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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:10 pm 
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Bang,

thanks very much for sharing these photos. I am always very interesting in learning and seeing more of Li textiles as I find their textiles very fine.

I agree that the top of the skirt you show looks like some other Li skirts that I have seen. It is rather like the weaving in Meifu Li skirts and appears to be about the same length. It has supplementary weft as well as warp-faced designs as you find in some Meifu skirts.

Susan Stem drew my attention to an article 'Frogs and Ancestors: Textiles of the Meifu Li of Hainan" by Lee J Chinalai and with photos by Vichai Chinalai. It was published in the catalogue for the NYC tribal show earlier this year. The Meifu skirts have quite a lot of warp ikat which does not appear in your skirt. However, some of their skirts include supplementary weft bands.

The article I refer to above talks of
Quote:
"There are two main types of (Meifu Li) skirts. Later and more common skirts are either all in plain-woven bands with stripes of varying widths, or combine alternating stripes of plain cotton weave with one major band of supplementary weft: threads woven along and through the weft ground threads. Earlier and important ceremonial sarongs utilized the warp ikat method."
It could be that your skirt is the more modern version. To me it looks as if the top band - which is more muted - might be an earlier, naturally dyed strip of weaving and the lower part comprises brighter, possibly chemically dyed, later strips of weaving with supplementary weft.

Very interesting.....

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 3:57 am 
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Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Bang-
What a lovely skirt! It appears to be comprised of three bands, which I've found to be common to the so-called 'wedding' skirts I have. As for which group... I cannot shed any real light on that, except to direct you to Gittinger and Lefferts' Textiles and the Tai Experience in Southeast Asia where, on page 33, they show a Meifu Li skirt with a possibly similar top band; the rest of their example bears no resemblance to yours, tho.

The Li are well known for 'recycling' and will replace worn bands on their skirts and blouses with others in better condition, or for whatever reason. The top band on your skirt looks like it may have been made at a different time/place, or by a different person, than the lower part. The skirt I've shown below is probably an example of this: the top and lower bands have a background of black/dark grey and the one in the middle is indigo. I suspect that the indigo replaced a previous band. These wedding skirts can be quite old, dating back generations, which puts some of them in the 19th century, so who knows what could have happened to them in their long lives?

Also, I have several bands of their embroidery and weaving and wonder if they trade these at the local markets like most other groups. Could this possibly result in crossover of motifs and materials between groups? What exactly are the Li groups? I have found conflicting information on this even.

Ah, but is not the mystery part of the appeal...?


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File comment: shows the three bands, with the middle one indigo and the flanking ones black
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 3:22 am 
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Hi Pamela and Susan,
Thanks for all the infos. Actually the skirt looks a bit older than it shows in the photos, though I agree it seems to be combined from two different bands. And the motif on the bottom band seems to be a bit strange..!

Your skirt is truly beautiful. I have few similar ones but none of them as old and still completed as yours! Thanks for sharing Susan.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:17 pm 
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Bang

I didn't mean to suggest that your skirt was 'new' but rather that parts of the skirt at least might be later than some of the ones more obviously identified as Meifu. Perhaps it is 20-40 years old rather than 40-80 or older. It is so difficult to date a textile anyway as it depends how isolated the community is where it has been made.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:04 am 
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Hi Pamela,
Yes I got what you meant and it's so true.
It happens so often to me that I run across some pieces that I can't find any reference, but somehow at the same time I am afraid that I am missing out a chance to get interesting pieces...so of course I got many pieces "blind"! Some times I was lucky, some other times I was not. For me that's part of joyfullness in textile hunting though.

And again another piece, a jacket which is claimed to be Li, but I found no reference at all. It may be interesting enough to get some discussion, I hope.
Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 10:03 pm 
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Bang

This is a very nice jacket! I certainly get a Li 'feel' from the background material which has echos of the top bands of the Meifu skirts. Do you have any measurements of the jacket? Somehow in the photo it looks quite large (rather as the Ba Sa Dung Li blouse always looks so large to me compared to the skirts) which would suggest that it is worn very loosely.

So far I have seen nothing like it in any of the references so thank you very much for posting the photo. At least it will be there to refer to and perhaps one day we will be able to add the identification to the textile!

If only I had more time! Work needs doing to the Li pages on the main Tribal Textiles site at http://www.tribaltextiles.info/forum/Olivier_Li.htm as I have not added any photos of the small group of Li textiles in my own collection and perhaps we could add some of the more 'mysterious' ones which have appeared here if you were all willing? Also a couple of additional references could be added. Another thing for the 'jobs to do' list!!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2004 10:56 pm 
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The jacket size: 24" from shoulder seam to seam. 26" length. It has the same design on the back with those little red, light yellow and white squares.

...I can't wait to see your updating website with more photos of small group of Li textile. Also the idea of adding "mysterious" ones is great! I really believe there are still many things we don't know enough about textile of small sub groups.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:48 am 
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Bang

Thanks for your measurements of the jacket (helpful to get an accurate picture of it in my mind), enthusiasm and comments for the update of Li textiles on the tti site.

In the little book: "Costumes of the Minority Peoples of China" published in Japan (see China bibliography for details http://www.tribaltextiles.info/bibliogr ... _books.htm ) on page 178 there is a photo of a jacket almost the same as yours above. It says "Li people, upper garment for men". Facing this page in the book is a full page photo of a detail from the skirt you post above with the comment: "Li people, cylindrical skirt made of figured cloth". So, the comments are not very helpful as to which Li group but do confirm the overal Li attribution.

Li enthusiasts may be interested in a tiny photogallery I put together last night because I wanted to discuss some Ba-sa-dung Li skirt details with Susan Stem in relation to a skirt in my collection http://www.tribaltextiles.info/pacross/ ... -li_01.htm It is at least a start for setting up the gallery of my Li collection. The close-up shots of the weaving perhaps give some idea to those who can't understand what all the fuss about Li textiles is based on - it is so fine. The photos of the details of the individual bands are approximately actual size. This skirt was the basis of my 'conversion' to Li textiles. I didn't know when I saw it which ethnic group had created it - I was just bowled over by the amazing quality of the weaving and fascinated by the images. The bottom bands of the skirt have both supplementary warp and supplementary weft and the bottom three bands are created with the pattern on one side and a plain backing (except for the supplementary warp 'stripes') i.e. double faced weaving. There is a link from the skirt pages to the background page on Leonard Clarke's article in the National Geographic in 1937 which shows both strip for a skirt being woven and skirts being worn.

The best 'gateway' on the tti site to Li items is http://www.tribaltextiles.info/forum/Li_links.htm (thanks to Susan and Bang for keeping constant on their sites the links to Li textiles - I was most relieved that these were still current when I checked them out last night!) If anyone has knowledge of good information on the Li on the internet please let me know and I will have a look and see about adding them to the Li links page.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2004 3:41 am 
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I had somehow overlooked a request for more information on the Giant Li book and thought since I was going to respond in a PM, that given this recent topic it might be better to respond here.

I think that the book titled Traditional Culture of the Li Ethnic Group (Li Zu Chuan Liu Wen Hua) is a must for anyone collecting Li textiles. The book has seventy pages devoted exclusively to Dress and Ornament, but another section of forty pages devoted to "brocade". Even in the other section detailing daily life, the photos contain people in traditional dress.

Most of the photos are modern, but of a very good quality. The text is bilingual (heavy on the Chingish, but understandable). The brocade section identifies individual patterns. The treatment of the ethnic group is very complete overall and doesn't simply focus on textiles, although that's why I bought it, but instead discusses most aspects of life from daily life to festivals and religion. The book has a total of three hundred large pages.

Now the bad news...
The book is large, heavy, and expensive (899 yuan or more than 100$). I also know that people have been having difficulty tracking this volume down. I bought mine at the Li Museum in TongZha. The museum has a lot of textiles and weaving eqipment as does an organization downtown, but there is almost nothing for sale around Hainan Island (at least from what I saw)

I include the following information so that poeple might be able to find a copy in China:

Author: Wang Xueping
Publisher: Xin Hua Chu Ban She (XinHua Publishing House) 2001
Publisher's Address (Pin Yin) : Bei Jing Xuan Wu Men Xi Da Jie 57 Hao 100803 Xin Hua Shu Dian
Publisher's Address (English) : Xin Hua Bookstore, 57 Xuan Wu Men West Rd. Beijing, China 100803

It is a limited edition, but there should be copies floating around.

Hope this helps.

James


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 1:24 pm 
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James

Very many thanks indeed for this very helpful information - both on the contents of the book and on the publication details. Now can we find a helpful bookseller with some initiative? I will go back to some I have tried already with these fuller details. Susan Stem and I are both very, very keen to get a copies of it for our reference libraries.

I knew it was very heavy and very expensive from John Gillow who had also managed to get a copy whilst in Hainan. I think that he also bought it from the Museum - so far this seems to be the only identified source.

...and I am not sure about 'a few copies floating around' dropping like stones sounds more like it!

Many thanks for the intelligence.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 5:39 pm 
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Hello James
Many Thanks for the info about the Li book.
I also feel that this is a must get volume and am going to see what I can do with the new info you have kindly provided.
When I have had any positive results I will let you all know.
By the way do you have the ISBN handy, as this may simplify the search still further.


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 Post subject: ISBN
PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2004 2:42 am 
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Sorry for not having included the ISBN in the original post. It is:

7-5011-5250-0

James


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