I know a lot of you want more details about Seema's book collection. We're working on a follow up post, but in the meantime here's another interesting cloth-related museum publication with a seriously striking cover: Rapt in Colour: Korean Textiles and Costumes of the Chosôn Dynasty. While the vivid colors and composition on the book's cover suggest modern abstract art, the contents, as the title indicates, deal with Korean design, needlework, and fashion from 1392-1910.
Throughout history needlework has been for women more than a chore or necessity; it has also been a powerful vehicle for creativity and self-expression (think Fanny Brawne in Bright Star). The editors of Rapt in Colour note that women of the Chosôn Dynasty lived in a particularly rigid society, so the wrapping cloths they made are an indication of how they "entertained themselves and communicated their passion, love and hope."
Image via Amazon. Also available through Selvedge.
Oh, and speaking of museums, it's blockbuster season so that means well-stocked gift shops. However you feel about exhibition-related merchandise, there are usually great options for small holiday presents and purchases do help support the institutions. Recently Aleta Bartel-Orton sent me a helpful reminder about Maharaja, on view at the V & A through January 17, 2010. Shown above and below are charming fair trade ornaments offered for sale in conjunction with the show. (This terrific Flickr link was just added to the exhibition website.)