The Iconic Amish Quilt

By the late 1980s, Amish quilts had reached iconic status. No longer were they mere bedcovers, or even works of art. They had become symbols, imbued with meanings associated with simplicity, heritage, and rural values.  By associating themselves with Amish quilts, businesses have tried to absorb some of the perceived simplicity and authenticity of Amish quilts. Amish quilts’ reputation derived from their distinct—and paradoxical—ability to look modern while conveying aspects of the imagined pre-industrial past. This ironic situation—of objects which art critic Robert Hughes called “inescapably modern” coming from a culture that attempted to keep modernity at arms’ length—only increased the appeal of Amish quilts.