Posted 11 months ago
I love this amazing textile. It is a Chinese silk gown/jacket dating to about 1907. It was collected in China by Florence ("Flossie") Maude O'Donnell, one of the first women to graduate from Dalhousie University with a medical degree. Upon graduation, and being a single woman, she took off to China to work as a doctor and missionary, as Canada has set up missions there at the turn of the century on the opening up of China. She travelled around there with a single big trunk (which I also own) for 5 years before returning. The gown is made of silk and almost every square inch of it is embroidered. It is lined with torquoise plain silk. It once had rabbit fur around the collar and bottom, and possibly the cuffs, but there are only small fragments remaining. There are three circles of embroidery on each side, and each us unique, like they tell a story - I would love to know what the story is. I'm not sure, but maybe it is a Chinese kimono. When this was given to me some 30 years ago, I thought immediately that I would have it framed in a frame that had glass on both sides, so that I could turn the frame and sometimes I would see the front and sometimes the back. But then I read that light degrades silk, and this thing already looked fragile to me. So I folded it up in a nice cotton cloth and put it away in the dark, which to me is quite sad. I really don't know what to do with this thing - I love it but I cannot really enjoy it by taking it out of the trunk for a little while once or twice a year. Is this thing valuable too? I value it because of its history and beauty, but I really don't know what to do with it.