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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:37 pm
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Location: cayman islands
Hello everyone..........a friend of mine recently went home to China to visit her family.........when she came back last week she presented me with a handful of textiles that she found while visiting some of her family.........
a babycarrier, an embroidered panel for a babycarrier, a handful of baby hats and a small money bag/purse.........I am attaching photos of the babycarrier and the embroidered panel............all the pieces are of the same style and all have embroidered Chinese characters which my friend has translated for me.........I look forward to hearing your comments........
Rachel


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chinese_babycarrier_2_616.jpg
chinese_babycarrier_2_616.jpg [ 47.48 KiB | Viewed 6627 times ]
detail_107.jpg
detail_107.jpg [ 57.66 KiB | Viewed 6627 times ]
chinese_babycarrier_1.jpg
chinese_babycarrier_1.jpg [ 53.82 KiB | Viewed 6627 times ]
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2003 4:52 am
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Location: California, USA
Hi,

Any chance to get a translation of the Chinese characters? Any form of writing on a textile is always of interest, since many cultures don't mark their textiles at all. Would I be wrong to guess they include "incantations" for a happy and healthy (boy?) baby?

The baby carrier doesn't seem to be structurally similar to the Miao (Hmong) in China or SEAsia, or Yao for that matter. These baby carriers coinsist of a main body with attached straps on the top and bottom, while the one pictured here is unitary in construction.

But wait for Rusty, he's the baby carrier expert around here. (hey Rusty, hows about a picture of your new baby in his baby carrier?).


Sandie


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Rachel

Thanks very much for sharing these photos of embroidered baby carriers with us. Very interesting. Their construction reminds me a little of a Sani (part of Yi) baby carrier I saw in the Stone Forest in 2000 - see http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... /SFE08.htm However, I assume that it is a Han rather than a minority baby carrier. Very nice, fine cross-stitch - an aura of embroidered with love as some of the best baby carriers have.

My feeling of the photo - Chinese baby carrier 2 - is that the carrier would actually be worn horizontally and not vertically as shown in the photo.

(Hope you don't mind, but I reloaded the photos after saving for the web in Image Ready so that the images would not take so long to load. I don't think that it has diminished the quality of the images as they appear on the screen.)

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2004 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:37 pm
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Location: cayman islands
Pamela..........yes the carrier is worn horizontally.......it only hung better vertically inorder to take the picture..........I was wondering if it was Han....
the woman who made it was originally from Hainan Island and had moved to the Guangdong region when she got married some 50 years ago.......
can you tell me what the swastike represented when used in textiles.............I remember reading about it's use but can't seem to find the reference........and yes the Chinese characters all wish good blessings for the child and wish more healthy babies on the mother.............

Rachel


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2004 7:22 pm 
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Rachel

Now, Hainan Island gets me going...! However, I think it unlikely that this baby carrier is Li - the reason I start to get excited at the name Hainan! There are also some Miao on Hainan. However, it very probably reinforces the suggestion of Han.

Swastika symbol. My friend Google turns up various quite interesting links. See http://www.iearn.org/hgp/aeti/aeti-1997/swastika.html for:
Quote:
The origin of the swastika symbol is unknown. For thousands of years, it has been used as a symbol of the revolving sun, fire, infinity, or continuing re-creation, as well as a decorative motif in the Americas, China, Egypt, Greece, and Scandinavia. Swastikas have been found in the catacombs of Rome, on textiles of the Inca period, and on relics unearthed at the site of Troy. The swastika has also been important in Eastern religions: to Buddhists, it represents resignation; to Jains, it represents their seventh saint; and to Hindus, a swastika with arms bent to the left represents night, magic, and the destructive goddess Kali.

See http://www.innerx.net/personal/tsmith/swas.html with the following and other references to China:
Quote:
In China, the swastika is a Chinese character ( Pinyin wan4, \ tone ) which means "ten thousand, a very great number, myriad".

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 5:05 am 
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Location: cayman islands
Pamela...........believe it or not there is a handfull of Chinese here in Cayman from Hainan Island...........a business man from Canton came here 15 years ago and has brought over workers from the surrounding areas over the years............I will ask them if anyone has ties to the Li when I see them next...........I did find in the book "Clothings and Ornaments of China's Miao People"..........a picture on page 209 of a head-scarf that has similar cross stitch patterns as the embroidered squares I have............maybe the babycarrier just has a Miao influence?
Rachel


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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 8:58 am 
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Rachel

Yes, indeed! You are quite right about the embroidered headscarf on page 209 of "Clothings and Ornaments of China's Miao People". Not sure if the designs are really similar although there is a star in the centre of your embroidered panel (Chinese babycarrier 1) and also the piece on p209.

John Gillow, long term traveller and dealer in textiles from S E Asia and Africa (books on Indonesian, Indian, World and African textiles) has also become obsessed with trying to find Li textiles 'on the ground'. He has visited Hainan twice this year with no success but did find a small amount of Miao work - a waxed and a dyed example of the batik on page 208 which I saw last week. (No embroidered work, however.) He said that he was pleased that I was as obsessed with Li textiles as he was! Forum member Susan Stem has also caught this particular textile virus!

How amazing to find Chinese from Hainan in Cayman - or perhaps not. The attraction of islands.... and similar climate! For me personally having spent about two and a half years in Cayman Islands in the first half of the 1970s it is one of those very amazing coincidences - especially given the size of the Cayman Islands in the context of the world.

This internet 'thingy' is also wonderful at catching these coincidences!

Actually, I was only looking at the "Clothings and Ornaments of China's Miao People" last weekend as I was trying to identify a small woven headcloth which I bought as Miao the previous week at the Decorative Antiques and Textile fair in Battersea Park. There are 2 examples in the book which have similarities in the weaving style - and the Miao from Hainan is one - except that my cloth is a small squarish piece and not a long cloth - see pages 210/211 I was thinking about taking a photo and posting to see if I could get any help on identifying. I will see about getting myself organised!

Not sure if all roads lead to Hainan or Cayman..........Rome had better watch out!

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2004 8:00 pm 
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Greetings,

I'm a new poster, but long-time lurker of the forum and decided to chime in now that I'm back in the states with a reliable internet connection.

The auspicious sayings on the top carrier read as follows:

Top (reading towards the right) Fortune like the Eastern Ocean. (Fu ru dong hai)
Right (Reading downwards) Longevity like the Southern Mountains. (Shou bi nan shan)
Left (reading downwards) Long life and prosperity. (Chang shou fu gui)
Bottom (reading towards the left) One thousand sons and one hundred valuable things. (Qian zi bai fu)
The lower right corner- Children

The second piece is too pixellated to read clearly.

Pretty standard auspicious sayings for baby carriers. The first two in particular I have seen a lot as a pair, most recently on backpack carriers coming from the Zhuang in Guangxi.

-James


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