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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - Dai Blankets

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 Post subject: Dai Blankets
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:03 am 
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Dai Blanket 2.jpg
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Dai Blanket 2a.jpg
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Last edited by JT_BJ on Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Blankets to Dai For...
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 4:13 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:37 am 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:06 pm 
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Last edited by susan stem on Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Susan,

Thank you for shedding some illumination on a very curious weaving technique. I must admit I do not quite understand it fully either, but it does sound like a wonderfully complex style of weaving, and adds yet another dimension to these truly wonderful blankets.

I am attaching photos which may illustrate the idea of the dual warp layers. The first photo shows an area which has suffered some wear. The weft was woven with silk, parts of which have since worn away. You can clearly see loose strands of warp hanging. The second picture is of the same area, but taken from the back of the blanket. The structure looks to be completely intact.

And just for fun, I am also attaching pictures of another type of Dai blanket. The central motif is an elephant's foot/footprint, surrounded by a border of stylized tusks.


Attachments:
Dai Blanket 3 detail front.jpg
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Dai Blanket 3 detail back.jpg
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Dai Blanket 4.jpg
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Dai Blanket 4a.jpg
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:24 pm 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
JT_BJ-
Wow! Great photos of the threads- they really show the depth/layers of warp threads. But what really knocks me out is your last blanket photo... the motifs and pattern is blatantly 'Turkic'! I'll look thru my books and see what I can compare it to and will post some photos. I did do a little search to see if there are any Turkic speaking people in the Dehong area and cannot find any evidence of any; the predominant peoples are Dai and Jingpaw.

...to be continued.


Last edited by susan stem on Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:25 am 
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Susan,

I'm glad you like the last blanket. It does indeed feel much more Central Asian than Southeast Asian. Since a major section of the Southwestern Silk Road passed through the Dehong region, it is quite reasonable to think that the people there were exposed to Turkic goods and/or people at some point, perhaps even continuously for an extended period.

I don't know if you've had a chance to read the wonderful article Horses, Silver, and Cowries: Yunnan in Global Perspective by Bin Yang. In it, he discusses the importance of the region not only to global trade, but also in terms of religious and cultural exchange. You can read it online at:

I also remember reading somewhere about a possible Central Asian influence on the bronzes of the Dian Kingdom (4th century BCE - 109 BCE). I am not suggesting that the design influence for this blanket dates back that far, but it is interesting to note that there was already a possible connection between the regions over 2000 years ago.

I can't wait to see what you come up with as comparisons!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:52 pm 
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:33 pm 
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:33 pm 
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JT_BJ et al-
Apologies for 'breaking this thread' so to speak... I too have been on a bit of a textilian odyssey in search of information regarding various possible connections and influences on the textiles of this area. The first stop was at the exhibition WOVEN SPLENDOR FROM TIMBUKTU TO TIBET: EXOTIC RUGS AND TEXTILES FROM NEW YORK COLLECTORS at the New York History Society showing a Karakalpak bag face . That brought to mind the excellent research done on the Karakalpaks by David and Sue Richardson, so I contacted them. David replied with a very thoughtful essay showing similar motifs all over SE Asia and into Indonesia, and pointed out that without the archaeological evidence for a possible source and continuity of the motif it would be very difficult to pin down to a given place/people. I'll try to paraphrase below his well-conceived essay for the sake of space and hope that I do not do it an injustice.

As David points out, this 'latch hook' motif (as it is called in rug books) used with a diamond becomes a "hooked diamond"and "is a complex motif ... and it's distribution points to some historical process of cultural dispersal, which might or might not have involved human migration." He also states that "it seems likely that these motifs are of nomadic rather than urban origin and are much more ancient, certainly pre-dating the formation of the current Turkic confederations such as the Uzbeks, Kazakhs and Karakalpaks in the 15th and 16th centuries and possibly pre-dating the formation of earlier confederations like the Turkmen and Kyrgyz." (In my own library I found numerous examples of latch hooks and hooked diamonds from the Caucasus, on Shahsavan and Kazak kilims and carpets, especially in Ian Bennett's Oriental Rugs, Volume 1, Caucasian, as well as on a few Turkish kilims.)

A similar motif to the latch hook shows up on pottery from an archaeological site of the Andronovo culture in southern Siberia and dates from the early 2nd millenium BC. But the problem is continuity of the motif; it does not appear in a succeeding Scythian/Saka culture of the 1st millenium BC. He states that "the geometric hooked motifs of the Andronovo appear to have completely gone out of fashion. Have they become temporarily extinct only to be recreated at a later date or have they survived in some other neighboring culture that we have yet to identify?" He also notes that the problem in tracking the motifs is due to "the limited quantity of artefacts that have survived from the earlier periods, especially those relating to nomadic societies."

Regarding southeast Asia and southwestern China, he thinks a connection could be made IF continuity of the motifs could be found into the 1st millenium BC when the various Silk Road trade routes came into being and the Tai-speaking peoples who had migrated south would have been exposed to them. The Dai are Tai-speakers, as are Tai Lue, Lao-Tai and others who have made use of this motif or those very similar.

I haven't fully digested your very interesting article about the Southwestern Silk Road to which you referred, but find it interesting that there is so much controversy about the routes and the chronology. Bin Yang says that even the name of the southwest route(s) has yet to be agreed upon. He also states that there were four main branches and numerous sub-branches. As you mentioned, the Dehong area was near or on at least two of these main routes. Another branch went from Yunnan to Vietnam and that makes me wonder about the similarity in the weaving structure, tho it is probably a huge leap from 19th/20th century textile structure to 1st or 2nd century trade routes.

I have some thoughts about motifs deriving from technical circumstances, but will save that for later.

Wouldn't this be a great topic for some graduate student...?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:16 am 
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