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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:26 pm
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Location: Kaili, Guizhou, China
Dragon Quilt, the best product of traditional Li ethnic group brocade techniques, calleded "Long Bei" and "Yazhou Bei" in Chinese, it also known as "Yazhou Bei" and Li style brocade in historical books,is one of the most beautiful Li brocade symbolizing riches and honor.It got most famous in the Han Dynasty as the article of tribute to the imperial court.And thereafter it is used as the articles on the occasion of happiness or sadness.Dragon quilt is mainly weaved and embroidered with red and it would be used in such happy occasions as congratulation on one’s birthday,wedding,holiday or festival,and building a new house,etc.If the dragon quilt adopts black as the principal color,it may be used in religious ceremony,funeral and the ceremony praying for a harvest,etc. Whenever there hold a ceremonious funeral in the village.it would be used to cover the coffin to express people’ respect on and show off the riches and the dignity of the deceased.
Design on the Dragon Quilt looks harmonious,magnificent,colorful and graceful with equal and symmetrical composition.Its motif patterns are the patterns of dragon and auspicious things highly worshiped by Li people.
Dragon Quilt brocade possesses strong artistic charm with rich content, extensive theme and profound cultural connotation. It is the crystallization of the traditional Li brocade techniques of spinning,weaving,dyeing and embroidering.
Dragon Quilt brocade mainly includes the following five styles:
Ⅰ.Single-breadth style weaved and embroidered with one large piece of cotton brocade with red as the principal color.The quilt looks thinner with a length of about 2 meters and a width about 1.12 meters It was the embroidered fabrics in the early phase of the Republic of China;
Ⅱ.Double-joint breadth style named as An Da in historical books.1t is made up of two pieces of cotton brocade mainly in black color sewn together.with a length of 2.1 m and l.15m in width.It was the woven and embroidered fabrics in the late Qing Dynasty;
Ⅲ.Three-joint breadth quilt made up of three pieces of cotton brocade sewn together with black as the principal color,and a length of 2.2m and l.25m in width it was the woven and embroidered fabrics in mid Qing Dynasty, which accounts for the majority of dragon quilts;
Ⅳ. Four-joint-breadth style with black as the main color.1t is made up of four pieces of cotton brocade sewn together,with a length of 2.53m and l.30m in width.It accounts for a small amount and belongs to the woven and embroidered fabrics in late Ming and early Qing Dynasty;
Ⅴ. Five-joint-breadth style made up of five pieces of cotton brocade with black as the dominating color.It looks thinner with a length of 3.92m and a width of l.63m.which is the longest and widest one with complicated techniques in different styles.Due to its complicated techniques,it is rarely seen with few left.It was the best fabrics woven and embroidered in early Ming Dynasty.
It would spend a Li woman two or three years to finish making a dragon quilt with the four traditional Li brocade techniques The traditional brocade dragon quilt fully embodies the virtuous and healthy thinking and feeling of Li women,and their wisdom,industry and modesty.
Generally speaking,the motif patterns on the dragon quilt may be put into the following six categories:
Ⅰ.atterns of nature,such as patterns of sun.moon.mountain.water,blue sky,colorful rainbow and auspicious cloud.
Ⅱ.Patterns of human figure in fairy tales such as patterns of ancestry,the three stars of Happiness,Fortune and Longevity,Wu Zi Deng Ke,the Eight Immortals and the Goddess in the Moon,etc.
Ⅲ.Patterns of auspicious animals,such as patterns of dragon,phoenix,Kylin,golden lion,white tiger,Red-crowned crane,mag-pie,cock,bat,tortoise,cyprinoid and pattern of longevity.
Ⅳ.Patterns of auspicious plants such as patterns of glossy ganoderma,immortal peach,Alsophila costularis Bak,peony,flowers in the four seasons of the year,evergreen immortal grass,lotus flower,calyx canthus,orchid,green bamboo and chrysanthemum.
Ⅴ.other patterns,such as patterns of geometrical form.10zenge,curve,straight line,water wave,the word of Hui,dot and line,etc.
The best motif patterns are patterns of Dragon and Phoenix Presenting Luckiness,A Pair of Dragons Playing Pearl,A Pair of Phoenixes Facing the Sun, A Pair of Dragons Jumping on the Wave,Cyprinoid Jumping on the Door of Yu,Kylin for Luckiness and Humanity,the Coming of Five Bat(Happiness),Magpie Climbing in the Plum, Glossy Ganoderma & Immortal Deer.Golden Dragon on the obverse side.Auspicious Clouds & Dragon,Cock Heralding the Break of Day,and the safety pattern of Calyx canthus,Orchid,Bamboo and Chrysanthemum.
From the design of the Eight Diagrams and Tai Ji in the central part of the dragon quilt.They exchanged and absorbed each other in religion,culture and art.We can see that Li ethnic group had long been in friendly contact with the other ethnic groups in history Therefore,the design of the Eight Diagrams and Tai Ji is the result of mutual penetration and acceptation in religion and culture with the meaning of luckiness.It is used to expel evil and pray for luckiness.Absorbing and adopting symbol patterns from the other ethnic groups indicates the combination and great unity Of nationalities.
Dragon quilt brocade is widely prevailed among the Li people and retained up till present for it has a special historical meaning and unique artistic value. But unfortunately, its techniques are lost before about 100 years, so its last remaining whole entities are very, very rare. Here are its some examples are all over 200 years old:


Attachments:
File comment: Dragon Quilt of Li from Hainan
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File comment: Dragon Quilt of Li from Hainan
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File comment: Dragon Quilt of Li from Hainan
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File comment: Dragon Quilt of Li from Hainan
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4.jpg [ 476.71 KiB | Viewed 4477 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:42 am 
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Thanks for posting these photos of some lovely textiles.

Which kind of Li people made these (Ha, Run, Qi, Sai or Meifu)?

You say that the technique of making these has been lost for over 100 years, but you also say that some pieces date from the Republican Period ("early phase of the Republic of China"). Can't both be right...?

Chris

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:55 am 
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Location: Beijing
I have been taking another look at these, since they are such striking textiles (and very sought after by collectors too), and I have noticed an interesting point. At the ends of the last piece that you posted you can see a row of geometric designs that appear to be embroidered in silk (in the dark blue band, rather faint). Just above the figurative embroidery begins (the flowers in the peach colored band). The figurative embroidery is in perfect condition, but the row of geometric figures is quite worn, which is odd. Do you think that they have been repaired or re-embroidered at some time?

I am attaching part of the photo of the bottom part of the textile to show what I mean.

Curious to know more about these fascinating textiles. There is a good article in Hali (Long Bei, by Lee J Chinalai and Vichai Chinalai, Hali issue 130, September 2003) about them.


Attachments:
File comment: detail from piece in the original post (above)
4_129detail.jpg
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:26 pm
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Location: Kaili, Guizhou, China
Hi, dear Chris and Pamela, thank you, and very sorry for my late reply, because of the Chinese Duanwu Festival holiday.

It's sure that the Li people's techniques of Dragon Quilt were lost, but the exact date are the different conjectures of some Chinese scholars, I am very sorry for my mistake when I quoted and translated their theories. I think the exact date is about 60 years.

About which kind of Li people made these (Ha, Run, Qi, Sai, or Meifu), temporarily I don't know, and didn't see any conclusion.

About the row of geometric figures is quite worn, I think it's maybe because of the used manner of Li Dragon Quilt, when it was used, its main body was showed, but its two ends were curled, pressed or binded, so their geometric figures is more worn. of course it's yet possible that they have been repaired or re-embroidered at some time.

In fact these questions need to research further.

You are worshipful for your earnest research on Chinese minority textiles, Chris, thank you!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:26 pm
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Location: Kaili, Guizhou, China
Here are two other examples of the Dragon Quilt from Hainan, they are more old and valuable.


Attachments:
File comment: Dragon Quilt from Hainan
hnlb1-1.jpg
hnlb1-1.jpg [ 463.73 KiB | Viewed 3733 times ]
File comment: Dragon Quilt from Hainan
hnlb2-1.jpg
hnlb2-1.jpg [ 350.2 KiB | Viewed 3733 times ]

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