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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 5:41 pm 
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Here is a baby carrier that has recently been added to my collection. I was told it was from around Wenshan City, Yunnan. However, it does not resemble any baby carriers I have seen from there.

Although at first glance it appears to be woven, this piece is actually all embroidered. I quite like the border of turtles(?) that surround the main field, but am confused at the seemingly incongruous (and almost European) floral and foliate borders and insets.

I would appreciate any insight into this piece anyone might have.

Thanks!


Attachments:
Wenshan baby carrier.jpg
Wenshan baby carrier.jpg [ 62.49 KiB | Viewed 11337 times ]
Wenshan baby carrier detail 1.jpg
Wenshan baby carrier detail 1.jpg [ 68.65 KiB | Viewed 11337 times ]
Wenshan baby carrier detail 2.jpg
Wenshan baby carrier detail 2.jpg [ 62.08 KiB | Viewed 11337 times ]
Wenshan baby carrier detail 3.jpg
Wenshan baby carrier detail 3.jpg [ 61.1 KiB | Viewed 11337 times ]


Last edited by JT_BJ on Tue May 20, 2008 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 9:39 pm 
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Jon

I wish I had something helpful to say but I have never seen one of these before - what wonderful work. Glad you said it was embroidered as it certainly looks like weaving at the level of pics on the forum. I wonder if, originally, such babycarriers were woven? This seems to have been a trend as it is easier to fit in embroidering with daily life and the weaving skills are not passed on and disappear.

I rather like the restrained palette of colours.

I will certainly keep my eyes open for anything similar when I am going through books or spot one anywhere. I was interested that you said Wenshan - I have just bought a Zhuang jacket from the area - seems to be where the pickers currently are....

thanks for bringing the piece to our attention.

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 Post subject: Locality
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:40 pm 
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Hi Jon
It would appear that Yunnan in particular is facing the onslaught of collectors. I have seen many of these baby carriers here in Taiwan. None of them have been woven but all follow a similar pattern - all retaining the extension of the central panel out to the bottom corners. I have also been told that these cariers are from Wenshan, Yunnan.
In the book "Clothing and Ornaments of China's Miao People" (you have the Chinese version if I recall correctly) on page 194 is a rather flamboyant babycarrier from Maguan County. This carrier has similarities to your own and to many of the carriers I have seen here in Taiwan said to be from Wenshan. Maguan County 马关县 is located in Yunnan's Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture 文山壮族苗族自治州.

As to the foliate borders:
Yes, at first glance these do appear somewhat out of place. However, I think this probably says more about our outsider status and conception of what is 'traditional' and therefore 'appropriate'. Taking into consideration that the purchase of these ribbons may indicate a not insignificant cost to people who possibly did not have a large disposable income the inclusion on textiles can take on a new meaning.
There are actually two different industrially produced trade ribbons on your carrier. The smaller ribbon and (more extensively used ribbon) in red and green is commonly found on textiles from Guizhou and other areas of southwestern China and consists of a repeating motif of a red bird and two red flowers on a green foliate background.
The four sections of a second larger ribbon surrounded by the thinner ribbon discussed above also appears on pieces in my collection. I have not seen it extensively used on texiles viewed here in Taiwan - possibly reflecting greater expense and that the design does not lend itself to being cut lengthwise. I have a similar ribbon appearing on textiles consisting of two red flowers - one five-petalled and viewed from above and a second eight-petalled umbellate example viewed from the side.


Last edited by iain on Sat May 17, 2008 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Ribbon images
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:06 am 
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Here are examples of the two ribbons similar to those appearing on the babycarrier under discussion. These are found on the edges of two Miao infant hats.


Attachments:
File comment: Ribbon detail: bird and two flowers in red on green foliate vine.
Ribbon1.jpg
Ribbon1.jpg [ 46.12 KiB | Viewed 11293 times ]
File comment: Ribbon detail: five-petalled flower viewed from above and eight-petalled umbellate flower viewed from side.
Ribbon2.jpg
Ribbon2.jpg [ 48.16 KiB | Viewed 11293 times ]
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 Post subject: further links
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 11:41 am 
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On Susan's Tribaltrappings website there is a similar example http://www.tribaltrappings.com/TACH354.php to your baby carrier. However, it does not incorporate couched ribbons. Susan tentatively attributes this piece to the Hmong/Miao in Yunnan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 1:13 pm 
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The one on tribaltrappings.com seems to me similar to ones posted by Leslie (Susan's daughter) when she was in CM http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... php?t=1105 . Forgive me, but, other than the fact that the carrier is covered in thick embroidery I cannot see the similarity to the restrained colour one that Jon posted. The one on Susan's site seems very exuberant indeed!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 3:12 pm 
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Iain,

Once again I am grateful for your keen eye and wealth of knowledge. I must have gotten confused when speaking to my dealer, as I was sure he said Wenshan City. However, with Wenshan being the name of a prefecture, county, and city, I suppose there is ample room for confusion.

It really does seem that Yunnan is currently the hotbed of textile sourcing at the moment. However, from the dealers I have spoken to, apparently even the newly opened regions have very little left.

Your comments on the ribbon that is used for the borders are quite interesting. I agree that the ribbon would probably have been a luxury. Taken in this context, it does truly change one's perception as to its use. Thank you for showing us how it has been used on other textiles. It seems that its use was spread over a rather large geographic area. Would use of this ribbon indicate a specific time period for these pieces?

My piece may also have had a third type of ribbon surrounding the outer edges. However, it has been so worn out that the pattern is impossible to make out now. There are just traces of red left along the edges.

I find it interesting (though not surprising) that the industrially produced ribbons, which were so highly valued and probably quite expensive, have since deteriorated so quickly compared to the rest of the piece which was embroidered by hand.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 3:25 pm 
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Pamela,

The embroidered pattern of this baby carrier may well have been copied or developed from a woven one. I find the relationship between embroidery and weaving to be a fascinating one. I would quite agree with you that it seems embroidery seems to have overtaken weaving in many cultures due to its portability and versatility, as well as the introduction of more machine made cloths.

I would also agree with you that this baby carrier is not quite like the one on Susan's website. Although the overall design is similar, the geometric motifs and embroidery styles are very different.


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 Post subject: in defence
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 2:39 am 
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It appears my use of similar has been stretched - what I had meant with "similar" was not related to embroidery exuberance but to the layout in particular the extension of the central panel to the bottom corners.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 9:36 am 
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Hi All-
First, I would love to see a full photo of Jon's carrier, including the lower part, if that is possible. It is very handsome and I, too am drawn to its lowkey coloring and design. After comparing it to my TACH354, I'm inclined to agree with Iain that there are similarities, at least in terms of organization of design elements with the panel across the top and continuation of the outlining borders down to beveled corners, plus the 'X' shape of the motifs in the central square. Of course, after that the similarity stops, as mine is cross-stitched entirely in vivid colors and the motifs themselves are quite different. Perhaps Jon's is a much earlier version from a nearby group?

Re the use of commercially-available ribbon: I'd always understood it to be a sign of status because of the cost. Perhaps Gina Corrigan addresses this in a book...? I'll dig around in my references, or maybe Pamela might recall one.

I don't recall seeing any other carriers like this around Chiang Mai, but will keep my eyes open. So many of the recent offerings seem to be from Yunnan.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 3:52 pm 
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Hi Susan,

Here is a picture of the full carrier. I'm afraid that there isn't much of interest going on at the bottom . . . .


Attachments:
Maguan Baby Carrier.jpg
Maguan Baby Carrier.jpg [ 53.32 KiB | Viewed 11153 times ]
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 Post subject: Ribbon production
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 am 
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Not sure that I can recall Gina writing that the incorporation of manufactured ribbon indicated a greater wealth status. I do recall her stating that machine made ribbons were being manufactured in Pingbian County (Yunnan Province) by a Miao couple/family for use on costumes. The appearance of the "bird-and-two-flower" ribbon appears to have a wide distribution - appearing on Miao, Yi, Dong, Shui and Yao textiles from Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Guanxi provinces.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 11:58 am 
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I thought I would share some findings from a bit of research that I have been doing. It relates, I think(?) to this thread and also to the thread I mentioned above posted by Leslie http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... php?t=1105 . I will post something on that thread for Leslie to see.

Susan Stem mentioned above that:
Quote:
“Re the use of commercially-available ribbon: I'd always understood it to be a sign of status because of the cost. Perhaps Gina Corrigan addresses this in a book...? I'll dig around in my references, or maybe Pamela might recall one.”
I have some similar commercially woven ribbon on items in my collection collected with Gina – mainly children's hats, I think (as Iain mentions) - but I need to have a look.

The first book that I looked in was not one written by Gina but by Deryn O’Connor: ‘Miao Costumes from Guizhou Province South West China’ which I have cited before on the forum. It features Gina’s textile collection and also photos. Deryn has given me permission to use photos from the book so I will be posting from it. What caught my eye on page 31 was a heading ‘Kaiyuan style’ under the major heading ‘SICHUAN-GUIZHOU-YUNNAN MODEL’. When Jon originally used this title himself at the beginning of this thread I have to admit that it did not have meaning for me.

When I read Deryn’s text it was discussing costume collected in Suoga, Luzhi area of western Guizhou and of the Miao popularly known as Long-Horned Miao. As you know, western Guizhou borders Yunnan. What I noticed from the pics on pages 32 and 33 were designs in the wax resist on a woman’s coat which echoed the embroidery design on Jon’s carrier and, even more interesting I thought, were the men’s festival dress aprons. These immediately linked me to Leslie’s post and a narrow apron shown. In the one shown – fig 56 on page 33 – the description on page 31 says:
Quote:
‘Apron embroidered all-over in tessellated pattern in red, white and yellow cross stitch with Job’s tears seeds for decorative fringe.’
It is a short step to beaded fringe bought in the local market.

What I think may be the case is that the more recent pieces – shown in Leslie’s post and in Susan Stem’s TACH354 – are from an associated Miao group to the Long Horn Miao in Yunnan. Only a suggestion....! It may be a case of adding 2 + 2 = 5!!!

Oh, and thanks to Iain, who spotted the similarity in Jon’s original baby carrier. Thanks to Jon for showing us the whole carrier. Unfortunately there is not an example of a carrier in the Miao Costumes book. The comment on page 31 is:
Quote:
“Baby carriers; embroidered in the same style as the clothes.”

I will keep looking in my references............


Attachments:
File comment: page 33 Miao Costumes from Guizhou Province South West China by Deryn O'Connor
P33_Miao_Costume.jpg
P33_Miao_Costume.jpg [ 74.08 KiB | Viewed 11097 times ]
File comment: Fig 59 Detail of 57 (Back of woman's jacket) showing wax resist pattern page 33 Miao Costumes from Guizhou Province South West China by Deryn O'Connor
p33mc-59.jpg
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File comment: Fig 50. Men playing the lusheng pipe at a festival. Hemp culottes. page 32 Miao Costumes from Guizhou Province South West China by Deryn O'Connor
p32mc-men.jpg
p32mc-men.jpg [ 65.93 KiB | Viewed 11097 times ]
File comment: Fig 56 Man's apron, page 33 Miao Costumes from Guizhou Province South West China by Deryn O'Connor
p33-56mc.jpg
p33-56mc.jpg [ 65.6 KiB | Viewed 11097 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:06 pm 
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Pamela,

Thank you for doing some more sleuthing! How interesting you came across a possible association with the Long Horn Miao. I have just pulled out my Long Horn Miao jacket, and am posting some photos for comparison.

The batik work definitely does have some similarities to the patterning of the embroidery on my baby carrier. There is also one distinctive panel of the embroidery on the back of the jacket that shares a strong resemblance to the top panel of my baby carrier.

Upon pulling this jacket out of storage, I remembered that one of the features which originally drew my attention to this piece was the use of gingham along the edges of the body of the jacket, and for the butterfly shaped closure. Because it is used so sparsely, I am wondering if the gingham has the same association as the ribbons we have been talking about - namely as a luxury item and a status symbol.


Attachments:
Long Horn Miao Jacket back.jpg
Long Horn Miao Jacket back.jpg [ 61.16 KiB | Viewed 11077 times ]
Long Horn Miao Jacket front.jpg
Long Horn Miao Jacket front.jpg [ 47.58 KiB | Viewed 11077 times ]
Long Horn Miao Jacket batik detail.jpg
Long Horn Miao Jacket batik detail.jpg [ 77.19 KiB | Viewed 11077 times ]
Long Horn Miao Jacket batik & embroidery detail.jpg
Long Horn Miao Jacket batik & embroidery detail.jpg [ 75.07 KiB | Viewed 11077 times ]
Long Horn Miao Jacket closure detail.jpg
Long Horn Miao Jacket closure detail.jpg [ 77.62 KiB | Viewed 11077 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 2:20 pm 
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Jon

That gigham has technically been very well applied. It is not easy to stop squared (or striped) fabric from moving when sewing but the line of the check follows the edge of the coat in a beautiful parallel fashion. I love the twisted the fastenings! The stitcher was very careful to make sure that the quality of workmanship was equal to the fine waxing and equally fine embroidery. Does my heart good to see it!! Thanks for digging the coat out of storage - a 'challenge' I know, especially when it comes to putting the textile away again!

Best

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