tribaltextiles.info

It is currently Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:06 pm

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 3:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Recently I purchased some Li pieces including two bone hairpins, of which I will post photos shortly.
I bought these pieces with some trepidation because I have little familiarity with the material. After returning home to Nanjing I began trawling the forum for old posts and found the long Li oriented threads from several years ago.
In SW China today among dealers there is still a "buzz" regarding Li material, and with the money changing hands, the motivation to fake pieces is certainly there. You do not need to make a lot of money to enjoy great comfort and security in Guizhou. I saw the old email from Rachel where she said:

"..I got the feeling when I was in Kali that somewhere................ due to all the increased interest in Li textiles.................that somewhere pieces were being almost mass produced because a lot of the pieces looked too new and too perfect.............could this be a possibility?"

It certainly could. A dealer friend who I spent a lot of time with said already several years ago that Kaili women tried to fake Li pieces but they could not figure out the technical aspects. Of course he may have said that to give an appearance of authenticity to his own potentially fraudelent works. While I do not think the women of Kaili can copy Li skirts easily they can perhaps copy the embroidery.
There are workshops churning out pieces from every area of Guizhou today. I saw a technically perfect piece from western Guizhou recently which looked new but one of the arms had a hole "rubbed" in it. Looking at it I could not help feel the hole was a deliberate ruse to make the piece look old.
Perhaps similar to the Buyi blanket posted by Pamela a couple of days back with tea spilled on it.
Cetainly faking is not new anywhere, but it is an indication of the growing awareness of Chinese minority textiles and the paucity of good pieces that is causing this trend to grow.
I am curious in others thoughts and experiences with the issue of fakes.
If any of our other forum members own Li bone hairpins I would be very curious to see images. I know bone hairpins are not textiles but surely they are part of the same civilization.
I have rolled a couple of threads into one. If authenticity needs its own seperate discussion so be it.

All the best,
Steven


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Li Hairpins
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 9:52 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
I think the Li hairpins are beautiful. Do you have what I have called the 'big Li book' i.e. 'Traditional Culture of Li Ethnic Group'? This shows some of the hairpins. (It is a very expensive and difficult to get hold of book). I have never actually handled any of the hairpins or seen a 'real' or even fake one, only photos.

One of our forum members, Olivier Tallec, is fortunate enough to have a beautiful example of one of the bone pins. Back in Feb 2005 he was sharing a photo of his pin with me and I was sending him some photos from the 'big Li book'. I actually pasted some photos onto a web page to share with him. See http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... irpins.htm including Olivier's pin.

Another member, Mark Johnson, had an nice example in one of his galleries in April 05 but I am afraid that he has taken it down now.

My textile obsession is very much textiles as clothing so other forms of adornment which are part of the overall costume, i.e. hairpins, are most definitely included and the background culture of which the material items are part is very important.

We have been quite quiet on the Li front for some time. Interesting to hear that there is still a buzz in S W China about Li items. When I was in S W China this time last year I saw a few Li items - very pricey and not very good quality and, although I would have liked to add to my Li collection, I did not buy any Li items.

Faking it - all very sad and challenging for collectors. Gina Corrigan is always talking about it with pieces bought from dealers and Andrew is pretty suspicious of many items that he sees.

best wishes,

_________________
Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 1:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Pamela,

I have seen the Li book. It was offered to me for significantly more than the cover price, right now I am not willing to pay it. The book is pretty indispensible as a reference, unfortunately like many Chinese books it has some serious flaws, like poor printing quality. The publishers could have made it much more attractive.
Olivier's hairpin is beautiful and looks quite old. The two examples I bought are similar to the book photos you pasted and to examples in the Shanghai Museum. The Shanghai Museum ones can be seen in a small catalog called "Shanghai Museum Chinese Minorities Art Gallery". With their collection Shanghai Museum could have done a nicer book but like most other places probably did not have the financial resources or desire to do it.

Li Hairpin1 24cm long Representing an ancestor riding a mythical animal(lion?). The carving is articulated well on the workable areas of the back of the bone as well.


Attachments:
lihairpin1_131w.jpg
lihairpin1_131w.jpg [ 76.29 KiB | Viewed 12306 times ]
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Hairpin 2
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 1:44 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Li Hairpin2- 24cm. Representing a different myth. Can anyone shine some light on the stories which these hairpins represent? Do these represent founding clan members, husband and wife, brother and sister? Two brothers...? Again they are riding on some sort of animal. On this example the carving is much more detailed but not articulated as clearly as on example 1.


Attachments:
lihairpin2_757w.jpg
lihairpin2_757w.jpg [ 69.83 KiB | Viewed 12301 times ]
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Authenticity
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 1:49 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Pamela wrote:

"Faking it - all very sad and challenging for collectors. Gina Corrigan is always talking about it with pieces bought from dealers and Andrew is pretty suspicious of many items that he sees. "

I can't remember where I read it but one definition of an expert is "someone who is fooled less than the average person"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: old textiles
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2006 7:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi all,

As many people know, I have a (strong?) bias for buying new and original textiles from the groups that make them. Of course these cloths are not added to my lovingly assembled collection of antique T'ai textiles, enjoyed instead in wearing and as gifts.

That said, textiles copied by others from different ethnic groups, are designed to fool everyone. Watch out for new Dong baby carriers.

Also, many non-profit groups seem to support this kind of forgery. At one shop I visited, I spotted six or seven textiles, new and beautiful, and with dying and patterning totally Khmer. I asked, and surprise surprise! every one was made in Laos! As if Lao weavers needed inspiration! And what will Khmer weavers do now? Copy playful naak?

And watch out for people who don't know what they're doing. Newly made items are not antique, they are "traditional". These non-profits mean well, but totally miss the point.

A discussion on these points should be interesting.

Sandie :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

_________________
Sandie


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 12:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
What I noticed recently is the beginning of fakes which are much more sophisticated in intent than before. The decision to rub a hole in an otherwise perfect sleeve to make it appear as if the piece was old.
In China of course they were making perfect copies of Tang pottery pieces during the Qing and probably faking Han works during the Tang. There is a long, sophisticated precedent. With the textiles and folk arts it seems faking is a more recent trend.
The thousands of obviously new (and sometimes beautiful) pieces available are something different alltogether, as no one has ever tried to pass these off as old to me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Faking it.
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 12:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
There has been a lot of faked embroidery around Kaili for quite a number of years. Originally, it was very easy to spot, being obviously newly made, using new materials, wrong colours and often mixed-up patterns, and generally being touted to the unsuspecting tour groups and back-packers passing through. However, over the last couple of years, the fakers have been targeting the real collectors (due to a lack of the genuine articles) because of the high profits that can be made. Now the colours are far more realistic, as are the patterns and technical skills employed. Also, as noted by Steven, often fake pieces are knocked around a bit to make them seem genuinely old, giving them a stained, dusty look and smoky smell and even adding “insect” and “mouse” damage for a bit of luck.

One of the most popular items to knock-off seems to be Ge Jia embroidered baby carriers, some of which are very good copies and actually very nice pieces to own in their own right. However, my Ge Jia “friends” have always maintained that Ge Jia batik would be very difficult to fake, being an almost forgotten/lost skill, even in the countryside. But last year, I had the surprise “pleasure” of being shown 3 long batik aprons (almost impossible to buy these days) in one day, all with exactly the same pattern elements, which were modeled very closely on old originals. I was also shown a good batik jacket, which almost caught me out until I realised that the pattern was almost exactly the same as that on the long aprons I’d seen a couple of days earlier. All 4 pieces had been made using the same heavy cotton cloth, obviously used because it looked quite similar to genuine old handmade cloth (although it didn’t feel or smell quite right). Probablyall 4 pieces had come out of the same workshop.

On a positive note, this faking industry is at least reviving skills that were becoming lost, and it gives profitable work to some poor countryside girls who would have very tedious lives otherwise. And, for the Ge Jia, the alternative to making real batik work is to buy ready-made, printed “batik” baby carriers, skirts, jackets etc. from the local market, which have probably been made in a Han Chinese factory employing Han Chinese workers somewhere near Shanghai.

At the end of the day, if you don’t know what you are buying, only buy a piece because you like it (at the given price), not because it is 100 years old and could make a couple of bucks back home. I always feel that if I get cheated, that’s my problem, either for being greedy or because I’ve wanted to believe the story that I’ve heard. These people only want to make a “reasonable” living from “rich” and often “stupid/ignorant” foreigners (and Han Chinese). Good Luck to them.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 3:52 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Re the hairpins in question: I thought you all might enjoy seeing the ones in Stuebel's book of 1937. I apologize for the clarity, as they were taken from a Xeroxed copy of the book, thanks to a good friend; still I think that you can see the similarities, as well as some other examples. I have seen and handled examples of Li hairpins and thought that they would be easy to reproduce (which I find a preferable term to "fake"); it would be rather difficult to tell them apart unless they were side by side, as long as the work and design were of similar quality- only the patina would give it away, and that can often be reproduced by a talented craftsperson. These pieces have become pretty pricey, as have all things Li, so there is certainly incentive to make new ones. I do agree, tho that if the price and quality is right, then enjoy the object for its aesthetics. That said, I do not however condone the lack of truth about age, etc. A good reproduction should have value as such.


Attachments:
Mail-Li Hair Accessories from Steubel.jpg
Mail-Li Hair Accessories from Steubel.jpg [ 56.67 KiB | Viewed 12229 times ]

_________________
Susan Stem

http://www.tribaltrappings.com
http://tribaltrappings.blogspot.com/
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 8:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
Posts: 162
Location: California, USA
Hi folks,

Among other pieces, I have up now at least 5 textiles were made in the last 5 years, by incredibly skilled weavers from all over SEAsia. Two actually are "older", made by the Hmong in Thai refugee camps. These two storycloths are 1. a scene of tranquility, that can only be found in small Thai Buddhist temple. This cloth is so detailed that even the fruit oferings can be seen.

The second is probably more interesting, showing All the steps in weaving, including striping the trees, and sewing. Most of the tasks are shared by men.

However, textile forgery is always a problem,especially when NGOs encourage copying from other weaving traditions. Going through a reputable dealer, may be safer, but much, much more expensive. And of course, what to do when you do not live in an are of your interest? I still believe that with careful purchases, it is still possible to build an interesting collection with newer textiles.

I'm in the midst of making up my second annual quiz. I'll try and put in some direjavascript:emoticon('8)')ct questions dealing with these matters.
javascript:emoticon(':(')
Sandie

_________________
Sandie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Li Hairpins etc.
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 3:28 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Susan,

Thanks for posting the beautiful Li examples. Black and white takes nothing away from the objects interest as these are essentially black and white anyway.
On the subject of authenticity, it is not neccessarily related to age, but closely related to the intent of the artist or artisan. When someone is making something for use within their family and that object is related to an ancestral cult or belief system intimately tied to the spirit world, and a presupposition on the artist's part that respect and veneration of said tradition will bring auspicious results, the result of the craftmanship and the aesthetic sensibility of a piece will be far different than when something is made to sell to a collector or dealer.
A 21st century artisan will probably philosophically approach their work much differently than an artisan from fifty or one hundred years ago.
I think we can all agree that buying what one likes is the most important thing. Where we can run into potential disapointments is when objects are deliberately misrepresented and we pay a premium price for what is essentially a common object which can be easily reproduced. Reproductions are fine if they are presented as such and the buyer knows that is what he or she is getting.


Steven


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:22 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Steven

I have just become the very happy owner of a single-headed Li hairpin. I will post photos.

I would like to be able to put together a small photogallery of the pins as I have found it fascinating comparing them all and it makes a useful reference. Are you happy for me to use the photos of your pins? I will also ask Olivier about his and perhaps I can get the OK re the photos from the "Traditional Culture of the Li Ethnic Group" as Susan and I have got to know someone who is working with the editor of the book on a project for the Li. I may take licence with the Steuble photo which Susan kindly posted given that this book is impossible to get hold of! Full attribution all around, of course.

My lady seems to be riding or walking between 2 cat-like creatures. Maybe I am being influenced by my love of cats in seeing this!

I don't think that I ever commented on your question/comment as to whether the forum was the appropriate place to shown the Li pins. Most definitely!!!! As you say, they are part of the same culture and comparing patterns in weaving and embroidery with carvings would give an excuse except that none is needed!

_________________
Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:56 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
As promised I am posting photos of my Li hairpin (worn by women speaking the Run dialect). The top of the headdress seems to be longer with more rings than any others that I have seen images of. Note the cat that the lady seems to be riding on or walking between two.

It was pointed out to me that, because these hairpins are carved from the same part of a particular bone, the reverse cannot be carved with the same detail where the bone is rough. Steven touched on this in a post above. I show a detail of this. When I checked all the images of Li hairpins that I have access to I found that all of them were facing exactly the same way (even the double-headed ones) - presumably because this fitted the curve of the bone. I would be interested to know what bone this is. In the 'Traditional Culture of Li Ethnic Group' it was mentioned that 'the carvings are done on cow-bone hairpins...' when discussing carving in general.

Taking photos and blowing them up certainly allows the fine detail of the carving to be seen.


Attachments:
File comment: Despite the large image this Li hairpin is about 9 inches (23.3cm) in length and is held on a small stand. Worn by women speaking the Run dialect
IMGP6189w.jpg
IMGP6189w.jpg [ 61.77 KiB | Viewed 10529 times ]
File comment: detail of reverse of Li hairpin (worn by women speaking the Run dialect).
IMGP6199w.jpg
IMGP6199w.jpg [ 58.2 KiB | Viewed 10529 times ]

_________________
Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group