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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:22 pm 
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
I am trying to identify this top which is reported to be from a Chinese Minority group. I was thinking it could be Dai from Yunnan, but I can't find a reference to one similar. Any ideas would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:26 pm 
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Hi Pam

I think that you have certainly set us a challenge here and I am not sure how quickly it will be solved! You have obviously been through the usual 'suspects' of reference books. I have had a trawl myself but no luck. I cannot recall having seen anything like it before. I tried Martin Conlan (Slow Loris) who, like yourself, travels frequently to China, but he cannot identify it. He mentioned that the cropped shape is similar to the Flower belt (Huayao) Dai in Yunnan, but both the work and the cross fastening is very different. He wondered whether it might be from one of the Tai groups over the border in Vietnam. I don't, however, feel that the 'cut' of the jacket is quite right in that context. Did you source it in Yunnan?

I have been trying to understand the actually stitching/weaving work from the photos but have not been able to do so. The big zig-zags look a bit like a tapestry weave but I am not sure.

Amazing that there are still interesting pieces coming to light to keep us on our toes!!!

Good luck with the hunt for identification. Do share with us if you manage to do so and I will certainly keep my eyes open.

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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:35 pm 
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Thank you, Pamela, for your quick consideration of my post. Ironically this morning I was re-shelving a bunch of research books and noticed a small one which has a photograph on it's front cover that did get me encouraged. The book is Patterns on Textiles of the Ethnic Groups in Northeast of Vietnam, published in 1997 by the Cultures of Nationalities Publishing House, Hanoi. The author is Diep Trung Binh. Just as you and Martin speculated this piece may be from Vietnam. Again, however, the opening on the right is not is not the same as the tops featured in the book which appear to be slipped on over the head. The one is in the book is from the Phu La People belonging to the Tibeto-Burman languare group with a reported population of only 7,500 living in areas of Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Son La , and Lai Chau Provinces of Vietnam.
The jacket itself belongs to a collector who purchases mainly in Beijing.
The book was revised by Barbara Cohen. You can find an image of the cover on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... of+Vietnam
Hopefully this lead will further the quest.
Many thanks,
Pam Najdowski


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:28 am 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Funny, but I was just about to post that this top had similarities to those of the Phu La! I had a set of blouse and skirt and as I recall, the geometric motifs are embroidered, not woven. I looked for more photos of tops to see if any were of the Chinese/slanted style, but have not found any yet.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:30 am 
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Hi Pam

Thanks SO much for your 'signpost' post! I have a couple of books from Vietnam in conjunction with the Museum. One of them was a great help 'Vietnam-Image of the Community of 54 ethnic groups'. On pages 158 and 159 there is information and photos of the Phu La. I am attaching a scan of the images on page 159 - a bit chopped as the book is wider than my scanner can take.

Quote:
From p158:
The Ph La have nearly 9000 inhabitants living in the provinces of Lai Chau, Son La, Lao Cai and Ha Giang. The largest part settles in La Cai. The Phu La are also called Xa Pho, Bo Kho Pa, Mu Di Pa and Va Xo Lao. The Phu La worship their ancestors and believe in animism.

The Phu La live in separate villages, alternating with other ethnic groups such as the Mong, Dao and Tay. Each village contains about 10-15 households. The house is built in a simple way with three bays and two lean-tos and thatched roof.....


I actually should be ashamed of myself as, in 1995 I saw a group of Phu La girls in Sa Pa and, in 1994 and actually bought (without knowing quite what it was) a blouse and skirt in a shop in the old quarter of Hanoi. Here is a link to my small photogallery of the Phu La girls in Sa Pa http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... _XaPho.htm However, what I notice is that, although some of the embroidery is similar the actual 'cut' of the blouse is not the same as in your blouse. I wonder if groups in different provinces have different styles? The 'set' I have is, I am pretty sure, similar to the ones in my web.

Perhaps we are a little nearer but not, frustratingly, quite there!


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File comment: page 159 from 'Vietnam-Image of the Community of 54 ethnic groups' showing Phu La
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http://www.tribaltextiles.info
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:33 am 
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In typical fashion Susan was making her post just as I was making mine - but got ahead of me! I had thought that she might have some insight given the flow of textiles which come into Chiang Mai.

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Pamela

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:40 am 
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Reading my web page referenced above I see that I was quoting from Michael C Howard and Kim Be Howard's book of 'Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Northern Vietnam: Mon-Khmer, Hmong Mien, and Tibeto-Burman. In that separate groups of Phu La are referred to in context with the different names used for the Phu La. There are images on pages 218-223. None show quite your style of blouse.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:49 am 
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Sorry, here I am again!

This morning I referred Martin Conlan to the 'progress' we were making with this mystery and he came back to me with a link to an old forum thread (which I had forgotten all about) on the Phu La viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1466 This shows similar stripes of the embroidery but still not the same fastening as Pam Najdowski's. I know yesterday that I was focusing on the fastening style and not connecting with the embroidery.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:19 am 
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
I loved seeing Pamela's photographs of the Phu La in SaPa. It does seem that the right-side fastened top is so much like the tops in Pamela's photographs and in the Vietnamese reference books, that they should be connected. I do have the Howard book and had noted that other Phu La do have right-side fastened tops but those sub-groups have a totally different outfit including wearing trousers instead of the embroidered skirts. Another difference in the top that I posted is that it has only embroidery and none of the elongated Job's tears as is incorporated in many of the other tops in the books.
Maybe another insight will hit one of us. Thanks so much all of you for your help.


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