The Filipina Bordadoras and the Emergence of Fine European-style Embroidery Tradition in Colonial Philippines, 19th to early-20th Centuries
Ramos, Marlene Flores
Mount Saint Vincent University
This thesis examines three anonymous embroidered textiles from the Philippines, created in the nineteenth century and collected by museums in Great Britain and Spain. These textiles, pañuelos (shawl) and handkerchief, are made of piña and intricately embroidered by young women in beaterios (convent schools) and asilos (orphanages) run by the Catholic Church. I argue that the study of these objects reveals three important new ways to discuss textile production in the Philippines through art historical and material culture lenses: first, an analysis of social class differences between the embroidered textile works of privileged young Filipina women which were authored and acknowledged by collecting institutions, and those like the pañuelos which were created by anonymous working class Filipina women. Second, the importance of acknowledging the works of hybrid or mixed race artists whose blending of cultures is still unrecognized and/or unclassified within major international museums. Third, the tension between displaying and categorizing textile works by non-European artists as ethnographic curiosities and those of European artists displayed as works of art.
Embroidered textiles, Philippines, historical art