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 Post subject: Dong - different styles
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 12:33 am 
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Pamela said on another thread:
Quote:
"Today I took delivery of a couple of new books one of which is 'Costumes and Accessories of Chinese Minorities' published by the National Museum of History, Taiwan and was published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name in Taiwan in, I think, 2000. (ISBN 957-02-6406-3) It is a thick book full of excellent quality colour photos of costume - most of it old rather than current. ........

(Oh, and the book has lots of photos of Dong costume much of it unlike items we have posted here on the forum and clearly 'ancient' as claimed in the captions! There are lots of references to 'Reed Clothing'. I am wondering if this is hemp or ramie - I need direct translation of the Chinese script. The book has English (or chinglish) text including location where collected. Obtained from Paragon books in Chicago although the books took an unscheduled detour to a bookshop in London in their consignment of books!) "


Sorry to sidetrack to a different topic but...

What kind of Dong costume is shown? How is it different from that shown elsewhere?

Thanks,

James

[James, I moved your question to start a new thread and included a quote from a post of mine to which I think you were referring.]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 10:35 pm 
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James

I hope that Andrew won't mind but, in support of my comment, I would like to quote from an email he wrote to me today following your post:

Quote:
"It wasn't until James asked about the Dong costumes you briefly mentioned on Susan's thread featured in this book (above) that it clicked with me which book you were talking about! It was a superb exhibition in 2000 that I visited twice. I was bowled over by the collectors Dong costumes. I have never seen anything like them for sale in Kaili, being too late onto the scene. Apparently, the collectors started in the late 1980's, giving them a good head start over the mere mortals of the collecting fraternity."


The nearest piece from the forum to anything in the book is, I suppose, Richard Mook's first piece in http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=146 However, that is only picking up a few individual motifs and not the exuberance of the pieces.

Andrew has emailed me photos of one 'reed' piece which he managed to find after being inspired by the exhibition. I don't really understand 'reed' - is it another bast fibre? It is for Andrew to post a his photo if he would like to share it. There are 48 pages of Dong textiles in the book (some of the photos are details) and the pieces are very varied. Clearly old with natural dyes - indigos and soft browns, golds, creams, beiges. There are some sun motifs and draggon motifs which I do recognise. The book refers to 'Ancient Costume'. There are several 'screen skirts' made of bands of embroidered textile hanging down (a bit like the 'hundred bird coats')

I don't really know where to start in describing the textiles as there is lots of variety although some motifs - and certainly styles of construction - that are similar through several textiles. The background of the fabrics seem more covered by embroidery and applique and there is quite a bit more randomness than the very balanced and more spare spacing of motifs in the pieces that we have posted previously.

Sorry, I am not being very helpful......I will see about scanning a couple of pages and emailing them to you - but so much variety that will only be a taster.

I do recommend the book - just wonderful quality of photographs and printing. As well as Dong, there are sections on 'Manchu and Tibetan Costumes' (that I refered to on Susan's mystery thread), Miao Costumes, Costumes of Other Minority Peoples, Textiels, Hats and Footwear, Accessories and Formal Dress of All Peoples.

Most photos have English and Chinese script, where it comes from - town, county, province, size and in many cases a short description of the piece in both Chinese and English.

Quoting from a text section at the end of the book on the different minorities:
Quote:
"Dong men are mostly dressed in a front-opening jacket. However, Dong men in the southern mountain region generally wear a short jacket with a right side fastening, girded by a long waistband. Over the short jacket is worn a vest without buttons, and on their head a dark blue or blue headband is worn. Other articles of dress include a pair of trousers and leggings over the lower part of the body. The opening of the jacket, cuffs and legs where leggings are bunched are all embroidered in geometric patterns. At times of festival, men in formal dresses wear garments made of reeds.

Basically, the reed garments worn by Dong men in various regions are consistent in their style. More specifically, they consist of a jacket and a screen skirt. Pieces of embroidered reeds are pieced together to make a traditional and ancient Dong reed garment. Jackets can be divided into three styles by opening - front opening jackets, left-hand side opening jackets, and right-hand side opening jackets - and their sleeves fall into two kinds - long-sleeved and short-sleeved. Screen skirts made up of embroidered reeds are of two styles - leaf-shaped and straw rope shaped - with the lower part bordered by clusters of pearls and ural designs or abstract patterns. They are executed in flat stitch through the use of gold/silver foil. They are all made with fine craftsmanship and unique designs. Their styles vary according to the region. Nevertheless, these embroidered reeds show the common Dong culture on the one hand, and the unique ancient culture of each region on the other. Reed garments were originally a type of costume which was worn by certain ancient Dong settlers and which later evolved into a kind of men's ceremonial dress. All the Dong within the three provinces of Hunan, Guizhou and Guangxi share the same traditon of offering sacrifice to Sasui, the goddess who is considered their first ancestor. In enterning the ritual site, Dong men don reed dresses and play reed pipes. Their sacrifical ceremony is completed with recitation, singing and dancing. The archaic method of assembling reed garments is a reliving of the time when primitives used to assemble their jackets and skirts from pelts, leaves and grasses. Reed garments therefore constitute an important source for tracing the evolution of Dong costume..............."


There is more about women's clothing and construction and types of textiles.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 2:49 pm 
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Here is the Dong jacket that Pamela mentioned above. I actually bought it in 1997, before the book, Costumes and Accessories of Chinese Minorities, was published in conjunction with an excellent exhibition. The exhibition had a number of jackets like this but the other Dong jackets look much older and of a completely different style.

I have only ever seen one more Dong jacket like this in Kaili, but that was not in very good condition and expensive. I seem to think James has spent some time in Dong areas of Guizhou and Guangxi, so I wander whether he has seen or had the opportunity to buy this or other old types of Dong clothing?

I’m afraid I have no understanding as to why these costumes are called “reed” jackets.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:25 pm 
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Andrew

Very many thanks for posting your 'reed jacket' and the additional detail. The back is so like my baby carrier in http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=143 - both the woven girls, the central zig-zag diamond and the row of birds. I do like being able to cross-relate things!

Re-reading the earlier thread it sounds as if James has a similar child's jacket:
Quote:
"The two patterns of ducks and women shown here are especially prominent in childrens clothes from Guangxi Province. I have seen them directly woven onto childrens jackets and aprons. I have been told by weavers in the Chengyang region that the use of the human figures is for protective purposes as they are supposed to keep an eye out for the child. I am currently looking at an older children's jacket hanging on the wall with almost the exact same patterns woven into the lower front of the jacket and diamond lozenges in the same proportions and colors as the shown piece. The overall shape of the backpack is very consistent with Dong pieces from Guangxi with the long thin panel shown in the lower part of the first image. "


And yes, this particular style of jacket is quite different from very many of the other Dong pieces shown in the book in design, colour, embroidery rather than weaving.....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:03 pm 
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Following my earlier posts above, I put together a mini gallery of 5 pages of photos from the 49 pages of the Dong section of the book ''Costumes and Accessories of Chinese Minorities" published by the National Museum of History in Taiwan in 2000, ISBN 957-02-6406-3 and mailed the link to James and some other Dong devotees on the forum.

As you know, I am very cautious about breaching copyright laws on photos. However, Susan Stem has strongly encouraged me to post a link here to that mini gallery as she has a couple of photos of a Dong textile to post and they do not really make sense without seeing the photos in the mini gallery from the book. So, here goes: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... g_CACM.htm There are various other styles of Dong clothing in the book including some similar to the jacket that Andrew posted above.

Susan, over to you!

James Welcome was kind enough to email me back with some comments:
Quote:
"Thank you so much for putting up those photos. I have been looking for some confirmation as to the relative age of some of the pieces in my collection. Some of the textiles shown are of a completely different style than those I've collected, while some similar. I'm afraid that book might be out of my price range for a while though, so I really appreciate the peek.

The only other place I've seen older Dong pieces like that was in the Shanghai Museum. The age of some of these things is so difficult to judge with the limited resources for reference. I was especially interested to see examples of "Reed Clothing" because I had seen the term in Chinese (which doesn't add much insight) and had been under the incorrect assumption that the clothes were actually made of grasses. I really wonder about ramie..."


Yes, I wonder about ramie. It does have rather a reed-like appearance when growing and my initial thoughts from the photos was to wonder about hemp, ramie or other bast fibre.

We would, of course, always be interested to see any Dong pieces from James' collection!

best wishes,

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 4:11 pm 
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Pamela thank you for posting the minigallery from your book as it really broadens the discussion of Dong textiles. I, too am curious about what the term "reed" pertains to, as well as the use of "screen".

As threatened, I am posting a photo of an unusual, but similar textile I saw in Kaili last year but did not buy. I was told that it was Dong and after seeing the examples from Pamela's book find it not unlike the "screen" skirts.

I also find it interesting, but not surprising, that this style 'skirt' is similar to the Miao so-called 'hundred bird' design, since they are from the same area of Guizhou- Rongjiang County. It is pretty obvious that styles and motifs are swapped back and forth by the Miao and Dong when living in close proximity of each other.


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 Post subject: Dong Textiles
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:35 am 
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I have, of course, been following this thread with interest and thanks so much for the posts. It is great to see the wide variety of styles of older Dong pieces. Unfortunately a lot of my pieces are stored in such a fashion as to be really difficult to get out and photograph, so I can't readily join in. I have a couple of children's jackets that I recently acquired and haven't stored away that I can post pictures of though.

Some of the patterns and colors are similar to those which have already been posted. Note the birds on the bottom border of Jacket 3 and the colors and diagonals of Jacket 1.

I went for a sampling of different colors. These three jackets all come from approximately the same area of Liping, which is down in that same corner of Guizhou. As always, age is difficult to determine. All three would appear to be older pieces, but anything more would just be conjecture.

PS: Forgive the glare off of the fabric, getting the colors right with a flash is not a skill I've mastered.


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 Post subject: dong
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:36 pm 
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Very interesting. I am posting also a dong baby jacket,which has some resemblance with all these textiles posted before. It is quite similar in the form to the jacket posted by Andrew, and also very similar in the kind of weaving to James jacket. This jacket without sleeve has also a kind of skirt/belt (which is not on the picture) and which is the same kind of susan has posted.
Olivier

Olivier emailed me larger images of this very interesting jacket which I thought I would share with you - Pamela


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:45 pm 
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detail of the weaving


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:11 pm 
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Olivier

Welcome back to the forum after far too long an absence!

A very nice Dong child's jacket with some fine weaving. Interesting to know that it has a skirt similar to Susan's. Do you know what fibre it is made of? I know that you have a particular interest in bast fibres.

You may have read above in both my quotes from the book 'Costumes and Accessories of Chinese Minorities' and Jame's email to me quoted above of Dong 'reed' jackets. Can you shed any light on 'reed' and what fibre the 'reed' might be? When I first saw the term I thought of you and your interest in bast fibres and wanted to share it with you. I am so glad that you have come back to join in with us again!

Very best wishes,

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:36 pm 
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Dear Pamela,
about the picture I had posted it seems to be silk and coton (the lining is a kind of silk which is like paper...I don"t know the exact name in english. The Andrew 's jacket seems having the same material for the lining)
About Dong reed jacket I am not being very helpful, I was also wondering about ramie but it is quite far from reed (I never heard about others bast fibers in China than ramie, hemp...) There are many bast fibers in Japan like Kuzu (which produce a shinny weaving) or fuji (the wisteria, a very strong bast fiber) but which are only used in Japan. So ...I am very circumspect.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:46 pm 
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I have found a small detail of the skirt.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 1:45 am 
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Olivier-
Welcome back! It is good to hear from you after such a long absence. I'm curious about your skirt- if it goes with the jacket, then it is for a baby? I'm pretty sure that the one I photographed was for a woman or older girl. I find it rather interesting that a baby would be dressed in a miniature version of what women wear. Do you recall where you found your pieces, or have any other information about them?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:39 am 
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Dear Susan,
yes it is a baby costume (size of the jacket is 40cm x39cm) and I am sure than the skirt goes with the jacket .
I will try to take a better picture with both . Unfortunatly I don't have more informations about it. But I have seen also the same kind of costume (jacket without sleeve + jacket + gaiters) for a teenager, so I suppose it was made for babies as well as women.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:11 am 
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Susan, Olivier

I would think that this is for a child which is older than a baby. Remember how small boned so many of the minority (and Han) people are especially the further back you go. A limited protein diet tends to produce smaller people. I think that Olivier's child's outfit is probably at least early last century (this is a huge guess but based on what we have seen on this forum and in the book referred to above).

I think it is quite normal for toddlers and young children to be dressed in similar outfits to adults. See some of the tiny tots at http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Galleries/Gao_Zhai.htm and http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Galleries/Da_Shu_Jia.htm These are both Miao villages but I think that the principle carries through to Dong.

I have a quite old Dong child's jacket which I think is similar to an adult's posted http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=149 although this probably for child older than Olivier's.

Personally I love these minature versions of the adult's costume - and they take up so much less storage room!!

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