In addition to the important Chinese collections from the 1884–85 New Orleans Exposition, the Museum’s early Chinese collecting also benefited from a generous gift of some 1100 textiles, jewelry, paintings, and other objects made by Frederick W. and Nellie H. Stevens in 1926. Frederick Stevens (1865–1926) graduated from the U-M law school in 1887. Between 1920 and 1923, he served as the representative of American bankers to the International Consortium for China, and it was during this time that he and his wife acquired a sizeable collection of Chinese material culture. The collection is particularly rich in textiles, including this elegant Qing Dynasty silk coat, embroidered with dragons, bats (fu, the word for bat, is a homophone for “good fortune”), clouds, and other auspicious symbols.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.