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 Post subject: baby carriers
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2004 11:03 am 
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Am studying embroidery from ethnic minorities in China. Am searching for baby carriers from other parts of the world to make a comparison. Has anyone got any photos eg Native American baby carriers?

I have got photos of the Naxhi people in traditional dress from Lijiang in Western Yunnan, which might be of interest.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 1:21 pm 
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Margaret

I am sorry that I am unable to help very much. I don't know if any other current forum members will be able to do so - we tend to be mainly Asian in our textile focus. I have a small Navajo blanket which I have bought more than 25 years ago and a Hopi sash from the 1920s but no baby carriers. I don't know if the Navajo have/had special woven baby carriers or whether they might (have) use(d) blankets for baby carriers. I cannot recall having seen any photos. I think that the woven woollen blankets would be quite thick for use in this way.

I don't have very much literature on Navajo weavings. However, in one volume that I have found 'Weaving of the Southwest' by Marian Rodee published by Schiffer Publishing (1987) p136 there is a photo (fig 346) of a Navajo cradlebaord (which seems to be made of wood) with a carrying strap. This is in the collection of the Maxwell Museum. The text says:
Quote:
"Saddle girths and carrying straps for cradleboards were woven right onto the iron rings used for attachment to the saddle or board (346). The pattern of zigzags shown in the Maxwell Museum's cradleboard strap is fairly typical, and its lightning-like character may be symbolic or protective in nature."

I for one would be very interested to see your photos of Naxhi people in traditional dress from Lijiang in Western Yunnan.

all the best,

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2004 9:11 pm 
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Margaret,

I do have many Hmong baby carriers from Lao. Too many to post but if you had a specific motif that interests you , I could post pertinent photos. This post includes views of the embroidered panel of Hmong baby carrier. Sorry for the poor resolution. Please share with the forum more about your research as I am sure many would be interested.

Rusty


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:07 am 
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Hi, I have been a long time lurker here. I do not have very much information about textiles- but what I do know- and what brought me to your page is babywearing. I am a baby carrier junkie big time! I have a very small collection, I am awaiting some of my first antique carriers to come in the mail as all my carriers I use with my daughter.
I wanted to chim in about native american carriers. I actually have just aquired some old photos of a navajo mother with her baby wraped on her back in a wooven blanket. I also have seen lots of mothers with their babies in cradleboards.
One of the carriers I am awaiting is a Hmong carrier. I was hoping I could get some insight as to what the embroidery stands for, what it symbolizes?
Also, I have heard that in some cultures the straps on the carriers are cut off after the baby outgrows them? Have any of you heard of this?
Thank you for all your wealth of information
Kelly


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 9:19 pm 
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Dear Kelly

Welcome to the tribaltextiles.info/community! I do like it when lurkers 'come out'!

Baby carriers are very special indeed. I am being urged to post some Miao baby carriers by another forum member and I will get around to in in the not too distant future.

Quote:
'I actually have just aquired some old photos of a navajo mother with her baby wraped on her back in a wooven blanket.'
Do you think that you could post some photos of the Navajo mother and baby? That topic was very much what started this thread.

Quote:
'One of the carriers I am awaiting is a Hmong carrier. I was hoping I could get some insight as to what the embroidery stands for, what it symbolizes?'
In general much of the symbolism on baby carriers and baby/children's clothing links to protecting the child from harm and also bringing it good fortune.

Quote:
'Also, I have heard that in some cultures the straps on the carriers are cut off after the baby outgrows them? Have any of you heard of this?'
I have heard of the carrier straps being cut off as being a special link between baby and mother and so the straps are cut off if the baby carrier is sold. It is difficult to be sure of this since it is generally the straps that show signs of wear on an otherwise good condition carrier. It is certainly true that very many baby carriers do not have straps when you buy them. They also are pretty long and can get in the way!

Can anyone else shed some more in-depth light on these questions to which I have only give fairly superficial answers?

Kelley, have you seen the book 'Bonding via Baby Carriers: The Art & Soul of the Miao and Dong People'? See China bibliography for full details: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/bibliogr ... _books.htm If you are interested in babycarriers this is a worthwhile investment. At the back of the book it says: 'For book order contact lin@uindy.edu or www.lesenphants.com.tw '

Best wishes

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: Wow, thanks
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 7:07 am 
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Thanks Pamela, I have not read the book, but that is right up my alley. I volunteer with NINO, a babywearing advocacy group that internationally promotes babywearing and keeping the traditions alive. I focus largely on the benifits to mother and child. with this I started collecting carriers, they are so beautiful just to look at, but when you learn about the threads of history that make them so, they are something more even!
Thank you for the information, i emailed them about getting a copy.
I tried my scanner, but something is off with the connection. I will have my Dh look at it, so I can get those Native american photos up soon.
Here is the link to the carrier I just got off ebay - tell me what you think honestly. I hope to use it, I hope the straps are long enough and strong enough yet, I guess I will see what conditionit is when I get it in the mail
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... %3AIT&rd=1
i hope that works...
thanks again!
Kelly


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:54 pm 
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Kelly,

The curly snail-like motifs on your baby carrier are very traditional Hmong designs and you can see them also in Rusty's photos above. I have a book 'Creating Pa Ndau Applique' whcih refers to the design as a 'snailhouse' design.

It is difficult to tell much about the 'hemp' ties. They look quite narrow so I am not sure how comfortable they will be. You might need to put a wider strip of fabric behind them for comfort.

I hope that it works out well.

Best wishes.

PS You will probably have found my Black Hmong baby carrier that I collected in Sa Pa, northern Vietnam in 1995 http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... ong_BC.htm The picture of the grandfather 'wearing' his granddaughter illustrates the ties quite well.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 2:01 am 
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Hi all,

I'm not sure how relevant this comment is, but: It turns out that there is quite a debate on the psychological effects, and intellectual development of babies in these carriers. There has been a focus on the Amerindian bounting board, where an infant is tied tightly to the board which is then carried on the mother's back.

Some psychologists believe such binding creates a loving bond beteen mother and infant, which also occurs among cultures which follow similar practices.

On the other hand, any attempt to curtail an infant's movements can have a detremental affect on later intellectual development because of the inability of the infant to learn both the boundaries of its own body, and its autonomy separate from its mother.

Sandie


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 Post subject: Borneo Baby Carriers
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 4:34 pm 
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I like this discussion on baby carriers as I have always had a fascination with the beautiful beaded examples from Borneo Island. Although not exactly a textile, they are related as they are made using woven rattan frames on wood bases and then decorated with bead panels, as well as other adornments such as larger trade beads, shells, teeth, coins, and bells. There is a huge variety of styles of baby carriers on Borneo, including ones with carved wood frames and support struts, ones with painted designs, and others with motifs made in small shells, buttons, and dyed rattan strips.

I have added two beaded examples that I bought in Sarawak in the 1970's. These were my first two baby carrier purchases and pretty much my favorites. Both are from the Kayan Dayak people from above the Belaga Rapids of the Rajang River, Sarawak State, East Malaysia.

If anyone has any interesting examples of Dayak/Borneo baby carriers (beaded or not), I would love to see them posted. Another related area is the beaded panel that is attached to the baby carrier frame. They are the talismanic amulet that protects the "sacred bundle" and shows the status and wealth of the infant's family.

Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 7:30 pm 
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Mark

I am with you 100% in loving these Borneo baby carriers. Here is mine. I bought it in Medan, Sumatra in 1996 - as you know, Medan has been a centre of trade for the region for centuries.

I love the way, on your two, the 'tentacles' intertwine - wonderful graphic design. You know I have not forgiven you for ending your fantastic exhibition of the beaded squares from these baby carriers which I think was just wonderful - and deserved to be a permanent part of your site! Regardless of the ethnography, the graphic designs and colours of that gallery of these (relatively) small wonders was fantastic!

I hope that others can contribute some more of these gems.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 3:52 pm 
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Kelly,
Look in Pamela's bibliography country link for good resources about interpreting the meaning of different motifs. A favorite of mine is "H'mong Batik, A Textile Technique From Laos" this book provides great insight in the batik process and excellent descriptions of cultural relavance. Also "Hmong Art Tradition and Change". Please share some photos with the forum of your baby carriers.

Rusty


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