Peru; Wari (ca. 600–1000 CE)
Camelid wool (88.90)
(Plain weave double cloth)
A Modern Artist’s Response
Throughout history, textiles have narrated cultural values and social history. Often valued as a symbol of wealth and status, they also functioned as a commodity in monetary trade. As a result of studying this collection filled with culturally important pieces, I am compelled to question the significance of textiles and iconography in our culture, which leaves me with more questions than answers. What role do textiles have in our mass-produced, throw away culture where little attention is paid to quality? In our culture, quantity seems to rule over quality. What role does the handmade play in our lives today? Why has the handmade lost importance and is it important to reclaim the “made by hand” aspect of our lives? Do formal conventions, rituals and rites of passage fit into our lives much today? Finally, what role does the material object itself play in our lives now? Can objects be anything more than a status symbol of wealth today? Have we lost all sense of depth and can we reclaim balance as a culture? The study of this collection brings all of this to mind and more.
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"I still remember the feeling of awe and disbelief when I was alone and walked in the room with those casts." --Ruth Tofle, chair of architecture, winner of the 2013 distinguished faculty award from the MU Alumni Association