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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:27 pm 
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Baby carrier head covers:
Please note that I am uncertain this description is correct – it is what they were described as by the two different individuals I purchased them from. I am also uncertain of their being attributed as Miao. Item#3 in this group was said to be Dong? Is this correct?
Again, I’m a bit skeptical about them being head coverings attached to a baby carrier – could they not be part of a front apron? There are a few pieces similar in size and basic design I hav seen as part of an assembled costume.
Only the ties on item#3 are intact – there are remnants of ties on the back of the other aprons which appear to have been cut off.
The silver metallic circular section of item#3 is both padded and attached to be largely free from the underlying fabric. I found this piece at the bottom of a pile of modern kid’s outfits! The ‘digging’ mentality/virus paying off!
Finally item#1:
Where to begin???? The central panel, within a green border itself delineated by a single metallic gold thread, incorporates a large flower (complete with stamens and accompanying branches and foliage) and what I initially thought were two phoenixes. However, coming back to it I wonder if they may in fact represent a rooster (multiple comb and wattles) and accompanying female (ingle comb and no wattles)? In some African tribes, roosters are depicted as having multiple tail feathers (in my example 3 single and differently colored tail feathers), whilst females are given a single tail feather (in my example an elaborate SINGLE tail feather). Although the examples I have from Zambia are both modern and possibly unrelated to China (there was a huge contingent of Chinese laborers involved in building the TAZARA railway in the mid 1970’s) it would be interesting to see whether older (pre1970’s) depictions of chickens in Bemba textiles shows any differences. Sorry I digress….
The outer blue circle, again delineated by a single metallic gold thread incorporates two extended swastikas in green (also delineated in gold metallic thread). Then there are two butterflies, four exquisite, five-petalled flowers and accompanying branches and foliage. What BLOWS me away about this piece is its incredible sense of movement. Superficially it appears symmetrical and yet it is only the ‘idea’ that is symmetrical. The butterflies are different but complementary. The arrangement of flowers appears symmetrical both horizontally and vertically with the interaction between 2 red and 2 yellow flowers. Closer look at the accompanying branches and foliage reveals subtle changes with the addition of hairy bud protection; the change to a darker blue and the mismatch of blue and green colored branches associated with the yellow flowers. This is taken further by changing the colour of a pair of bud hairs using purple and yellow on the most initially symmetrical branches. All this combines to give this piece constant movement which is incredible as it is quite small (31x34cm). I just LOVE this piece! Ok I know, I know more restraint required – but being in the presence of this kind of artistic skill just GETS ME GOING!! :D OK restraint, restraint….. All this said, I do not know where this piece comes from. Could it be from Leishan Co.?
A further reflection: the swooping bird (male) is eating a stamen (male portion of the flower) and swooping female eating a fruit/seed (significantly associated with the female) is interesting – OK scientist here perhaps overanalyzing and trying to exercise restraint.


Attachments:
Baby head cover 2 detail.jpg
Baby head cover 2 detail.jpg [ 115.49 KiB | Viewed 8639 times ]
Baby head cover 3.jpg
Baby head cover 3.jpg [ 55.86 KiB | Viewed 8639 times ]
Baby head cover 3 detail.jpg
Baby head cover 3 detail.jpg [ 127.42 KiB | Viewed 8639 times ]
Baby head cover 4.jpg
Baby head cover 4.jpg [ 119.5 KiB | Viewed 8638 times ]
Baby head cover 4 detail.jpg
Baby head cover 4 detail.jpg [ 114.43 KiB | Viewed 8638 times ]


Last edited by iain on Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Bbay Head covers 1 and 2
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:23 am 
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baby head covers 1 and 2


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Baby head cover 1 det.jpg
Baby head cover 1 det.jpg [ 124.59 KiB | Viewed 8629 times ]
Baby head cover 1.jpg
Baby head cover 1.jpg [ 85.15 KiB | Viewed 8629 times ]
Baby head cover 2.jpg
Baby head cover 2.jpg [ 130.61 KiB | Viewed 8629 times ]
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 Post subject: re
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:00 am 
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Location: Kaili, Guizhou, China
Hello iain.
Thanks for sharing with all.
Those are the baby carrier's head covers of Dong in Liping County, Guizhou, China. Among they that "Baby head cover 1" is "the weaved thread embroidery", and other are "the broken thread embroidery".

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:43 pm 
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Greetings Wu-Zhh
Many thanks for the Dong identification of these pieces. I finally managed to catch up with the woman who originally collected these pieces who stated that these were in fact collected in Liping Co.. I am wondering still how these serve as head covers. Are they attached to the top of the baby carrier as appears to be the case in the Buyi baby carrier from Zhangbu on Steven Frost's website? see:
http://www.stevenqfrost.net/photoarchive/showimage.php?dir=pingtang&image=DSC_0066.jpg.
This appears to have a frame? from which the head cover is attached along the top? Perhaps Steven you could shed some light?
As you describe the techniques used in these pieces one thing that head covers 2, 3 and 4 also have in common is the use of a dark indigo dyed base material. I had wondered about the Dong attribution of Head cover 1 but perhaps the inclusion of the purple and white ribbon around the inside frame helps to attribute this too? It truly is a wonderful piece to behold as the detail is incredible.
Many thanks for your insight and help!
Regards
Iain


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 Post subject: Chinese characters
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 4:06 pm 
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Chinese character appearing on Baby head cover 2 is shuang xi -"double happiness" a not uncommon character to appear on many items related to children, weddings and at Lunar New Year.
Iain


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 Post subject: re
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 7:57 pm 
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Location: Kaili, Guizhou, China
Hello iain.
Yes, the structure of the Dong's baby carrier head cover is same like the Buyi baby carrier from Zhangbu on Steven Frost's website. When baby is have gone to sleep, then take the lower extremity of the cover to turns up to cover head of baby.
May be you can to provide your email address to me, for more informations about art of Miao (Hmong) and other minority. do you will?
My email add: wu-zhh@163.com
MSN:wu_zh521@hotmail.com

Thanks!

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Email to me: wu-zhh@hotmail.com


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:19 pm 
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Iain

In 2005 I was fortunate to visit a few Dong villages and I have been looking though my photos. I can go some way to answering some of your questions re baby carriers/baby head coverings although I cannot really get spot on.

I will say that it is quite usual with babycarriers - Dong or Miao - for there to be a part of it which can be used as a headcovering and, if there isn't, then a towel may be used. Think of when the baby is being carried on someone's back. Its head is right there in the hot and bright sun and needs protecting. A hat goes some way but does not shade the face and head as well as some form of loose covering.

On 17 May 2005 we visited the newly opened Dong village of Yin Tang, Gu Ping township, Congjiang county, Guizhou province. I came across a woman, baby on her back in a nice carrier tipping ducklings out of a woven cage into the stream that ran through the centre of the village. I took a photograph of her and asked to be able to take the babycarrier properly. She did not want me to photograph what was to her a work-a-day carrier but insisted on going into her house and getting a newly made version which she put on for me. I will include some shots. You will see that one of them shows a piece of indigo fabric pulled up over the baby's head. It does not seem to be decorated - at least on the side that you can see. You will see in another shot that the covering is mostly tucked down into the baby carrier. This style of carrier is quite a substantial one and not as minimalist in construction as some Dong carriers from which, I think Iain, that your pieces come and I also have collected.

I will do another post in respect of another Dong village visited the day before: Da Li village, Zai Ma township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province. Here we saw some older carriers which have head coverings attached (are not so solidly constructed as those current ones in Yin Tang village) and I bought one of them. I have had a look at it and I will comment with the photos. There was also a woman wearing a more modern carrier (with baby - not visible) who seems to have a headcovering over the baby's head and tied loosely around her neck.


Attachments:
File comment: Woman wearing a work-a-day (to her) baby carrier in Yin Tang village, Gu Ping township, Congjiang county, Guizhou province 17 May 2005. She is tipping ducklings into the stream going through the village.
IMGP3692w.jpg
IMGP3692w.jpg [ 66.78 KiB | Viewed 8574 times ]
File comment: Woman putting on baby carrier in Yin Tang village, Gu Ping township, Congjiang county, Guizhou province 17 May 2005.
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IMGP3696w.jpg [ 68.37 KiB | Viewed 8574 times ]
File comment: woman and baby in Yin Tang village, Gu Ping township, Congjiang county, Guizhou province 17 May 2005. Note head covering covering baby's head
IMGP3699w.jpg
IMGP3699w.jpg [ 66.15 KiB | Viewed 8574 times ]
File comment: woman and baby in Yin Tang village, Gu Ping township, Congjiang county, Guizhou province 17 May 2005. Note head covering just visible tucked in carrier
IMGP3697w.jpg
IMGP3697w.jpg [ 62.42 KiB | Viewed 8574 times ]

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:49 pm 
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These next photos were taken in Da Li village, Zai Ma township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province on 16 May 2005. This is a super village to visit and they performed some very beautiful singing - for which the Dong are famous - for us in the inner courtyard of the oldest house in the village - magical!

The villagers brought out a few older textiles for us to see. I show some laid out. These have both a main body piece and an attached head covering. They are more minimalist that the current ones in Yin Tang village. Looking at the one that I bought I think that the more substantial piece with the red square on point is, in this case, actually the part of the babycarrier that holds the baby's body and the piece with a strip of embroidery is the head covering. (I have another older Dong babycarrier that I bought in the large village of Zhaoxing, Liping county, Guizhou province. It has both body and head covering pieces with different designs but equally complex amounts of decoration. )

Also in Da Li village I photographed an older woman clearly with a baby on her back in a carrier - part of the crowd fascinated by our visit. She seems to have a headcovering for the baby tied around her neck.


Attachments:
File comment: Woman in the crowd in the Dong village of Da Li, Zai Ma township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province on 16 May 2005. She seems to have a head covering for the baby tied around her neck.
IMGP3382w.jpg
IMGP3382w.jpg [ 62.99 KiB | Viewed 8558 times ]
File comment: Detail of old babycarrier on display in the Dong village of Da Li, Zai Ma township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province on 16 May 2005
IMGP3373w.jpg
IMGP3373w.jpg [ 65.88 KiB | Viewed 8559 times ]
File comment: Old babycarriers on display in the Dong village of Da Li, Zai Ma township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province on 16 May 2005
IMGP3375w.jpg
IMGP3375w.jpg [ 64.03 KiB | Viewed 8559 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:47 am 
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I really love these 'in situ' photos, Pamela! Maybe it's the ducks... That is a pretty big 'baby' for that small mother to be carrying- he/she is probably a rowdy toddler that she is keeping captive!

And thank you to Wu-zhh for identifying the source and use for the head covers. I, too, have wondered about these.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:54 am 
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I guess that you confine ducklings to a basket and todlers to a babycarrier! How else can you get anything done......?

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