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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 12:50 am 
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I am extremely interested in the structure of the beautiful Borneo textiles which have recently been posted. I have been trying to catalog a few of my Khmer silk "long cloths", and I was struck by their structural similarities to those of the Iban. Khmer "long cloths", are woven on a loom with a larger weft than found among the Tai, and have a long warp, as the textiles were meant to be cut and given to sons as they married. None that I have are undamaged, of course.

But the structural similaries are amazing, and many textiles in the Tai world also consist of weft borders and abstract designs based on geometric forms in a central field.

The Gujerat double ikats were valuable trade items well before the 18th century, and Indian weavers provided silk and other textiles to the Siamese, Khmer, and Balinese courts.

Can we all check through our own collections, and try to get beyond geographical boundaries into looking for commonalities and origins in textiles throughout SEAsia, both island and mainland? It should be a very exciting and enlighening excercise.

Sandie


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 4:53 pm 
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Sandie - could you post some examples you have? There is a well established connection between the double ikat patola of India and Iban weavings, particularly many sungkits. I'm posting an Iban sungkit. One of the mysteries is that no patola have so far been found among the Iban but that may be because of the rapid deterioration in the climate and environment of Borneo including fires in the wooden longhouses. I recently heard that an heirloom piece I was tracking in Borneo was just lost in such a fire.

Co-incidentally, I am interested in the "morphing" of motifs over time and copying and believe that I can trace a popular Iban motif to some of the patola designs. One has to be careful of course because many geometric motifs are really good examples of "parallel evolution". For example, much is made of the similarity between Iban designs and the Dongson culture of a millenium prior. However, the forms in question are really such that any graphically inclined person will automatically produce.

I have also posted an Iban ikat as another possible spur or help for your thoughts. I had previously posted Kantu' ikat pieces. One of the issues I am interested in is why the Iban and the Kantu' (who are really "Ibanic" by language dialect and and culture) produce such dramatically different pieces. I find the Kantu' more elegant and cerebral (have to check the spelling on that) than the Iban but both clearly excel at combining disparate motifs into incredible whole designs.

Hope this is helpful and I'd like to read more of your thoughts.

Quote:
"Sandra Shamis" I am extremely interested in the structure of the beautiful Borneo textiles which have recently been posted. I have been trying to catalog a few of my Khmer silk "long cloths", and I was struck by their structural similarities to those of the Iban. Khmer "long cloths", are woven on a loom with a larger weft than found among the Tai, and have a long warp, as the textiles were meant to be cut and given to sons as they married. None that I have are undamaged, of course.

But the structural similaries are amazing, and many textiles in the Tai world also consist of weft borders and abstract designs based on geometric forms in a central field.

The Gujerat double ikats were valuable trade items well before the 18th century, and Indian weavers provided silk and other textiles to the Siamese, Khmer, and Balinese courts.

Can we all check through our own collections, and try to get beyond geographical boundaries into looking for commonalities and origins in textiles throughout SEAsia, both island and mainland? It should be a very exciting and enlighening excercise.

Sandie


Attachments:
File comment: a very rare Iban ikat. The "gap" was fraught with danger for the weaver. Cf. Margaret Linggi's Book. Ties that bind: An Exhibition catalogue of IKAT FABRICS. The Tun Jugah , Kuching, Sarawak, 1998.
iban pua .jpg
iban pua .jpg [ 150.23 KiB | Viewed 5413 times ]
File comment: An old Iban sungkit clearly showing patola influence.
iban sungkit .jpg
iban sungkit .jpg [ 164.29 KiB | Viewed 5413 times ]

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 Post subject: which came first?
PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 6:08 pm 
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Thanks John for your excellent comments and the treat of seeing two more of your beautiful textiles. Curiously enough, (and of course I may be wrong) the second textile rather than the first seems more "patola-like" to me, with its organic motifs, formal layout, and highly detailed central field.

Of course you are correct: weaving, especially with supplementary weft, favors the geometric over the organic, with the one important exception of village and court rugs in the Muslim world. However, the ikat process and embroidery seem to allow more freedom in design, and throughout SEAsia (mainland and island) one sees far more "naturalistic" expression with these techniques.

And then, there is the heavily geometric yet fanciful influence of the Dongson period on the textiles of the region which cannot be dismissed. The "frogman" is one motif which while not geometric, is traced back centuries and is expressed in any number of ways.

So, let's assume that the Dongson geometric designs were probably at first the result of the ease of graphic expression, but the elaboration of these geometric basics and their spread throughout the region was, at least in some media, not simply ease of weaving, but aesthetic choice.

Once again, your knowledge and insights are a valuable addition to the discourse on the Forum.

Sandie


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 Post subject: 'Woven Cargoes'
PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 9:50 pm 
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A book I can thoroughly recommend is 'Woven Cargoes: Indian Textiles in the East' by John Guy, curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and published by Thames & Hudson. Not only is it an excellent reference work but I enjoyed it as a good read.
Quote:
'for over a thousand years Indian cloths were traded for spices and forest and mineral wealth of the the East by Asian, Arab and European merchants. They were a key element in the development of international commerce; indeed, the hunger for spices, which were chiefly acquired through exchange for these textiles, led directly to European maritime exploration and the formation of colonial empires.'

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