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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:54 am 
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I have a 60 - 70 year old handwoven skirt from Valna, Romania which, specifics of decoration aside, reminds me of Katchin skirts from Myanmar and also of a particular Chinese Minority skirt (I don't recall which tribe).

I learned that another typical Romanian garment is a pair of front and rear aprons - very much like the ones Susan Stem's daughter (?) started a thread about last year although, again, the decorative details differ dramatically.

Then I saw skirts with mini-pleats - sometimes worn under double aprons - another Minority hallmark.

A Romanian friend sent me this link, which has drawings and photos of traditional Romanian costumes. http://www.eliznik.co.uk/

Whether or not there is any relationship between these Romanian garments and those more commonly discussed on this forum, I don't know - but I thought it was interesting enough to share, especially given recent scholarship about how extremely old the civilization around Romania is - and that you would enjoy the link.


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Romanian Skirt Valna.jpg
Romanian Skirt Valna.jpg [ 99.58 KiB | Viewed 7455 times ]
Romanian-Skirt-Valna-Detail_W.jpg
Romanian-Skirt-Valna-Detail_W.jpg [ 100.92 KiB | Viewed 7455 times ]

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 Post subject: The birth symbol
PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Location: Japan
The patterns look very Asian. The detail looks like the Birth Symbol to me. Two arms, two legs, a diamond head and a diamond stomach with the child about to be born. Does anyone know the book titled THE BIRTH SYMBOL, published if I remember, by the Textile Museum in Toranto, Canada?

It discusses the time when God was a woman, the Mother Goddess, and how this very motif has been passed down secretly by women through the medium of textiles since the days of Babylon. At that time her position as the creator of mankind was usurped by Marduk, her worship forbidden, her temples distroyed and she was replaced with the male (Father God) who has reigned supreme ever since.

Ah, but women are once again on the rise these days and the world would probably be a kinder, gentler place with the loving, nurturing Mother Goddess reinstated. The stern, punishing, preemtive and agressive disposition of the Father Figure has brought us nothing but war for the last 4,000 years.

Here's to the Mother Goddess, to the birth symbol, to textiles and to love and peace on planet earth! :wink: MAC


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 Post subject: The Birth Symbol
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:39 am 
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Hi Mac:

I remember the book The Birth Symbol very well - that is one reason that I posted this particular close-up - although I didn't realize that I was invoking the Mother Goddess!

I love discovering techniques or motifs in unexpected places - I have an a silk ikat bath "towel" from Syria, which is further West than I had expected to find ikat.

This is the thread that shows Minority front and rear aprons, sometimes over pleated skirts http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... highlight= I look at these and at the Romanian images and...

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 Post subject: Silk Ikat Bath Towel
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:21 am 
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Hi Anna, The Birth Symbol was a great book. I am quite interested in your silk ikat bath towel from Syria. Is it warp or weft ikat? What sort of motifs does it have? How old is it? Do you have a photo you could post?

I am very interested in the ikat technique: where and when it started and how it spread. Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you know the book The Dyer's Art ( Ikat, Batik and Plangi) by Jack Lenor Larsen? It covers the resist techniques the world over and if I remember mentions Yemen and Syria for ikat as well as unexpected places like Switzerland. I would think the roots of ikat in Syria go much deeper than those of Switz. however.

Ikat textiles are my passion since I first discovered them in Indonesia in the early 70s. I have ikats from most of Asia, a couple from S. America, quite a few from Japan but nothing from Syria or Europe, Africa or Madagascar. Do you have any from these places? Did you find any on your trip to Egypt? Well, the Sumo is on, another of my passions, so will sign off for now. Best Regards, MAC


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:13 pm 
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When I travelled in northern Romania some years ago I too was struck by the design elements similarities to textiles in Asia. A now "discredited" scholar named Carl Schuster spent a lifetime looking at similar stylistic / decorative elements found among different cultures across the world. I am not that familiar with his work, but I believe he was attempting to demonstrate contacts and cultural transmission from an early time in world history.
There was a large book of his work, with illustrations, published posthumously. While I have not seen it I am sure many forum members would find it interesting reading.


Steven

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:26 am 
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Hi MAC: Ikat is one of my on-line names, even thought I am, at heart, an embroidery person. I have a couple of books on Central Asian ikat but never bought the Larson, which you're now making me feel that I should. Sigh.

I don't have a photo of the Syrian towel, which I bought in the souk in Aleppo in 1993. The merchant had a newer one, made from rayon or something, in the same technique. I'm not going to promise to dig it out and photograph it any time soon - I have SUCH a long task list already - and here I am on the forum, not doing any of them...

Are you familiar with the ikats of Mexico and Guatemala http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenancingo,_Mexico_State? This dealer has some early 19th c. Mexican ikats http://historia-antiques.com/index.php

Everything I've seen focuses on Central Asia through Japan, areas where patterns of trade are easily discerned - I've not seen anything explaining the origins of ikat in the Americas. I remember riding in a van in the hills of Timor and having a local woman finger the Guatemalan dress I was wearing and trying to guess the island: Savu? Roti?

Steven: I just looked up Carl Schuster - astonishingly, the first citation I came to is Schuster, Carl. "A Comparison of Aboriginal Textile Design in Southwest China with Peasant Designs from Eastern Europe," Man, Vol. 3, July 1937, pp.105-106. ...
http://www.fieldmuseum.org/research_col ... rence.html For other curious forum members, here's an article about his work http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... ntent;col1 The name of the book is Patterns that Connect - I just snagged a reasonably priced copy. There's another one on eBay. Reasonably priced is, alas, relative.

So much remains to be discovered - take, for example, this recent article about "Old Europe" http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/scien ... wanted=all which completely changes our understanding of ancient cultures.

It is fun to share objects on forums like this, if for no other reason than to learn that I'm not alone in seeing these similarities.

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 Post subject: Adama
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:21 am 
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Ah, yes! Here she is again. The Mother Goddess, Ninhursag, who 300,000 years ago took the ovum from Homo erectus, genetically modified it by adding selected genes from the gods, and placed it in the womb of Ninki who gave birth to Adama, the first Homo sapien.

Thanks for the links Anna. They were very interesting. The Mexican ikats were nice but adu, adu mahal! The article about "Old Europe" was great. The "Thinker" looks oh so like the praying pose of an Ifugao priest, or a bulul.

Don't worry about photographing the Syrian ikat as you sound ever so busy. I just wondered if you might already have one. If you remember, though, I would like to know whether it was warp or weft ikat and what kind of motif it was, perhaps a chevron? Schuster's book sounds interesting. Thanks to Steven and Anna! MAC


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:45 am 
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I agree that there is a similarity with embroidered textiles from minority groups in Southwest China, but the particular motif in the detailed photo calls to mind central Asian carpets. Here is an example from a Kazak rug.

The decorative vocabulary on these carpets (that ruggies call "Caucasian") is made up of hooks, spirals and star shapes, mostly angular rather than curved. The shapes are very durable but the explanations differ from one group to the next.

One might ask why pile rug weavers and embroiderers, who (in principle) can weave or embroider any shape they like would choose mainly geometric forms, and why such similar shapes should occur in different weaving cultures. I think that part of the answer is that geometric forms can be remembered and communicated by counting stitches or knots, a much easier task than teaching curved shapes that need a preliminary sketch or graph for the weaver to follow.

Chris


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File comment: Kazak rug, early 20thC
Kazak1.jpg
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File comment: detail of Kazak rug
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Kazak1detail.jpg [ 91.77 KiB | Viewed 7287 times ]
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:10 pm 
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I think Chris is right: similar motifs appear in quite different places and cultures. For example, the “running dog” (wave, Greek key) motif occurs not only in classical Greece, but also on rattan baskets from SE Asia, and in stonework in pre-Columbian Mexico.
I also agree even more strongly that geometric forms in/on textiles and baskets are easier, as well as basic to the medium. This applies equally to embroidery with one basic type of stitch.

Not to deny possible (im)migration of the Romanian motif, I would point out that Scandinavian 19th century or earlier woven bands and other textiles have very similar motifs. In the Oseberg Viking ship from the 9th century, textile fragments were found that are also similar, as this reconstruction shows:
http://www.shelaghlewins.com/tablet_wea ... rocade.htm

The 30 woven bands illustrated in a book from the Nordiska Museum in Stockholm were probably chosen for their variety of motifs. They seem to demonstrate everything that can be done with equal width diagonal lines, including the rams horn/birth motif.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:30 am 
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MAC: While looking for an affordable copy of Patterns That Connect, which just arrived and looks fascinating, I came across Patterned Threads: Ikat Traditions and Inspirations, a book(let) accompanying a 1987 exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

This is the first book I have found that covers ikat in MesoAmerica (Guatemala and Mexico) and, to my great surprise, in Europe, starting in the 10th C.

This may be the best $9 I've spent in a long time!

But now that I've started searching, I found this article http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publica ... &chapid=97 and this magazine http://www.criticasmagazine.com/article/CA6613621.html

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