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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:46 am 
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Location: Beijing
Here are some outfits from Yunnan, I'm posting them partly because they are pretty and partly in the hope that forum members can comment on the identification.

Both sets are similar, from the same village perhaps, so I am posting the jacket from one set and the skirt from the other They are embroidered and decorated with seeds (Job's tears or similar). At first sight I took them to be Yao, but one seller told me that they are Wa minority items. The motifs are uncannily like Yao embroidery however, both in the motifs and the division into blocks of color.

The fabric is hand-loomed cotton dyed with indigo.

Jess Pourret's excellent book on the Yao describes mostly trousers and says that few Yao groups have skirts, and the tiny jackets are is unlike anything I have seen previously from Yao. Most Yao jackets are very long.

I have seen very few Wa items, but do have a skirt in my collection that is probably Wa. The picture of this is the last item in the photos. The decoration is unlike the two sets, except that it does have seeds in star shapes.

So there it is. Yao or Wa, or some other group perhaps?

I'm confident at least that the Yunnan location is correct. There is quite a lot of material coming from this area at the moment.


Attachments:
File comment: jacket from first set
CET49A1t.jpg
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File comment: detail of jacket from first set
CET49A5t.jpg
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File comment: skirt from second set
CET50B1t.jpg
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File comment: Detail of skirt from second set. Might be representations of stupas.
CET50B5t.jpg
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File comment: Wa minority skirt
CET11A.jpg
CET11A.jpg [ 54.04 KiB | Viewed 5931 times ]
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Hello Chris

Your jacket and skirt come from the Phula (Xa Pho) a Tibeto-Burman minority from northern Vietnam. I don't know if this group are also found in Yunnan however. Small minorities such as this are often found in scattered, isolated pockets among other groups, (a situation which is quite common in this part of the world, even with larger groups.) so they may indeed occur in Yunnan, but be catagorized with some other larger minority.

I have a similar jacket from the Phula, which I purchased a couple of years also from Ron Simpson in London, and have since been on the look out for a matching skirt. These jackets are very lovely and the Phula quite obscure
There is brief info and pics in 'Vietnam Museum of Ethnology' catalogue,
Vietnam -' Image of the Community of 54 Ethnic Groups' and Michael Howard's 'Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Northern Vietnam, Mon-Khmer, Hmong-Mien, and Tibeto-Burman' further details of which can be found in Pamela's bibliographies.


Last edited by siriol richards on Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:20 pm 
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See this photogallery of the Phula, Xa Pho sub group, Sa Pa district, Lao Cai Province, northwest Vietnam based on my visit to northern Vietnam (Sa Pa) in 1995 http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... _XaPho.htm I also picked up a similar outfit of top and skirt in Hanoi in 1996 recognising the textiles from those I had seen in Sa Pa although, at the time, I didn't really know which group it was - I had been very attracted by the costumes worn by the very shy girls in Sa Pa.

Yes, I believe the group is also found in Yunnan across the border from Lao Cai province in Vietnam.

There is information on the group in Chapter 6 'Tibeto-Burman Textiles' in 'Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Northern Vietnam: Mon-Khmer, Hmong Mien, and Tibeto-Burman' by Michael C. Howard & Kim Be Howard published by White Lotus, Bangkok 2002 ISBN 974-4800-14-3 There are several colour photos on pages 218-222. The book is also No 5 in the Studies in the Material Cultures of Southeast Asia edited by Dr Howard. For textiles from the minority groups of Vietnam (the groups move across between Yunnan, China and Laos) I think this is an important set of three reference books by the Howards (the other two are on the textiles of the Vietnamese minorities are on the textiles of the Daic Peoples of Vietnam and the textiles of the Central Highlands of Vietnam).

The info on the group with my small number of photos was based on the Howard's book:

Quote:
Around 6,500 Phula (who are Tibeto-Burman speakers) live in Vietnam with the largest number living in Lao Cai Province. There are six Phula sub-groups: Flowery Phula, Black Phula, Phula Han, Chu La Phula, White Phula and Xa Pho. According to Michael C Howard & Kim Be Howard in 'Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Northern Vietnam Mon-Khmer, Hmong-Mien, and Tibeto-Burman'' the Xa Pho sub group of the Phula live in Bat Xat and Sa Pa Districts, Lao Cai Province; and Quynh Nhai District, Son La Province. The Xa Pho in Lao Cai Province call themselves Lao Va Xo, and those in Son La and Lai Chau Provinces call themselves Bo Kho Pa. Some Vietnamese ethnologists believe that the Xa Pho should be treated as a separate ethnic group.


Nice pieces, Chris, and very representative of the group.

I will post one of the photos I took in 1995 here. The girls were so very shy that it was very hard to photograph them.


Attachments:
File comment: Four Phula, Xa Pho girls in Sa Pa, Lao Cai Province, north west Vietnam. Note the wool embroidery on the blouse and skirts with Jacob's tear seeds on the blouses.
9510I18e.jpg
9510I18e.jpg [ 46.11 KiB | Viewed 5914 times ]

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:32 pm 
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If it is confirmed that the Phula are also found in Yunnan, as I suspected might be the case, have they been documented in Chinese publications and if so any idea what 'offical group' they are included in? Could it by any chance be Wa (Va)?
I am a bit hazy about the distribution of the Wa group,although I know they are an important ethinic minority in Burma. Some Wa women also wear tight fitting short jackets with no front opening. at least on the Chinese side of the border. However one snag against the Phula being included in this group by the Chinese authorities is that the Wa are speakers of a Mon Khmer language


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:54 pm 
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I thought that I would ask Martin Conlan for his thoughts especially as he visits Yunnan and is only just back from there. He kindly responded as follows:

Quote:
I have only ever seen a couple of these skirts before in China, so cannot ascertain whether they were Chinese or Vietnamese. I never bought them because they were in garish colours. Chris' skirt detail looks almost identical to Yao embroidery. It could easily be a style that has borrowed heavily from the Yao. In China I know that the Pula are classified as a Yi grouping (Lolo) because of their Tibeto-Burman language.

"Approximately 20,000 Pula people live in China's southern Yunnan Province. They live in Honghe, Yuanyang, Gejiu, Shiping, and Jianshui counties in the Honghe Yi-Hani Autonomous Prefecture; and in Yuanjiang County of Yuxi Prefecture. In northwest Vietnam the Pula are better known as the Phula minority group. They numbered 6,424 people in the 1989 Vietnam census."

http://www.joshuaproject.net/peopctry.p ... 51&rog3=CH

One of my Vietnamese books ("Patterns on Textiles - of ethnic groups in North East Vietnam") positively identifies Chris' clothing as Phu La. They differentiate themselves by their individual dialects and are also named after their clothing and clothing decoration. Vegetable dyes are widely used.


(The Howards also refer to the Lolo in the same chapter 6 of 'Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Northern Vietnam: Mon-Khmer, Hmong Mien, and Tibeto-Burman' as the Phula.)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:13 am 
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Dear Siriol, Pamela and Martin

greetings from snowy Beijing. Thank you VERY much for all the information, I am astounded by your knowledge. These pieces might otherwise have sat in a drawer with the wrong label on them...

I can't find any reference to Phula or Pula or similar costumes in the Chinese books I have. "Minority Nationalities Costumes and Ornaments of Yunnan" by Li, Zhou and Wang (Yunnan Museum Publishing, ISBN 7-80586-845-X/J.512) has plenty of Yi outfits but nothing like these. This book is quite useful but of course sticks rigidly to the China-recognised ethnic minorities. Plus Yunnan is really very diverse so gaps can be expected.

Identifying the less common items that come via traders here in China is quite challenging. Most of the traders are from the Kaili area in Guizhou and they are quite knowledgeable about their own textiles (mainly Miao) and about well-known types from other areas, but when it comes to textiles from obscure groups in Yunnan it all gets rather vague. This makes comments from this group especially valuable. Thanks also for the book references, I will track those down.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:21 am 
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Here are photos of the other jacket and skirt. The embroidery is silk rather than the wool that Pamela found in her village. There is a very limited range of colors that are probably natural dyes, with some repairs on the jacket in a bright red that is certainly synthetic and from a later period.


Attachments:
File comment: detail of the other jacket, note the later repairs in bright red
CET50A2t.jpg
CET50A2t.jpg [ 82.65 KiB | Viewed 5853 times ]
File comment: the other skirt
CET49B1t.jpg
CET49B1t.jpg [ 77.67 KiB | Viewed 5853 times ]
File comment: detail of embroidery on skirt
CET49B3t.jpg
CET49B3t.jpg [ 124.14 KiB | Viewed 5853 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:12 am 
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Hi Chris

I am sure that your textiles are older and probably it was silk originally used for embroidery rather than the bright wools easily bought in the market today. I love the tones of yours with the probably natural dyes. Again echoes of Yao! I love the variety in the, presumably, corn stalks, shown in the skirt you post today.

As I am sure you know, the border between Yunnan and northern Vietnam is very porous with groups shifting backwards and forwards and it is often difficult to know where particular textiles are from. (You will see in Jess Pourret's book on the Yao how the Yao similarly move backwards and forwards).

Do try to get the Howards' book on the Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Norther Vietnam. He explains different motifs which you may find interesting for the Phula, Xa Pho sub group and there is quite a bit of interesting info.

White Lotus press in on-line and has a textiles section http://www.whitelotuspress.com/index.php?p=show&s=18 Personally I have found the best way to get books from them is to email Diethard Ande at White Lotus ande@loxinfo.co.th (White Lotus Press, GPO Box 1141, Bangkok 10501, Thailand). From the UK I have been able to mail him a Sterling cheque as he has a Sterling a/c in the UK. He probably has other currency accounts too.)

Thanks very much for your posts. I have enjoyed looking out my 1995 photos and the references as the textiles of this group attract me. I always felt I was very fortunate to catch sight of them flitting through the streets of Sa Pa. I was upstairs eating some lunch and quite well hidden when they came past. It was all so quick!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:05 am 
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Martin Conlan has kindly shared a bit more research on the Phu La with me:
Quote:
Hello Pamela,

Have scanned a few of the (very low quality) images from my books.

Have included a Phu La Han/Hao costume variant which looks very different.

Best wishes,

Martin

I am posting his scans below. In the Howards description of the Phu La there are 6 sub-groups of the Phula of which the Xa Pho and Phula Han are two groups included. There are similar photos of Phula Han to that shown by Martin.


Attachments:
File comment: Phu La Lao Female ("Ethnic Minorities In Vietnam")
Phu-La-Lao-Female_2w.jpg
Phu-La-Lao-Female_2w.jpg [ 91.86 KiB | Viewed 5798 times ]
File comment: Phu La Lao Costume ("Patterns on Textiles - of ethnic groups in North East Vietnam")
Phu-La-Lao-Costumew.jpg
Phu-La-Lao-Costumew.jpg [ 86.78 KiB | Viewed 5798 times ]
File comment: "Pattern on Phu La Women's shirt" ("Patterns on Textiles - of ethnic groups in North East Vietnam")
Phu-La-Lao-Top_2w.jpg
Phu-La-Lao-Top_2w.jpg [ 72.52 KiB | Viewed 5798 times ]
File comment: Phu La lao Female x1, & Male x2 ("Patterns on Textiles - of ethnic groups in North East Vietnam")
Phu-La-lao-Female&Malew.jpg
Phu-La-lao-Female&Malew.jpg [ 93 KiB | Viewed 5798 times ]
File comment: Phu La Han/Hao Females ("Ethnic Minorities In Vietnam")
Phu-La-Han-Femalesw.jpg
Phu-La-Han-Femalesw.jpg [ 91.01 KiB | Viewed 5798 times ]

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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