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 Post subject: Burmese Chin textile
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 9:14 am 
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Location: Yunnan, China, Myanmar, Singapore
can anyone tell me re anything about this chin textile(shawl). where else can i find information of chin and naga textiles. thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 1:29 pm 
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Dear Tongzhi,

I believe that this woman's shawl is most likely from the Mro Arang of the Kyauktaw- Paletwa areas of Rakhaine (Arakan) State, in the vicinity of the Kaladin River. However, I have also observed these shawls in some Khumi villlages in the same vicinity, where some cultural overlap does occur.

For information on Northern Chin textiles, I suggest that you refer to an excellent article by David and Barbara Fraser in Arts of Asia, July-August, 2003.

With regards to information relating to Myanmar Naga textiles, I too have yet to find much detailed information. Unfortunately the chapters on Naga textiles in the recent book "Textiles from Burma" by Dell/Dudley do not relate to the Naga groups resident on the Myanmar side of the Patkoi Ranges. However, one excellent book which does include information on the Myanmar Naga groups is "The Hidden World of the Naga" by Stirn/van Ham. Perhaps another member of the forum can assist with further sources?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:01 pm 
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Digna - good to hear from you again!

Tongzhi - there are a couple of other books that you may want to see if you can find. One is an earlier book by Aglaja Stirn and Peter van Ham 'Seven Sisters of India: Tribal Worlds between Tibet and Burma' published in 2000 and also 'The Nagas: Hill Peoples of Northeast India' by Julian Jacobs. There are full details of both books and the one Digna mentioned on the Burma bibliography http://www.tribaltextiles.info/bibliogr ... _books.htm

Peter van Ham is also a member of this forum and has contributed from time to time. Look on the members's details (see 'Memberlist' button on top right of every screen) and send him an email and ask him to look at the textiles you have posted. He may be away travelling but if he is around I am sure that he will have a look and respond if he is able.

Forum member Mark Johnson has also travelled in Burma and I seem to remember has one of his travelogues on his website includes Nagas. Again try the member info for his website details. Forum member Richard Mook has posted some Naga pieces before and may be able to assist.

Today I visited the Brighton Art Gallery (joint publishers of the 'Textiles from Burma' book) where the James Henry Green Collection is housed. Only a limited number of pieces from the collection are on general show and unfortunately the curators were all in a full day meeting so I could not see any other items. However, there was a very fine Naga bag on show which I found very interesting and, Digna, on show was the Jingphaw bag collected by J H Green which is similar to the ones you and Bill Hornaday posted. I could not believe, when I looked at it closely, just how fine the weaving was on the main panel. No wonder there is comment in the Burma Textile book on how the weaving on this bag is some of the most difficult to accomplish. The photo in the book and the web does not give any idea of this. The bag is in very clean condition and most of the colours seem to be chemically dyed. http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... _bag10.htm

sorry, a diversion from Naga....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2004 10:33 pm 
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Tongzhi

You might want to have a look at the small photogallery at http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... _Zantu.htm on some southern Chin textiles to see what Digna means about the similarity to Khumi. The weaving styles are so linked.

Another forum member who has travelled in the region is Jay Bommer and his wife Deborah Lindsay Garner. If you go to the photogallery you will find reference to an article by them "Notes from the Field: On the Trail of Khumi, Khami, and Mro Textiles" in the Textile Museum Journal 1999-2000 and I thoroughly recommend it.

regards

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:59 am 
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thank folks, quite an education. :) i always have difficulty going to chin areas as the local immigration wont clear. :(

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 Post subject: Arakanese textiles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2004 3:39 am 
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Hi all,

It is certainly a pleasure to see quality Burmese textiles finally making their way into the collector's consciousness.

The textile, as Digna pointed out (great to hear from you, Digna!) is not Chin, but rather Arakanese, and possibly a man's cloth. I have a similar one, with brown supplementary weft on a "natural" colored cloth, which will be posted soon.

When I first saw a textile from this region of Burma, I was taken aback by its similarity to Li textiles from Hainan Island- very complex designs in rows, for example. Has anyone else noticed this? (Susan, where art thou?) I have never actually seen a Li cloth, so I leave it to others.

Arakan State, of course, is on the western borders of the Bay of Bengal, an area with a number of divirgent textile traditions. Note for example, how heavy the textiles are compared to those from inland valleys.

There's a very odd coffee-table book we have called "The Vanishing Tribes of Burma", with photos by Richard K. Diran. (1997, Amphoto, also published in Britian) Considering that the Burman are 40,000,000 strong, and the Shan and Karen a couple of million each, the title is peculiar, but the book graces every Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area. And he does go far afield with photos of the Naga and almost everyone else. Very interesting photos of costumes and local variations, especially of Karenic people. Sandie


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 Post subject: More "vanishing..."
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:12 am 
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I'm sorry, but I neglected to mention the 38 pages of Ethnographical History in the back of "Vanishing Tribes..." Written by Gillian Cribbs with Martin Smith, this addendum provides a very useful perspective on the various ethnic groups in Burma, with a healthy dose of historical photographs from the James Henry Green collection, most from the 1920s.

Sandie


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 Post subject: More on Mro
PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2004 3:55 pm 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
There is little out there about textiles from this area, however, this particular textile is shown in the Textile Museum's Journal, p.31, Fig.12 & 13 as cited in Pamela's post. Garner and Bommer attribute it to the Mro and mention it as a woman's shoulder cloth called a 'naga pong'. I have a similar piece on my website and show it below.

I really love the weavings from this area because of the skill involved and the fine use of many different patterns. The double weaving which results in one side with pattern and the back without exemplifies expert weaving.

Thanks for bringing the weaving of this area to the attention of the Forum.


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Mail-TAB112_Detail_Back.jpg
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 1:09 pm 
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I thought I'd share this photo of a Mru woman wearing her traditional costume, which I took a couple of years ago in a village near Kyauktaw.

Her costume consists of a shawl (nana pong), breast cloth (marankite) and skirt (wantalite) complimented by her traditional silver belt and other jewelery, often made from old British colonial coins.

It is interesting to note that aspects of her costume are quite similar to that of both the Khami and Khumi groups. Her breast cloth is close to the Khami style, whilst her skirt has some similarities to the Khumi.

Her shawl, breast cloth and skirt have been decorated with sequins, a modern fashion statement, whilst the small glass beads along the edges of these are very traditional.


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Mru Woman - Kyauktaw.JPG
Mru Woman - Kyauktaw.JPG [ 81.82 KiB | Viewed 17762 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:01 pm 
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Digna

Thank you very much indeed for posting the interesting photo of the Mru woman. I am particularly interested to see textiles in use as clothing so the photo really appeals to me. It is also interesting to see how traditional clothing, where it is still being worn today, both absorbs new influences - sequins - yet still incorporates traditional decoration - the small beads. Thanks for pointing out these features to us.

Yes, how the Mru, Khami and Khumi textiles have similarities in their weaving techniques and clothing styles. A real challenge for textile collectors who do not have the good fortune to collect in the field! I very much admire the weaving skills and the fascinating textiles of these peoples.

As you know, there is very little literature about them so it is especially good to be able see and learn more on this thread. As you may be aware, I have a small photogallery which I created initially a year ago on these Chin groups http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... _Zantu.htm from contributions which came via this forum. I hope that you, Susan and Tongzhi will not mind if, when I get a chance, I incorporate the very interesting contributions you have all made to this thread into the gallery?

[The earlier thread that I refer to is: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... c.php?t=16
there are also a few more photos from forum member Michael of textiles in his collection: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=125 I just mention these other threads and the gallery for new visitors to the forum who may be attracted to these fine textiles and want to see more of them.]

Thanks to you all for sharing.....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 2:07 am 
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i am ok if anyone wish to use anything i put up. i like the way some of you gave your descriptions which leads me to ask something,
with regards to getting some idea or appraisal of some of these textiles' age, value and worthiness, i just wondering where and who does that since there seems to be a passion to either keep the traditions or the treasure. I like the art and creativity part of some newer textiles or collection, but there if there is a desire to collect, people would prefer the older and unrepeatable ones. some of us are in the buying, marketing and selling of it, from where can we understand pricing?

Please can any responses to the very interesting question posed by Tongzhi be posted on thread http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=195 that I am starting on the 'Tribal Textile shopping...' forum. Thanks, Pamela

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:35 am 
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I, too, would like to thank Digna for the lovely and informative photo, as well as the firsthand knowledge. It is always interesting to see the textiles in context, especially in this instance since I've always wondered who could be small enough to wear those chestcloths!

Re the dilemma of differentiating between the Khami, Khumi, and Mro, etc.: does anyone have any advice, considering the rarity of written material?

And, last but not least, many thanks to Pamela for creating a special archive of this material for us to study. It's a lot of work, but I'm sure others find these as useful as I do, and very much appreciate your efforts, Pamela.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 8:22 am 
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I would like to endorse Susan's comments of appreciation of Pamela's incredible efforts, not only in putting this Forum together, but also in collating the information gathered into special Galleries. Yes, Pamela, by all means please feel free to use anything I post on the Forum.

Further on from Susan's question about more information on these groups, I would like to share details of some books about the Mru of Bangladesh that I managed to find recently:

1. Mru: Hill People On The Border Of Bangladesh.
Claus-Dieter Brauns; Lorenz G. Loffler,
Birkhauser, Basel/Boston, 1986/1990.
German: ISBN 3-7643-1816-3
English: ISBN 0-8176-1816-3

This is a detailed well-illustrated anthropological study of all aspects of the Mru culture, which I recommend for those interested in the subject.

2. The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living In A Borderland.
Willy Van Schendel, Wolfgang Mey & Adithya Kumar Dewan
White Lotus, Bangkok, 2000
ISBN 974-8434-98-2

This is a more general study of the geography, history and anthropology of the area of the Chittagong Hills.

3. The Mrus: Peaceful Hillfolk of Bangladesh.
National Geographic, Volume 143 No 2, February 1973 (pp 267-286)

This is a well-illustrated article written for the general NG reader.

I hope that these will help other textile enthusiasts out there enhance their knowledge.

I have attached scanned covers of these books.


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Chittagong Hill Tracts.JPG
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Mru Hill People on the Border of Bangladesh.JPG
Mru Hill People on the Border of Bangladesh.JPG [ 76.67 KiB | Viewed 17704 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 6:20 pm 
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Digna's photograph of the Mru woman above is most welcome, as I too find it somwhat difficult to locate photographs of the various peoples of the Chin hills and nearby areas wearing their traditonal clothes. (The mauves and purples of the textiles shown above have an amost understated beauty which I find most tasteful, I agree, somwhat like Li textiles)
The wrap, skirt and chest cover the woman is wearing are unlike other costumes I have seen in various published photographs of the Mru people from Bangladesh. (see above book recommendations) This originally consisted of a short skirt worn low on the hips and reaching to above the knee, which often has woven decoration. This used to be the only garment worn by Mru women in Bangladesh, but has in more recent years been supplemented wiith a wrap worn over one shoulder and often of bright commercial cloth in pink, red, green. (the fact that it is not hand woven may betray its recent origin) Anklets, necklaces of coins etc complete this costume.
If I am correct, the Mru tribe is mostly concentrated in Bangladesh, and, unfountunatly I have not seen photographs of Burmese Mru until now. Is the population on the Burmese side large?
Since the particular style of costume shown in the photograph appears to be influenced by neighbouring related groups, is this the general rule on the Burmese side of the border? (It has been remarked above that the differences between Mru and their near neighbours may not be entirely clear and this apparently extends to textiles) Can the women's costume I have described above therefore be a more "remote" style found far from neighbouring influences, in the centre of the Mru tribal area, with a transitional zone where it merges into other textile and clothing traditions. Since this appears to be the case I would love to know more about these transitional traditions. This pattern appears to be very widespread in the complex moasic of cultures characteristic of Southeast Asia and China.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 3:40 pm 
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Many thanks to Diga for the very helpful information on literature on the Mru. I thought I would share with members my experience with sourcing these references.

The second book mentioned 'The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living In A Borderland' is likely to be the easiest to locate as it is quite a recent publication (2000). I picked up a copy in a bookshop in Chiang Mai last October (2003) and was very excited as I had bought a very nice Mru skirt from a Chittagong Hills, Bangladesh Mru group in the Night Bazar from Laura Kan of ‘Pusaka’ only a few nights earlier (Laura helped Michael Howard with his research for his ‘Textiles of the Hilltribes of Burma’ book) and there were some good photos of similiar skirts being worn in the book. If anyone has a problem locating it, then try http://www.thailine.com/lotus/orders/orders.htm I have been unable to source the English language version of 'Mru: Hill People On The Border Of Bangladesh' although a copy of the German language version was available via http://www.addall.com/ book search not long after Digna posted information on the Mru literature. I managed to get a copy of the February 1993 (Vol 143, No.2) of the National Geographic with the article by Claus-Dieter Brauns which has some good photos although the minimalist text makes me wish that I could find the English language version of 'Mru: Hill People On The Border Of Bangladesh' which he co-authored. I have found 'The Geographic Attic' a helpful and efficient source of past issues of National Geographic. http://members.tripod.com/~Phil_Malarek/

best wishes,

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