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Telephone - for orders or questions - 1-207-363-6800
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Q9014 African American Mouring Quilt

c.1895
approx. 65 x 74 (165.1 x 188 cm)
MD $6,800

A special African American mourning quilt that is also a wonderful piece of Folk Art. It is comprised of wool and cotton probably from clothing worn by both the deceased and his family members and friends as was the custom when making a mourning quilt. The presence of birds, in this quilt the predominant raven, is thought to symbolize eternal life; the link between heaven and earth. Birds are free to roam the earth and sky and are often believed to be a messenger of the spirit world. It is believed that ravens who fly high toward the heavens take prayers from the people to the spirit world and, in turn, bring back messages from the spiritual realm.

This particular mourning quilt contains a stitched verse by Kitty for her friend Jimmy.
Verse:
for My Friend Jimmy
When your at the
Edge of the earth
Jumping off
May You use this quilt
Like Angel Wings
So You May Safely
Land
know that I will
Always love You
Kitty


Raven appliques with beads for eyes accompany the verse as well as a large embroidered heart , a line of rabbits, a beaded star, and a wreath, among others. There is a piece of a work shirt, which we assume is Jimmy's, in the bottom right corner that still has the buttoned pocket.

The quilt backing is blue ticking fabric. It has top ties and most of the embroidery was done using colored string and thread. The applied binding is strip pieced wools that have been top stitched to the quilt by hand. There are a couple small moth holes which we haven't touched.

A poignant work of love in honor of a deceased friend which now falls under the category of extraordinary folk art. Please ask Betsey to see this quilt on approval for private viewing. >