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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 5:54 pm 
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At the risk of boring everyone silly with Li textiles I am going to post one more.

It is probably made of hemp. I am not sure if it is a Qi Li or a Ha Li skirt.

It is almost exactly like one shown as 'figure 18. Li Qi sub-group; detail of a woman's tubeskirt. [Stubel (1937), fig.237]' on page 213 of Michael C Howard & Kim Be Howard's 'Textiles of the Daic Peoples of Vietnam' where they include material from Hans Stubel's 'Die Li-Stamme der Insel Hainan: Ein Beitrag zur Volkskunde Sudchinas' published in 1937.

However, it is also very similar to one shown on page 236 in the section on 'Brocade patterns by Ha dialect-speaking women' in 'Traditional Culture of Li Ethnic Group'.

I am interested in trying to determine how the red stripes have been created - needle woven embroidery or woven on the loom. The wide band of figures above the stripes is, from the reverse, pretty clearly embroidered.

The stripes look to me like needle weaving on finished cloth. There is very little visible on the reverse of the cloth but there are feint parallel red lines where the edges of the stripes occur. I think that the think stripes in between the wider red ones are warp stripes with warp-float patterning n the pale blue and white stripes.

I have asked Marla Mallett to have a look and see if she can assist with the determination of technique.


Attachments:
File comment: Li hemp tube skirt
IMGP1575e.jpg
IMGP1575e.jpg [ 57.4 KiB | Viewed 8914 times ]
File comment: detail of Li hemp skirt
IMGP1577e.jpg
IMGP1577e.jpg [ 65.3 KiB | Viewed 8914 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 9:55 pm 
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Just a couple more photos - close-up and back - of the red stripes


Attachments:
File comment: red stripe - back (with a hint of front to the right of the photo)
IMGP1646e.jpg
IMGP1646e.jpg [ 50.21 KiB | Viewed 8903 times ]
File comment: red stripe - front
IMGP1648e.jpg
IMGP1648e.jpg [ 60.8 KiB | Viewed 8903 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 7:06 pm 
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Sorry if I am boring forum members with my sudden focus on technique re Li textiles but this is of great interest to me. The thing that fascinated me when I saw my first Li textile – the incredibly fine and complex work of a Ba-sa-dung mini skirt was the sheer complexity of the weaving and the ability to do so much in such a small space with apparent ease. This was both decorated stitches and imagery.

I know a very minimum about weaving technique but am very, very interested to learn more and hope in a couple of years to learn on a practical basis. This last week I have been corresponding with Marla Mallett whom you may know is an expert on antique flat woven tribal Oriental rugs, kilims, and bags and through her website also deals in some tribal textiles. She has published a book ‘Woven Structures: a Guide to Oriental Rug and Textile Analysis’.

Our email chat has started to focus on Li textiles to which Marla has come to see more recently. We have talked about what is embroidery and what is weaving and the different weaving techniques which have been used. Both of us have noted that in the, relatively scarce, literature on Li textiles, terms such as supplementary weft and supplementary warp are used. From the Li textiles that Marla has seen so far it seems that these terms are probably incorrect (supplementary weft seems to be embroidery and supplementary warp may be warp-float patterning) although it will take a larger body of Li textiles to judge fully.

Whilst participating on yet another textile forum may be a bridge too far for Marla at the moment she has given me permission to publish on this forum from our email discussion. Those of you for whom weaving technique is not of the first interest please feel free to give these posts a miss! However, I know that there are others who are as interested as I am and therefore for us I am posting the information here as a useful reference. When I finally get to my Li web photogallery I hope to incorporate some of this valuable weaving knowledge.

As well as posting the detail shots of the Li hemp skirt on the forum I also sent Marla a detail of a Li man’s jacket which seemed to me to have some similar detail work to the stripes on the skirt. I will post a photo of the detail and of the whole jacket below. Bang at Ethnoecho posted a photo of a similar jacket in August 04: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... ?p=918#918 I think that the man’s jacket is of a Li speaking the Ha dialect known as a Luohuo from Ledong. I say this based on the women’s costume photos of this group in the ‘Traditional Culture of the Li Ethnic Group’ and a photo on page 59 of ‘Costumes of Minority Peoples of China’ which shows both men and women dancing. The women wear the costume of the Luohuo and the men this jacket.

Just to confuse you even more, I also sent Marla a photo from ‘Traditional Culture of the Li Ethnic Group’ which showed two women weaving, probably from the Qi Li from Changjiang. I am going to post that photo also.

What seems to be coming out of my discussion with Marla is that, unsurprisingly, various of the different Li groups are using similar weaving techniques. What is perhaps more surprising is that these techniques seem to be different from those used in the Lao-Tai groups which are thought to be of similar Daic origin as the Li.

Initially Marla thought that that the red stripes on my skirt might have been simple inlay on a tabby shed. However, sight of the closer details of front and back of the textile (above) led her to say:

Quote:
“It looks to me now as though both those red (and white and yellow) stripes on your skirt, and the red and white blocks on your Li man’s jacket are inlaid brocading. (The warp-patterning on that jacket looks very nice--again, NOT supplementary warp). I was wrong about the red stripes being simple inlay on a tabby shed. The weavers of both the jacket and skirt appear to have done their inlay on a pair of special sheds that each lifted every FOURTH warp, but then on the jacket she also hand picked the diamond patterns. This is especially interesting to me coming right after my close look at my Ba-sa-dung mini-skirt which has the SAME technique, but is just much finer--MINUTE, in fact. I can't tell exactly what the weavers are doing in your pics (except for KILLING their legs and knees!) but it appears that the one on the left in the photo has just inserted a weaving sword in a special shed for patterning in striped sections, isolating the areas she wanted for the brocading yarns. The loom has extra heddle bars which makes my conclusion more realistic. None of the narrow stripes in your skirt detail appear to be supplementary warp, but rather, a couple of varieties of warp-float patterning. OH yes...the faint red stripes visible on the back of the skirt that you mentioned: I would guess that those narrow warp stripes were just put into the warp for her to use as guidelines. Actually, one embroidered Li skirt that I photographed yesterday had warp stripes which served exactly that same purpose for the embroiderer.”


Attachments:
File comment: Qi Li weaving - pages 222 and 223 of 'Traditional Culture of Li Ethnic Group'
Qi-weavinge.jpg
Qi-weavinge.jpg [ 50.18 KiB | Viewed 8866 times ]
File comment: man's jacket of the Li speaking the Ha dialect known as the Luohuo from Ledong
IMGP1596e.jpg
IMGP1596e.jpg [ 55.31 KiB | Viewed 8866 times ]
File comment: detail of man's jacket of the Li speaking the Ha dialect known as the Luohuo from Ledong - stitching to the right of the photo is a darn.
IMGP1623e.jpg
IMGP1623e.jpg [ 60.21 KiB | Viewed 8866 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Mark,

Do you know which bast fiber plants were used to weave textiles on Hainan Island?

My study is true hemp (Cannabis) and other bast fiber plants. I am fairly sure that Li and other Hainan bast textiles are NOT hemp. They seem too coarse to me. Do you have any thoughts?

Thanks,

Rob

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 Post subject: Bast Fibers on Hainan
PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:11 pm 
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Hi Robert,
I don't know much about the plant materials used in Hainan textiles, other than cotton. I know there are some textiles made out of bast fibers, but I am not sure if it is hemp. One of the bast fibers used on nearby Borneo or Mindanao is from a type of banana leaf. Perhaps they use something similar on Hainan?

I am sure someone else on this forum will have more information.

Regards,
Mark

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:52 am 
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I've been told that the Li used ramie, tho I cannot tell if that is the bast fiber used on Pamela's skirt. I had a skirt like that once and it was very coarse and stiff- it looked rather uncomfortable to wear, but would have been long-wearing. The Li pieces I have seen that were purported to have been ramie were finer in fiber and a bit 'slick' to the touch, with a slight shine or luster. I seem to recall one piece being a blanket. For more about ramie see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramie:

Quote:
Ramie (Boehmeria nivea) is a flowering plant in the nettle family Urticaceae, native to eastern Asia. It is a herbaceous perennial growing to 1–2.5 m tall;[1] the leaves are heart-shaped, 7–15 cm long and 6–12 cm broad, and white on the underside with dense small hairs—this gives it a silvery appearance; unlike nettles, the hairs do not sting. The true ramie or China Grass also called Chinese plant or white ramie is the Chinese cultivated plant. A second type, is known as green ramie or rhea and is believed to have originated in the Malay Peninsula. This type has smaller leaves which are green on the underside, and it appears to be better suited to tropical conditions.[1]

Ramie is one of the oldest fibre crops, having been used for at least six thousand years, and is principally used for fabric production. It is a bast fibre, and the part used is the bark (phloem) of the vegetative stalks. Ramie is normally harvested two to three times a year but under good growing conditions can be harvested up to six times per year.[2] Unlike other bast crops, ramie requires chemical processing to de-gum the fibre.

Ramie is one of the strongest natural fibers. It exhibits even greater strength when wet. Ramie fiber is known especially for its ability to hold shape, reduce wrinkling, and introduce a silky lustre to the fabric appearance. It is not as durable as other fibers, and so is usually used as a blend with other fibers such as cotton or wool. It is similar to flax in absorbency, density and microscopic appearance. However it will not dye as well as cotton. Because of its high molecular crystallinity, ramie is stiff and brittle and will break if folded repeatedly in the same place; it lacks resiliency and is low in elasticity and elongation potential.[3]


Might any of our China experts know more about this fiber- where it grows, other groups that use it... etc. ?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:18 am 
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Ramie can be very soft and feel and look identical to hemp when woven. I attach link http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... /XME11.htm to an example on the main tti site. There is a photo taken in Oct 2000 in Xian Ma village, Hou Chang township, Puding county, Guizhou province. Here Li Jiang Ying, a Big Flower Miao woman from the village who had executed all the processes from bast fibre to woven length which had been wax resist dyed is standing in front of two lengths of fabric - one is ramie and the other is hemp. We tried and tried to find any difference in the two lengths of fabric but could not - and both were very soft after all the processing. Also see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... /XME16.htm where there are examples in Li Jiang Ying's home of both hemp and ramie thread with ramie being slightly lighter and therefore preferred as it takes less effort to lighten it. (I have added both photos here but it may be worth visiting the links to find out a bit more info and also to link to other photos from the same village.)

Industrially processed ramie is used in so much international clothing these days and has been for years. It is very soft (and tends to crease easily).


Attachments:
File comment: Li Jiang Ying, a Big Flower Miao woman, 60 in Oct 2000, was the maker of both these skirt lengths - the one on the left of the photo is made from ramie and the one on the right is hemp. The indigo design on both has been created via a batik wax resist
0010y12E.jpg
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File comment: Rolls of spliced hemp in the foreground and a large roll of un-spliced ramie, stripped from the twig but waiting to be spliced. Note that the ramie is slightly lighter in colour than the hemp thus a reason that it is preferred
0010y02E.jpg
0010y02E.jpg [ 37.86 KiB | Viewed 7268 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:26 am 
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Wonderful Pamela! I do remember these photos from another thread. Interesting that you couldn't find any differences in the two woven and dyed pieces of cloth... Do you think there are differences in the processing of the two fibers, and/or the growing of the plants? Just curious.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:52 am 
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I think that the preparation of hemp and ramie is similar once the fibres have been stripped off the stems (under the bark). From the same village as the previous photos I have a shot of ramie being spliced. From another village - Ma Wo village, Zhe Lang township, Longlin county, Guangxi province - I have a photo of a Miao woman splicing fibre and my comment to the photo says: "White Miao woman splicing lengths of hemp or ramie. She has lengths of hemp or ramie stripped from the bush wound around her waist. It is difficult to know whether the lengths of fibre are hemp or ramie as the word 'Ba' is the same for either. There were tall ramie bushes growing beside where we parked our bus at the entrance to in the village". http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... /MWE05.htm If you go to this link and click the centre of the photo you will get to other photos taken in this village showing various stages in the processing of fibre. As the fibre in the top photo is darker than the second which I know to be ramie it may be that it is hemp but I could not say for sure.


Attachments:
File comment: Two Big Flower Miao women splicing ramie - Xian Ma village, Hou Chang township, Puding county, Guizhou province
0010y06E.jpg
0010y06E.jpg [ 43.7 KiB | Viewed 7253 times ]
File comment: White Miao woman splicing lengths of hemp or ramie. She has lengths of hemp or ramie stripped from the bush wound around her waist. It is difficult to know whether the lengths of fibre are hemp or ramie as the word 'Ba' is the same for either. There we
0010j15E.jpg
0010j15E.jpg [ 40.58 KiB | Viewed 7253 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Great photos Pamela! The fibers do look quite different and you say that of the photos the first is ramie (lighter, finer), and I would guess the second one shows the hemp (coarser, with a bit of curl and darker color). I have seen hemp grown and processed here in a Hmong village and it looked just like what is shown in the second photo. I'll see if I can find photos from that village. It is interesting that the same word is used for both fibers. Do they ever use flax, and if so, what is it called?

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 Post subject: Nice photos Pamela
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:20 pm 
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Pamela and Susan,

Very nice photos Pamela!

I agree. Hemp bark strips usually are darker and have a crinkled appearance which may result from softening by pounding. I don't know if ramie requires pounding, but as I understand it the traditional ramie process varies little from hemp in Korea and Japan as well.

Ramie is a longer, finer and silkier fiber than hemp, but give either enough processing and repeated wear and wash and they end up looking identical. Very frustrating. Japan is where the greatest confusion lies - sorting out the various "asas" would be a life's work!

The Da Hua Miao around Weining and to the north in Sichuan seem to favor ramie these days. Easier to grow and without hassles from the police.

Cheers!

Rob

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for the reply. Banana fiber is a possibility. Didn't think of that. I only know it in passing from southern Japan.

The Li fiber I've seen could be ramie. It is certainly shiny enough. We think of finer weaving with ramie, but if the yarn is larger diameter and the bark strips only slightly process, then the resulting fabric could be quite corase and rough. Seems to me that some of the Li weavings I've seen have been washed quite a lot and they still felt hard. Hemp and ramie usually soften up after a few washes.

Thanks,

Rob

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Pamela, Susan and Mark,

Greetings! Well, I didn't get a response to the bast fiber query. Not too surprising as there seems to be precious little English language info concerning Hainan textiles.

It seems to me that the majority of the few "Hainan Li" textiles I purchased from runners in Kunming are very similar to the items you have posted, apart from the bast fiber skirts of which I have none.

Possibly you can give me some insight into the few accessions I have so I will post them here.

If any textile is of particular interest I will be happy to post closeups.

Cheers!

Rob


Attachments:
HainanSkirtRC006TTF.jpg
HainanSkirtRC006TTF.jpg [ 89.49 KiB | Viewed 6989 times ]
HainanSkirtRC005TTF.jpg
HainanSkirtRC005TTF.jpg [ 98.42 KiB | Viewed 6989 times ]
HainanSkirtRC004TTF.jpg
HainanSkirtRC004TTF.jpg [ 89.02 KiB | Viewed 6989 times ]
HainanSkirtRC003TTF.jpg
HainanSkirtRC003TTF.jpg [ 90.12 KiB | Viewed 6989 times ]
HainanSkirtRC001TTF.jpg
HainanSkirtRC001TTF.jpg [ 90.65 KiB | Viewed 6989 times ]

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Robert C. Clarke
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:35 pm 
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Dear Rob

Sorry at the lack of response to your enquiry re the Li and bast fibre(s). After your post I had tried to get some help out of Hainan from a contact – Eric Kindberg - that Susan Stem and I had made there.
Eric was an American who first got in touch with me in May 2007. At that time he had been living for 3 years in Wuzhishan, Hainan working with the local people on organic agricultural development and
Quote:
“Li textile synthesis into modern apparel and household furnishings. A group of us are applying for financial aid to establish a cooperative design, production, marketing group.”
Eric also said that:
Quote:
“I have hundreds of photos, some old textiles, some new. The colors are rather disappointing. My solution is to establish this weaving cooperative and be the arbitrator of the organic yarn colors that are used, thus the colors. Yarn that is available is very limited in color. We have still some local natural dying of red, blue, black.”

Eric had managed to find some good books on Li textiles, including one or two in English and, his partner, Yanni, did some translation of another book. Susan and I purchased some of the books and tried to persuade Eric to open a PayPal account to facilitate purchases by others. We commented on some of his supporting documentation for financial aid applications.

Susan and I helped to put Eric in contact with some other organisations who, in their own areas, were trying to assist local artisans to find a market for their traditional skills and he and Yanni travelled to Chiang Mai on this quest. Susan saw them there.

Eric was in touch in Hainan with Mr Wang Xue Ping, the Director of the Editorial Board and editor in chief for the book ‘Traditional Culture of Li Ethnic Group’ – a must for any serious Li collector/enthusiast. It is noted in the book that Mr Wang is himself a Li (don't know which group) and it shows him also as ‘Vice Chairman (in July 2000) of the Standing Committee Hainan Provincial People’s Congress and member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. The Book says that
Quote:
“During the process (of collecting material and editing the manuscript) Wang, taking the manuscript of the book with him, visited remote areas populated by the Li group, interviewed hundreds of people and invited individuals from all walks of life to review the manuscript.....”

Through Yanni we received permission in Nov 2007 from Mr Wang to post photos from the book on the forum
Quote:
“In conversation with Wang Xueping, Yanni was given permission for you to use pictures from the book with credit to the book itself, where it was produced, and I would suggest the editor, Mr Wang Xueping.”

When, following your post Rob, I emailed Eric at the beginning of August this year I hoped that he would be able, with Yanni, to talk to Mr Wang Xue Ping to ask him about bast fibre use by the Li. However, I was very shocked to receive an email response back by return from Yanni informing me that Eric had died in Dec 2008.

Yanni said that:
Quote:
“I will address your questions to Mr Wang and will try to answer you back. I know Eric would love that.

I am in the U.S at the moment, so it might take me a while to get the answers from Mr Wang. If you are in a rush to get the answers, please let me know and I will see what I could do to be helpful.

Thanks for sharing the information and the friendship moments with Eric in the past.”

Of course I felt I could not press Yanni to contact Mr Wang. I don’t know whether she will follow up with him in the future or, indeed, if she will return to Hainan.

I share with you extracts from two emails from Eric responding back to me in early October 2008 about the thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... php?t=1242 which you, Rob, have commented on. He is talking about textile fibres:
Quote:
“Have you felt the material? There are no rugs in Li homes in recent years, since after the war, because they stopped building raised floor houses, plus there is no wear pattern on these that I can see. The two kinds of tree cottons used for spinning and weaving are rather fine, but very short fiber making for technical problems in using. The very large cotton bush plant in different colors is short fiber but is very close related to real cotton and evidently works well. But, the most common plant for spinning/weaving among Li is some kind of sessile plant. It first feels rough, but actually is pretty soft. The textile you show looks like this material.”

Quote:
“When I take my skirts and sheets, wash them, what was sort of stiff becomes very soft and nice. I still have not seen this plant in the mountain, but the Ha used it extensively in Ladone and then when they were split up after the Revolution and being sent to Wuzhishan to develop new villages they almost exclusively used the plant for the following decades to spin and weave. I actually wash them by hand. The dyes do not run--all kinds of colors, all hand dyed and made before 1950 or shortly thereafter.”

Both Susan and I have felt quite devastated and shocked by Eric’s death (very sudden to us). Of course if I hear back from Yanni with any information I will share it with the forum. I would like to make this post in memory of Eric who was very committed and passionate about helping the Li to retain their textile heritage in the modern world.

Sorry, Rob, no comments on your nice textiles. I will, however, post here a couple of photos that Eric sent us of Li weaving in Baisa (Li speaking the Run dialect) and similar to yours (C001, C003, C004). One photo shows Eric and possibly Mr Wang with a Run Li weaver. I also show one of the info sheets on the Li sub-groups (Run again) that Eric put together for his funding application(s).

In my own collection I think I have a one or two Li weavings which are not cotton (not Run). I will look them out and post some photos in due course. Your C006 looks to be a very nice Meifu Li skirt.


Attachments:
File comment: A Run Li weaver in Baisa with Eric Kindberg and possibly Mr Wang Xue Ping. Photo probably taken in 2007
eric-li-w.jpg
eric-li-w.jpg [ 72.13 KiB | Viewed 6896 times ]
File comment: A Run Li loom in Baisa. Photo probably taken in 2007
Baisa-w.jpg
Baisa-w.jpg [ 70.18 KiB | Viewed 6896 times ]
File comment: info sheet on Run Li weavers compiled by Eric Kindberg in 2008
Run-col-cr-crop-w.jpg
Run-col-cr-crop-w.jpg [ 89.66 KiB | Viewed 6896 times ]

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