Anyways, while waiting in a doctor's office, I was struck by a quilt hanging on the wall. It looked vaguely familiar to me, but when I questioned the receptionist about the quilt, she had little information other than that the doctor had purchased it in Columbia and that the quilt depicted the birth of Jesus. So I snapped a picture with my phone and when I got home Googled the image. This is what I found.
The quilt in the doctor's office is a reproduction of a famous quilt made by Harriet Powers in 1886.
Harriet Powers was an African American woman who lived in Clarke County, Georgia. After the Civil War, she and her husband worked their small farm and had many children. She made several quilts, but only two survive - The Pictorial quilt 1898 and The Bible quilt 1886. Harriet created her quilts using both applique and piecework techniques, hand quilting, and machine quilting.
The Bible quilt was exhibited at the 1886 Athens County Fair. Several years later, Harriet sold the quilt for five dollars to Jennie Smith, who had admired the quilt and recognized its uniqueness. The eleven panels of the Bible quilt depict scenes from the Bible from the Creation to the birth of Jesus.
the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
The first row panels depict:
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
Adam and Eve with a son
Satan surrounded by seven stars
The second row depicts:
Cain killing his brother Abel
Cain and his wife in the land of Nod
Jacob's dream of a ladder reaching to heaven
The baptism of Christ
The third row panels depict:
The crucifixion of Jesus
Judas Iscariot and the thirty pieces of silver
The Last Supper
The birth of Jesus
Have you seen a reproduction Harriet Powers quilt? The original is not currently on display, so for me even a reproduction was a treat to see.