Exhibition: Sanquhar Gloves – A Living Scottish Tradition


Exhibition dates: this is an online exhibition, available to view indefinitely

The Center for Knit and Crochet (CKC), based in Wisconsin, USA, have produced a great online exhibition exploring the Scottish tradition of Sanquhar gloves.

Sanquhar gloves are a distinctive fashion accessory from the small Scottish town of the same name. Sanquhar, Scotland is located about 60 miles southwest of Edinburgh and 50 miles southeast of Glasgow. The gloves historically associated with this community are hand-knitted in fine wool yarns in two colours that emphasise the delicacy and precision of the small all-over patterns preferred by the knitters of Sanquhar.

Structure of the exhibition:

  • We begin with a definition of Sanquhar gloves, including their patterns, construction and materials, showing both historical and contemporary examples.
  • Next we explore the attraction of this form of knitting and discuss resources.
  • Finally we admire contemporary adaptations of Sanquhar patterns in gloves, mittens and other garments.
  • The exhibition concludes with a bibliography and reference materials.

To view the exhibition, visit the website of the Center for Knit and Crochet.

Exhibition: Textiles from Sumba, Indonesia


Exhibition dates: this is an online exhibition, available to view indefinitely

A special exhibition of textiles from Sumba, curated by HALI contributing editor Thomas Murray and drawing from his extensive collection, is available to view online. It begins:

“The island of Sumba may be found on a map between Bali and New Guinea but it exists in its own world, far apart from those antipodal lands. Divided east and west by language and environmental conditions, the west tends to be more wet and green and the east, dryer.

Sumbanese religion, Marapu, recognizes that a dualistic symmetry exists in the universe, that of male and female, hot and cold, sun and moon, cloth and metal. Here there are good and bad spirits hovering nearby, needing ritual offerings on a regular basis. The ancestors must most especially be cared for.

Sumba is thus home to one of the strongest animistic tribal societies found in Indonesia, perhaps most famous for its notorious custom of cutting off the heads of enemies and placing them on the branches of a designated tree, the pohon andung, at the entrance of the village. Such trees represented the Tree of Life as well as serving to remind viewers of the power of the raja.

Sumba has a rich megalithic heritage, featuring giant stone tomb memorials. Sumbanese houses, particularly the customary houses found in royal villages, known as rumah adat, are understood to be cosmic diagrams, with the underworld of the animals below, the mid-level for human habitation and the high roof being the realm of the ancestors. This is also the place where the pusaka heirloom treasures are stored, to be closer to the departed souls; precious gold jewelry and fabulously rare and beautiful textiles were kept just under the peak of the roof on both sides of the island. But the art of weaving and dyeing achieved greatest heights in the east, with ikat textiles adding bright colors to the dusty brown background of this, the dry side of the island.”

To view the exhibition, visit Thomas Murray’s website.

Exhibition: Sharing History. Arab World – Europe 1815–1918

Sharing History - Arab World, Europe

Over the course of three years, museum curators and historians from twenty-two countries have worked together to depict, for the first time, a core period of their shared history as a common historical legacy that takes into account the specific perspectives of all parties.

The results are ten international online exhibitions exploring themes of central importance to Arab-Ottoman-European relations in the nineteenth century. The exhibitions show a rich spectrum of art works, documents, historical photographs and everyday objects as well as buildings and locations from the participating countries. Numerous objects have now been made accessible to the public for the first time, along with all of the material gathered within the framework of Sharing History that documents our common past.

The project, initiated by Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF), is the first attempt to specifically address Arab-Ottoman-European history in a way that includes all parties. The research at the start of the project thus brought unexpected discoveries for many of the partners about the diversity and intensity of our relations in the nineteenth century and the cultural heritage documenting this period of our common history. A potential upon which we can build a common future, and an experience that bears witness to the fact that there is far more connecting us than we realise.

To design the exhibitions, the curators of the partner institutions had access to a database of 2,490 objects specially brought together for this project. Visitors to the virtual museum can use this database to conduct further research or compile personal collections.

To view the exhibition online, visit the Sharing History website.