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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:41 am 
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
In 2004 when I purchased this textile from the Dilu River area I was told that it was a Shaman's apron. Can anyone tell me if they think that this could be possible? If not, what might be the purpose of the textile? It is 87Cm by 80Cm. It is not made with a silk felt base, but rather with green satin. I would appreciate any insights.


Attachments:
OM -36 Rongjiang.JPG
OM -36 Rongjiang.JPG [ 83.8 KiB | Viewed 13587 times ]
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 Post subject: Possible origins
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:48 am 
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Dear Pam
This apron looks like it has been made from four 'streamers' (with chicken feather attachments) taken either from a coat or an embroidered streamer skirt and made up into an apron with the addition of two batik side panels. The embroidered pieces with chicken feathers are typical of costumes originating in the Baibei area of Rongjiang Co..
In the book "A Picture Album of China's Miao Costumes and Ornaments' ISBN 7221052182, very similar streamers appear on a skirt from this region. The appearance of the design, in terms of colour and layout, of both your apron and that appearing in the book mentioned, seems to have undergone some changes when compared to older examples appearing in published literature and Taiwanese collections. Furthermore, your apron differs significantly in its rectangular orientation - all examples referred to show the apron (more specifically a du dou or undergarment worn beneath the outer jacket) in a "diamond" orientation. The combination with batik is in line with this area's costume although your example would again indicate a new development in design.
Regarding the appellation "shaman": I am somewhat skeptical. This term seems to be used with increasing random frequency on Guizhou textiles (and from other regions of the world it should be noted!). Furthermore, the designs components that appear in your piece are to be commonly found in costumes worn by this group and bear no indication of a singularly religious nature.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:10 pm 
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Pam

I am glad the forum finally turned friendly and allowed you to post this interesting piece.

Yes, as Iain says, the central part of the textile look like 4 of the panels usually used on a festival coat - for a man or a woman - or, but usually a bit narrower, for an over skirt. A skirt would probably have a piece of plain indigo fabric at the top (but not the bottom) from which the flying panels would hang. It is unusual to see these panels stitched together to make a solid textile rather than falling separately and allowing considerable movement when worn.

I cannot recall having seen a textile quite in the style of your textile especially with added wax resist. The Miao who make the silk felt applique coats and skirts do also do wax resist and it is an important part of the costume and also used for banners. Again, as Iain says, the aprons worn as part of every-day costume by the women are usually squares worn en-point. The addition of chicken feathers is a very usual decoration in the region (and chickens are often shown in embroidery.)

If it has been made for a shaman it might be a piece to spread out as more of a cloth. Unfortunately the epithet 'shaman' can be frequently used and may or may not be true. Unless it has actually been collected when being used it is difficult to ever prove it.

This may be one of those textiles that we have to remember and hope to spot in illustrations or in the field in the future.

I am going to add some photos taken in May 2005 at Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou province of some Miao women wearing festival coats and dancing with Miao men dressed in buffalo costumes and as women. No shaman. I am also showing the every-day costume worn under the festival coats which includes an apron. (I have a set of the everyday costume except the beautiful burnished indigo shorts. I regret so much that I did not overide my concern for the modesty of the girl to buy the shorts as well!)


Attachments:
File comment: Miao festival dance with men wearing bull costume, men dressed as women and women in full festival wear, Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou province 2005
IMGP2779w.jpg
IMGP2779w.jpg [ 62.88 KiB | Viewed 13563 times ]
File comment: Miao women in festival dress dancing Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou province 2005
IMGP2785w.jpg
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File comment: Two Miao women wearing festival dress Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou province
IMGP2848w.jpg
IMGP2848w.jpg [ 61.46 KiB | Viewed 13563 times ]
File comment: Miao every-day cosutme worn under festival coat, Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou province
IMGP2833w.jpg
IMGP2833w.jpg [ 65.79 KiB | Viewed 13563 times ]
File comment: detail of Miao apron, Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county, Guizhou province
IMGP2835w.jpg
IMGP2835w.jpg [ 61.87 KiB | Viewed 13563 times ]

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:50 am 
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I’d just like to comment that the resist on the two sides looks to be stencilled paste resist rather than free-hand wax resist. As far as I’m aware, this group never produced paste resist, their batik always being similar to that seen on the aprons shown in the photos posted by Pamela.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:46 am 
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Yes indeed, Andrew!

The designs of the resist do look very much as if they would have been applied by stencil - and probably paste resist - rather than by wax knife.

I did keep thinking yesterday that the designs were so unlike the wax resist designs of the various Miao groups in the area including the apron shown in my posts and also the leggings. Also much thicker and 'blockier'.

Of course, as very much our wax resist expert, your eagle eyes should be picking up these things!

This could suggest that Pam's textile might have been made up from various pieces of textiles from different sources. It does not mean that the piece has not been made for a shaman but....

Just as an aside re a different group, the Ge Jia are certainly using machine printed textiles as part of their costume but here the designs are imitating their original designs. I have some photos of this somewhere.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Thanks to everyone for their in put. I particularly liked the comment that you would not know if it is shaman's apron unless you saw it in use. I do think it could well have been pieced together, but I am not yet convinced that it was done just for the purpose of selling it. The batik does look like it was stenciled. At first I didn't think the panels could have come from a skirt because I thought they were too wide. However, from looking at Pamela's photos the skirt panel widths do seem to vary.
I am going to attach a close up of one of the panels and also June, 2005 photos of Miao women on the way to market. They are very likely from a community similar to Yangwen village, Bajie Township, Sandu pictured in Pamela's photo.


Attachments:
File comment: Miao women on the way to market in Sandu County
Guanxi.Guizhou Sandu1.JPG
Guanxi.Guizhou Sandu1.JPG [ 26.46 KiB | Viewed 13512 times ]
File comment: Back of Miao woman on way to market in Sandu County, Guizhou
Guanxi.Guizhou Sandu2.JPG
Guanxi.Guizhou Sandu2.JPG [ 50.08 KiB | Viewed 13512 times ]
File comment: Close up of silk embroidered panel
OM -36.1.JPG
OM -36.1.JPG [ 113.1 KiB | Viewed 13512 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:59 am 
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Hi Pamela
Quote:
I cannot recall having seen a textile quite in the style of your textile especially with added wax resist. The Miao who make the silk felt applique coats and skirts do also do wax resist and it is an important part of the costume and also used for banners.

Paging through the Baby Carriers book published by the Taiwanese National Museum of Prehistory (ISBN 9789860104134) on page 151 I came across a baby carrier from Bakai, Rongjiang Co. that is possibly relevant to the discussion of Pam's textile. I wonder if it is not actually a baby carrier? This page (and detail on page 150) shows an embroidered baby carrier (66.2 X 61.4 cm) with freehand wax resist dragons on each side. In fact, the embroidered section has been sewn onto the underlying indigo-dyed wax resist panel. The central portion of this carrier is divided in two embroidered sections with the lower section being four unique and separate strips. There are similarities in the construction of this carrier with Pam's although the embroidery techniques are quite different. At present unfortunately no permission granted by the NMP to post images from this fantastic book - sorry!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:47 pm 
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Thank you Iain for this pointer to Pam's textile perhaps being a babycarrier. Just a comment on the embroidery being different on the one in the (indeed fantastic) Baby Carriers book published by the Taiwanese National Museum of Prehistory from Pam's. If you look at my photos of Yangweng village of Bajie township, Sandu county you might be able to see in the photos that there are two styles of embroidery design used on the festival clothing even in this one village with the geometric - as in the BC book - and swirly figurative as in Pam's textile. Of course the side panels in the BC book are clearly wax resist as I would expect to see and the designs are those usually seen in banners and headcloth lengths and not apparently executed in stencil as in Pam's edge pieces. I can recall being with Gina Corrigan in Miao villages when she has been chasing the possibility of stenciling which has been rumoured to be in particular villages but not being able to find any confirmation of it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:11 pm 
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The mention of stencilled 'batik' brought to mind something I recall seeing in the museum in Kaili: it appears to be a textile produced in this manner along with stencils which are probably made of animal hide (much like the 'wayang kulit', or shadow puppets from Java and Bali). This stencil and textile seems to be decorated with dots, rather than short lines like Pam's. I'm wondering if the resist is wax or some kind of paste?


Attachments:
Mail-Batik stencil-Kaili Museum21.jpg
Mail-Batik stencil-Kaili Museum21.jpg [ 79.41 KiB | Viewed 13093 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:53 pm 
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today I sent Ann Goodman her digest of posts on the forum for the past week. This has stimulated her to respond:
Quote:
Re Susan Stem's post of the batik stencil from Kaili Museum, I have a similar piece and attach a photo. The piece is large (72" x 62") consists of three long panels of indigo-dyed batik, meticulously hand sewn. The cotton is coarse and, as one can see, faded. There are bits of cotton batting clinging to the back, suggesting that this was probably used as a quilt cover. I have this piece catagorized as Bailing. Any suggestions?

Also I am posting a smaller, lighter cotton piece, more like a banner. Dimensions 55" x 43" The top and bottom borders have been cut off. The inner panel is 52" x 29". I believe the motifs are Taoist. The lions are most appealing. I don't know whether this piece is Miao or Yao. It has many holes, but the indigo color is marvelous. Note the egg and dart border, which is straight out of Greece.


Attachments:
File comment: stenciled cover, possibly Bailing, in collection of Ann B Goodman
BailingStenccilw.jpg
BailingStenccilw.jpg [ 75.59 KiB | Viewed 13052 times ]
File comment: Detail of stenciled cover, possibly Bailing, in collection of Ann B Goodman
Bailingdetw.jpg
Bailingdetw.jpg [ 77.2 KiB | Viewed 13052 times ]
File comment: Tao stenciled textile in the collection of Ann B Goodman
TaoStencilBatikw.jpg
TaoStencilBatikw.jpg [ 77.57 KiB | Viewed 13052 times ]
File comment: Detail of Tao stenciled lion - textile in the collection of Ann B Goodman
TaoStencilLionw.jpg
TaoStencilLionw.jpg [ 68.72 KiB | Viewed 13052 times ]

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 Post subject: Imagery
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:10 pm 
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Just looking through again on resist work and I wonder if this last "banner" piece actually belongs to an ethnic minority.... indeed if it is it has totally appropriated Han Chinese symbols. Yes Taoist with the central panel showing the bagua hexagrams surrounded by symbols commonly associated with the Eight Immortals.
I wonder if the lower two images are not actually qilin instead of lions. The dragon head (with whiskers intact), fish scale body and hooves all suggest this is a qilin.
There is also a delightful representation, just above the qilin, of the ancient symbol for longevity "shou" in the form of an abstract tortoise.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Hi Iain,

As ever good when you pop up and make one of your interesting contributions to the forum.

I directed Ann Goodman to your comment and received the following email from her in response:
Quote:
Dear Pamela,
Many thanks to Iain for setting me straight on the indigo batik stencil with quilin and Han motifs. I continue to enjoy this textile and its marvelous indigo color, but each time I have looked at it I have puzzled about its origin. I am now satisfied that it is not minority, but Han. A comfortable feeling.
There is still so much to learn.
Best to all,
Ann

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:39 am 
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I am adding two batik quilt covers similar to the last one Ann posted. Both were purchased in Guizhou and were identified as Dong from Sansui County, which often shows more influence from Han Chinese styles than many other Dong/Miao areas of SE Guizhou.


Attachments:
File comment: Paste Resist Stenciled Indigo-Dyed Batik Quilt cover from Sansui County, Guizhou. Attributed as Dong.
Bl -054 Dong web.jpg
Bl -054 Dong web.jpg [ 208.91 KiB | Viewed 8347 times ]
File comment: Detail from the next Sansui Quilt Bl-041
Bl -041.1web.jpg
Bl -041.1web.jpg [ 150.89 KiB | Viewed 8347 times ]
File comment: Paste Resist Indigo-Dyed Stenciled Batik Quilt cover from Sansui County, Guizhou. Purchased from a Dong man.
Bl -041 Sansui web.jpg
Bl -041 Sansui web.jpg [ 222.93 KiB | Viewed 8347 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Thanks Pam!

I love it when 'mature' threads are rejuvenated!

Ann Goodman has been in touch after receipt of her weekly digest and sent a photo of a similar textile in her collection which I attach plus her comments:

Quote:
Dear Pamela,
In response to Pam Nadjowski's recent post, I have a quilt cover that is amost identical (See attached). I have added Pam's information and cataloged it as follows:

Miao, Baibei, Rongiang County or Dong, Sansui County, Guizhou
L 58” x W 45”
Cotton with indigo-dyed resist stencil

Miao Baibei area, Rongjiang County. (Iain, Textile Forum Post Jan 25, 2008). Dilu River area. Three panels handwoven cotton , machine stitched, lined with lighter indigo handwoven cotton. Center panel contains pair of phoenix surrounding a central bronze drum motif and a qilin at either end of the length; the two side panels each contain a pair of dragons with a flaming circular motif (?pearl); a butterfly in each of the four corners. The piece has been machine stitch mended in several spots.

From Pam Nadjowski Tribal Textile Forum, January 8, 2012. I am adding two batik quilt covers similar to the last one Ann posted. Both were purchased in Guizhou [“purchased from a Dong man”, Nadjowski] and were identified as Dong from Sansui County, which often shows more influence from Han Chinese styles than many other Dong/Miao areas of SE Guizhou.


Attachments:
File comment: detail:Miao, Baibei, Rongiang County or Dong, Sansui County, Guizhou L 58” x W 45” Cotton with indigo-dyed resist stencil
Miao-Dong-quilt-coverW.jpg
Miao-Dong-quilt-coverW.jpg [ 90.22 KiB | Viewed 8286 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Below is a quilt cover (quilt cover 001) very similar to the ones posted by Ann and Pam. When I collected it in Kaili in 2001, the seller described it as a ‘dou ran’ (paste resist) quilt cover from Hunan province, made using a large stencil and what I assumed would have been a soya bean based paste resist. I was told that Hunan merchants would come to Guizhou with their stencils and produce these quilt covers for the local people.

In the book “The Rhythms of Blue” (published by the National Museum of Prehistory, Taiwan), there is a short section on ‘xing ran’ (stencil resist dying). Quilt cover 003 below comes from this book and is described as being made by the Han Chinese of Mayang in Hunan province, using starch powder and an alkali mix.

I also include a photo from the book showing a selection of cloths hanging out to dry, including a quilt cover which is similar to the first one posted by Pam having a white background with a blue patterns (suggesting these items are still being made).

There is also a type of “dou ran” that was occasionally used by the Gejia, also said to be produced by merchants from Hunan, that is usually found as long tying bands for baby carriers. In the wonderful book “Miao Costumes of South East Guizhou” published by Fu Ren University, Taiwan, there is a very fine example (page 406/407) said to date from around 1940 (see photo 001 below), and in the “Baby Carriers” book published by the National Museum of Prehistory, Taiwan, there is another example (page 162) (see photo 002 below). I also include photos of an unusual Gejia child’s jacket made using the same type of cloth. Note that the pattern on the child’s jacket seems to be exactly the same as the pattern on the ties of carrier 002 and both claim to have come from Fengxiang village. Also, the style of the embroidered baby carrier and the embroidered sleeves on the jacket look considerably older than the 1940s, so this style of stencil resist is possibly/probably older than that found on the ties of baby carrier 001. The use of this type of “dou ran” cloth was an obvious sign of family wealth.


Attachments:
Dou-ran-quilt-cover001a.jpg
Dou-ran-quilt-cover001a.jpg [ 74.38 KiB | Viewed 8240 times ]
Dou-ran-quilt-cover001b.jpg
Dou-ran-quilt-cover001b.jpg [ 137.09 KiB | Viewed 8240 times ]
Stencilled-quilt-cover003-The Rhythms-of-Blue.jpg
Stencilled-quilt-cover003-The Rhythms-of-Blue.jpg [ 65.58 KiB | Viewed 8240 times ]
Stencilled-cloth-and-quilt-cover-The-Rhythms-of-Blue.jpg
Stencilled-cloth-and-quilt-cover-The-Rhythms-of-Blue.jpg [ 76.7 KiB | Viewed 8240 times ]
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