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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Location: Japan
Hi all,

I need some help with this textile which is not what I normally collect and outside my field of knowledge.The motifs were so small, intricate and finely woven and the price so reasonable, however, that I was smitten. The textile was said to be a Miao headcloth. At 34 x 44 cen., it is hard to imagine that it could be wrapped around the head so if indeed it is a headcloth perhaps it was just placed on the head for ceremonial purpose. On the other hand it may not be a headcloth at all. I have no idea so am hoping someone will recognize this textile and be able to help me with---by whom, where and for what purpose it was woven. It seems to have some age and be woven of very fine hand spun thread by a very skillful and experienced weaver.

Best regards


Attachments:
Miao Headcloth  34 x 44 cen., Cotton  Supp. Weft,  2014-02-15-- 032.jpg
Miao Headcloth 34 x 44 cen., Cotton Supp. Weft, 2014-02-15-- 032.jpg [ 135.48 KiB | Viewed 7122 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Miao Headcloth?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:00 am 
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Hi MAC

This woven headcloth is very similar to the small cloths woven by the Dong in the south east of Guizhou in Liping county. The Miao and Dong live closely together here and it can be difficult to differentiate their woven headcloths. I attach a photo of a Dong woman in Zhaoxing village/town, Liping county (in 2005) who had put a small headcloth on her head to show me how it was possible for them to be worn - as I too found it hard to believe. She had tied a small knot from the two corner ends which are hidden behind her head. It reminded me rather of (older) men (particularly bald ones of my father's generation) at the seaside in the UK (in my youth :)) who made tiny knots in each corner of a handkerchief so that they created a very small cap which could be put over their heads to protect them from the sun.

These small Dong cloths were often given to guests. I think that several would be woven in a long strip and kept ready to give.

You will see that some of the motifs in the central field of your cloth (the starry ones) are very similar and the basic design of the piece is similar. I would not like to say 100% if it is Miao or Dong. I would have instinctively said Dong. Martin Conlan (Slow Loris) might have a better idea as he has traded in very many over the years and usually has his sources in each community. I will try and get him to look at this thread.

If you have a look at the map of my 2005 trip which I put in the diary of my trip you can get an idea of the region. http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Diaries/ ... _Diary.htm


Attachments:
File comment: Dong woman in Zhaoxing village/town, Liping county (2005) demonstrating how the small woven headcloths could be worn
IMGP4209w.jpg
IMGP4209w.jpg [ 113.88 KiB | Viewed 7110 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Miao Headcloth?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:32 am 
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Location: Japan
Pamela,

Thank you for the great information and photo of a woman wearing one of these headcloths. The textile in your photo seems to have blue motifs on a white ground and I wonder if I have posted the reverse side of my textile. The weaving is so fine I debated as to which side was the front but thought the side I posted was a bit clearer. I will post a photo of the other side and perhaps someone can tell which was meant to be the side seen when worn. Perhaps this didn't matter to the wearer and either side could be displayed outward. I was taken by the fineness of the thread and the intricacy of the weaving.

Best regards


Attachments:
Miao or Dong Cotton Headcloth 2014-02-15-- 025 Reverse.jpg
Miao or Dong Cotton Headcloth 2014-02-15-- 025 Reverse.jpg [ 355.19 KiB | Viewed 7107 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Miao Headcloth?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:26 pm 
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I contacted Martin Conlan (Slow Lorris) and asked him about the headcloths on this thread. He very kindly gave me a quick response in between packing his car for for 3 days near Cambridge (Textiles In Focus, Cottenham) - sadly not near to me!

Quote:
Yes these are Dong head cloths found around the apex of the 3 provinces Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi. Sometimes they have a few bright colours at either side (Shuikou). I've had numerous pieces over the years, but the better, older ones seem to be getting harder to find.

About 20 years ago I was staying with a Dong family in Baxie, Guangxi just over the border from Shuikou, Guizhou. After a weeks stay, upon departure, I was given a newly woven head cloth as a gift. I asked the mother who wove it, how many had she made that season (for gifts), to which she replied: 18, and that was just one of the many items she wove each year. When given as gifts they are seen as imparting something of the Dong culture.

Pieces like these can be woven a few at a time together, in the same pattern or not. I've bought them before joined and ready to cut.

I will forward some images of ones with coloured sides when I dig them out.

Some old Dong head cloth scans of pieces I had previously.

I am adding below the photos of the three images of old Dong headcloths which Martin included in his email.


Attachments:
Dong-headcloth-1w.jpg
Dong-headcloth-1w.jpg [ 132.42 KiB | Viewed 7097 times ]
Dong-headcloth-2w.jpg
Dong-headcloth-2w.jpg [ 132.88 KiB | Viewed 7097 times ]
Dong-headcloth-3w.jpg
Dong-headcloth-3w.jpg [ 108.27 KiB | Viewed 7097 times ]

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Pamela

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 Post subject: Re: Miao Headcloth?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:02 pm 
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Location: Japan
Pamela,

Thank you very much and please thank Martin for me as well. The first of his images seems very old and has a ground structure that reminds one of tampan from Lampung. The second image seems quite similar to my textile and seems to have the white motif with indigo background as the front. Great information--thanks again!

Best regards


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:20 pm 
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I have just had an email from Martin Conlan (Slow Lorris) who was briefly home between shows. He very kindly thought of us:
Quote:
"As I promised a while ago, some more recent examples of Dong head scarves/wraps from Shuikou district, in the bottom SE corner of Guizhou. I have include a joined pair.

I’ll leave the choice up to you, if you wish to put them on the forum."

I couldn't resist showing all the images that he sent as I know you would prefer more rather than less!!! I think that the joined pair are particularly interesting as it confirms that they may be woven as a strip and kept in hand for the next guest!

Very many thanks to Martin for sharing these miniature woven marvels with us!


Attachments:
File comment: Modern Dong headcloth from Shuikou district in S E Guizhou
Dong-Shuikou-1w.jpg
Dong-Shuikou-1w.jpg [ 126.1 KiB | Viewed 7048 times ]
File comment: Modern Dong headcloth from Shuikou district in S E Guizhou
Dong-Shuikou-2w.jpg
Dong-Shuikou-2w.jpg [ 170.11 KiB | Viewed 7048 times ]
File comment: Modern Dong headcloth from Shuikou district in S E Guizhou
Dong-Shuikou-3w.jpg
Dong-Shuikou-3w.jpg [ 166.37 KiB | Viewed 7048 times ]
File comment: A pair of modern Dong headcloths from Shuikou district in S E Guizhou still joined by warp threads
Dong-Shuikou-4w.jpg
Dong-Shuikou-4w.jpg [ 177.48 KiB | Viewed 7048 times ]
File comment: Detail of a pair of modern Dong headcloths from Shuikou district in S E Guizhou still joined by warp threads which will be fringes
Dong-Shuikou-4detw.jpg
Dong-Shuikou-4detw.jpg [ 123.67 KiB | Viewed 7048 times ]
File comment: Modern Dong headcloth from Shuikou district in S E Guizhou
Dong-Shuikou-5w.jpg
Dong-Shuikou-5w.jpg [ 143.36 KiB | Viewed 7048 times ]

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:20 am 
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Pamela

Thanks to you and to Martin for posting these other examples. It looks like there has been a style evolution with colorful borders now the rage. Indeed interesting to see that they are woven with a number of pieces on the same warps and cut off as needed. I would guess that all the pieces on a given warp have the same patterns. If pattern sticks are first inserted in the warps, to determine the sheds for the patterns, and are shifted up as the weaving proceeds this would make the weaving of multiple pieces with the same pattern economical.

The weaving of a strip of pieces and the gifting of them on auspicious occasions makes one think of tampan. Has the Chinese name for these textiles been given in this or another post? Must go back and look. Thanks again to Martin for sharing his knowledge and textiles with us.

Best regards


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:52 pm 
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Hi MAC

I don't recall any name for the headcloths being given. Iain might have done and might know as he understands Mandarin - which might not be the language for any specific differential in name which would be Dong. He is interested in and has quite a collection of them although most of the ones I saw when I made some slide shows of a few for him are a bit longer than the ones we are looking at here. Have a look at the mini gallery at http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... WC-IS.html There is one Dong cloth quite similar to ones we are talking about at http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... 04.html#ss

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:08 pm 
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A quick follow up re naming of these pieces - they have been referred to by some as 范本(fan ben) which loosely translates as model/ template/ example. I have written elsewhere that amongst some Miao women the use of a template or reference cloth with specific patterns is known as a bend hmub. The term bend hmub has also been applied by some writers to these small cloths that show the embroidered patterns and motifs mastered by Miao women that may be used to teach their daughters.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:39 pm 
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Iain,

Thanks for the info. on this piece. Does the small size mean that this piece was not worn as a head cloth but kept and used as a pattern sample? You mention embroidered patterns but I wonder if the patterns in this piece are supp. weft and not embroidery, would that be correct? Thanks again for your input and good to hear from you again.

Best regards


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:55 am 
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Hi Mac the small pieces illustrated in this thread are indeed woven and are apparently used not only as gifts (see Martin's comments and examples) but in some cases worn as a headcovering (see Pamela's images) and have also been seen as part of festival celebrations where they are carried by hand (this observation if I recall correctly from Steven Frost). The terms fan ben and bend hmub have been applied to both embroidered and woven examples. The bend hmub examples I have seen from the Miao in Shidong were only embroidered and would definitely not have been worn or displayed to the public serving solely as teaching aid/pattern portfolio. Amongst the Shidong Miao headcloths/coverings are known as Hfub qub bat written in Chinese characters as 頭帕 (pronounced tóu pà) which may indicate that fan ben and bend humb are somewhat loosely applied.

As an aside - in the past the use of headcloth colours was used by Shidong Miao women to directly indicate the age, sexual maturity and status of women with young girls and teenagers (13-18), women of marriageable age, mothers, grandmothers (separated into young and old) and great-grandmothers wearing distinctly different colour combinations.


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