dealt with by specialist conservators. In addition, the space, equipment, and skill required in handling a delicate object that can measure as much as 4–6 m high and 10 m long, and the difficulties of maintaining a consistent standard of workmanship throughout a single treatment that might last many months or even years, mean that tapestry conservation has to some extent evolved as a separate discipline....


Sheila Landi

The fragments of ancient textiles recovered from bogs and burials around the world are among the first signs of the technological developments that are the basis of modern civilization. However, they have not always been treated with the respect they deserve, and much information has been lost through indifference on the part of archaeologists and dealers, and even some museum curators who were blind to the cultural significance of textiles. Increasing industrial pollution created by that very same civilization put at risk objects that were at last being recognized as of great historical interest when most museums were short of space and money, and provision for textiles was often particularly poor and overcrowded. As we advance into the 21st century, attitudes towards textiles have changed for the better, but there is still much to be done to encourage investment in the preservation of artifacts that are especially vulnerable to environmental fluctuations, the wear and tear of ordinary use, and poor storage conditions....


(b London, Jan 3, 1817; d Richmond Hill, Surrey, Feb 17, 1901).

Merchant and collector. Cook became a partner in his father’s huge and successful textile manufacturing and wholesaling firm in 1843; on the death of his father in 1869, he became its head. During his professional life he was also one of the principal collectors of antique Greek and Roman sculpture in the Victorian period, acquiring his antiques mostly at auction between 1855 and 1870, at a time when such Neo-classical assemblages were beginning to go out of fashion. His marble sculptures, more than 80 in number, were displayed partly at his residence in Portugal (see Sintra) and partly in a private house museum at Doughty House, Richmond Hill, Surrey. They included fine examples such as the Venus Mazarin (now Malibu, CA, Getty Mus.), a good selection of Hellenistic Greek funerary reliefs and several Roman sarcophagi. When the collection was finally dispersed in 1947, the best pieces were divided between the ...



Natalie Rothstein

Fibre made from the long, soft hairs (lint) surrounding the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium). In the right climate (temperate to hot), cotton is easy to grow; it is also cheap to harvest and easily packed into compact bales for transport and export. Indigenous to India (see Indian subcontinent: Textiles and dress), the Sudan and Ethiopia, it was later grown in Egypt, China (see China: Textiles and dress), western Central Asia (see Central Asia §I 6., (i), (b)), North America and elsewhere. Cotton is a very versatile fibre: used alone it can produce very fine, light and quite strong textiles (lawn and muslin), and used alone or in combination with other fibres it can make extremely durable and heavy fabrics (e.g. for use in bedspreads, rugs and carpets). It takes dyestuffs very well and can be painted or printed with designs. The first mention of cotton is in the ...


Gordon Campbell


Molly Sorkin

(b Pau, March 9, 1923).

French fashion designer. Courrèges is credited with introducing a youthful, unadorned and undeniably modern style to couture in the mid-1960s (see fig.). His radical views on the way women should dress, though considered shocking in some quarters, were enthusiastically adopted by socialites and pop stars alike, including Princess Lee Radziwill and the French singer Françoise Hardy. The Courrèges style helped define a generation of women who were youthful, active and receptive to designs influenced by such seemingly disparate elements as technology, sex, childhood and architecture. Courrèges’s sleek, futuristic designs earned him such nicknames as the Le Corbusier of fashion and the space-age couturier.

Courrèges was born in Pau in the Basque region of France and received training as an engineer. In 1950, he began working for the Spanish couturier based in Paris, Cristobal Balenciaga. The two men shared their Basque heritage and a design philosophy that was ruled by proportion and the architecture of tailoring. In ...