Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Prairie Points Pillow

I've been philosophizing and attitudinizing and writing about myself. A glance through the photo screen reminded me that I've been meaning to show this pillow which is all covered in what we quilters call prairie points. Looks like a pillow from a maiden aunt's house somewhere out in the sticks, doesn't it? Very old fashioned to my eyes. Well, somehow prairie points have become very popular in Asia. This pillow was in a Taoist grotto-shrine in the hills west of Kunming, China. I saw a very similar one but didn't photograph it, in a Buddhist shrine in Karakoram, Mongolia as well. Isn't that amazing? They are new looking, not faded or wrinkled ... someone made them in the recent past. I won't say it boggles my mind -- more it addles my brain. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it.

Even more amazing to me, on my second trip to Tibet there was a canopy in a shrine room in Sera Monastery --which was my favorite, so pretty and serene -- which was made of quilts in traditional 19th century American quilt patterns. They were all sepia-ish which may have been from hanging above where yak butter candles were burned many hours of the day. I pointed the quilts out to Ruth, who was my roommate that trip. She agreed I was not imagining things. They looked like American quilts, all squares and little diamonds in traditional patterns.

I have no explanation for why East and West have melded in that way in Tibet [it is NOT China to me], China and Mongolia. But here's a pillow and I have seen other quilts in all three places also. It's a small world and the geometric patterns have common appeal, that's all I can conclude.

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