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The Roger Hollander Chinese Minority Collection

About the Roger Hollander Chinese Minority Collection

Revealed here are six examples from the 1500 pieces of the Roger Hollander Collection of Chinese Minority Costumes, Textiles and Jewelry, the whole divided into two parts, the Primary and the Secondary Collections. That division is somewhat artificial but it serves a useful purpose, allowing us to approach the viewing and understanding of the overall collection in a more manageable way.

This division was made by Mr. Wu, himself a Chinese Minority and an independent textile authority now based in Beijing. Mr. Wu was brought in as a consultant to gain insight about how Chinese experts might view the RH Collection; would they perceive it differently than from the Western point of view? We can say that with minor differences, East and West largely agree. This makes sense because Roger Hollander sought out the oldest and most beautiful Chinese Minority pieces he could find, with the Primary Collection being the result of those efforts. There are about 580 pieces in the Primary Collection...and close to a thousand in the Secondary.

Roger was very fascinated by all aspects of the material culture of the Chinese Minorities, most especially in an anthropological sense.

Although Roger very much appreciated beauty, quite evident in the works of art he collected, he felt there was much more to know about the ancient story of the mountain tribes, which could only be accessed from the artifacts of their daily lives. Roger felt something would surely be lost were he to collect exclusively on an aesthetic basis. He felt a responsibility to document the "minor arts," from shoes to headgear, old, and relatively recent because he recognized early on that the tidal wave of modern Han Chinese culture was going to be irresistible. He saw the inevitability of young minorities migrating to the big cities to find jobs, exchanging traditional costumes for steady work as secretaries in offices or for men to go into the manufacturing sector. Roger Hollander saw this process of assimilation beginning to happen already more than 15 years ago and, therefore, collected with a sense of great urgency objects of ethnological interest while it was still possible to gather such items and thereby document a vanishing way of life. These pieces are featured in what Mr. Wu called the "Secondary Collection."

Together, the Primary and the Secondary Collections represent an astonishing tour de force of a thoughtful gathering of great and rare textile art.

Please enjoy your visit!

-Thomas Murray

This Collection may be purchased three ways:

The entire collection of approximately 1500 pieces is being offered at a particularly attractive price. Please inquire if interested.

The Primary Collection is available as a stand alone collection, Price on Request.

The Secondary Collection is being offered on its own as well at $150,000.

Inquires welcome! Email:

Roger Hollander collected textiles with a passion seldom matched. After a successful career in IT, he left the business world in the late 1990s to devote himself to his many interests, but most especially to building what would soon become the greatest collection of Indian Trade Cloth (ITC) in the world. That collection now has pride of place in the Asian Civilization Museum in Singapore.

Roger's vision was to track back to the source patterns that inspired the craftsmen of India who created these multi-varied cloths. He not only collected the ITC, he surveyed court and tribal textiles of the Indian sub-continent proper, oriental carpets and Islamic textiles and mainly this early group of Chinese and Central Asian textiles, all of which contributed to the “big picture” of where ITC designs come from.

At the same time, he also collected textiles from Indonesia that displayed motifs inspired by Indian Trade Cloth, including batiks of Java and Sumatra and ikats of the outer islands. Believing that Chinese Minority textiles and their patterns represent a window on the ancient past, even when the costumes were made in the 20th Century, Roger assembled what is no doubt the largest privately held collection in the USA. Please see more information and pictures at:
The Roger Hollander Chinese Minority Collection on

all text & images © Thomas Murray

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