Member Program: Chinese Minority Culture Costume Dye Materials

Chinese minority top garment exhibited in front of a Chinese minority skirt
Festival costumes on display in the exhibition “Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China.” Photo by William Atkins/the George Washington University.


For centuries, minority cultures in Southwest China have donned elaborate textiles, jewelry and accessories for community celebrations. Requiring several years to make by hand, festive ensembles traditionally were their owner’s most valuable possessions and served as an important means of recording stories, events and beliefs. Thanks to generous donations from Bea Roberts and Heather Anne Troutman, the museum holds an internationally significant collection of handmade textiles and jewelry from ethnic minority cultures in China, including the Bouyei, Dong, Miao, Shui and Yao peoples.

Curator Lee Talbot will discuss this rich collection and the importance of preserving these vanishing handcrafts. Associate Conservator Gennifer Majors will discuss the technical processes used to create these beautiful costumes and share her new research on the unconventional use of the synthetic dye methyl violet.

About Gennifer Majors

Gennifer Majors joined the museum in 2019 as an associate conservator. She holds a master's in textile conservation from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Majors has held internship, fellowship and contract positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University in Canada, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.

About Lee Talbot

Lee Talbot joined The Textile Museum as a curator in 2007, specializing in East Asian textiles. He has curated numerous exhibitions and published catalogues, articles and textbook chapters. Talbot was previously curator at the Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum in Seoul, Korea. He has a bachelor’s from Rhodes College, a MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a master’s from Bard Graduate Center.

How to Participate

This program is for museum members. If you are already a member, you can register online, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining the program online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (1 p.m. EDT). If you are not currently a member, you can join or renew online.

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