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 Post subject: techique induced designs
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Greetings all!

I have a general question maybe some of you can help with.

I have noticed great similarities in certain repetitive patterns appearing on plaited objects like mats and baskets that come from cultures widely separated such as the Iban of Borneo and the Chitimacha of Louisiana in the US to name but two. I don't have pictures to show but I am thinking in particular of a kind of ribbon design that sort of loops back on itself before going forward and looping back, etc. Sometimes there is an "eye" in each loop, sometimes not. It is unreasonable in this case that one people copied from the other or even had a common ancestor pattern (which of course just boots the question back further). I am wondering if the technique induces certain patterns by its nature.

Or in general, now much does the weaving (or plaiting or whatever) technique itself account for the invention of the pattern or motif?

Has anyone studied this?

Thanks

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John


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Hi John

Great to have you back on the forum!

I don't know of any particular studies on this point but I have thought about it quite a lot. I have always approached textiles via an interest in technique (aside from lots of other things) and I have always felt sure that the actual process of a technique leads to particular designs and effects. To me it stands to reason. It is at least a starting point. Experts in a technique may fight it; they may seek ways of pushing a technique to achieve special effects but they are still governed by it to a large extent.

I will give some thought as to where there may be examples or research on the point.

Best,

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 8:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:22 am
Posts: 65
Location: germany
Greetings,
About twenty years ago, I did a poster show at the ICOC about very similar designs occurring in different cultures, wanting to counter some peoples' idea that that this resulted from contacts between cultures as far removed from each other as the Middle East, Eastern Asia, Central and South America, Europe. One design was the "Greek Key", which sounds like John's ribbon looping back on itself. It occurs in Greece (of course) in stone work and mosaic borders, but also in stone work in Aztec or Mayan Mexico, baskets from SE Asia and South America, also I believe in pre-Columbian textiles.
I am convinced that making designs with the warp and weft of weaving/basketry or plaiting leads spontaneously to inventing this design. In reply to a topic long ago, I pointed out the great similarity of designs on old Scandinavian woven/plaited strips with those on textiles from Asia.
I don't know if I can find my papers from the poster show, but if there is interest, I can try.

Regards, Larry


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 7:35 pm
Posts: 176
Location: east coast
Thanks Larry for your information. I tend to agree in large part. Even children doodling circles will eventually draw a spiral and I doubt it was because they had previously seen one.

I am posting two pix of the design I mean both on baskets although it occurs on plated mats as well. One is recent from the Chitimacha people of the SE US. The other is on an older basket from Borneo. It is part of the fabulous Borneo basket collection of my friend Jeff Spurr.

There are many variants of this basic looping design but I mainly see it on plating. Sometimes there is an eye in the loop.

Any more thoughts?


Attachments:
File comment: Basket from Borneo. probably predates the Chitimacha one.
spurr-anjatbskt-punan.jpg
spurr-anjatbskt-punan.jpg [ 56.97 KiB | Viewed 3894 times ]
File comment: plaited (?) basket.
CHITIMACHA.JPG
CHITIMACHA.JPG [ 39.24 KiB | Viewed 3894 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 10:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:22 am
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Location: germany
John,
that is indeed a wonderful basket from Borneo. I bought a similar but lesser one on the way to the ICOC and hung it on my poster show. Looking now at my stuff from the show, I see that the most common feature I found was the “running dog” or wave scroll motif, a row of waves or on textile more hook-like shapes, often with a line separating the color of the hooks from that of the ground, which has as many hooks.
This line relates to your looping ribbons, and on both baskets one can recognize that they also outline hooks. It is a question of proportions whether the ribbon or the hooks spring in one's eye.

This motif is very common in Middle Eastern rugs and flatweaves, and also in pre-Columbian textiles from the Central Coast of Peru. I have pictures of two strikingly similar items: a medallion from 17th c. Turkish Balıkesir Yüncü rug in the Ethnography Museum in Ankara; and the neck piece of a Huarmey tunic,1000-1300 AD, Peru. Both rhomboids are filled with concentrate lines of hooks.

I refuse to believe that such similarities are the result of cross-cultural influence between the continents, and I strongly hold that weaving and plaiting force even greater similarity. The techniques define what is possible.

Thanks to your question, however, I found in my pictures ceramics from the Cucuteni-Culture, 4800-3000 BC in Eastern Europe. Search Google images for Cucuteni and you will find many ceramics with loops, swirls, waves and hooks. They are quite sophisticated – like the baskets – managing to wrap the design around a ceramic piece. The baskets require much greater planning, calculating the number of elements used to allow the design to encumbrance the piece. (It would be interesting to inspect a few and see if/how/where the makers “cheated”.)

The peoples around the world had, of course, seen spiraling vines and tendrils, and had doodled in the sand. Translating what they could do on ceramics to basketry was an intellectual exercise.
It is not one I would attempt, but such skill evolves from simple beginnings, passed on and refined over generations. Thanks for leading me to greater appreciation for basketry.

And here is a link to the question I mentioned in my previous comment, which developed into a long discussion:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1604&hilit=textilt+bildverk

Regards, Larry


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