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Q8740 Philadelphia Mummers Crazy Quiltc.1890
91 x 92 (231.1 x 233.7 cm)
Some of the earliest mummers date back to early Egypt, pagan Rome and Greece, England, Germany, and France. Historically, Mummery has influenced customs and perpetuated many interesting traditions. The use of masks and different costumes were carried over from the Greek celebrations of King Momus, the Italian-feast of saturnalia, and the British Mummery Play. All of these cultures passed along their traditions from generation to generation, and eventually these traditions were brought to America by immigrants. The tradition of Philadelphia Mummery started in the late 17th century as a continuation of the Old World customs of ushering in the New Year. Mummery in America is as unique to Philadelphia as Mardi Gras is to New Orleans.
The symbols of the Philadelphia Mummers include musical instruments, moons, hearts, diamonds, stars, weaponry, as well as silhouetted faces. Many of these symbols have been incorporated into this circa 1890 folk art Mummer's quilt. Beautifully pieced wool and wool challis fabrics in solids, plaids and floral prints comprise this large, very decorative piece of Philadelphia history. The symbols themselves are cut from solid felted wool and the fine wool embroidery used throughout is both precise and exuberant in color and style.
A 4 ½" double border in two shades of tan wool challis frames the inner design and has intricate embellishment along the entire border seam on four sides. The backing is a brown, red and yellow small scale plaid cotton with a 5/8" applied brown wool challis binding. In excellent condition this quilt is a rare find. Our quilts are always sent on approval.