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Hanging, Syrian Olive Tree

This is a Hanging. It was designed by Lydia Bush-Brown and made by Lydia Bush-Brown. It is dated ca. 1922 and we acquired it in 1974. Its medium is silk and its technique is wax-resist dyed (batik) on warp-faced plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Batik, or resist-dye, is an ancient craft often associated with Indonesia, but practiced in regions throughout Africa and Asia. It became popular in United States in the 1910s and 20s, with artists such as Arthur Crisp, Pieter Mijer, and Lydia Bush-Brown attracting national attention. These artists worked in the traditional manner, painting paraffin and beeswax on their cloth to create a resist, but expanded the traditional design vocabulary to include patterns inspired by contemporary design and painterly subjects such as landscapes and still lifes. Bush-Brown, the daughter of artists Henry Kirke Brown and Margaret Lesley, is best known for her resist-dye illustrations of landscapes inspired by her travels in Mexico, Greece, Egypt, the Middle East, and other regions. This piece, a pastoral landscape with a large olive tree flanked by a shepherd and grazing goats, was inspired by her travels in Syria. The border pattern is clearly inspired by the pointed arches characteristic of Islamic architecture.

This object was donated by Lydia Bush-Brown. It is credited Gift of Lydia Bush-Brown.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 206.4 x 90.2 cm (6 ft. 9 1/4 in. x 35 1/2 in.)

It has the following markings

Bush-Brown's monogram w/ stylized beech tree. Monogram in lower right corner: LBB.

Cite this object as

Hanging, Syrian Olive Tree; Designed by Lydia Bush-Brown (American, 1887–1984); USA; silk; H x W: 206.4 x 90.2 cm (6 ft. 9 1/4 in. x 35 1/2 in.); Gift of Lydia Bush-Brown; 1974-23-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Hanging, Syrian Olive Tree |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=2 July 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>