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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:19 pm 
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Location: California, USA
Thanks, Susan and Pamela, for more interesting and valuable points. I have now taken the "hastie" by the trunk and am putting some textiles on disk. The first, on geometic motifs in SEAsian textiles has already been shot. I purposely included a number of textiles with"age, to illustrate the damage done to beautiful cloths through time. I also included several cotton pieces, indicating how older pieces actually become dirty and worn also through time. This is the first of a series of thematic disks I hope to do as I grow stronger; the naak motif, and contemporary textiles are planned at the moment. I date only what I reliably can, and identify ethnic groups with the same criterion.At this time, I would like to apologise to Pamela for all the problems I cause her; multiple entries, among others.Best to Pamela and Susan.Sandie by the way, the addition of keys at the end of each comment, is a suggestion of Richard's, I thought my trobles were over when Apple replaced the mother board, but new seems AOL is at great fault!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:20 pm 
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Sandie - can you just try about 5 or 6 characters at the end of a message please? when you put so many without any breaks it made the message board expand widthwise and shoot off the computer screen. I have deleted out the characters and luckily the message board has shrunk back! I can see that I will really have to invest in a better message board. They say you get what you pay for! If you pay nothing you get .....! What I don't want is to stop you feeling free to post as I value your contributions very much. The CD sounds great, by the way! Pamela


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:22 pm 
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Further to Susan's post above and her comments about the Karen textiles she has emailed me a couple of photos which I have pasted into a web page. To get the effect I have put them side by side and tried to keep the detail so give them time to download. http://www.tribaltextiles.info/forum/SS_Karen.htm My vote goes to the clothing on the left (but I love the lady on the right!) Pamela


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:59 pm 
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Location: germany
Hi,
Probably only Susan and Pamela will read this, but I would like to confirm that western buyers do influence the production of older looking textiles.
When I was in Usbekistan five (six?) years ago, new ikats and embroidered pieces were obviously of lower quality. Three years later, both types of textiles were being produced in much better quality. Perhaps the recent books on each type and internet sites displaying such had had an influence.
Whatever, they looked good and older, if too well preserved - yeah, I fell for a couple of ikats.
But, it was good to see that they could produce better quality and had responded to the market, achieving better prices. As the items move west, no doubt they will "age" quickly.

Regards, Larry


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:31 pm 
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Larry,

A couple of things. There are about 3 other people who may be alerted to your recent post aside from Susan and myself - they are the other people who have posted on the thread who will probably receive an email from the forum saying that there is this new post. Also, anyone who has signed up to the forum Digests should get know about the post overnight - if they have signed up for daily notification or in a week if weekly. I really encourage everyone to sign up for the Digests - go to the buttons at the top right of the screen and 'Digest' is the right-most button. You can choose to be notified on a daily or weekly basis of posts either an email saying if there are any posts at all (or a nil return if none) with the intro to the post, or to be notified only if there are any posts since you last looked at the forum. (Well, that has got that bit of advertising over!!!!)

I think that western tastes most definitely do influence what comes into the market place both of new textiles or old and whether they are fakes or not. Certainly western tastes/demand have influenced the production of new textiles in traditional ways in colours that are close to natural dyes and even, in some cases, use of natural dyes themselves. See the Shopping forum for some websites which are aiming at providing an outlet for such textiles.

I have also found that when I have been visiting villages in China that the first textiles shown are likely to be very new looking but as soon as vendors see that an older piece attracts attention the ladies nip off home to dig out older pieces to offer for sale. Now, of course, this can also lead to textiles that may not be what they seem for future visitors. I think it is very much a case of purchasers beware. Follow gut instinct especially if that is telling you that things are not what they seem. At the end of the day, if the techniques are good and the price is not outrageous and, most of all, you like the piece then go for it. However, the higher the price the more you need to feel confident that you are buying what you think you are buying. Experience, of course, so often results only from previous mistakes usually your own but sometimes of others if they are prepared to share their experiences - not everyone wants to admit to past mistakes.

On the subject of buying in villages, for the locals their own preferences will be for the new textiles to wear at festivals and dance performances which must look as new, bright and 'modern' as possible. For them it is these which will command the highest prices. Also, the nearer a seller is to the hours of toil of having produced a textile the higher the price as they still remember only too well just how many hours of their time the piece cost them! If the technique is fine they may also assess that at a higher price. I have had women who did not make a piece encourage me to pay more if the work is very fine (and so they should!)

As an economist I should, of course say that what drives the market is supply and demand and with the former sometimes being manipulated if the the latter is strong enough!

Larry, glad to see that you are still working your way through back posts. As far as I am concerned nothing is dead just overtaken by later material and waiting to be picked up again.

all the best,

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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 Post subject: Dyes
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:15 am 
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Location: Bristol, England
Thanks Larry for digging out and resurrecting this old thread.

During my last trip to Guizhou in September, I was told that aniline dyes (also described to me as chemical dyes?) didn’t reach China from Europe until about the late 1870s, and therefore were unlikely to have got to the minorities of South West China until probably the late 1880s /1890s, therefore making any piece with brightly coloured home dyed threads an absolute maximum of 120 years old (not the 150-200 years old that some sellers like to state). This would mean that most older pieces are therefore more likely to be around 80-90 years old. Having just checked on the internet, I see that the first “synthetic organic” aniline dye (mauve) wasn’t developed until 1856.

I am therefore curious about Sandra Shamis’ earlier comment on this thread that states:

………………… Remember aniline dyes were introduced from China in the 17th cent and designs meld from one region to another. …….

Were there brightly coloured dyes (particularly red, which is very popular to Chinese minorities) available in China before the aniline dyes that were imported from Europe, and would they have been available to the minorities?

I have dealer friends who often describe embroidered pieces as being 100/110/120 years old, even 150 years old, which they obviously feel they can justify based on their experience, what they have been told (perhaps by the original seller or even maker) and the style of pattern used. Presumably, these are gross exaggerations and most/any pieces over about 80 years old are likely to have a certain amount of guesswork involved in their attributions. It always surprises me how little the old women seem to know about old pieces in their family’s possession (unless they are the ones who actually made them), assuming that anything that they cannot place to a specific individual must have been handed down by previous generations, therefore adding 20+ years to the age.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:36 pm 
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My memory agrees with Andrew. I was taught thast anniline dyes were inverted in German in the first half of the 19th Century and probably not commercailly available in remote areas of China until the 1870s. Hense I have always used the anniline purple so common in SE Asia textiles as an age limiter. However,

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:33 pm 
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I have had a look at 'Miao Costumes from Guizhou Province South West China' the catalogue of the 1994 exhibition at the James Hockey Gallery in Farnham, UK. The text is by Deryn O'Connor who, until 1990, was Principal Lecturer in Textiles at what was then WSCAD (West Surrey College of Art & Design and now part of the University of the Creative Arts). Deryn comments on some of what she calls 'special dye effects' on some of the costumes in the exhibition. One of the dyes she refers to (p49)
Quote:
"is found on cotton and silk, on both handwoven and commercially woven cloth in the area of Huangping. It appears as a shiny bronzy green, sometimes very yellow, sometimes more brown, but after handling cloth of this colour one's fingers are tinged with purple.......It seems most likely that this is one of the many Rosaniline purple dyes, the so-called tryiphenyl methane dyes, invented in the latter part of the 19th century and prepared from aniline. this group contains dyes which were marketed under such names as Hofmann's violet, Crystal violet, Methyl violet, Spiller's purple etc. Synthetic dyes were available in China from the 1870s but it may be that these green crystals were introduced to this area for another purpose. Crystal violet, Methyl violet and Methyl rosaniline were used to make Gentian violet, an antiseptic and bacteriocidal agent, often painted on the skin in the recent past in the west, and seen on a child's face in Guizhou in 1993. Practical experiments useing both the crystals bought in Kaili market in Guizhou and green crystals of Gentian violet, labelled Crystal violet, obtained from a chemist in Surrey, gave an idential green colour when applied to the cloth as a paste and then beaten. It is tempting to speculate that the green crystals were first introduced to the Miao by the English missionaries of the China Inland Mission who established a base near Huangping at Panghai in 1895."
All of which links the synthetic dyes to the end of the 19th century as referred to by Andrew and Bill.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:18 am 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hi All-
I've done a little looking around the Internet, as the question of dyes and age has been one of interest since doing research on the Chinese heirloom blanket collection we posted recently. One article says that "chemical dyes and pigments, such as Prussian blue, developed in the eighteenth century, and chrome yellow and picric acid, developed in the nineteenth century, were applied to textiles." The article goes on to say "The year 1856 marked the beginning of modern synthetic dying. William Henry Perkin, a student at the Royal College of Chemistry in London, was not attempting to create a new dye in his experiments; he was attempting to synthesize quinine from aniline, a derivative of coal tar." Unsuccessful in that goal, he cleverly realized that he'd produced a purple coloring matter, which he called "mauveine", and also saw the commercial potential of its use as a dye for textiles. The French quickly followed in 1858 with a red-violet dye called "fuchsine", and it was soon manufactured in Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, and the US. New dyes were discovered rapidly in the 1860's: bright blue, bright yellow (chrysaniline), methyl violet, imperial violet, and aldehyde green, among others. Purple was one of the most important new dyes because historically it was quite rare (derived only from the glandular mucus of certain mollusks) and reserved for only royal use.

I've been told that "fuchsine" and "mauveine" were widely used in China, which is not surprising. Certain groups seemed to have used these colors with more gusto, which may reflect their geographical proximity to commercial sources. Of the blankets we feature, the Zhuang make the most use of purples and pinks, even the old ones. Looking at both sides of the blanket often reveals a marked contrast between the original brilliance of the color, on the back, and the aged version on the front (see photo). I assume that the brilliant color is attributable to chemical/synthetic dyes. The Maonan also use a strongly pink and purple palette, but old ones can be natural color (so I'm told). Recent Tujia blankets use obviously synthetic colors, but the old ones use a different palette of natural colors, suggesting perhaps a lack of access to commercial dyes in the past. I think I read somewhere that these dyes were also expensive, so only those with access to money would have been able to use them.

Hope this helps...


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File comment: Zhuang Blanket- front/back comparison
Mail-Blanket--color-compari.jpg
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:17 pm 
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Location: east coast
Hi Sandra - I have a slight confusion over the statement that "aniline dyes were introduced from China in the 17th cent". My understanding is that aniline dyes are synthetics and were invented in the mid to late 1800's in either Germany or England?


thanks - john


Sandra Shamis wrote:
There are a number of books about the topic in an eliptal manner, by examining both dye samples scientifically and checking trends in design and motif. Both silk and cotton age also; textiles in daily use will of course look older than a ritual textile. Remember aniline dyes were introduced from China in the 17th cent and designs meld from one region to another. May I ask why the need for precision?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:53 am 
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Location: germany
Hi All,
I agree with the information about synthetic dyes. Prussian blue is indeed much older, but a very flighty dye. I have an old embroidery with a Swedish flag. The blue field is now pure white, not a trace of color.

Susan, thanks for the details about "digests". I oversaw your above reply, so I obviously need some prompting.

Cheers, Larry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:55 pm 
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Location: east coast
Hi Sandra - I just came across this information and it may have already been answered somewhere but I cannot find any reference to aniline dye, which is a coal tar derivative, existing in China in the 17th century. Could you please point me to a reference as I want to discuss such dyes in a talk on Borneo textiles.

Thanks Sandra.

Sandra Shamis wrote:
There are a number of books about the topic in an eliptal manner, by examining both dye samples scientifically and checking trends in design and motif. Both silk and cotton age also; textiles in daily use will of course look older than a ritual textile. Remember aniline dyes were introduced from China in the 17th cent and designs meld from one region to another. May I ask why the need for precision?

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John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:44 pm 
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Hi John

I am afraid that Sandra does not visit the forum any longer - her presence is much missed. She has not been well, no longer has a computer as she found it (physically) very difficult to use one. I will have a hunt for her address. I don't think I have a telephone number for her. She is based in California.

Looking at this old thread posted back in July 2003 it is sad as Sandie was a 'founder member' and her membership was transferred from the original, very basic forum, which I set up. Rusty (based in Alaska) who started the thread was another 'founder member' and has, unfortunately, disappeared completely from view. Richard Mook seldom joins us although I see that he still visits the forum from time to time.

John - I will be in touch.

Best

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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