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 Post subject: Mystery Wedding Blanket
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:27 am
Posts: 124
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Here is another mystery piece. The embroidery is silk on top of cotton. I have always thought it had a strong Islamic influence and came from a group in either India or Pakistan. Someone told me it was from the Swat Valley in Packistan, but I have scoured books and articles on Swat and found nothing similar. Anyone recognise this?

Bill Hornaday
www.hornadayart.com


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Mystery Wedding Blanket- full.jpg
Mystery Wedding Blanket- full.jpg [ 66.99 KiB | Viewed 6825 times ]


Last edited by Bill Hornaday on Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:09 pm 
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Bill

I can see why 'Swat Valley' in Pakistan was mentioned. In 1997/8 the Victoria & Albert Museum in London staged an excellent exhibition 'Colours of the Indus: Costume and Textiles of Pakistan' and published a book of the same name by Nasreen Askari and Rosemary Crill. On page 129 is figure 204
Quote:
'Woman's shawl (chadar), Swat Valley, early 20th century (Lamb Collection). Cotton, embroidered with floss silk L 260 cm W 135 cm. This an unusually ornate example of the fine silk embroidery done in the Swat Valley. While it has similarities with the phulkari of Hazara and the Punjab, the designs used here are much more complex than the simple geometric shapes often found in those embroideries.'
The piece has similarities to your textile although is not identical. The colours/dye tones of your textile are very much Swat Valley.

When I first saw your textile I thought Central Asia and the design shapes reminded me of the applied work of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. However, they tend to have more colours than your piece. Of course the area is not too far away and there are design features in common.

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 9:45 pm 
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Bill

As you know I have sent you a message with figure 204 which you think does have similarities to your textile. I have been reading the section of the 'Colours of the Indus' on textiles from the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. I was pleased to see that my sense of links in the embroidery designs with Central Asian designs is valid. I have typed out quite an interesting section on the textiles of the NWFP - pages 123-133. I think that your textile may be either Hazara or Swat and most probably Swat - but that is lots of guessing and reading between the lines.....

Quote:
"The use of a phulkari-tupe stitch in this remote northern area (North West Frontier Province of Pakistan) is a reminder of the continuous and far-reaching movement that has traditionally taken place both within the Kohistan region itself and between Kohistan and the Punjab and Hazara districts. It is evident both from documentation of observers such as John Biddulph (1880) and from the fact that there appears to have been continuous movement between all these areas of materials (for example, beads), patterns (especially the borders of the shawls) and techniques (such as satin/darning stitch) that there was considerable contact between Indus/Swat Kohistan an neighbouring areas in all directions. This includes northwards into Central Asia: the geometric designs of certain Kohistan embroideries (see fig 194) are undeniably similar to the gul motifs found, for example, in Turkmen rugs. It is also significant that there is an oral tradition of earlier migrations from Swat to Indus Kohistan, and of the inhabitants of upper Swat having been forced northwards by Pathan harassment. There has always been a close connection between the Swat and Indus Valleys, connected as they are by the Kandia Valley in the north and the Shangla Pass in the south. It is only in living memory that inhabitants of Indus Kohistan have stopped going to the main market in Swat to buy luxuries such as glass beads (shong) for embroidery – a journey that took four days on foot in each direction.

The surface darning stitch embroidery used in Indus Kohistan is almost always employed either as roundels with feathered or serrated edges or as border designs with branched or ‘rams’horn’ designs along the edges of shawls and garments (see fig. 194). Sometimes the fine workmanship of a more elaborated border suggests that it might have been embroidered in the Hazara district and attached to a main section embroidered in Indus Kohistan, just as the broad embroidered cuffs of some jumlos appear to have been purchased separately and attached. The availability in the markets of Swat of embroidered panels for dresses and hats from Indus Kohistan confirms that embroideries from other parts of the region could be purchased and attached to garments far from their place of origin.

In contrast to Indus Kohistan with its fondness for tiny cross-stitch designs, the Swat valley and its lower-lying neighbour Hazara are traditionally associated with embroidery of the phulkari type. The close link with the phulkari of neighbouring Punjab is most clearly seen in the embroidered shawls of Hazara (fig.203) which use diamond and chevron patterns that are closely comparable to those of the Punjabi chadars (see fig. 158). The Hazara pieces, however, typically use a colour scheme of dark pink on a white or dark-blue ground, in contrast to the yellow and orange of the Punjab, and the design elements themselves often have a ‘feathered’ effect on the outlines unlike the straight edges seen in the Punjabi pieces. Hazara is also the source of another distinctive type of white-ground shawl with pink and red desins in a markedly different style from the phulkari (see fig 201), with curling horned and star patterns.

While it is frequently difficult to determine whether phulkari embroideries were made in Hazara or in neighbouring Swat, the style of embroidery from Swat tends, both in design and technique, to be further removed from the simpler phulkari styles than embroidery from Hazara. The lavishly embroidered textiles associated with weddings in Swat – shawls, turbans, cushion-covers – are heavily embroidered with floss silk, sometimes on both sides of the cloth (figs. 204, 205, 212), and frequently with such dense patterns that the ground cloth is scarcely visible. The Swat phulkaris may be embroidered from the front, unlike the Punjabi type in which the embroidery is always done from the back of the cloth, and the patterns may first be outlined with running stitch before being filled with satin stitch. The women’s skirts (kurta) that were once widely worn in Swat are embroidered with pink floss silk on dark-blue indigo-dyed cotton."

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


Last edited by Pamela on Sun Dec 12, 2004 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:26 pm 
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Pamela-
Thanks for the wonderful private detective work. I wonder if anyone has any examples of Hazari and/or Swat embroidery to compare and contrast.

Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 2:59 pm 
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Bill

I am posting a photo no. 24 from page 36 of a catalogue of an exhibition 'Costumes, Accessories and Carpets of Nomadic Tribes' held in Japan at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum (Tokyo) in 1997. I was fortunate to see the exhibition although frustrated as all the labels and the catalogue were in Japanese. I had a guide to the exhibition - a charming young man who was a student of English Linguistics at one of our partner universities in Tokyo. Unfortunately his vocabulary in Japanese much less his vocabulary in English did not really include all the detailed textile terms required to explain the textiles to me. I did better using my own eyes and textile knowledge. I was, therefore, especially pleased when a few months later the V&A staged the 'Colours of the Indus' exhibition with its catalogue of fine photos and informative text.

The photo of the dress below comes from the section headed 'Kohistan' in the 'Costumes, Accessories and Carpets of Nomadic Tribes' catalogue. In the 'Colours of the Indus' book there is a very good map (page 112) of the North-West Frontier Province showing that there are two Kohistans - Swat Kohistan and Indus Kohistan i.e. the Swat and Indus valleys.

Normally I would not post a photo from a book without permission but in this case getting permission or finding a copy of the catalogue is pretty slim. Whether Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum still have any copies I don't know. The museum is part of a college of Fashion in Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo should anyone be in the area! (Information on the Museum in English at http://www.artindex.metro.tokyo.jp/cont ... ins3-00072 see their own website and exhibition info in Japanese at http://www.artindex.metro.tokyo.jp/cont ... ins3-00072 which even has a photo from the catalogue I am discussing!)

I thought that the embroidery on this dress has some design similarities to Bill's chadar.


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File comment: Dress from Kohistan as illustrated in the catalogue of the 1997 exhibition 'Costumes, Accessories and Carpets of Nomadic Tribes' at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum (Tokyo) in 1997.
Swat_dress.jpg
Swat_dress.jpg [ 60.21 KiB | Viewed 6784 times ]

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource
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