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  • Dragons in the Drawing Room: Chinese Embroideries in British Homes

Cheang, Sarah, 2008, Journal Article, Dragons in the Drawing Room: Chinese Embroideries in British Homes Textile History, 39 (2). pp. 223-249. ISSN 0040-4969

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Abstract or Description:

Western imperial interests in China between the mid-19th and early-20th centuries created a particular set of meanings around Chinese material culture, especially a colonial form of nostalgia for pre-19th-century China, with its emperors and 'exotic' court etiquette. Cheang’s article examines the use of Chinese satin-stitch embroideries in British homes between 1860 and 1949, exploring how a range of British identities were constructed through the ownership, manipulation and display of luxury Chinese embroidered textiles. Applying post-colonial theory, she presents an original perspective on imperial dimensions of identity formation in British homes.

The Arts and Humanities Research Board awarded funding to undertake the initial research, which entailed investigation of many hitherto neglected interior decoration texts from the period as well as popular literature and retail catalogues, and textiles in museum collections.

‘Dragons in the drawing room’ has been recognised as a significant contribution to historical research. It was awarded the Pasold Research Fund Prize for the best essay in Textile History in 2008. In addition, the article was featured in the Annual Bulletin of Historical Research 2010, a critical digest of significant new academic work for history scholars and educators. Cheang also wrote the related essay ‘Re-imagining the dragon robe: China chic in early twentieth-century European fashion’, which highlights and re-presents some of the material from this article for a Danish National Research Centre for Textile Research public-outreach project, Global Textile Encounters. This publication (forthcoming) is aimed at a global popular readership and will be translated for readers in India and China. In recognition of her expertise in historic Chinese embroideries, Cheang was also asked to act as a curatorial consultant for the ‘Japan-tastic: Japanese Inspired Patterns for the British Home, 1880–1930’ exhibition at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, Middlesex University (2009–10).

Official URL: http://www.maney.co.uk
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W230 Clothing/Fashion Design > W231 Textile Design
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/174329508x347098
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2012 15:10
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2013 20:06
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/977

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