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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 6:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1997
Location: Canterbury, UK
I agree with you but that is the value placed on 'mere' textiles, especially clothing, in western markets. Carpets are the top end of the textile market and it seems to be OK to highly value these. We are talking fashion and snobbery here to a large extent. For me clothing has an added dimension of my curiosity about the creator/wearer and all it means as an expression of cultural identity.

I know that textiles are relatively ephemeral and do not last as well as many other material items. 'Craft' is almost a dirty word.

Personally I am moved by textiles in a way that flat paint - especially in modernism - does not touch me. The glow, the 3D effect, design ... You will see me waxing lyrical about some pieces, which calls some beautiful examples to mind. Have a look as some of Andrew Dudley's wax resist pieces from China for example: ... .php?t=257 I think many of these are stunning in design and mind blowing when you add in the skill in execution of technique required to create them.

on-line tribal textiles resource

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 8:34 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Pamela brought up an interesting and timely point with her post about rising prices for minority textiles from southwest China. Having just returned from a trip to sw China I think I can make a couple of observations.

The amount of average material, very ordinary pieces is unbelievable. Stacks and stacks of blankets, baby carriers, shirts, skirts etc. These are new or old and sometimes copies by workshops composed of artisans not from the place where the particular style originated. As far as new pieces being misrepresented as old this is far more likely with Li items which are perceived to be in the highest demand. Li dragon covers are faked regularly, a point already brought up by Vichai Chinalai several years ago in a Hali article about Li dragon covers.

High quality, visually and technically interesting pieces are in increasingly short supply, in fact, already rare. One can search far and wide and come up with very little, even knowing the language and where to look. There are two factors at work. The first is the rabid collecting over the last fifteen years has depleted supply and the willingness of local people to sell their family heirlooms for cash.

The second factor is the fast development of the Chinese economy which has created new opportunities for money making in China's urban areas. Recent government policy to increase the amount of money for infrastructure and development of the countryside has created further channels for people to become more financially comfortable. Generally speaking, if one has financial security there is no incentive to part with things of ancestral importance, unless the offer is too good to refuse... thus a radical rise in prices.

Whatever our motivations for collecting, the fact that some local people now realize the value of their own culture's production has to be seen as a positive development. Some things need to remain in the community where they originate from.


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