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 Post subject: writing
PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:05 pm 
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Hi Oliver,
A small contribution to the textiles with writing. It is a hat (section 15 cm) for a baby from China and it has got characters on it in Zhuan stile. Meaning the 5 blessings of life: longevity, wealth, good health, virtue and a natural death. The characters are put on to wish the child all the best. The hat is decorated with embroidery in satin stitch and application


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:22 pm 
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Just a cross reference to a post on one of the Li threads which shows Chinese characters on an end of the 10th/beginning of the 20th century Meifu woman's headcloth: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... =1219#1219

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:46 pm 
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Interesting thread...

I have two of these pieces. They resemble South Sumatran metal thread Tapis in form and construction. However, they are smaller. I found this example and the other one (not shown) in Sarawak some years ago and they were described to me as Malay skirts. It does appear as if they could have been sewn together into a tube like mini skirt (not unlike the Iban Kain Kebat). However, I have never come across any reference to these and certainly they seem awkward as skirts. I suspect some kind of banner. One of my Islamic Art dealer friends tells me the writing is the classic "There is only one god and his name is Allah" blah blah blah... or something along that line. The other skirt is identical with the exception of the background color which is a nice Islamic green.

Anyone have any info on this piece?


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File comment: Malay Islamic Banner/Textile
malay_islamic_banner_.jpg
malay_islamic_banner_.jpg [ 59.27 KiB | Viewed 10275 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:23 am 
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Mark,

A very striking piece!

So far no direct identification but searching has led me to look more closely at a book that I was given a few years ago by a Malaysian textile artist interested in Malay textiles: 'Malay woven Textiles: The Beauty of a Classic Art Form' by Siti Zainon Ismail translated into English by Harry Aveling and published by Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka, KL in 1997.

Siti Zainon shows on page 56, plate 59 'Limar (double ikat) cloth inscribed with Islamic caligraphy...head-panel, 1890s Trengganu State Museum Collecton'. On page 83 she says:
Quote:
"And the infrequent use of calligraphic motifs bears witness to humanity's greatest obligation, to the one great Creator. The motifs of prayer, and the name of God and of His great Prophet, always convey a sense of peace, calm, confidence and well being. This may be so in the heat of battle in the Kikayat Hang Tuah. Hang Tuah is depicted as wearing a waist-sash decorated from verses in the Koran, written in large letters, each corner filled with power and might. (Kassim Ahmad 1966:313). Calligraphy is a popular motif chosen for the telpuk cloth which are used to cover the dead or their coffins, "...with a gold weft cloth (songket), inscribed with the golden verses of scripture" (Panuti 1983:91)"

So, it might be a coffin cloth...rather than a skirt? Or, who knows, a skirt woven to be buried in? The latter is pure speculation on my part.

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 Post subject: Malay Cloth
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:47 pm 
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Hi Pamela,
Thank you for finding that reference. Interesting possiblity. The size and condition makes it seem unlikely it was worn, so a shrould would make more sense.
Mark

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 Post subject: Allahu Akbar!
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 5:54 am 
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Mark-
Your textile is a beautiful version of the embroidered calligraphic textiles from that region- very refined and exquisitely rendered. It's so clear that I was able to get a good translation from our resident Arabic Scholar, a Saudi friend with an architecture degree from Texas A&M.

Note that Arabic is read from right to left, so that the line below is arranged to match the text on the textile, with "Allah" on the right, the phrase "In the name...", and "Mohammad" on the left:

1- Top row (Read it from right to left):
Mohammad In the name of Allah the most Gracious, the most Merciful Allah


The rest of the rows are called "Ayat Al-Kursi". An excerpt from one "Surah Al-Baqarah" of the holy Koran. People say it after each prayer, and some frame it and hang it in their house. It is believed to keep a person from all evil. Not to mention, it glorifies God in all the necessary adjectives. In Malaysia, they may use it for other purposes (like funerals or others!!!). It shouldn't be hung in a bathroom or a dirty place. The below were positioned to show you where each row starts.


2- All√¢h! L√¢ il√¢ha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). La takhuthoho sinatan wa la noom (Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him). Lahoo ma fie alsamawaty wa alard (To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth). Mann tha
3- allathy yashfaoo aindahoo ella beithneh (Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission?) Yalamo ma bayen aydehim wa ma khalfahoom (He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter). Wa la youheetoon be shae'in illa bema sha'a (And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills).
4- Waseiah kursi'eahoo alsamaouaty wa alard (His Kursî extends over the heavens and the earth), wa la yaoudoho hifthohomah waho wa al aliu al alatheem (and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great. (This Verse 2:255 is called Ayat-ul-Kursî )

Khaled has very kindly included a discussion of the word "kursi" (chair, or possibly throne), but it's all a bit esoteric and probably not necessary for forum members to understand this textile. If anyone does want it, I'll be happy to share it.

It sounds like you have a version of the fairly ubiquitous protective textile, such as the 'pha yan' here in northern Thailand, and eastern Burma. I will share some information about those in another post.

Many thanks for sharing this gorgeous textile with us.

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 Post subject: Islamic Banner
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 2:13 pm 
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Susan,
Wow, thank you! I really appreciate you taking the time to have your Saudi friend translate the writing in detail. It was probably 15 years ago or more that I had anyone look at this textile that knew any Arabic and could give the most basic translation. It amazes me how much was written on a piece that is less than 3' x 2'. It certainly makes me appreciate this textile even more. When I have some time, I'll dig up the photo of the green version and post it.

I guess I better take it off the bathroom wall (just kidding Al Qaeda!).

Mark

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 Post subject: Kiswah at the Kabah
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 4:51 pm 
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This seems like a good time to mention the ultimate textile with writing on it: the 'kiswah', which covers Islam's holiest shrine, the Kabah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Every year a new kiswah is made at the Holy Kabah Kiswah Factory (try saying that fast...), and at Hajj (the Pilgrimage) it is put over the cubic structure of the Kabah. It is one of the most extravagant textiles ever produced, utilizing 450kg black silk and gold thread for the embroidery, at a cost (in 1999- the only year for which I found information) of $4.5million for the material and labor. As one might expect in Saudi Arabia, all the work is done by men. The phrases on it are from the Qur'an (Koran).

It should be noted that because of proscriptions in Islam against the graphic depiction of living things, calligraphy in Arabic became an artform and is held in high esteem as such in Islamic cultures. The flowing letters certainly lend themselves to such use, and grace textiles used to glorify Allah, or quote from the Qur'an. These textiles can be used on the head, as in the batik headcloths from Indonesia for one example, or as a banner for a home, such as Mark's was probably intended. Never are such textiles to be sat upon or used in a 'lowly' manner.


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Mail-kaba-kiswah.jpg
Mail-kaba-kiswah.jpg [ 81.5 KiB | Viewed 10233 times ]
Mail-stitching-the-kiswah.jpg
Mail-stitching-the-kiswah.jpg [ 65.93 KiB | Viewed 10233 times ]

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 Post subject: Islamic Banner #2
PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2005 5:28 pm 
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Hi Susan,
I had no idea they re-created that textile each year. Amazing. I found the second photo of the other Malay Banner. Pretty much the same thing, but with a green background. The green is darker in this photo than in real life. Again, thanks for the follow-up on the translation. This is what makes this website so interesting is that we can all count on at least one person to have more detailed information on each of the pieces shown.
Mark


Attachments:
islamic_banner_204.jpg
islamic_banner_204.jpg [ 57.32 KiB | Viewed 10240 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 5:09 am 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Mark-
You're more than welcome. Indeed, this forum is a valuable source of info as others often shed new light on a topic. I am particularly enjoying this thread as it combines textiles with language, which gives a layer of meaning that relates to culture, religion, etc.

Your second banner appears to have the same text as the first. These really reming me of the 'tapis' from Lampung, Sumatra. Any idea of the age or provenance?

I also want to thank Sandie Shamis for mentioning an article which I'd overlooked: by Robin Maxwell in Textiles of Asia; A Common Heritage, titled "Faith, Hope and Charity: The Use of Calligraphic Motifs in Southeast Asian Textiles". It relates to Mark's textiles and deals quite a bit with Islamic calligraphic textiles, as one might expect from the title. This was presented at a symposium at Chiang Mai Univ. in 1992 and the full collection of articles is occasionally available here in bookstores; if anyone is interested in obtaining a copy, let me know.

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 Post subject: Islamic Banners
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 1:14 pm 
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Hi Susan,
I bought these both in Sarawak in the late 1980's. I was told they were Malay skirts or Tapis. They certainly look like and are constructed just like the Tapis metal thread sarongs of the Lampung District of South Sumatra. I assumed they were from the Lampung and just ended up in Sarawak for some reason. The calligraphy is very thick and the size of the pieces just made no sense for wearing, but I really had no other info. They do not seem that old, perhaps mid-century. I have not come across anything else like them since.
Regards,
Mark

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 7:43 pm 
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Mark

Do you have measurements for the script weavings? It is difficult to judge the size from photos?

thanks

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 Post subject: Sizes
PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 8:01 pm 
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I don't have them right in hand, but they are about 3' x 2', give or take an inch or two.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 3:40 pm 
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I thought I'd share this 'wild & crazy' Afghani war rug to wake everyone up... It appears to be an inventory of war materiel and I've been able to get identification on quite a few of the items from soldiers and others who are familiar with this sort of thing; it includes butterfly bombs, mines, armored personnel carriers, 3D renderings of helmets and detonators, etc. The level of detail is due to the warps being silk or a very silky cotton. The language of the Arabic script is Pashtu, which is the language of the largest group in Afghanistan, the Pashtun. There also appears to be some Russian, but it is mostly nonsense as far as we've been able to tell. War rugs often include writing, but sometimes in mirror image, or out of context, or rife with misspellings. I find these textiles to be fascinating cultural 'documents' that are responsive to and reflective of the times and lives of their creators.


Attachments:
Mail-3D War Rug.jpg
Mail-3D War Rug.jpg [ 87.33 KiB | Viewed 10183 times ]
Mail-3D War Rug- Detail1.jpg
Mail-3D War Rug- Detail1.jpg [ 85.07 KiB | Viewed 10183 times ]
File comment: shows 3D detonators, helmets with chin strap, and a mine in lower center
Mail-3D War Rug- Detail2.jpg
Mail-3D War Rug- Detail2.jpg [ 85.05 KiB | Viewed 10183 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:32 pm 
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Susan

Thanks very much for sharing this fascinating rug with us - which I have been fortunate to see. It has so many dimensions. When you view it as a design piece, ignoring the subject matter, the shapes are very pleasing.

I am going to share another piece perhaps with war overtones showing in the very minimal writing 'NAM 1963'. It is a Dao Tien jacket which I sourced in Hanoi in 1995 (the one, Susan, where I 'missed' getting the wax resist skirt and you found one for me not quite a decade later!) The letters/numbers are incorporated into the embroidery on the centre back of the jacket. I assume that the letters and figures have been incorporated purely as a design motif and not for the meaning. I show a (poor, sorry) shot of both the back and front of the jacket as well as a close up of the embroidery.

Another decorative element on the back of the jacket and with overtones of earlier foreign 'activity' in Vietnam are a cluster of 8 French 20c coins hanging from the nape of the neck. 7 of the coins are dated 1941 and one 1939. The main part of the jacket is hand spun and woven indigo dyed cotton. I think that some of the applied bands around the bottom edges, the brown ones, may be be dyed with a natural dye.


Attachments:
File comment: detail of embroidery on the back of Dao Tien woman's jacket collected in Hanoi in 1995
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File comment: back of Dao Tien woman's jacket collected in Hanoi in 1995
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IMGP4675w.jpg [ 60.94 KiB | Viewed 10158 times ]
File comment: front of Dao Tien woman's jacket collected in Hanoi in 1995
IMGP4685w.jpg
IMGP4685w.jpg [ 53.99 KiB | Viewed 10158 times ]

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