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 Post subject: writing
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 11:06 pm 
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I am looking for some asian textiles examples which use writing.
I am posting a hat from Yemen with a nice exemple of (embroidered) calligraphy.(If somebody has more infos about the translation of the calligraphy....)


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 Post subject: writing on textiles
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 8:12 pm 
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Olivier,

I have some references for you regarding writing on cloth in SEasia. I think your hat probaly has (God is Great) "Allah Akbar" in Arabic script, since the cap is worn by Muslim men.These skull caps are also worn by Muslims in SEAsia, and may have many forms since Islam normally does not encourage the use of human figures.

Other incidences of writing are the protective shirts which contain spells or prayers to keep the man wearing it from harm; these may be in Pali or Burmese, Thai and other Southeast Asia scripts. Also worn only by men, the designs echo the tattoos (on the lower body) which were much commoner in years past, as a sign of masculinity and courage.

The following two books were published in honor of Queen Sirikit ofThailand's 6th cycle, but they're still around.

Robyn Maxwell "Faith, Hope and Charity: The Use of Calligraphic Motifs in Southeast Asian Textiles" in (1993) "Textiles of Asia: A Common Heritage" Chiang Mai University"

"Texiles and the Tai Experience in Southeast Asia" 1992; Gittinger and Lefferts. The Textile Museum

This book has no real section on writing in textiles, but it's a complete survey with many photos.

A member from the Caymans posted a child's garment with Chinese writing, which is worth a look.

Another book is "The Vanishing Tribes of Burma" rather a misnomer since he includes the ethnic Burman, who are 40,000,000 strong!

However, it has many photos, often of real esoterica, and some really wild outfits. Sorry, the volume is on loan, so I can't give any more information.

I hope this information is of use.

Sandie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:42 pm 
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Olivier

If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the top photo you can just see some writing on the coiled woven braid. This is used to wrap around Bhuddist manuscripts. Of course, I featured one with an image rather than writing! It is in a basket of these finely woven textiles in the collection of Kathleen Forance Johnson. She may have collected them in Thailand where she was based for about 3 years until recently. When I visited her in Bangkok last October she was working on putting together a fascinating slide show of these very fine braids.

You can see how the braids are used in the second photo. I have found information on a talk on Sunday 6 March 2005 at the Education Pavilion, Brighton Museum at 3.30 p.m. on these binding ribbons/braids - in this case from Burma with the example in the photo in the James Henry Green Collection. Hopefully you can read the explanatory text with the photo. I may try and get across to the talk.


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File comment: Burmese manuscript binding ribbon in the James Henry Green Collection at the Brighton Museum.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:56 pm 
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Olivier,

I don't know if Yantra textiles with pictures and writing drawn on the textiles counts as writing in textiles for you. Have a look at an exhibition on Susan Stem's site. She posted a message about it at: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=236

all the best,

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:15 am 
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Pamela,
thank you for the reference to Susan's exhibition. Yes, for me it is a good exemple of writing and it is very graphic.
I was not thinking than writing was so use in south east asian textiles.
Regardind the Susan 's exhibition I was also thinking to an other exemple of cloth which use writing. It is a Yao robe with embroideries of chinese ideogram.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:16 am 
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yao robe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 8:54 pm 
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Olivier

this is a fun thread!

I have another one where writing - or at least letters - are used decoratively. Here it is without any sense of their meaning. See the photo of the front of an Iban kelambi from Borneo. You can see other shots of the same piece and a bit of its history some way down this thread: viewtopic.php?t=166

I only remembered that this piece had letters when I was hunting for something else. I have so far, in my box of Indonesian items, found three or four other pieces with writing - all from Sumatra!

Watch out for further posts!

best wishes,


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File comment: front of Iban kalambi
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:28 pm 
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....tapis tua from Lampung (badly and quickly photographed and a twining from the bottom of a Toba Batak weaving - the Batak also incorporate writing into the body of their weaving


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File comment: twining at the bottom of a Toba Batak weaving
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Last edited by Pamela on Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Write On!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 1:48 pm 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thank you Olivier for touching on one of my favorite things in art- the inclusion of the written word. For me it adds another dimension to the work, be it that of Marcel Duchamp, Vernon Fisher, or a weaver/embroiderer in Sumatra, Laos, China or wherever.

I have several examples, in addition to 'yantra', which I'll include here. In learning more about them I have found a variety of different reasons for including a written sentiment on a textile.

Similar to Pamela's tapis, these two tubeskirts are from Lampung, in south Sumatra and I'm told they are in the local language, tho on the first one there are some familiar Indonesian words- "selamat" and "saroeng", among others. Of those I've seen or owned, I'm told that they usually say something about the good wishes of the maker, or convey a wish for blessings on the occasion for which the item was made. The second one, curiously has the writing at the waist and upside down, so that only the wearer can read it.

Also, in Indonesia there is a genre of Islamic textile with Arabic calligraphy done in batik, which often take the form of men's headcloths and sarongs. Invariably they include the words "Allahu Akbar", or "Allah is great", as mentioned above by Sandie. Sorry but I don't have any of those now.

...to be continued


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File comment: 1928 Tubeskirt from south Sumatra
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File comment: Detail from Tubeskirt/'tapis' from south Sumatra
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File comment: Tubeskirt/'tapis' from south Sumatra
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 Post subject: Write On Redux
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:01 pm 
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As threatened...

The first example is a tubeskirt from a Mon Khmer tribal group in southern Laos; I don't know exactly which group or where. The writing is close to Thai, but cannot be read easily by Thais, so I do not have a ready translation. I do think it interesting that the date would make this textile less than 20 years old, but its condition is worn and faded, and with several holes. Without the date, one might think it much older.

(A short rant: I just want folks to realize that condition is not the best 'gauge for age'. I get so tired of seeing things for sale that are described as being '19th century' or 'circa 1900', when there is no known provenance or other concrete evidence for such a dating, only someone's educated(?) guess. Another textile posted above (a 'tapis tua') has a date of 1928 and is also in worn condition, but without the date might be thought much older. Unless one is intimately knowledgeable of a given area's weaving history- dyes, materials, methods etc. it is very difficult to ascribe an exact age to a piece.)

Now back to the subject: the second tubeskirt is from the same area, but uses pictures, rather than writing and is similar to the war rugs from Afghanistan with its depictions of the weapons of war. I'll save war rugs for another post.

...to be continued...


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File comment: Tubeskirt from Mon Khmer people in south Laos
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File comment: Detail showing dates
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File comment: Tubeskirt from Mon Khmer people in south Laos
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:14 pm 
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Susan, it is a nice tapis (the translation of some words or sentenses words "Selamat datang?....seems possible). The writing in the textile coul be a good idea for an exhibition. May be has it been done before?
I know what you mean about the arabic callygraphy in batik. I have seen some.
I join also a coat which is not tribal but interesting in this idea of writing.
It is a suzukake of the shugenja called alsogyoja or yamabushi. It was a japanese budddhist pelligrim's coat.
As we have seen in the different exemples, the use of writing seems to be very often in full yeld with the religion (the hat from yemen, the yao robe, the coiled woven braid used to wrap the buddhist manuscript, the yantra, the suzukake...) O.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:30 pm 
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Olivier-
That was quick! What a great coat. It would be interesting to have a translation of the Japanese on your coat. Yes, it does seem that often the writing pertains to the religious. Tho one exception comes to mind: Chinese characters, which are often employed to bring luck, prosperity, etc. to the wearer.

Regarding the wording on the tapis: it doesn't continue on to say "selamat datang", but stops at "datai" and goes on after the seam with "toellahar..."; very curious- either the maker couldn't spell or the language isn't what we're familiar with, or both. I don't know when Bahasa Indonesian was made the official language (after independence in the late 40's?), or just what the language was in that area in the late 20's. Anyway this is what makes studying textiles so rich.

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 Post subject: mystery writing
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:05 pm 
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Hi Susan,

Chris can read the script of almost anything, and will get to it later. My quess is it's Khmer writing (since there's no Mon community to speak of in that area.). It also has some interesting similarities with an orthography devised by a Hmong.

Sandie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:29 pm 
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Just to finish off on my Batak writing textiles from Sumatra I am posting examples of a recent (very end of 20th century) ulos sadum and an older either ulos sadum or ulos parompa sadum woven by one of the Batak groups in central Sumatra.

I gather from Sllvia Fraser-Lu in 'Handwoven Textiles of South-east Asia' pages 179/180 that this style of textile was originally woven by the Angkola Batak with the larger ulos sadum being used as a garment.
Quote:
The smaller ulos parompa sadum 'is used as a ceremonial baby carier. The sadum is patterned with horizontal rows of rhomb shaped, brightly coloured supplementary weft patterns in a plain warp faced or twill weave on a maroon or black foundation. There may also be a little tapestry weave in wool yarns. Small bead patterns sometimes appear throughout the textile and may be heavily concentrated along the warp edges at the ends of the cloth. Salutations and greetings may be also worked into the textile. With the current penchant for brighter colours amongst the Batak, the sadum is being imitated by other groups. Influenced by their coastal neighbours, supplementary metallic threads have also crept into some Batak weaving (Fig 221.)"


The newer, brighter ulos sadum has just about everything in it - certainly beads throughout, metalised threads and some cotton tapestry weave. It was given to me as a gift by a Chinese Indonesian family with a home in Medan who knew of my interest in Batak textiles. I think that this textile may be woven by Toba Batak who are probably the most active weavers today. Fraser-Lu has a photo of a Batak woman from Tomok, Samosir Island (a Toba Batak region) wearing a 'beaded ulos sadum as a shawl' on page 178.

The older piece was my first Batak textile which I purchased (in Medan) in 1996. I think that it may be an original Angkola Batak sadum. The look of the shapes of the motifs has a very similar 'feel' to those in fig 221 in Fraser-Lu. Mine has some beads in the weaving at the ends and some cotton (not wool) tapestry weave which you can see at the bottom of the detail photo. It has the feel of a much used and loved piece and is a favourite in my collection.

As you will see from the photos, both ulos have written salutations either side of the middle of the textile.


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Last edited by Pamela on Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 12:55 pm 
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This example of writing is more of a curiosity than anything else. I bought it from Omar Masom's Turkmen Gallery in Ebury St, London.

It is from central Asia and you can see embroidered writing in each of the two details. I don't know if it was made for a special event. At the time of the break-up of the former Soviet Union I had been doing work associated with this so found the Soviet influence on the central Asian turkic style of interest.


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