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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:38 pm 
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Here is another recent addition to my collection. I call it a baby carrier because that is the only information I could glean from the seller. I have no field collection information and assume it to be from Guangxi because my contact had just returned from there.
It is a combination of brocade and embroidery on homespun cotton fabric.
The most interesting detail is the removable panel at the top and the little design element inside which is a piece of store bought fabric. The composition of the small panel itself and its location reminds me of the panels on the back of Big Flower Miao shawls from Weining and Zhaotong. In that case the rectangle is sometimes said to represent the old city wall where the Miao people lived before being forced to flee because of war.
There are traditional chinese "buttons" holding the removable panel on the top and along the side edges as well.
Anyone else own a similar example or know more about the orgin of this piece?

Steven


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 Post subject: detail
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 12:40 pm 
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detail


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 3:42 pm 
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Andrew

I like the buttoning throughout this baby carrier! The woven background makes me wonder if it could be Dong? I have had a look in my book (all in Chinese) of baby carriers from Guangxi. There are photos in the book with 'echoes' of your textile but no direct match.

What a good idea that the top, small panel which comes up and protects the baby's head can be detached (and washed) separately.

One of the difficulties that I have found in identifying the group for a particular babycarrier is that often this textile does not directly related to the costume worn by the group and once seen apart it is very difficult to relate the baby carrier to it's particular group or sub-group. If this textile were to be Dong it would relate to some of the Dong blankets that I have seen and it is this which I think is causing my instinctive attribution rather than anything more substantial.

Steven, thanks for livening and brigtening up the forum - which had nodded off a bit - with your posts!

best wishes,

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: bc3
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:59 am 
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Pamela,

I scoured the Guangxi books and could not find anything. I too have some blankets reminiscent of this piece, yet different.
One thing looking at books has made me realize just how much work still needs to be done. The only truly thourough study I am aware of is the Qiandongnan Illustrated Textile Research Guide which came out of Taiwan a couple of years ago. All the others-while a joy to look at- have so many ommissions.
There is a lot of work to be done.
It is a pleasure for me to share these objects with others who share this interest. It is one of the miracles of internet technology.



Steven


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:32 am 
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Pamela and Steven,

I have a textile that is similar to the example posted. It's at http://www.marlamallett.com/w-4072.htm and was sold to me as Yao, from Yunnan. That may or may not be correct. A glance at the photos might suggest that it is Dong work, but seen at first hand, the extremely fine brocading is actually quite different. It's very three-dimensional, and contrasts hard-twist, glossy, plied silk with loosely spun dull cotton.

Best wishes,
Marla Mallett


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 Post subject: is it Hmong?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 2:42 am 
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I've been unable to access the textile photo Marla put on line for us. But this particular form of applique is not commonly used by the Mien, and their color vocabulary does not include this shade of pink.

I couldn't tell if some of the motifs on the baby carrier were either batik or woven. If it is batik, it most probably is Miao. If not, I agree with Pamela- this baby carrier is probably Dong.

But I have another idea: could this baby carrier actually be Hmong? A textile from Vietnam, Thailand, or Laos. Or from the Miao in Burma, or elsewhere outside of the Chinese heimat?

This coloring and design are commonly found elswhere among those Miao who characterize themselves as Hmong. Is it a possibilty? I'm afraid I am a bit naive about the textile trade routes in China, so I could be completely off base.

But, let me point out again, that Miao and Dong belong to two different language and ethnic groups. Miao belongs to the Miao (Hmong)-Yao (Mien) language group whose further affiliation is in doubt. And Dong is a branch on the Tai family tree. The two groups traditionally also live in different ecological niches; the Miao (Hmong) usually on top of mountains; the Dong, being Tai, normally inhabit river valleys.

So a mystery begins to take shape...how could two such disperate groups actually create a textile world with shifting boundaries, mixed origins?

Sandie


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:53 am 
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By searching on Marla's site and a few trial and errors I have found the piece that Marla wanted us to see and edited the url posted in Marla's message so that it now works - and yes, how VERY like Steven's! I have resisted the urge to directly post Marla's photo here almost getting carried away - the carriers are SO similar. Sorry, I must stop SHOUTING in electronic speak but it is such fun to see two so similar.

I am very attracted to these baby carriers as they look very like button around shawls rather than baby carriers and if one was not interested in communities where baby carriers are such core textiles you would not guess their use.

Thanks, Marla, for your comments about the weaving and threads used and, of course, sharing this 'twin' with us.

Sandie, I think that we are come up against again something we keep finding when we try to determine ethinic group of origin of a textile - that groups living near to each other - albeit up or down a mountain - absorb influences from each other in their textiles. Given that there are certain limitations imposed by the techniques themselves and we are all so inclined to copy something that attracts us I do not think that we should be surprised.

I also agree with your comments back to ethnic routes in that it is easier to see links with weaving with Dong and Tai - however, one can get caught out by fine Miao weaving on occasion.

Thanks to Steven for starting an interesting thread which I hope, in due course, may also lead us to some more answers - but I am enjoying the questions en route!

Best wishes,

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 1:25 pm 
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My baby carrier was almost surely collected in Guangxi. It is interesting that Miao people in the border area of Guizhou-Guangxi often borrowed stylistic elements form the Dong and Yao. This influence may well have gone the other way too. There are also groups of Miao speaking Yao and Dong languages as their primary tongue. (This was oral information given to me by a Miao friend in Anshun who majored in Miao language at Guizhou Nationalities University, I do not vouch for its accuracy)
This carrier could quite feasibly be from the Dong of Guangxi.
Are we confused yet???
There are rich research opportunities for those so inclined.
I am really enjoying interacting with you all and hope others interested in these pieces from SW China can post images from their collections.
Marla's example is a beautiful one.
Half the time people selling are not the ones that did the collecting so they just spit something out when asked about a provenance.
Here is another example. The motifs are quite different but the compostion is similar, no buttons on this one either and the top flap is not removable.

Steven

I have edited Steven's original photo post of the whole babycarrier so that it makes easier viewing on the forum. As this reduces the detail of the weaving I have added a photo of a detail. Pamela


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 2:04 am 
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I need to clarify a previous statement. When I said many sellers are not field collectors and just spit out a provenance I was speaking of some (not all) dealers in China, not our friends overseas.
Also the Chinese dealers are not neccessarily mendacious in their misinformation, they just do not know. Most of the women in Kaili are there full time waiting for other people who trawl the countryside to bring them new pieces.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:40 am 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hi All-
I thought I'd resurrect this thread after having acquired a baby carrier similar to the ones shown by Steven and Marla. I was told that it was Yao, from Guangxi. It is embroidered in thick silk on a background of plainweave cotton. I find the color combination surprisingly subtle.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:21 am 
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Susan

Is it embroidery? It looks so like supplementary weft weaving? I do get frustrated by how hard it is to tell the difference. I assume that the babycarrier is lined so you cannot see the back of the front facing textile?

These baby carriers are very distinct in their shape. Thanks for adding another to the puzzle! How great it would be to get a photo of one being used in a village.......!

best wishes

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:31 pm 
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Pamela-
Ah yes, that old vexing question of embroidery or weaving.... I think I may have one clue that was present on this particular textile: the presence of knots in the ends of threads. I never see it on textiles with supplementary weft weaving, but this piece has no backing and knots appear frequently on the backside. I have also seen other Yao textiles from this area with similar thick silk, and that were embroidered. The Yao are known for their embroidery, but I don't know much about Yao in Guangxi.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 4:28 pm 
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I have run into these pieces a couple of times and have always heard they were Dong.

Bill


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