This shawl exhibited here belonged to Maria Ignacia Jaramillo Bent along with 2 painted ivory fans, also from China, a triple strand of real pearls and a bible bound in leather with pages edged in gold leaf that were among her most treasured personal possession.
Maria lived from 1815 to 1883 in Taos, New Mexico.
This shawl was made in Canton, China. It originally came from China to Manila, then to Acapulco via a Manila Galeon, and was then shipped overland to Mexico City. From there it traveled, via the Camino Real, through Chihuahua to New Mexico. It was bought by the fur trader Charles Bent who gave it as a gift to his wife Maria Jaramillo Bent. They lived in Taos, New Mexico. Bent & his 2 brothers had built up the largest trading post business in the West and was active in settling New Mexico and in local Taos politics. He eventually became Governor of New Mexico. 4 months after becoming governor Bent was massacred by Spaniards & Indians who did not want the United States of America to have New Mexico.
Charles and Maria had 5 children. . Her treasured private belongings were included in the Lohan Inventory lists of their personal properties and bequeathed to the Governor Bent Museum of History in Taos which is housed in their former adobe house.
The museum decided it did not have space to store or display Maria Jaramillo’s treasured personal belongings and they were selected to be auctioned off in a de-accession to raise money for the museum.
I purchased them at the auction in 1996. I have always been fascinated by the women in early American History. When I saw Maria’s treasures I liked them as much as she probably did and they made me feel as if I knew her. I wanted to rescue and preserve them. I guess I was the only person who cared as I was the only bidder. So, I ended up with them and have been taking good care of them ever since.
The description in the auction catalogue stated: “Shawl late 18th Century early 19th Century, silk with silk embroidery. China and Fans: Late 18th Century early 19th Century, Ivory, silk, paint – China / France
I will take soon photos of the Maria’s Fans and add them in another post.
History lesson of the week – read about these interesting people!
Charles Bent: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bent
Charles Bent, Governor of New Mexiico: //www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-Bent
Women of Taos : Josefa Carson and Maria Ignacia Bent: //womenoftaos.org/women/profiles-legends?/item/74/Josefa-Carson-and-Ignacia-Bent
This shawl is very light in color and weight which makes it easy to handle and wear. The overall size is medium, the lattice is 4’ wide & the fringe is only 8” long – not very long so It is easy to keep untangled which also makes it easier to wear. The silk fabric is different than the others in my collection -a bit lighter weight and somewhat shiny like a modern scarf. The color is a yellowish beige and the embroidery depicts blue wisteria flowers and green vines and pink and white passion flowers, The overall feel is light, fragile, delicate and antique. It looks and feels like it could be worn in modern times to a garden party, a wedding, or an outdoor summer concert.
It would look beautiful worn over a blue silk dress the color of the wisteria buds, or one the pink color of the passion flower petals, or a green one the color of the leaves and vines, – a solid color would look the best so the shawl is the main decorative focus of the ensemble. I think a beautiful long necklace of graduated beads in some natural stone color like jade green, lapis lazuli blue or rose quartz pink would be an elegant accent. Matching earrings would also be nice. That should be the only embellishment in my opinion so the focus remains on the elegant Wisteria Shawl.
Rare and beautiful historic clothing and accessories are for sale in my online shops. If you see something on this blog that you are interested in buying, but do not find it for sale in my shops message me on Etsy or Ebay and I will get back to you about availability. I check messages daily and can always prepare a special listing for you if you do not find it already listed in the shops.