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 Post subject: geringsing sing along
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 6:29 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
That is an amazing piece of textile art! I have seen several of these over the years, always coveting them, but not being able to afford them. They are, for very good reason, quite expensive. For readers of the Forum unfamiliar with these textiles, they are made with the ikat technique of tying resists for the design, and then dying, both the warp and weft threads prior to weaving. The weaver must then weave the threads carefully so that the design comes together, so to speak. Typically, the threads are fairly loosely woven. What is so incredible about John's piece is that the design is so detailed, considering the technique: the wayang figures are wearing geringsing as depicted by the 'stars' on their garments, and the figures are rendered in a natural way with curves, as opposed to angles; the entire ground is filled with detail. Also, FYI, the four-pointed star pattern is considered to represent the village with surrounding walls, then houses, and the bale, or communal meeting place in the middle. The condition of John's cloth also appears to be excellent, which is not often the case.

For those who might be going to Bali, geringsing comes from Tenganan, a lovely Bali Aga (considered the 'original' Balinese) village on the eastern side of the island. Actually, there are two villages, as one split off from the first one; the second one is known as 'Tenganan Across the Bridge' and is not as orderly or beautifully laid out, but is home to some excellent weavers as well. Judging from Threads of Life's website, there is a lot of geringsing being woven to meet market demands and thereby quality is suffering. One of their projects is to encourage a higher level of quality.

RE Threads of Life: sorry, but they do not seem to have their Kalimantan textiles on their website. They do have some in Ubud. I do however, have their newsletter from last July which has some information on the pua of Kalimantan and Sarawak. I don't think they will mind if I quote some pertinent passages regarding the original subject of this thread:

"Pua are central to several traditional ceremonies, including gawai ceremonies that once celebrated headhunting success and now acknowledge good fortune. Rites that mark birth, and important passages of early life require pua, as do many healing rituals. Function in such occasions combines aspects of protection, decoration and sacred space definition.
Though many of the uses of pua are highly symbolic, the motifs themselves express no "language". The textile can only be understood as a whole, and only then within the context of an ancestrally guided society. Spirits give patterns to weavers through dreams, and the textiles' meanings can only be contemplated from a holistic perspective including a world permeated by spirit.
Connection with the outside world, destruction of the forest, and the work of Christian missionaries have strongly influenced Dayak culture and its weaving art over the last century. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in the textile arts around Sintang, West Kalimantan.
This revival can, in large part, be attributed to the sponsorship of Father Jacques Mason, himself a 30-year veteran of the mission to these forest people. The weavers he supports are now struggling to regain knowledge of their weaving traditions and a market for their work. While their exquisite ikat work is amongst the finest to be found anywhere, much of their natural dye ability has been lost."

Whew! A long, meandering response, but one which I hope adds to the understanding and appreciation of some special textiles. Over and out.

Susan Stem

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:55 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
I posted a Kayan apron earlier and found two old photos (original source unknown) showning Kayan girls wearing them as well as other examples.

I am posting the photos here.

File comment: Other examples of the appliques aprons worn by the Kayan.
kajan aprons.jpg
kajan aprons.jpg [ 69.42 KiB | Viewed 2639 times ]
File comment: Kayan women wearing the appliqued aprons. Note the "aso" and hornbill/dragon motifs.
kajan women with aprons.jpg
kajan women with aprons.jpg [ 71.58 KiB | Viewed 2639 times ]

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