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Lace-Trimmed Handkerchief

10 x 10 1/4 in. (25.4 x 26 cm)

Unknown, Spanish

Object Type: Textiles
Medium and Support: Linen and lace
Credit Line: Gift of Dwight Van de Vate, John L. Van de Vate, and David S. Van de Vate in memory of Helen Hagood Van de Vate
Accession Number: 1991.103.4
Link to this object
Location: Not currently on view

What are called “the needle arts,” in particular embroidery and lace-making, were the domain of women throughout centuries of European and American history. As early as the 1500s, a young girl was trained in these arts by nuns, tutors, and her female relatives; her prowess was often a measure of both her breeding and suitability for marriage.

The making of lace, which developed from the art of embroidery, was intimately tied to fashion and social status. The addition of lace to collars, handkerchiefs, and other costumes established the wearer as a person of wealth. The industrial revolution transformed the lace-making industry; although elaborate handmade lace was still a mark of status, mass production also made it available to those of lesser means.

[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]

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It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue Entry for this artwork in the It Came from the Vault exhibition catalogue. The exhibition ran from March 17-June 9, 2013

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