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 Post subject: Minjian Zhijin
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:30 am
Posts: 315
A recent accquistion:
Minjian Zhijin (Chinese Woven Textiles). 1994. Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House.
ISBN: 7535607039
ISBN-13: 9787535607034
Text in Chinese. Color illustrations of woven textiles from Tujia, Miao, Yao and Dong groups. Textile pieces, quilts, belts, ribbons and baby carriers are covered.
It is available from Mandarin Books in China with Liu, Xiaofeng providing excellent service.
Mandarin Books in China may be reached on the web using the following link:

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:52 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1997
Location: Canterbury, UK
This is indeed a fantastic book for those interested in the woven textiles of south west China. However, as there is no English whatsoever in the book it does lead to some frustration for the linguistically challenged at not being able to understand the text - when the images are so excellent and intriguing. The second page of ... 3&start=15 makes several references to the book and shows some images from it, especially of Dong textiles from the Tongdao region of Hunan Province.

I am very pleased to say that Steven Frost recently received his copy of the book and, so impressed was he by the book that, wonderfully(!), he has been bitten by the bug of translating parts of the text. With his permission I am sharing with the forum:
"a synopsis of Minjian Zhijin's introduction. Feel free to post it on the forum. It is a loose translation, but the general ideas are there. "Minjian" means "folk" and "zhijin" is brocade."

"Hunan folk brocade is closely related to China's ancient past. The roots of weaving in China can be traced back at least to the neolithic period. Hemudu (present day Ningbo) culture thrived around 7,000 years ago. Excavations there have uncovered wooden knives and other implements used for weaving as well as components of looms.

At Mawangdui - a Chu Han tomb - unearthed near present day Changsha textiles were discovered and bear many similarities to those found among minorities in western Hunan.

At Jianglingmashan, a Han Dynasty (approx. 220AD) tomb in Hubei Province great quantities of brocaded textiles were discovered. The totems and weft patterns are closely related to the brocaded textiles of southwest Chinese minorities.

During the Three Kingdoms (220 A.D.) there were brocaded blankets called "Wuhoujin". These blankets were treasured possessions, but apparently were usually only found among noblemen. It was believed that sleeping with them could cure illness, so when a child was sick the parents would brocade a special bedcover for them.

Around the same time, due to excessive warfare, the center of Chinese silk production moved to Sichuan province (at that time it was called Shu Guo). Sales of the silk brocaded textiles were one of Zhuge Liang's chief means of financing military expeditions to conquer and pacify southern China. Tens of thousands of northerners were sent south to settle and colonize the border areas (which at that time did not include Guizhou, Yunnan or much of Guangxi). These people brought weaving technology with them.

The area where present day Hunan and Guizhou meet used to be known as Tongren and the people there (primarily Miao) were known as "Tongren man", "man" being a pejorative term for barbarian. These Miao adopted the brocading technology first. From there it travelled to Dong and then Zhuang peoples.

A historical record "Zunyi Fuzhi" mentions Tongren barbarians produced brocaded textiles. There is a folk poem recorded long ago about the brocaded costumes of the area and how the textiles were precious and inseparable from their creators.

The author continually refers back to the "wuhoujin" of the Shu Kingdom and says that the relationship between those textiles and the textiles still being produced by S W Chinese minorities is intimate. He qualifies his statement by saying that the Shu technology is the starting point and that the minorities adopted it and then produced things according to their own ethnic identity and customs. They also took this technology originally exclusively for silk and applied it to all kinds of fabric and threads.

One more thing, there are stone carvings on the walls of a Shu tomb in modern day Chengdu of looms similar to those still being used today. One of these images is illustrated in the text."

You will be pleased to hear that Steven ended with:
"OK, more to come..."!

File comment: Scan of the board cover for Minjian Zhijin
MinjianZhijin-w.jpg [ 85.5 KiB | Viewed 8537 times ]

on-line tribal textiles resource
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Steven and Pamela-
Many thanks for that! This is the 'blanket book' that I've had and have been trying to have translated. So far the translation is not complete, but it's being worked on. The introduction text is around 19 pages and includes many drawings of looms etc., so the text looked promising. My understanding is that the weavings referenced are from ethnic groups in Hunan Province. If anyone is interested in a copy of the translation, please let me know.

Susan Stem

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:32 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 7:45 am
Posts: 142
Minjian Zhijin is just one of five volumes of Hunan Fine Arts Pub. House on the topic of "folk arts".

It is correct that all the ilustrated examples are from the Tujia(土家族, Dong (侗族), Miao (苗族) and Yao (瑶族)living in western Hunan (Xiangxi 湘西) along the Guizhou border.


steven frost-arts of southwest china

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