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 Post subject: Ge Jia baby hats
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:24 am 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
Here are three Ge Jia baby hats that I just brought back from Guizhou. They are particularly interesting (I think) because I have the full story on them. In a village near Chongan, I met this 71 year old woman who, after a lot of searching, eventually dug out these three small hats specifically made by her mother for newly born babies. The first two are little boys hats, one for the winter (slightly padded) the other for the summer. Following tradition, they were made by the old lady’s mother before she got married in preparation for her first child, which turned out to be twins and who quickly succumbed to the hardships of daily life and poor nourishment. The old lady was the next child, (since her mother waited many years before getting pregnant again, she was given the Ge Jia name that roughly translates as “wishing for a child”). The old lady’s mother was born in 1909 and died in 1994 at the age of 86. That makes these hats 75-80 years old! (I am sorry to say that this dealer "friend" has turned out to be very unreliable with her information, so these dates could mean anything. It's a nice story though)

The third hat was made for the old lady’s first child, also by her mother. The child was born in 1959, making the hat 46+ years old. Although the child was a boy, this hat is actually designed for a girl. On the front of the hat are 4 small dog bones used to ward off evil spirits and to keep the child healthy. Also, there is a small ball of the baby’s first hair sewn onto the side.

The fourth hat was made by a Ge Jia dealer “friend” in 2000/2001 for the birth of my daughter!

Are you still following the Forum Monique?


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File comment: Ge Jia baby hat 2.1
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File comment: Ge Jia baby hat 2.2
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File comment: ge Jia baby hat 3.1
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Last edited by Andrew Dudley on Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:28 am 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
Follow on photos


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File comment: Ge Jia baby hat 4.1
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File comment: Ge Jia baby hat 4.2
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Andrew

What a truly excellent post - full of information plus the charm that babies hat's so often have.

It has promted me to search for a GeJia baby's hat in my collection. It was also a gift to me - from John Gillow when I bought quite a few nice GeJia pieces from him at one of his exhibitions in 2000.

Based on your very helpful information I would say that: it is a boy's cap and possibly more of a winter than an summer one as it has three layers. All the fabric is from the market. It has a coin in the centre of the top of the hat. I am assuming that the colourful silk threads have been 'knitted' in a similar way to the way that the old ladies still knit the nets for their (hair) buns. Looking at your dating I think it might be of the era of your third hat - say 40-50 years ago?

It is clearly made with expectation and love! As it is slightly grubby I am hoping that it was worn by a healthy baby which to grew to be sturdy boy. Your explanation brings home how tenuous life can be and we should not get carried away by the textiles into forgetting just how tough is the life of which they have been a part.

Very many thanks,


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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: John Gillow
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 1:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi Pamela,

Could you put in a good word for me with John Gillow? Last year I bought a very old Dong headpiece from him, and he'll be coming again to the SF Tribal & Textile show in February. (Try and come Bill).

Just wishing! Those hats are magnificent, and with heartfelt stories.

Sandie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Hi Sandie

I think that you have many years (and purchases) to go yet before you get to my 'credit' level with John Gillow! I have been buying from him for approaching 20 years albeit very small things early on. John is quite a fixture at various textile events in the UK from quilting group open days to big shows. His repartee makes him a favourite with the (usually female) crowd around his stall. Enjoy his visit to San Francisco. I hope that John does good business to cover all his costs + some from the participation.

Yes, knowing about the stories behind Andrew's hats is a special priviledge.

Best wishes,

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 4:55 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Netherlands
Hello Andrew,

it took me some time to make a picture of my Ge-Jia hat. I think it is a summer hat for a little boy. On the top a "Good luck knot" with an old Chinese coin. What do you think about this hat?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:49 am 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
Thanks Pamela and Monique for your baby hats. They both have more batik than mine and both have the top knot, tassel and old coin (symbolizing wealth for the child in the future).

Pamela, I think yours is still a summer hat rather than winter, despite the three layers (maybe it was a cold summer that year), as it is partially open on top. The net covering the hat is actually quite interesting, as it was supposed to keep the evil spirits away from entering the child. In the past, some embroidered baby carriers also had a net covering them for protection. As for its age, remember, my third hat was made by the child's grandmother, so I would think yours could be a similar kind of age as my first two, especially having the net and the colours on the net and tassels suggest it is older than 40/50 years. (but because of miss-information mentioned above, I can only say I don't know about the possible date of this piece. Sorry).

The same goes for Monique's hat, I would think it is 2nd quarter of 20th C. But for those who hate speculating on dates, mid 20th C. or older (probably) (or probably not!).


Last edited by Andrew Dudley on Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Andrew

Very many thanks for your interesting information about my Gejia baby hat especially about the netting. Thanks also for your estimate of the age of my and Monique's hats. I have no problem at all with attempts at providing dates especially when you have some dated examples.

Both my hat and Monique's seem, to me, to have very similar 'feel' in the wax resist, the construction details and the the trimming. Monique's has a nice tie of handwoven braid which I am pleased to say the GeJia are still weaving today.

If you and Monique are happy, when I get a little time, I would like to put together a small photogallery of these GeJia hats since we now have a collection of six of them. If anyone else out there can contribute photos of any more then it would be great to include them. I always feel that a photogallery consolidates the knowledge and special textiles which have been accumulated in a forum thread and presents it in a more accessible way for future reference.

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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