Semiotics for Interpreting Quilt’s Cultural Values from the U.S. and Indonesia

  • Ekawati Marhaenny Dukut
Keywords: Transnational, American Studies, cultural values, quilt, semiotics, U.S., Indonesia


Historically, quilt making has been recorded in the United States (U.S.) since the 18th century. Not only is it popular for its function but also for the social expression of its people to their environment. In designing quilts, creators make use of different colors and symbols to express a certain phenomenon. By use of library research and semiotics for an analytical-descriptive discussion, the socio-cultural and historical perspectives of U.S. quilts are found to explain how designs have evolved from the 18th to the 21st century of the U.S. The semiotics method has also shown how through an American Studies transnational process of cross bordering countries, the U.S. quilt has influenced its neighboring countries, like Indonesia.  This article shares how a number of U.S. quilt patterns, colors and cultural values are found in Indonesian quilt. Among the cultural values found are the maintenance of loyalty and obedience. Interestingly, while the U.S. cultural value of individualism is respected, the Indonesian collectivism is preferred more in quilt making.


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