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A quilt of unstructured cotton fibres covered with a loosely woven netting of white, red, and green cotton threads. Label reads "DOUBLE HAPPINESS BRAND/MADE IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA".

History Of Use

Cotton padding is used in China for warm clothing and bedding. Garments and quilts are enclosed in cloth covers which may be removed for washing.

Cultural Context


Iconographic Meaning

The characters double happiness, written in red, symbolize happiness in marriage

Specific Techniques

After the cotton has been ginned, two men prepare the cotton fibre, which is initially wadded and compact. They stand on opposite sides of a table the size and configuration of the finished quilt. Each has a belt from which projects upwards a bamboo pole. Suspended from this is a tool shaped like a bow. Each man has a wooden bell-shaped tool in one hand that he uses to strum the string of the bow, making a characteristic rhythmic sound. He holds the string above the cotton fibres and as it vibrates it separates and fluffs the cotton. When it has reached the desired size and shape, the men then cast cotton threads back and forth across the quilt, creating a mesh that encloses the cotton.

Item History

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