1900 - 1920 Frances Kaleipapipi Char's Hawaiian Applique Quilt

This Hawaiian appliqué quilt, in the “Nightblooming Cereus” pattern, belonged to Frances Kaleipapipi Clinton Akana Char. It was donated in her memory by her daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Akana. The quilt was given to Frances as her Hawaiian name, Kaleipapipi, means the "corral to hold cattle." The night-blooming-cereus plant ( Hylocereus undatus ) may have come from Mexico (or South America) and grows over corral walls. When the flowers bloom in the evening between June and October, it appears as though the corral is a lei of cereus flowers around the cattle. Frances Kaleipapipi Char enjoyed this Hawaiian quilt for many years. According to the donor, it was always atop her bed.
This quilt is an example of the Hawaiian appliqué technique, achieved through folding the fabric into eighths and then cutting the design. The quilting outlines the flower appliqué and radiates outward in an echo pattern, quilted 7 stitches per inch. The design was inspired by the night-blooming-cereus. It is said that originally the lava rock wall of the Punahou School in Honolulu was planted with this type of cactus by a Mrs. Bingham about 1836. The beautiful white flowers attracted many admirers who then took cuttings, such that now the species is established throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Char, Frances Kaleipapipi Clinton
Physical Description
fabric, cotton (overall material)
thread, cotton (overall material)
filling, wool (overall material)
overall: 87 in x 70 in; 221 cm x 177 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Textiles
Cultures & Communities
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Elizabeth A. Alkana

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