Pieced Nine-Patch Quilt with Embroidery Fancy Pieced Quilt

Object Details

Mid-19th century
silk, cotton, batting
66 x 64 1/2 in. (167.6 x 163.8 cm)
Bordered in brown, thirty-six blocks compose this nineteenth-century quilt. Each block is made of nine silk squares, mainly in hues of blue, brown, green, grey, and red. Pieced together from remnants of solid and patterned fabric imported from Europe to make formal dresses, elaborate embroidery adorns each square with multicolored motifs ranging from botanical (flower, leaf) to symmetrical designs (heart, cross). The red fringe around the quilt’s edges matches its red, cotton backing. Kissie Owens Gary (1858-1945) remembered the fancy quilt displayed on the back of a sofa at the Saluda, South Carolina plantation where she was enslaved as a child. She passed the quilt on to her children and grandchildren, along with memories of having to begin quilting, hand sewing, and weaving on looms at age five or six. Gary told her family that, upon liberation by the Union Army, she took the quilt with her because so much work had gone into it and to remember the place of her childhood. She brought the quilt with her to Washington, DC where she resided for the last twenty years of her life. Her granddaughter, Rhuedine Gary Davis (1913-2005), a District resident and community activist, donated the quilt to the Anacostia Community Museum.
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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