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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:33 am
Posts: 155
Location: Beijing
This post is partly by way of a "thank you" to Andrew Dudley. I bought this jacket from a dealer in China, who told me that it was made by Rao Jia (饶家)people from the DuYun area. I was initially skeptical because I had never heard of this group, but Andrew's posts confirmed that the dealer was quite right.

The center part of the jacket is made from a single strip of indigo-batik dyed cloth, apparently handspun cotton. The design seems geometric but includes some animal shapes (at least one bird). It is in two shades of indigo, which seems to be a Rao Jia characteristic, judging from Andrew's textiles. This is bordered with an applique design made from white and indigo fabric. There are traces of glossy finish on these parts.

I was attracted to this because of its bold and graphic design. It's very similar in layout to one of Andrew's jackets, and its rare to see organic and geometric shapes combined so successfully.

The jacket is very small (88cm across the outstretched sleeves) so I assume it was a child's item. Most of Andrew's jackets also seem to have been made for children. I wonder why we have not seen adult jackets from this group, or perhaps these are quite different in design?


Attachments:
File comment: detail of batik design on rear
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File comment: rear
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File comment: front side
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SWT1frontr.jpg [ 68.5 KiB | Viewed 9709 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Chris,

Welcome to the forum! An excellent first post! Not only a fascinating textile but you have taken the trouble to thank Andrew. I know that he often feels like a voice in the wilderness when he posts photos of some of the wax resist pieces from his collections. Great to have confirmation that, aside from pleasing me - as I love them and babble accordingly - his efforts have helped you to an ID. There is certainly very little in the literature (at least in English) on this small group. Just what the forum is all about!

Thanks very much for sharing photos of your very striking textile. I love the way that all those vibrant wiggles and curves are contained in the squares on point and framed by the strong pieced work triangles.

I guess that children's clothing made for more special occasions might not get worn out before it was grown out of. Something like this might be kept for another child in an extended family.

Best,

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Ann Goodman saw the earlier part of this thread and has sent me a couple of photos of a 'youth's vest'. She apologises for the quality of the photos and, indeed, did not initially want me to post them because of the poor quality. Unfortunately her 'iPhoto crashed in early April and I lost a huge amount of good photo data -- a catastrophe that I have not yet recovered from'. However, I thought that the photos were relevant to Chris's post. Ann also says that 'I also have a tiny Rao Jia infant's jacket that is very similar to that posted yesterday by Chris Buckley'. Ann is away from her collection at the moment so is not in a position to give us any measurements. However, both these textiles would seem to follow the trend of children's clothing noted by Chris.


Attachments:
File comment: Front of Rao Jia youth's vest in the collection of Ann B Goodman
07.069RaoJiaChild283BC.jpg
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File comment: Back of Rao Jia youth's vest in the collection of Ann B Goodman
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07.069RaoJiaVestBack.jpg [ 77.17 KiB | Viewed 9652 times ]

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
I’m sorry for the slow response, but I’m currently busy packing up for my move back to the UK. Chris, what a very fine Raojia child’s jacket you have. I love the quality of the batik work and the often strange designs and motifs used by the Raojia, although it is most frustrating not being able to find out from the old women what the original meanings are behind many of these patterns. Ann, I very much like the 2 front squares and back circle motifs containing swastika patterns on your vest, I’ve not seen these on a vest before.

The batik area of these jackets is indeed a single piece of hand spun and woven cloth (see 2 examples below of the unmade-up batik pieces). You might find that the white cloth in the appliqué was originally dyed red, as most of the examples I have are either red or show signs of having been red, the red dye being particularly unstable.

Below are a few more examples of Raojia children’s clothing to go with those I posted at: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=822

Unmade jacket 1 shows what are usually described as a type of Raojia dragon, together with bird and fish dragons, if you can identify them! Unmade jacket 2 shows how Raojia patterns are very often made up of groups of 4 birds, fish, flowers and other motifs, many of which have also been described to me as types of dragons (again, difficult to decipher). Jacket 1 is a padded winter child’s jacket using the dragon motif and a section of floral/butterfly/bird-dragon design at the bottom back, together with the black and white (was red) applique. The back detail of Jacket 2 shows a group of 4 bees/bee-dragons/bugs(??) forming a geometric-like pattern, with 2 large birds looking on hidden amongst the other swirling patterns, together with 2 smaller birds in the lower corners. Jacket 3 is a lovely example of a long child’s jacket (about 80-90 cm long if I remember correctly). A great deal of care has been taken to ensure the patterns join perfectly from the sleeves to the body, and I love the collar with its trees and other bird and flower designs. The patterns on jacket 4 are less traditional than those on jacket 3, but the wonderful butterflies and the strange spider/cat figure are very appealing. The back also includes a spiral dragon, an yin/yang motif and groups of 4 fish.

Vests 1 & 2 are of an unusual design, having a shortened back. Vest 1, despite being knocked around a bit, shows some lovely batik work, with the front including a spiral dragon with 4 large birds spinning out from it. The circle on the back provides a good example of an interesting feature of Raojia batik, the fact that the negative indigo area often shows a very definite pattern of its own, as well as the positive, batik drawn pattern. Around the outer area of the circle are 4 positive butterfly-dragons (?), but between them are also 4 negative bug/butterfly (?) dragons facing outwards. Vest 2 includes wonderful large compound butterfly patterns with fish bodies (?) and small bird-dragon (?) patterns inside the wings (and also found in many other places in the design and particularly in the traditional design of jacket 3). Vest 3 shows how embroidery has taken over from batik in the decoration of children’s clothing in a similar way that it has on Raojia head scarves (sees thread: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=920 ).

As you can see from the number of question marks in this post, I have many unanswered questions relating to Raojia patterns. I’m very sorry that even after my trips to Raojia land, I’ve learnt very little about their batik and the hidden/lost meanings and significance to their motifs. Even the 80 year old women seem to have little real understanding of the patterns, despite having used them themselves.

Concerning adult jackets, they do not include any batik, so I’ve not posted any (also because I don’t have any digital photos of my adult jackets and I won’t be buying a new scanner until I’m settled into life in England). Other than some embroidery on the sleeves and along the back hem, they are rather plain shiny indigo-black cloth. I’ll post when I can.


Attachments:
File comment: Unmade batik piece from Raojia child's jacket 1.1
Raojia-child's-unmade-j-1.1.jpg
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File comment: Unmade batik piece from Raojia child's jacket 2.1
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File comment: Unmade batik piece from Raojia child's jacket 2.2
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 1.1
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 1.2
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Raojia-child's-jacket-1.2.jpg [ 64.46 KiB | Viewed 9548 times ]


Last edited by Andrew Dudley on Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
More Raojia children's clothing


Attachments:
File comment: Raojia child's jacket 1.3
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 2.1
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 2.2
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 2.3
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 3.1
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Raojia-child's-jacket-3.1.jpg [ 66.59 KiB | Viewed 9539 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
some more


Attachments:
File comment: Raojia child's jacket 3.2
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 3.3
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 4.1
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 4.2
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File comment: Raojia child's jacket 4.3
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Raojia-child's-jacket-4.3.jpg [ 69.13 KiB | Viewed 9531 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
nearly finnished


Attachments:
File comment: Raojia child's vest 1.1
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File comment: Raojia child's vest 1.2
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File comment: Raojia child's vest 1.3
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File comment: Raojia child's vest 2.1
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File comment: Raojia child's vest 2.2
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
The end is nigh


Attachments:
File comment: Raojia child's vest 3.1
Raojia-child's-vest-3.1.jpg
Raojia-child's-vest-3.1.jpg [ 62.57 KiB | Viewed 9515 times ]
File comment: Raojia child's vest 3.2
Raojia-child's-vest-3.2.jpg
Raojia-child's-vest-3.2.jpg [ 69.4 KiB | Viewed 9515 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Ann Goodman has been very much enjoying this thread. She was in touch last night emailing me with the following comments:

Quote:
"This is phenomenal scholarship from Andrew and his comprehensive collection and insights. I am going to send here some more photos of my Rao Jia stuff to expand the number of examples that are already on the Forum thread. I have printed out the various Rao Jia threads and I am making them into a "book". Of course, many have suggested that Andrew write a book. I concur.

I have a question for the Forum. What is the connection between Bailing and Rao Jia? Several of the baby carriers that I own I thought are Bailing Miao, but the shape of the carriers is so similar to the Rao Jia."


I attach the photos which Ann sent me.


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06w.jpg
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RaoJiabackw.jpg
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ZhijinZephuRaojiaMulw.jpg
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RaojiaBatikjacketbackw.jpg
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RaoJia3w.jpg
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RaoJia4w.jpg
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RaoJiabatikBCw.jpg
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RaoJiaBatikPanelw.jpg
RaoJiaBatikPanelw.jpg [ 65.69 KiB | Viewed 9391 times ]

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:36 am 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 7:12 am
Posts: 143
Location: Bristol, England
Ann (via Pamela), thanks for your comments, however, I really don’t feel I have undertaken very much quality research, simply asked a few questions that any normal enquiring mind might be expected to ask given the opportunity. Because there is so little information about the Raojia, perhaps a little knowledge does have its value and I suppose research has to start somewhere.

About your interesting pieces, your first small vest is from the Shang (Upper) Raojia who live near Duyun. They are a smaller group than the Xia (Lower) Raojia who predominantly live in Majiang County. They tend to use two shades of blue as well as white on their batik, the cloth therefore requiring two waxings. Being a very small (perhaps 5,000) group, there are comparatively few of their textiles around.

Your second jacket is not a Raojia piece, as far as I know.

Your third is a Xia Raojia vest that was over-dyed to give a light blue pattern against a dark blue base (a fairly typical practice).

Your fourth is a Buyi carrier from the Huishui area.

Your last piece is a Xia Raojia baby blanket.

I’m sorry for the short comments, but I have to get back to packing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:33 am
Posts: 155
Location: Beijing
Thank you Andrew, Anne and Pamela for your comments and for the beautiful textiles! It is fascinating to see items both very similar and quite different to the one i originally posted. Indeed, the range of decorative styles from one smallish group is astounding.

Achieving that intriguing balance between positive and negative space, figure and ground makes for some of the most interesting textile designs (think oriental carpets for example). But they are very challenging for the textile maker. Andrew's "floral dragon" designs (both the unmade and made-up examples) are amongst the most interesting and successful i have seen from this point of view (try visualizing the dark parts as figure and the light as ground, then try it the other way around).

The animals-amidst-scrolling-flowers designs remind me of ancient Chinese designs from the Warring states period, for example the embroidered textile in Regina Krahl's article "Designs on Early Chinese Textiles" from Orientations compendium on textiles "Chinese and Central Asian Textiles 1983-1997" page 56. I am not suggesting a direct link, but this must be part of an ancient and long-lasting tradition.


Attachments:
File comment: "detail of embroidered gauze from Chu tomb 1, at Mashan, Jiangling, Hubei Province, Warring States period, 4thC BC" R Krahl article referred to in post
Warringstatesembroidery.jpg
Warringstatesembroidery.jpg [ 111.61 KiB | Viewed 9321 times ]
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