Towel with call to order

“Order delights”, “A sense of order brings profit”, “Order helps housekeeping” – these and similar aphorisms were embroidered on special towels (in German “Überhandtücher”) and used in kitchens until the 2nd half of the 20th century.

As a clean textile object, preferably designed by women, they were hung over rather dirty or used dryer sheets and cleaning rags. The neat surface concealed the rather messy elements underneath.

In this respect, the embroidered mottoes fit well with the original function of the cloths – they are calls or exhortations to order in everyday life and at the same time demonstrate the “female domestic diligence” and the sense of order of the housewife “ruling the kitchen”.

Today, these cloths are used more as decorative objects. They are, if you like, a forerunner of the popular home organisation advice literature of recent years, which is also predominantly perceived by women.

This and other cloths with tidiness sayings can be seen in our current special exhibition ORGANIZING THINGS, which has been extended until November 21, 2022.