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 Post subject: bust wraps
PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2003 10:13 pm
Posts: 5
Location: San Luis Obispo. CA USA
Hello,
Does anyone know the history and roots of S E Asian bustwraps? The Thai of Mai Chau used to make many of these for women to wear, some of them were up to 30 feet long. There must be a tradition of this in the region. Does anyone have any information on this?

Thanks!

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Suzi Garner

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 Post subject: Thai/Lao breast wrappers
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 10:29 pm 
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Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi Suzi,

I'm afraid your question is a bit too complex for me to give many details. HOWEVER...

Traditionally, Thai and Lao women were uncovered above the waist except to go to the Wat. You can see this and other styles of wrappers in painting decorating Wats (always a rich area for research on period textiles). These cloths began turning up for daily wear when modesty in the form of Western civilization hit Thailand in the mid 19th Century.

The Royal Courts of Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya, and Luang Prabang, always had very elaborate blouses that royal women wore, not because of modesty but as a sign of royal attire; in my opinion, these were the most sinitic influenced textiles, probably because they were borrowed as a sign of royal status.

For specific information, check out pp.54-55 of Patricia (Naenna) Cheeseman's book on Lan na textiles. She illustrates a number of styles classified by age and region, and coverups for visiting the Wat. Excellent drawings; but like other types of clothing, these breast covers origin may be lost in time.

Many hilltribes always had upper garments, including coats, for women.
It should be remembered that these population groups came down from China, and lived in mountainous areas, which could be quite cold.

I have several Khami/khomi breast covers (thanks to Susan Stem), which are incredibly woven, and quite heavy; these women are very,very small...

I hope these comments provide guidelines for your future research.

Sandie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Suzi

I have not read of bust wraps in the Tai world. I would have expected Michael C Howard and his wife Kim Be Howard in their book 'Textiles of the Daic Peoples of Vietnam' and articles which pre-dated this book's publication in 2002 to have referred to bust wraps. One of their areas of research was actually in the Mai Chau area. Both they and Patricia Cheesman in her recent book 'Lao-Tai Textiles: The Textiles of Xam Neua and Muang Phuan' in which she also refers to the Lao-Tai textiles of Vietnam, talk of waistbands - the top one or more pieces above the body of a tube skirt - being worn up over the breasts although not today. The Howards show waistbands collected in the Mai Chau area on pages 241,2 and skirts with and without waistbands on the preceding pages 239,40 of their Daic textiles book. Kim Be Howard is a Tay (and her mother Tai Dam from Son La province.)

Patricia makes no reference at all to bust wraps/breast cloths in her book - shoulder cloths, head cloths, leg wrappings, healing cloths, belts and waist ties... There are healing cloths which appear in a photo which has appeared in several of Patricia's books of two women from Houa Phan province which she photographed in 1975 "displaying an ancient method of wearing phaa sabai healing cloths, no longer known other than among shamans. Two cloths have been wrapped around the torso, crossing over and under each other so they will not slip off. This may have been the method of wearing these cloths for healing ceremonies in the 19th century." See figure 8.3 on page 166 of the Lao-Tai book. As Patricia has given me permission to post some photos from the book on this forum I am posting the photo below which no doubt many people will recognise from her past books.

So, it will be very interesting to see if anyone is aware of any bust wrappers and comments on this thread.


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File comment: figure 8.3 on page 166 of -Tai Textiles: The Textiles of Xam Neua and Muang Phuan' by Patricia Cheesman
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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: "bust wraps"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2003 10:13 pm
Posts: 5
Location: San Luis Obispo. CA USA
Thank you, Pamela. After more research I discovered that what I thought were bust wraps are actually uncut strips woven for use as mosquito net decoration, as well as in making coffin screens. I believe some of the fabric may have been cut and sewn ot the top of skirts, but my samples obviously never were.
Thanks again for your reply-

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Suzi Garner

larvalform@yahoo.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Suzi

Just to square the circle in case you have not found this mini study on the main tribaltextiles.info web site see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... o_nets.htm for material on mosquito nets. It was quite fun focusing on them!

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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