costumes and textiles

Petticoat (Worn by Millicent Rogers as a skirt)

1840-1860

Block-printed Indian cotton textiles were imported into France during the second half of the 17th century. Their popularity spurred imitators and by the 18th century successful European copies were being produced. Indiennes, as the French version of Indian printed cottons were known, were fashionable during the late 18th century and retained their popularity in the Provence region, where they were adapted and retained for use in regional costume. The textile used in this petticoat is an example of a 19th-century Provençal indienne. The adoption of this printed petticoat for use by Millicent Rogers, known for her inimitable combinations of traditional silhouettes and 20th-century sensibilities, brings this regional French garment and once-fashionable textile full circle.

The MET

Agbogho Mmuo (maiden spirit) mask costume, 20th century, Cotton, jute, wool, rayon, applique, and embroidery. Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The full costume includes a white mask with a crested hairstyle imitating the hairstyles of Igbo women. The masks are used for entertainment when they are worn by male dancers with accompanying music at times like the Ude Agbogho, or the “Fame of Maidens” festival. They are also used to enforce the archetype of the ideal Igbo woman, this idealism also centres beauty as a virtue, the patterns on the body mimic uri temporary body art and other body painting traditional worn by Igbo women, in addition the masks are also used for the memorial of female ancestors and the veneration of the Earth Mother, Ala.