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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - Dong thread booklet - (Zhen Xian Bao)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:34 pm 
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I thought that I would share a non-textile but related item with the forum - a Dong thread or sewing booklet from Rongjiang county in Guizhou. It seems that both the Miao and the Dong in this area use a similar style of booklet to hold their embroidery threads, scraps of fabric, paper patterns and other items. I first became aware of them in 2005 when on a trip to south east Guizhou with Gina Corrigan and then subsequently via a project book by and discussions with Ruth Smith, the author of 'Miao Embroidery from South West China' and editor of 'Minority Textile Techniques: Costumes from South West China' (information on both these volumes may be found on the 'Books' section of this forum. Ruth has been very taken by these thread booklets and has analysed their construction, produced the project book to illustrate and instruct and also offers a workshop in their construction.

I spotted one recently on eBay and couldn't resist it. The dealer, who listed it as Miao, subsequently said that the booklet was Dong, from the 'Rongjiang area and at least 30-40 years and highly possible was made during the period of Chinese Cultural Revolution (from 1966-1976)' - interesting but perhaps not correct. I think that it could be Dong as the hand painted decoration on the surfaces of the 8 opening pockets inside are very similar to a Dong booklet in Gina Corrigan's collection which is shown in Ruth's project book. The larger images of sun and dragon on the inner covers remind me somewhat of the decoration on Dong drum towers. In amongst the squiggles and stylised flowers around the opening pockets there are some images which could be political and perhaps why it has been suggested that it could have been made at the time of the Cultural Revolution although I think that this is perhaps placing too great an emphasis on them.

The booklet has quite a complex construction. I think there are 20 different pockets - at least, I managed to come up with that number twice! It is an ingenious way of creating a concentrated filing system for organising threads or other essentials for embroidery which is very compact yet has an amazing amount of space. The outside indigo fabric is in my favourite pineapple weave. The inside is all hand-made paper. Unfortunately it has been subjected to quite a bit of insect munching and I feel that it needs a spell in the freezer to try and make sure that all the inhabitants are dead. I should keep it segregated from my textiles and books. There was not very much inside the various pockets, some threads, a few scraps of red and orange silky fabric and a paper pattern for the sole of a shoe. This has been cut out of a magazine and I attach below photos of the back and front of this pattern. I would be very grateful indeed for any translation of either the captions or the added writing in Chinese script in case it can give any hints to period or place.

I was keen that Ruth Smith should have a look at the booklet, especially as it seem a little different and more complex than those shown in her project book and we are planning to meet up early next month for her to examine it. The details of her project book are: 'Folded Secrets Project Book' and Ruth can be contacted at eruthsmith@btinternet.com

[I met up with Ruth on 5 Nov and we examined my thread booklet together. She felt that there are 17 pockets (not the 20 I thought). She brought with her a collection of the completed information sheets on perhaps about 20 thread booklets on which she has now gathered and been given information. Fascinating!]

As well as photos of my booklet I will also post a couple of photos of one of the thread booklets in use in the Miao village of Wu Jia Zhai, Gu Zhou township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province. At the time our local guide called this group 'Black Miao' but they are often referred to as 'Short skirt Miao'.


Attachments:
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Last edited by Pamela on Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:52 pm 
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one of the thread booklets in use in the Miao village of Wu Jia Zhai, Gu Zhou township, Rongjiang county, Guizhou province in May 2005. At the time our local guide called this group 'Black Miao' but they are often referred to as 'Short skirt Miao'.


Attachments:
IMGP3024w.jpg
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IMGP3029w.jpg
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01812897w.jpg
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File comment: thread booklet on the knee of sitting Miao woman
01812883w.jpg
01812883w.jpg [ 71.84 KiB | Viewed 48879 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:54 pm 
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the back and front of the paper pattern for the sole of shoe found in the booklet


Attachments:
sole-1w.jpg
sole-1w.jpg [ 70.11 KiB | Viewed 48885 times ]
sole-2w.jpg
sole-2w.jpg [ 68.51 KiB | Viewed 48885 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:03 pm 
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Attachments:
File comment: book image (contrast increased to try and show up text more clearly)
thrdbkS02dw.jpg
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File comment: book images (contrast increased to try and show up text more clearly)
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File comment: book images (contrast increased to try and show up text more clearly)
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File comment: "This isn't clear but two of the characters are the "center of the heart" so my guess is its a Cultural Revolution slogan like "Chairman Mao is the red sun in our hearts"
thrdbkS05w.jpg
thrdbkS05w.jpg [ 24.87 KiB | Viewed 48837 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:26 am 
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Attachments:
File comment: Steven Frost's booklet showing the top of the twisting, folding pockets
book5w.jpg
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File comment: Steven Frost's booklet
book8w.jpg
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File comment: Steven Frost's booklet
book2w.jpg
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File comment: detail from Steven Frost's booklet
book3w.jpg
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File comment: detail from Steven Frost's booklet
book4w.jpg
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File comment: detail from Steven Frost's booklet
book1w.jpg
book1w.jpg [ 57.13 KiB | Viewed 48747 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:37 pm 
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Attachments:
book1.jpg
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:51 pm 
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 Post subject: More Thread Books
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:20 pm 
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I've been trying to post photos of three more booklets which I purchased in Kaili, Guizhou in the past two years. I will try posting them one at a time. I am not sure if they are Dong or Miao since I did not buy them in the villages.


Attachments:
OM -157.0 Thread Case.jpg
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OM -157.2.jpg
OM -157.2.jpg [ 57 KiB | Viewed 48644 times ]
OM -157.6.jpg
OM -157.6.jpg [ 45.14 KiB | Viewed 48644 times ]
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 Post subject: Seacond Thread Book
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:24 pm 
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This is my favorite one because of the charming drawings.


Attachments:
WD -013 Thread Case.jpg
WD -013 Thread Case.jpg [ 50.6 KiB | Viewed 48636 times ]
WD -013.1.jpg
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WD -013.2 couple.jpg
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WD -13.4.jpg
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WD -13.7.jpg
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 Post subject: Third Thread Book
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:28 pm 
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This book has a great calendared cover with a woven closing ribbon with attached coin.


Attachments:
WD -014.1.jpg
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WD -014.3.jpg
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:13 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 5:35 pm 
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Attachments:
File comment: detail of Dong thread booklet shown above
thrdbks01w_.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:57 pm 
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 Post subject: Dong thread booklet
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:01 am 
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Dong lauqered thread booklet
This one has also been covered in black cotton - which hides the many intricate dragons and butterflies painted on the outside. There are actually 23 different compartments fashioned from the folding with built in expansion folds! I particularly enjoy the incorporation of eight folded boxes which can be seen in the second image.


Attachments:
File comment: Inside of booklet
35079-35069_bagd071_007w.jpg
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File comment: Folded box compartment (opened)
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35079-35069_bagd071_016w.jpg
35079-35069_bagd071_016w.jpg [ 91.81 KiB | Viewed 46053 times ]
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 Post subject: Translation
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:06 am 
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Possible translation of 子路问净 appearing on Pam's image WD-13.7.jpg.
I think this picture may represent one of Confucius's disciples, Zǐ​ L√π (the official-looking scholar in blue with top knot on the right).
The characters written on the side zǐ​ l√π wèn jìng may be loosely translated as "Zi Lu asks the way".


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