‘Glory box’ is not a term we use a lot today, yet for Cook Island women these large storage chests have stored collections of treasured tīvaevae (quilts) since the 1800s. While tīvaevae can be used as bed covers, many are presented as gifts from family members at important life events such as twenty first birthdays and weddings. They create and embody a special bond between giver and receiver, and the past and present.
The exhibition Tīvaevae: Out of the glory box in the Autumn season of Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa celebrates the art of Cook Islands tīvaevae. Twenty four tīvaevae have been selected from Te Papa’s remarkable collection. Each tīvaevae carries the stories and skills of the women who made them, and reflects the vibrant cultural life of the Cook Islands.
A highlight of the exhibition is the selection of several tīvaevae ta’orei (patchwork quilt) such as this one by Teata Ruaki Teau. It was made for her daughter’s wedding and took 18 months to sew – a true labour of love.
Other tīvaevae illustrate and tell stories. This tīvaevae manu (applique quilt) depicts the well-known Mangaian legend of Ina and the Shark. Here Ina can be seen riding the back of the shark to visit the sea god Tinirau.
To celebrate the Tīvaevae: Out of the Glory Box exhibition we’re asking you to share your treasured textiles. So if you have a tīvaevae or hand-made textiles – quilted, knitted, sewn… we’d love to see it!
Take a photo and upload it to Twitter or Instagram with the hash tags #tivaevae or #textiletreasures.
Your post will appear on our Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa website and may appear live on screen in the exhibition. Here is a quick snapshot of some of the posts we’ve received so far.