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Unraveling the Origins and History of a Unique Cashmere Shawl

5/20 Saturday Lecture with Joan Hart

Please note: This lecture takes the place of the previously scheduled talk with Julia Bryan-Wilson.

Saturday, 5/20/23 10am PT

Presented In-Person *and* via Zoom

Koret Auditorium, de Young museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

In-Person Tickets: $5, sold at the door only \ free for TAC members

Virtual Tickets (Zoom): $5 Members of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Students. $10 General Admission \ free for TAC members.

A recording will be available for two weeks following the talk.

Do you like a good mystery? Textiles are full of them. I found a shawl from Mesa, Arizona, picked up in a flea market by chance, which led to a deep excavation of the origins and history of Kashmir and cashmere shawl production. The shawls were made by hand, tapestry woven, in Kashmir and produced by machine throughout the nineteenth century in the UK, Scotland, and Paris. Tune in to find out where the Mesa shawl originated and why.

Joan Hart is the Chair of the Saturday Lecture Series of the Textile Arts Council of the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums. She received her BA from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. from UC, Berkeley. For over twenty years, she has collected and researched Kashmir and paisley antique shawls and has amassed a large collection of them. Her Kashmir shawl owned by Queen Victoria will be exhibited at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford University, England next fall as part of an exhibition on "The Colour Revolution in the Victorian Age". Dr. Hart has taught at Indiana University, Bowdoin College, Wabash College, and Purdue University. She has lectured at the Louvre Museum, the Textile Society of America, and the Russian Academy of Art. She has published widely on her textile collection, which includes not just the shawls, but antique robes from around the world, couture clothing from the early twentieth century, among others. She is finishing a book on one of the founders of art history, Heinrich Wolfflin. The National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies honored her with grants for her research on the theory and practice of art history.

Image credits

  • Four Seasons jacquard shawl, Edinburgh, Scotland, c. 1845.

  • Kashmir Prayer Hanging, c. 1770, Kashmir, India.


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