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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:15 am 
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I am just back from a trip to Hainan island, where I managed to find some Meifu Li weavers making ikat (there are not many these days!). I will send some more detailed notes on the process to Pamela later, but thought I would post some brief information here.

These weavers are in the ChangJiang area of southwestern Hainan, just to the north of the DaGuangBa reservoir (many were resettled when the dam was built). There is a small government-sponsored workshop in DongHeZhen (东河镇), and the weaver Fu Bai Ma Ding (mentioned by Andrew Wang in the post on Li minority blankets http://www.tribaltextiles.info/community/viewtopic.php?t=1539) is about half an hour's drive away along a dirt track in XiFangCun (西方村). In both places the weavers were very welcoming. There is not much for sale (mostly items are made to order) but the weavers are very happy to explain the process. No English is spoken but most people can communicate in Mandarin Chinese, except for the elderly who only speak local dialects.

In case anyone looking at these photos thinks this is a rural paradise full of local costume I will have to disappoint on that score, the weavers kindly put on their local dress for the pictures, but are more likely to hang out in jeans and tracksuits at other times! Traditional dress is pretty much restricted to festivals, apart from a few of the very old people (70 years and up).

The first two photos are of weaver Fu Qing Shang tying ikat before dyeing, and then weaving the finished cloth, which would traditionally be a band for an ikat skirt but in this case is a presentation sash ordered by the local govt! The last photo is of Fu Bai Ma Ding and a neighbor in XiFangCun, wearing local dress, including blue-and-white headscarves.


Attachments:
File comment: Fu Qing Shang weaving warp ikat patterned cloth on a foot-braced backstrap loom. The skirts that the weavers are wearing are contemporary versions of Meifu Li skirts, handwoven but made with synthetic dyes. The cloth is natural indigo and other local dyes
HainanDHZ-54.jpg
HainanDHZ-54.jpg [ 132.56 KiB | Viewed 11874 times ]
File comment: tying ikat designs on warp threads before dyeing
HainanDHZ-63.jpg
HainanDHZ-63.jpg [ 107.76 KiB | Viewed 11874 times ]
File comment: Fu Bai Ma Ding (on the right) and Fu Bei Loi in XiFangCun. For Fu Bei Loi this is still her everyday outfit.
HainanXFC10.jpg
HainanXFC10.jpg [ 89.87 KiB | Viewed 11874 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:22 pm 
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Chris

I would like to thank you very much for sharing these photos and this information with us. It is a tribute to your determination, linguistic ability and experience (plus, I guess just a little bit of luck as that is needed at all times!) that you managed to find as much as you did on your short trip to Hainan. I know of others who have visited and found no current weaving.

Just a reminder to anyone who can get to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA the Craft Art Market runs from 9-11 July in this coming week and Fu Bai Ma Ding will be there see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... php?t=1532

Many thanks for sharing. In due course when there are some more detailed travel notes from Chris on-line I will put a link on this thread.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:21 pm 
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I too thank Chris for the report and wonderful photos. It is at least reassuring to see them still weaving ikat and wearing textiles that utilize traditional weaving techniques. Alas, the ease and brilliance of synthetic colors always seems to lure them away from the natural ones, tho.

It's also very interesting to see that backstrap loom in action! You may recall our previous thread on those. The one in the Chris' photos bears little difference from the old ones we showed and discussed.

Lucky Chris to be able to not only visit Hainan, but converse too! I look forward to more from your trip.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:08 pm 
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At long last I have put the travel notes and photos which Chris kindly sent me into a web article on the main www.tribaltextiles.info website. He gives us via text and photos an interesting analysis of Li brocade weaving. In the context of his visit this was Qi Li but the technique is probably similar across the various Li sub-groups.

http://www.tribaltextiles.info/articles ... aving.html

Together with his photos above of weaving by Meifu Li this is a good snapshot of some of the remnants of the traditional weaving of the Li.

Thank you very much, Chris, for sharing with us.


Attachments:
File comment: Weaver Huang Ji Xiang, who is a member of the Qi subgroup of the Li people, making the cloth that is called "Li brocade" locally - Shui Mian Qiao village near WuZhiShan on Hainan Island. Photo Chris Buckley June 2010
WZSShuiMianQiao01.jpg
WZSShuiMianQiao01.jpg [ 110.6 KiB | Viewed 11641 times ]

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 Post subject: Li brocade weaving
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:25 am 
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Chris and Pamela, this is such exciting stuff, precisely what this forum is about and what this forum can do so well. This is grist for the technical experts that will be used for years to come and the photos are of excellent quality, too. I am not a connoisseur of textiles and techniques in that area and would have to make a bit of a study of it to really understand this information in its context, but the important thing is that it is recorded for the time being. Of course I am saddened by the loss of this tradition as well. There is so much loss of comparable traditions all around the world that it becomes unbearable. I hope that some "supporter" of this tradition might do something to facilitate its continuation. Thank you a thousand times to both of you for this contribution. So valuable.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:59 pm 
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Hi all, Indeed, we all appreciate Chris sharing his info and great photos on the textiles of Hainan. It is interesting to see the foot-braced, backstrap loom in action. Was there another post about the use of this loom that I have missed? His explanation of the dual shed technique for the weft, brocade, woven patterns was most educational.

With utmost respect for Chris and Susan and at the risk of sounding pedantic I would again humbly like to suggest a change in terminology. "Li ikat weaving" and "To see them still weaving ikat" seem to me to be confusing terminology. There seem to be many more visitors viewing the forum than there are active members. Some of them may not be familiar with the different decorative techniques and "ikat weaving or weaving ikat" may give them the impression that ikat is a weaving technique (which it is not).

I wonder if "Contemporary Ikat Dyed Textiles Of The Li" or "to see them still producing ikat dyed textiles" might not be clearer? The name IKAT is often wed to the word WEAVE but I would like to see them divorced and IKAT rewed to DYED as it is a dyeing and not a weaving technique.

It is interesting to note that the other resist dyeing techniques, namely BATIK, PLANGI and TRITIK are not wed to the word weave. We do not see, for example, "They still weave batik on Java" or "Plangi weaving in India" or "The tritik woven textiles of Indonesia". No, these members of the resist dyeing family are firmly wed to the word DYE. "The batik dyed textiles of Java" or "Tie-dyed (plangi) T-Shirts" or "The stitch-dyed (tritik) textiles of Indonesia and Mindanao". "Batik weaving is very difficult" is just not used. It is clear to everyone that these are DYEING techniques.

Ikat is a member of the same resist dyeing technique family. Perhaps because it alone is applied to the threads before they are woven into fabric, it gets confused with the cloth construction process (weaving of the fabric) itself and is wed to the word weave.

On Hainan Island the Li People use the warp ikat, dyeing technique, the weft brocade weaving technique, the warp float, weaving technique and also do embroidery. These various, decorative techniques are distinguished and defined by the terminology used to describe them. I therefore think the name IKAT should be divorced from the word WEAVE and forever wed to the word DYE.

Chris' first two photos clearly describe and show the binding of the patterns on the warp threads prior to dyeing and the weaving of a cloth with warp ikat dyed patterns. His last photo clearly shows the two sheds used to produce weft brocade, woven patterns. Great photos Chris and very good information on how the weft brocade patterns are woven. I wonder what technique was used to produce the blue and white headcloths the two ladies are wearing?


Attachments:
File comment: This skirt has warp ikat dyed patterns with warp float woven patterns in the narrow bands in between
2010 07 27 # 0040  Meifu Li Woman's Skirt, # 3, Ikat.JPG
2010 07 27 # 0040 Meifu Li Woman's Skirt, # 3, Ikat.JPG [ 174.09 KiB | Viewed 11572 times ]
File comment: This skirt has warp ikat, dyed patterns, a band of weft brocade woven patterns and narrow bands of warp float weave.
2010 07 27 # 0092  Meifu Li Woman's Skirt, # 6, Ikat & Brocade.JPG
2010 07 27 # 0092 Meifu Li Woman's Skirt, # 6, Ikat & Brocade.JPG [ 121.37 KiB | Viewed 11572 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:32 pm 
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MAC,

I usually don't publicly disagree with forum members but I am afraid I am going to do so today as I do not agree with you!

I do not want to divorce 'ikat' from weaving. The process of applying the resist to the threads, dying ikat and reassembling the threads to provide the pattern in the loom, making sure that the tension is correct to keep the line of the pattern in the loom before and during weaving is very much an integrated succession of processes to produce the finished cloth. 'Ikat' refers to the resist dyeing via tying of the threads and using a dye bath (once or several times) but the threads by themselves are pretty useless. They must be woven - and the the threads must have been conceived as a finished woven textile when they are tied and dyed. Double ikat is even more 'challenging' in the weaving process to produce the pattern conceived in the creation of the threads.

A resist dyeing technique such as batik is applied to already woven cloth (hand woven or machine woven).

In my head the ikat of the threads and the weaving of the threads are two separate but integral processes and I will continue to refer to ikat weaving. It is something I do with thought, not casually.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:02 pm 
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These semantic squabbles can be fun and sometimes even beneficial, if they lead to clearer understanding. So I'll add my two-cents worth, as I have been deeply involved with questions of textile terminology.

I agree with Max that speaking of "ikat weaving," or "weaving ikats" to describe a PROCESS can indeed be misleading. This is not, I think, the preferred usage. We speak clearly of "producing ikat weavings", using the word "weavings" as a noun, "ikat" as an adjective. We can properly describe fabrics as "warp ikats," "weft ikats," or "double ikats," using "ikat" as a noun. We can speak clearly of "ikat" fabrics. Or just "ikats." We can speak of or describe the "ikat process."

Using "Ikat weaving" to only reference one short part of the production process--and in fact the simplest, quickest, most mundane part of the process--seems misguided. It doesn't encompass the more crucial part of the production process. "Ikat dyeing" also references only one part of the process. Thus in my mind, neither is an adequate description of this category of fabric production.

To sum up: A textile can properly be called "an ikat weaving." "Ikat weaving," however, is an improper term for a process. One cannot "weave" an ikat without dyeing; conversely, one cannot "dye" an ikat without weaving.

Best wishes,
Marla Mallett


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:34 pm 
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One more quibble...since we're quibbling:

Brocade weaving uses far more than two sheds. Every plain-weave, including a brocade fabric ground, requires two separate sheds; brocade patterning requires a great many more...many of which are picked by hand and often "saved" on pattern rods to facilitate re-opening specific pattern sheds.

Marla Mallett


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:00 am 
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One or two more notions on the same subject... If we want to be precise, we need to realize that the phrases used above are redundant:

"WARP IKAT DYED PATTERNS" -- The word "dyed" is redundant, as "ikat" itself means tie-dyed sets of threads incorporated in a woven fabric. It is useful indeed to specify whether the warps or the wefts (or both) form the patterning.

"WEFT BROCADE WOVEN PATTERNS" -- The words "weft" and "woven" are both redundant. "Brocading" or "brocade" themselves denote woven ornamentation produced with supplementary wefts.

Redundancy does not make textile descriptions either more accurate or more "scholarly"--just more boring to wade through. The short, succinct term IKAT has a standard, well understood meaning, so there is no need to specify either that ikat fabrics have been "dyed" or "woven." It is common in English, of course, to use the term "weaving" as a conversational substitute for any hand-loomed "fabric" other than those with surface decoration.

Marla


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