closeup of a colorful shirt from Central America

Kieffer-Lopez Collection of Ethnographic Textiles and Artifacts

Gerard Lopez donated a collection of ethnographic materials and textiles built over 40 years with his late wife, Margaret "Peg" Kieffer (1940–2006). Margaret Kieffer, Ph.D., developed a strong interest in indigenous textiles and their construction while working on her doctorate in Guatemala. In her goal to collect a sample of weaving from each Guatemalan state in order to reflect the diversity of designs, Dr. Kieffer amassed over 800 textiles and articles of clothing.

Dr. Kieffer and Gerard Lopez traveled to Africa and Asia, expanding their collections of textiles from countries such as Ghana, Niger, Thailand, Burma, and India. Dr. Kieffer enhanced her collection with objects related to cloth construction like weaving pulleys, shuttles, and backstrap looms.

The couple also collected other ethnographic materials from Africa, Asia, and Central America during their travels. These objects reflect the daily life and activities of indigenous groups across the globe. The Kieffer-Lopez collection enhances the Spurlock Museum holdings for Central America, Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, providing new opportunities for research and exhibition.

Notable Objects

  • carved wooden figure of a pilot with red coat
    Colon: Pilot Colons (colonial figures) are carved in the Cote d'Ivoire for both personal use and the tourist trade. This figure represents an Air France pilot. Cote d'Ivoire 2008.22.0005
  • painted wooden box with doors and red and yellow designs
    Kavad A kavad is used in India by traveling storytellers. Sections of the box unfold, revealing illustrations of the tale being told. India 2008.22.0007
  • small black container with black fringe and a string at the ends
    Kohl Container The Wodaabe of Niger often decorate themselves for festivals and gatherings. This container holds kohl for lining the eyes and darkening the lips. Niger 2008.22.0012
  • multi-colored textile with geometric designs and a stylized person in the center
    Mola This mola, a blouse worn by the Kuna Indians, San Blas Islands, Panama, takes its design from a 1968 election poster. Panama 2008.22.0066
  • wooden black container with lid and carved mouse on top
    Gbekre (Mouse Divination Vessel) This divination bowl uses a mouse as its method of telling the future. Food is placed in different areas of the top, and the mouse is released through a hole to the top. The mouse’s actions are used to predict the future. Cote d'Ivoire 2009.05.0004
  • long thin embroidered strip of red/pink fabric
    Sasigyo A sasigyo is a cord used to bind Buddhist manuscripts in Myanmar. The cords can have dedications, prayers, and designs woven into the strap. Myanmar 2009.05.0011

Additional Objects