In March, I visited the small chintz (Chintz – Global Textile) exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I went looking for one of my pictures today, and suddenly realized I completely forgot to blog about the visit. So here’s me making up for that! (If you’re curious about chintz itself, I have some info on that here as well)
The exhibition was small, just a single room, but it had some stunning pieces. The Rijksmuseum is not focused on costume, but it does collect things which have to do with Dutch history and identity. Chintz is one of those interesting things which was originally exotic, made abroad, and yet became a part of Dutch heritage. Through trade initially, and later on through it’s continued existance in traditional costume. The pieces in the Rijksmuseum were mostly 18th century, some wall hangings and fragments, other complete pieces of clothing.
To begin, they had a number of so called ‘japonse rokken’ (loosly translates to japanese robes), or banyans on display. Modelled after imported Japanese kimonos, they were worn by men and show the orignial use of chintz in more informal wear.
There’s quite a variety, I especially loved the red one as it reminded me of the early 18th century ‘bizarre’ silks.
They feature some nice details, such as the strips in the collar of this yellow-ground one.
The one woman’s gown on display was this beautiful francaise. They have it photographed over wider hoops on the website, and given how it drags on the sides I suspect it would’ve been worn that way, not how it’s displayed here.
Despite the inherent formality francaises normally have, this one is relatively simple. It does not have any trim, although it does feature some very nice cuffs.
They did have some other women’s garments as well. Firstly, this lovely petticoat featuring some interesting scenes. Chintz was definitely not just about flowers!
Finally, there were two garments from the town of Hindeloopen, which had it’s own specific local (traditional) dress. First, this ‘wentke’, which is a long overcoat. The blue-white combination is typically worn for light mourning. Special about this one, though, was the silver on the chintz. (Do click on the right picture to see it better). It fairly sparkled in the light, it was so beautiful!
The other item was a ‘kassakeintje’, which is basically a shorter (cassaquin) version of the wentke. This is probably one of the most famous chintz pieces out there, most people will have seen the official photograph of the back:
The lighting was not as ideal in the exhibition of course, but this does finally give an opportunity to see the front! It’s also interesting how it, at first glance, seems perfectly symmetrical. However, once you look a little closer, you can see small (and some bigger) deviations from the mirrored pattern. Especially in the purple waving lines at the bottom side/back of the bodice
I also took some pictures of the fabric. It’s truly stunning, I keep being awed by how pretty the colors always are in original pieces.
The back has gores to make it flare out, and all the seams have a tiny line of red contrast stitches about 1,5cm to the side. This is typical for the wentkes and kassekeintjes from Hindeloopen, I’ve never seen any without.
Aside from the clothing, there were also some fabric pieces. These were some fragments. The first was a small piece, but special due to the gold on it.
This was a larger piece off a role, a bit more ‘modern’ in style.
Some piecing, which is always difficult to see in chintz.
Finally, there was one large wall-hanging on a red ground. This fabric was so stunning, it was one of my favourites. You can see the age, and somehow it’s still so vibrant.
The exhibition is on display until July 21st 2019, so there’s still a little time left to go see it! (Ask where to go at the info desk, it’s a huge museum, and a very small exhibition)
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