The Master Silk Printer

The Master Silk Printer of April 1923, a trade publication in the Cooper-Hewitt Museum Library collection, joined in the “Egyptomania” phenomenon and featured a new line of printed fabrics inspired by the Tomb of King Tut. Pattern books of Egyptian ornament became available that designers could reference in creating their own stylized designs for the graphic arts, textiles, and furnishings. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb continued to influence international design and culture throughout the 1920’s, and well into the Art Deco period of the 1930’s. The treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb are among the most traveled artifacts in the world.  In 1972 another Egyptian Revival was created when the Treasures of Tutankhamen tour opened in London, and then moved to the U.S. organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which ran from 1972 -1979.More than eight million people attended it them, and a most recent exhibition tour which began in 2005 and ended in 2008, drew many millions of people.  The lure and fascination of Howard Carter’s great discovery holds its more »

This is Why You Should Never Judge a Book by its Cover

In my work as a rare materials cataloger, some very remarkable books cross my desk. And although I've learned that even the most plain-looking books can hold surprises, I was taken completely unaware by this unassuming, even drab, volume with its crumbling leather spine and torn paper label on the front cover. Hmm, what does the label say? 'Sales Book', maybe? So it's probably an old account book full of crabbed handwriting and calculations, but surely it has something of interest for a researcher, or it wouldn't have wound up here. Let's see what it is. Here is the front cover of fNK8805.P38 1912 CHMRB: Carefully, I open the volume, trying not to make the binding crumble even further. Oh my!!  THIS IS AMAZING!!!  You've GOT to SEE THIS!!  WOW!!!   The other catalogers, alerted by my gasps, crowd around to admire the contents. The book is filled with amazing swatches of colorful silk fabrics; see below for some examples. So, what on earth is this lovely book?! Recently acquired by more »

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