PHILADELPHIA – Material Culture will offer a beautiful and rare assortment of woven masterpieces in its auction of fine international textiles and Oriental rugs on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. Eastern time.The auction will feature more than 400 lots of textiles and rugs, many museum quality, from estates and private collections from around the world. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
A number of exceptional 18th/19th century Chinese textiles will be sold in the auction including a fine collection of embroidered silk robes and a rare summer dragon robe, and several beautifully embroidered altar cloths. Of special note is lot 15, a fine antique Qing Dynasty midnight blue silk embroidered robe with natural dye colors, with silk floss on silk base and metallic thread and lot 16, an antique Qing Dynasty Chinese white silk women’s robe elaborately detailed and embroidered with silk floss and gold thread on a white silk ground with additional pattern and embroidery within the sleeve interiors.
The auction will also include some period 20th-century textiles depicting Cultural Revolution and Chairman Mao themes.
Many of the Indonesian pieces to be offered are museum quality including several 19th-century batiks signed by batik masters. Lots 35 and 36, for example, are very fine and rare batiks created and signed by Eliza Van Zuylen, a Dutch woman/batik artist who operated one of the most famous ateliers in Pekalongan from 1890-1946. Her batiks catered to the tastes of the local Dutch, Eurasian and Chinese settlers in Indonesia as well as to the Western export market. Also included in the auction is a rare double ikat geringsing cloth from Bali, and several ceremonial sarongs from Sumatra as well as highly collectible ships cloths and ceremonial tatibin and pelangi from Sumatra.
Of particular note is lot 48, a women’s ceremonial sarong/tapis woven with handspun cotton and decorated with natural dyes and metal thread from Lampung, Sumatra. Other Indonesian textiles of note are several old ikats from Sumba, Borneo, Roti and Savu.
Of the beautiful Indian textiles included in the sale, lot 74 is particularly noteworthy: a rare 18th/19th century patola double ikat trade cloth made in Gujarat, India. Such textiles were so highly valued in their day that they were used as currency. They are admired and collected today for their beauty and the intricacy of their design and fabrication.
Other textiles from India include a number of exceptional Naga cloths of which lot 342 is a particularly fine example. This lot features a fine Kabui Naga wealthy man’s body cloth with extremely elaborate weaving, hand stitching and fringe collected in Nagaland, circa mid-1900s.
A wide range of African pieces will also be featured including a prestige wedding blanket from Mali, a variety of indigo cloths ranging from very special antique chief’s cloths to more vintage pieces and several Kuba cloths. Lot 355, for example, is a large chief’s indigo cloth from the early 1900s.
The auction also features a fine selection of antique Tibetan rugs from the collection of Bill Liske, acquired over the course of three decades of travel and work in the Himalayas. A lifelong mountaineer, Liske originally visited Nepal in 1974 for the climbing opportunities of its terrain and was drawn in by the society and its culture. Liske continued to travel to the region, and in the early 1980s he began working as a guide. During this time, he also developed a relationship with many textile dealers and pickers, some of whom would even save fine works for him that they found exciting. In 1998, he curated an exhibition of his collection titled “From the Heart of a Continent: Carpets and Textiles of the Tibetan Realm,” in his home state of Colorado, at the History Museum in Denver. Among the 31 items (lots 113-143) on offer from the collection, lot 117 is a classic Wangden-style Lama’s square warp face back meditation rug.
No collection of Tibetan rugs would be complete without lot 120, a monastery tsokden made for five monks sitting, reading and praying together. It is intact, with uncut side and end finishes and trade cloth covered felt attached borders.