Sudler Textile Collection
Description: This collection database includes 209 handmade textiles and silver jewelry from ethnic minority communities in southwest China. The pieces exhibit quality handiwork and traditional weaving, batik dying, embroidery, appliqué, and whitesmithing techniques practiced mainly by women. The textiles include children’s hats that incorporate protective animal imagery, as well as musicians’ robes, baby carriers, jackets, and shoes, all reflecting local traditions. Intricate embroidery detailing local flora, fauna, and folklore decorate many textiles in bright colors on fine silks. Elaborate silver jewelry and headdresses made by artisan silversmiths demonstrate traditional style and technique, their work worn mainly by women during festivities and ceremonial wear. The Field Museum was the fortunate recipient of this large donation by Mrs. Laura Sudler in December 2018. She took many trips over several decades to visit these remote communities during a time when these regions of China were seldom visited by foreigners. Her motive was education and immersion, traveling with the intent to learn more about local traditions and cultural practices.