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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:26 pm 
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Location: NY
Hi,

I'm so happy to find this forum! I recently came into a collection of mostly Chinese ethnic minority textiles and find myself fascinated with this new world.

There are a few pieces that I have been able to (tentatively) identify but others that I'm completely clueless about and hoping someone will be generous enough to help point me in the right direction.

Here are a couple pieces that I'm just bursting with curiosity about- I suspect they aren't Chinese- but I don't know what they are.


This one is a big coat. (50" long on the front; 44.5" long on the back; from sleeve tip to sleeve tip it's 82" across; the upper portion of the coat is 44.5" wide without the sleeves.) It looks ancient.

Coat back
<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/coatback1.JPG">
<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/coatback5.JPG">

Coat front
<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/coatfront.JPG">

Coat underside
<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/coatunderside.JPG">

Coat stitching
<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/coatstitching.JPG">



There is also a brocade that just doesn't fit with the rest of the collection. It's 93.75" long (without fringe) and 43.5" wide.

<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/brocade.jpg">

<img src="http://www.claank.com/chinese/brocade7.jpg">


I have a million questions but don't want to overload or impinge or so I'll leave things like this for now. I'm trying to inventory everything and post pictures as a way of sorting through it all.

Thanks a lot.

Andrea


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:58 pm 
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Looks like my images didn't work. I'm trying again. This is the coat back.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:59 pm 
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Coat front.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:00 pm 
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Coat underside.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:02 pm 
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And this is the brocade.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:43 pm 
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OK. So I figured out that what I was calling a brocade is an ikat, but am not sure from where in Indonesia.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:59 pm 
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Andrea

The first piece is typical of Weining county in north-west Guizhou province in southwest China - and a very nice example indeed and not that recent. It may not have come from Weining as the Miao group whose traditional dress this is are spread more widely. It could be either a man or a woman's coat and I think it may be a man's because of its length. You will have noticed that the rust/orange and black/brown is wool. The white is probably hemp or it might be ramie - very difficult to tell which but both are bast fibres. See http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Galleries/Xian_Ma.htm

The other textile is from Sumba in Indonesia. The centre panel is ikat but the designs in the borders are achieved by a supplementary warp. All the weaving is warp-faced.

How wonderful to 'come into' such a wonderful collection. Be warned, it can become compulsive. As one forum member describes it, the 'textile virus'. We have not found a cure!

We would love to see some more pieces.....

very best wishes,

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Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 2:31 am 
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Thank you so much Pam! I think I'm addicted already and I don't even know anything about textiles yet. I can just feel in all these pieces such different senses what it might mean just to be alive- such a different pace and sense of care for objects. Maybe I'm romanticizing peoples' difficulties, but that sense of care and craft....

That coat is one my favorites for sure. I'll post pictures of some of the other pieces I've photographed. I'd love to find out what they are. Google image searches can only take me so far.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:44 pm 
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Most of us who are hooked on the textiles also have bulging libraries as we try to find out information about our passion. I need to update the bibliographies on the main tribaltextiles.info site http://www.tribaltextiles.info/bibliography.htm for three stacks of books waiting on shelves to be catalogued but you may find what is there useful. Also see the 'Books' section of the forum.

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


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 6:25 pm 
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Andrea

Are you able to share with us the story behind this textile collection? The reason that I ask is that they have clearly been assembled by someone with a very good 'eye' and also someone who probably started collecting some time ago. You have shared some gems with us.

best wishes,

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Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 12:08 am 
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Sure. I don't really know the whole story but am trying to piece it together. I have a picture of the person who collected them but can't find his name. I got the pieces from a junk store that buys out storage units when people fail to pay their bills. I suspect that these pieces were the result of a single buying trip and not a slowly assembled collection. There must be more to the story though... how could someone invest so much passion, effort, and money then let it all get away... You wouldn't believe the things stores like that get- and they get it in a way where it all looks almost like trash. It's an amost sacred place for me- to be among all these displaced objects and see through their circumstances.

I've hardly thought of anything else since I found these. I keep pouring over this guy's photos and books (though none are in english) and going back to the store to see what else is there. There's a bunch of beaded necklaces that are the same as I've seen in women wearing in photos and they're just laying under trash but I can't get to them for another week.


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 9:51 am 
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Andrea

How fascinating! I know you say that you think that this is the result of one buying trip but the Sumba piece does not sit well with the South West China pieces. Of course, the buying trip could have included somewhere like Thailand, especially Chiang Mai where there are galleries with collections from all over. Finding such good quality pieces is not easy and more likely to have been acquired over time.

As someone who collects textiles storage is a huge challenge and if there was a good storage facility close to me I would think about storing some of my textiles there especially if I had to move house.

Whoever he/she is they had a very good 'eye'.

At least one of the 'face to face' galleries in Chiang Mai are members of the forum and might recognise the collector from a photo. He has been in business for many years and used to specialise in beads before switching more to textiles. If you could scan and post the image by attachment that would great.

Any idea of the language of the books?

This sounds a great mystery - and we love those on the forum!!

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Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 3:07 pm 
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I'm not so sure about posting the guy's photo. I think I'm in a position where a lot of anger about the circumstances of his loss could end up being directed at me.

In the photos he's in Loas (xiengkhouang), a Dong village, and- some one told me but I never saw the photos- Thailand. There are other changes of scenery that I haven't identified.

I have a book here in French called Chine Insolite des Minorites. A friend of mine has two others- one red and white book in Chinese and the other... I don't recall.

You say that pieces like this are now difficult to find. Is the market/interest in asian textiles one that is changing? Sources seem difficult to find and the prices I see on sites seem low in comparison to the little I know about the native american textile market.


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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 3:43 pm 
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Those of us interested in Chinese minority pieces are constantly taken aback by the very high prices being asked within China for older, quality textiles. The prices are in thousands and tens of thousands of US$. We find it hard to see a market outside China for textiles at these prices and it would be very 'challenging' to say the least to get your money in a hurry for any purchases at that level. To ask high prices outside China I think a strong reputation would be required and some very high quality items.

There remain those in China with the technical skills to produce quality items although these tend to reside with the older women and are not being passed on to the young women - who are leaving villages to get jobs in the towns and cities. Some techniques have died out. There is a considerable trade in pieces that may not be what they seem. Keen collectors find it harder and harder to find any quality items at affordable prices (or even at ridiculous prices). It depends how seriously affected they are with the virus as to whether they still buy.

I don't really think that the market for Asian minority textiles has really come of age. Most developed is probably the market for items from Indonesia as there has been a longer awareness, Western academic research leading to some quality books - although not enough - for parts of the archipelago.

Buying is one thing, selling is another!

There are several books in French on the minorities in Vietnam and Laos as these were areas of French influence and colonial officials tended to write books. There is a considerable interest within France in the minority textiles from these countries and from south west China. Most of the books on the latter tend to be in Chinese.

Have you looked down the forum memberlist websites? We have some dealers who are members and you might find their sites helpful. You might also find some market info via the Tribal textile shopping.. forum within this forum.

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Pamela

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


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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 5:00 pm 
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I haven't seen many prices in the thousands- I'm suprised by a lot of prices in the early hundreds- but- I was talking to my husband this morning about what strange value scales we've ended up with. We spent years picking modernism and how that (factory produced) stuff has managed to be so highly valued while mind boggling acts of laborous craft and beauty are so much less valued is puzzling. I don't know much about native american art but did work in a soho native american gallery for a year or so and there too... pieces much less involved than these seem to be much more highly valued.

...So, least I sound nuts, when I said that the prices seemed low, that's where I'm coming from.


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