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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:43 am 
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A few days ago I was contacted by email with an enquiry:
Quote:
"I have a bright multi-colored woven cloth I got in Viet Nam in 1967. It was Montagnard I think...."
An exchange of emails brought forward some further information that:
Quote:
"The size is 39” x 64”. The center piece is one solid piece of weaving. The ends have a joined border 4 ½” wide. Down the both sides is a joined border piece 5 ½” wide."
I was also sent 5 photos which I am going to post below.

My first impression was that the colours were, indeed, bright(!) and that I was not going to be able to help with an ID especially as I could not actually handle the textile and get a really good look at the construction. However, I started a trawl through my reference library, kept peering at the photos and finally managed to come up with a possible ID. In the process, I managed to resurrect a fascination with a loom form that had previously attracted me and which I had mentioned on this forum back in April 2009.

I thought that forum members might be interested in my discoveries and, in turn, I would be love to hear if any of you have come across any similar textiles from Vietnam.


Attachments:
File comment: full view of, I think, the front of the textile
Viet-full-fw.jpg
Viet-full-fw.jpg [ 77.48 KiB | Viewed 4507 times ]
File comment: full view of, I think, the back of the textile
Viet-full-bw.jpg
Viet-full-bw.jpg [ 89.39 KiB | Viewed 4507 times ]
File comment: the textile folded over with, I think, the front of the textile held closest to the camera
viet-fold-w.jpg
viet-fold-w.jpg [ 86.91 KiB | Viewed 4507 times ]
File comment: detail of what I think is the front of a corner of the textile
viet-corner-fw.jpg
viet-corner-fw.jpg [ 116.46 KiB | Viewed 4507 times ]
File comment: detail of what I think is the back of the textile
viet-close-bw.jpg
viet-close-bw.jpg [ 82.46 KiB | Viewed 4507 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:44 pm 
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When I first looked at the textile I did not have the size information nor anything about the construction. However, I could tell that the borders were added on to a central woven section but not if this section had any joins in it. We are so used to seeing weaving with patterns similar to this in supplementary weft. However, the size balance of the central weaving did not fit with this. The more I looked at the photos the more I felt that I was looking at a warp-faced textile with all the bold designs executed in the warp!

Once I had focused on the warp patterning technique I reached for A World between the Warps: Southeast Asia's Supplementary Warp Textiles by Michael C. Howard as number 12 in the Studies in the Material Cultures of Southeast Asia which Dr Howard edits for publisher White Lotus ISBN 978-974-480-144-9. I drew the forum's attention to the book in April 2009 http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... light=cham In this post I highlighted:
Quote:
"I am still reading my way through it. What has particularly caught my eye are the results of some research by Michael Howard into the Cham (in Vietnam and Laos) and their weaving. There are some excellent photos of an amazing tanung munim jih talah frame loom and some textiles from it. I will see about posting a photo of the loom on the general section of the forum as Dr Howard has kindly given me permission to do so. I gather that he helped to arrange for the weaver, Mrs Mo, to travel to the recent ASEAN textile symposium in Manila, where she set up her loom and gave weaving demonstrations at the national museum. I don't know if any of our forum members who went to the symposium managed to see her."

Although much of the this book is an idiosyncratic trawl through textiles in S E Asia which have supplementary warp there are sections of text and then sections of photos where there is a considerable body of information on Cham textiles in and from My Nghiep, Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam where Dr Howard carried out research. This rather skews the balance of the book but was the most interesting section for me.

I was pleased to see that I had recorded in my 2009 post that Dr Howard had given me permission to post photos from the book on this forum.

The Cham seem to use two different kinds of loom: a backstrap loom on which they weave relatively wide but short(ish) lengths of fabric and a frame loom (the tanung munim jih talah frame loom I mention in my first info on the book) on which they weave much narrower but long lengths of fabric both with warp patterning.

I am going to post images from the book which first made me think I had an ID for the blanket shown in the first post on this thread before getting into looms and further information about the weaving in this area.

The full captions to the photos are:
'A World between the Warps', Page 114, Plate 176 Cham (My Nghiep village, Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan), shoulder-bag with supplementary warp patterning (body 28 x 28 cm). The supplementary warp patterning of the body includes four bands prmarily with the tu pik and gal vak motifs as well as a single human figure on the back. a narrow strip of cloth with the supplementary warp woven tu muk motif is used to edge the body. Mrs. Mo wove the cloth for the shoulder bag in 1995.

A World between the Warps', Page 107, Plate 146. Cham (My Nghiep village, Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan), blanket covered with bands of supplementary warp patterning (136 x 195 cm)[53" x 77" approx]. The body of the blanket is made of six pieces of cloth and the border of a separate piece of cloth. The gal vak motif is used on the body. Mrs Mo wove the cloth around 2000.
Plate 147. Detail of #146 showing the supplementary gal vak motif.
Plate 148. Detail of #146 showing the backside of the supplementary warp weaving.


Attachments:
File comment: Plate176, p114 'A World between the Warps' Cham (My Nghiep village, Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan) Shoulder bag
Cham-pl176p114.jpg
Cham-pl176p114.jpg [ 76.8 KiB | Viewed 4494 times ]
File comment: Plate146, p107 'A World between the Warps' Cham (My Nghiep village, Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam)
Cham-pl146-148-p107.jpg
Cham-pl146-148-p107.jpg [ 187.97 KiB | Viewed 4494 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:37 pm 
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So, who are the Cham?

In A World between the Warps: Southeast Asia's Supplementary Warp Textiles Dr Howard describes (p15) the Malayo-Polynesian speaking peoples of Vietnam and Cambodia - The Cham, Ede and Jarai - who speak languages belonging to the Malayic group of Sundic languages. He says that the Sundic peoples lived on the island of Borneo prior to spreading to adjacent regions: north to Vietnam, west to peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra and south to Java and Bali. This migration to Indonesia seems to have been as early as 1500 BC but they do not seem to have landed on the coast of Vietnam until around 600 BC. Chamic speaking peoples are believed to have arrived between 600-300 BC and came to occupy most of the coastal areas of central and southern Vietnam. The ancient Cham also settled further inland along the Mekong river as far as what is now southern Laos. There is a detailed description of the migration of the different Chamic groups. It seems that the Ede and the Jarai largely migrated to the highlands whilst the Cham in which we are interested here remained lowland Cham and are divided into the Eastern Cham and the Western Cham.

On page 16 Howard maintains that both highland and lowland Chamic peoples are part of the same weaving tradition weaving on what Vietnamese scholars usually refer to as an Indonesian style backstrap look to distinguish it from the foot-braced backstrap loom still used by some neighbouring Mon-Khmer speaking groups. In addition to the Indonesian style of backstrap loom the lowland Cham have added a type of frame loom which is used for weaving supplementary warp and weft patterned cloth. This loom is a later development while the Indonesian backstrap loom represents the older tradition shared by all Chamic peoples.

On page 18 Howard discusses in detail the warp patterning used. He refers to 'alternating warp float' technique which is now use on the older, backstrap loom rather than supplementary warp. I think it is this 'alternating warp float' which is used in the main body of the textile shown at the top of this thread - the 'floats' are very clear in the images especially on the what I have guessed is the back side of the textile. Supplementary warp is now mainly woven on a long and narrow type of frame loom which has been designed to weave a variety of supplementary warp and supplementary weft motifs on relatively narrow bands of cloth: "These bands can be used for decorative sashes, added to the edges or wider pieces of cloth for decoration, or stitched together to form wider pieces of cloth that are covered in decorations." I think that the borders on 'our textile' may have been woven in a supplementary warp technique on such a loom.

I had wondered if the central piece of the textile might have been bands of this technique sewn together but the report of one complete width of weaving does not support this. Also the 'alternate warps' are quite clearly to be seen in the photos. I post below two images from A World between the Warps showing the two looms in use.

In Plate 133 (p103) it shows 'Two Cham women weaving on backstrap looms at the Imrahani cooperative in My Nghiep (Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh thuan Province, Vietnam, [MCH 2002]. The weaver further from the camera could be weaving a similar piece to that in the main body of 'our textile'.

Plate 134 (p103) shows a complete Cham frame loom (tanung munim jih talah) at the 2007 Nha Trang Beach Festival. [MCH, 2007].

Plate 136 (p104) shows Mrs. Mo weaving supplementary warp patterned cloth at the same festival. Note the weights (cha ko) used to make the patterns.

According to Howard the Eastern Cham weavers use three types of loom - the two already mentioned above and very narrow strips of cloth are woven on a simple small frame loom called a tano pa cako. It could be this loom which has been used for the borders of 'our textile' rather than the much more complex tanung munim jih talah loom as the designs in the borders are quite simple. However, I would not call these bands 'very narrow'. The Cham backstrap loom is called a tanung munim pan khan indicating that it a loom for weaving broad pieces of cloth. Page 18 has a lot of detail on the looms, weaving, motifs.

On page 19 Howard says that
Quote:
"The tanung munim jih talah type of loom appears to be unique to the Eastern Cham in Mainland Southeast Asia and even among Eastern Cham its use in the past appears to have been highly restricted to those who wove special decorative cloth for elites. During the latter years of the kingdom of Champa such weaving was largely restricted to the village of My Nghiep in Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan Province. My Nghiep remained an important weaving center for the Cham after the final conquest of Champa by the Vietnamese, providing specialized textiles for other Cham in neighbouring communities. While weaving declined I (sic) [in?] other Cham communities during the 20th century, it continued in My Nghiep and in the 1990s My Nghiep emerged as an important commercial weaving center producing hand-woven textiles on frame and backstrap looms for a relatively large external market in Saigon and elsewhere. Supplementary warp textiles continue to be woven in My Nghiep using the tanung munim jih talah type of loom with many younger women learning to weave such cloth and keeping the Cham tradition of supplementary warp weaving alive."
I found this statement interesting in the context of a textile collected in 1967 still being recognisably in production as late as 2007 despite it being so skill and time intensive.


Attachments:
File comment: A World between the Warps Plate 133 (p103) shows 'Two Cham women weaving on backstrap looms at the Imrahani cooperative in My Nghiep (Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh thuan Province, Vietnam, [MCH 2002].
pl133p103.jpg
pl133p103.jpg [ 83.77 KiB | Viewed 4473 times ]
File comment: A World between the Warps Plate 134 (p103) shows a complete Cham frame loom ([i]tanung munim jih talah[/i]) at the 2007 Nha Trang Beach Festival
pl134p103.jpg
pl134p103.jpg [ 89.95 KiB | Viewed 4473 times ]
File comment: A World between the Warps Plate 136 (p104) shows Mrs. Mo weaving supplementary warp patterned cloth at the same festival.
pl136p104.jpg
pl136p104.jpg [ 85.57 KiB | Viewed 4473 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:21 am 
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Just to finish up with for now a few words about the collector and current owner of 'our textile', Ray Denton. I received an email from him today and his statement about how he came to buy the piece just struck a cord with me:
Quote:
"I was working with U.S. A.I.D. north of Saigon writing water treatment manuals for the Saigon Metropolitan Water Dept. in 1967 when I ran across this stunning piece of work in a Saigon sidewalk market. I was struck by the colors and the detail. Anyway, I do want to sell it and pass it on to someone who appreciates it. I don’t have to put it on Ebay if someone made an offer that was reasonable (whatever that might be?)."
Ray had originally contacted me saying
Quote:
"I have a bright multi-colored woven cloth I got in Viet Nam in 1967. It was Montagnard I think. I am retired and want to put it on Ebay."
I have said that I haven't the faintest idea of a price/value for the textile. As you all know valuation and selling is not a focus of this forum. Should anyone be interested - or, indeed have an idea of a price for Ray to quote - I am happy to pass it on via a private message to me.

From my (selfish) perspective selling the textile has not been my focus but rather a personal journey on an intensive, albeit superficial, course in Cham weaving - which I thought I would share with the forum.

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