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 Post subject: Ge Jia textiles
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 10:00 pm 
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Andrew

Sorry, yes I did mean jacket 2 - thought I had said so but I did have one of those funny turns where I struck a wrong key and some text disappeared! [For the earlier part of this thread see the separate thread on Ge Jia batik jackets http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=215 ] I am happy with the no bats but birds, butterflies...... I get a sense of flying and wings from the abstraction of the design although, from what you say, it may not even be flying life. Thanks for the info.

I do think that the outlines bear resemblance to some bats in Han Chinese embroideries as one of the auspicious symbols but that may just be association of ideas on my part - and, of course, just possibly an influence, albeit submliminal, on the Ge Jia.

Below are some (hasty) photos of a Ge Jia sash and a close up of the design I am interested in (which is not nearly as finely ornamented as on your lovely jacket). This is wax resist on yang bu cloth. Also an embroidered baby carrier with a tiny bit of wax resist on the carrier but large motifs on the very long ties which are (almost) still attached - again wax resist on yang bu cloth. I have added in a close-up of the design (which is pretty crude but would be almost invisible in the folds of cloth when worn) and also of the embroidery which is very fine and close.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia wax resist tie collected in Ma Tang, village which is within the Kaili city area, Guizhou province November 2001
ge-jia2_.jpg
ge-jia2_.jpg [ 44.06 KiB | Viewed 12644 times ]
File comment: Detail of wax resist design on Ge Jia tie
ge-jia3_.jpg
ge-jia3_.jpg [ 59.32 KiB | Viewed 12644 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia baby carrier collected in Ma Tang, village which is within the Kaili city area, Guizhou province November 2001
ge-jia4_.jpg
ge-jia4_.jpg [ 57.73 KiB | Viewed 12643 times ]
File comment: detail of design on tie of Ge Jia babycarrier
ge-jia5_.jpg
ge-jia5_.jpg [ 59.12 KiB | Viewed 12643 times ]
File comment: detail of embroidery on Ge Jia baby carrier
ge-jia8_.jpg
ge-jia8_.jpg [ 56.19 KiB | Viewed 12643 times ]

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Last edited by Pamela on Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:59 pm 
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I hope that Andrew will not mind this thread straying away from the jackets where he started! I don't unfortunately have any (although I do have a tabard style which is very plain with very little wax resist - see some being worn below).

I am adding some photos of a short pleated wax resist skirt which I bought in 2001 in the same Ma Tang village, in Kaili city as the other items I have posted. The skirt is all of hand spun, hand woven tu bu cloth and possibly the plain indigo upper, gathered part may be hemp or ramie. It is quite thick cloth. The skirt is tied with hand woven lengths of braid. The circular curls in the wax resist pattern seem to be a very typical Ge Jia pattern at least in this area. I think that the skirt, although in very good condition and giving the impression of being very little worn, is not a new one and may be 10-20 years old - perhaps older, I don't know. I say this because the ones being worn today in the village are now made of purchased, machine woven fabric and with the addition of red flashes of fabric and embroidery, at least for younger women). I am posting a photo of the dance troupe in the village who worked very hard to give us a good display of their festival costume in very cold and numbing weather and you will notice the difference in the skirts. However, as this is a dance troupe and they tend to wear more ornate costume for their competitions and displays it is not possible to place to great an emphasis on this distinction.

There is no doubt that the Ge Jia have an exuberance and range in their wax resist for their clothing. Andrew's pieces show just what can be (has been) accomplished but even my more pedestrian items show very considerable skill in wax resist.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia skirt of hand spun and woven cloth with wax resist, Ma Tang village, Kaili City - purchased November 2001
ge-jia02_.jpg
ge-jia02_.jpg [ 62.73 KiB | Viewed 12622 times ]
File comment: Detail of wax resist on Ge Jia skirt of hand spun and woven cloth - purchased in Ma Tang village, Kaili City
ge-jia06_.jpg
ge-jia06_.jpg [ 57.49 KiB | Viewed 12622 times ]
File comment: Detail of a Ge Jia skirt of hand spun and woven cloth with wax resist - Ma Tang village, Kaili City
ge-jia09_.jpg
ge-jia09_.jpg [ 52.23 KiB | Viewed 12622 times ]
File comment: group of Ge jia women dancing in Ma Tang village, Kaili City in November 2001
0111G20_.jpg
0111G20_.jpg [ 52.48 KiB | Viewed 12622 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:04 pm 
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Location: Bristol, England
Your comment about the bat looking winged patterns resembling Han Chinese bats is interesting as people seem to resort to traditional Han patterns to explain minority patterns of uncertain design, meaning and origin. Thus, unidentifiable winged creatures are often explained away as bats (in Chinese, bat is bian fu and fu means rich, wealthy and abundant, so the bat has become an auspicious symbol).

The pattern on your sash is what would normally be known as a bat but the one on your baby carrier ties is not, it’s a bird of some sort with an old bronze coin making up the body, representing a wealthy future for the child. I attach a photo of the upper part of a batik baby carrier which includes 3 types of bird and 2 bats in the lower outer triangles.

When you bought your baby carrier, did they give it an age? It looks to be 20+ years old. The embroidered baby carrier I attach was said to be 30-40 years old by the seller.

Finally, your skirt, what a great piece! I’m afraid your estimate of age is almost definitely out somewhat. I thought it would be at least 60 years old and today I called a couple of Ge Jia ‘friends’ for thier opinions. One said that 60 years ago there might have been the odd few tu bu batik skirts still being made by older women, but most would have been made using one or more yang bu batik lengths attached to a plain indigo tu bu skirt and therefore, your skirt is probably 70 or more years old. The other said it would be 90-100 years old, which for her actually translates to 60-80 years old. These skirts are often 8-10 metres long (unpleated, around 3 metres long pleated), so the amount of painstaking work that goes into making one is incredible.

I would also like to include a batik winter baby carrier and a batik and embroidery sleeve that use the spiral pattern you referred to as being a very typical Ge Jia pattern. The baby carrier is particularly interesting because the maker was not content with the usual double spiral (as seen in the 4 inner corner patterns) but has used a treble spiral pattern. This style of winter baby carrier is also very old, certainly early 20th century. The sleeve is supposedly 90+ years old.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia batik baby carrier detail
Ge-Jia-batik-baby-carrier-2.jpg
Ge-Jia-batik-baby-carrier-2.jpg [ 59.21 KiB | Viewed 12582 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia embroidered baby carrier
Ge-Jia-embroidered-baby-car.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-baby-car.jpg [ 59.83 KiB | Viewed 12582 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia batik winter baby carrier detail
Ge-Jia-winter-baby-carrier-.jpg
Ge-Jia-winter-baby-carrier-.jpg [ 58.27 KiB | Viewed 12582 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia sleeve
Ge-Jia-embroidered-sleeves-.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-sleeves-.jpg [ 59.82 KiB | Viewed 12582 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia sleeve detail
Ge-Jia-embroidered-sleeve-2.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-sleeve-2.jpg [ 59.03 KiB | Viewed 12582 times ]


Last edited by Andrew Dudley on Sat Oct 22, 2005 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:27 pm 
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Andrew,

What a lovely surprise to come home after what has been a horrid day to find your post! Thank you SO much for all the helpful information. I am so excited to learn that my Ge Jia skirt (which I am very fond of) is such a venerable one. I had no idea and not nearly enough experience to judge and I am always very conservative in making estimates of age as it is so easy to glibly throw age at a textile when one knows very little about it. I so appreciate your reasoned thinking and thanks very much for checking with your Ge Jia contacts. I had no feedback from the sellers of the pieces that I bought. We were a group in the village and the women and girls had laid out their different textiles for sale. It was pretty cold and the dance performance for us went on a long time. The dancers kept warm but the rest of us were very cold. It was a very bleak November day. The women looked colder and colder as they waited for us to buy. We were not allowed to do so until everything else - including a batik demonstration - were completed. I was a bit naughty and crawled around to look at some skirts. I was determined that I was going to try and find some nice Ge Jia pieces as I had been collecting odd pieces for a few years and had been so looking forward to the visit to the village. With no language between us discussion on the age of pieces was impossible. It was a case of going for quality perceived in the eye of the purchaser. This was the same for the baby carrier and it was the last item I bought just as we were leaving. I was quite pleased with it as I thought that it was the nicest one there in terms of quality of stitching. The 'hue' of the embroidery threads seems very similar to yours as does the embroidery design/stitches.

I love the top of your wax resist baby carrier with the 3 birds and bats. I saw nothing of this quality. I am so attracted not only to the fine technical quality of the wax drawing but the balance and flow of the design. I sense that you are attracted to this also as it seems to feature in several of the pieces from your collection that you have shared with us.

I thought that forum members might like the photo below of a winter baby carrier in use (although very different design) - the expressions of love from the man and woman for the child speak volumes. I have unfortunately only a blurred photo of the baby in the carrier on his mother's back a little later which I will not inflict on you.

Andrew, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us and further photos. An excellent Ge Jia tutorial which I have very much enjoyed. I know that it has alerted me to several things to look out for and so very much enhanced my enjoyment of pieces in my collection.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia family in Ma Tang village, Kaili City, November 2001 - note the winter baby carrier in use.
0111G28_.jpg
0111G28_.jpg [ 55.29 KiB | Viewed 12575 times ]

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:26 pm 
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Whilst we are on the subject of Ge Jia winter baby carrier's don't forget the lovely one posted by Bill Hornaday some time ago http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=110

I have a wax resist piece for a Ge Jia winter baby carrier which was also bought in Ma Tang village in 2001 which I will post. It is very geometric and is waxed on (a single piece of) bought cloth yang bu and is probably relatively recent. It certainly takes the use of the curly whirlies to a high point. Some nice filling in of corners with the curls. It is difficult to get the detail without huge files as it has such contrast.

I am really enjoying this Ge Jia show and tell and am encouraging Andrew to continue. We would welcome other contributions.......


Attachments:
File comment: Wax resist for a Ge Jia winter baby carrier collected in Ma Tang village, Kaili City, November 2001 79.5cm x 74cm (31.25"x28.5")
ge-jia14_.jpg
ge-jia14_.jpg [ 58.41 KiB | Viewed 12551 times ]
File comment: Detail of wax resist for a Ge Jia winter baby carrier collected in Ma Tang village, Kaili City, November 2001
ge-jia15__.jpg
ge-jia15__.jpg [ 64.85 KiB | Viewed 12551 times ]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:41 am 
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Pamela

Your estimate for the age of your winter baby carrier above is 'probably' over conservative. Although this style is quite common and has been produced for a number of generations up to the present day, the pattern in the centres of the three large upper circles could be reasonably old, say about 60 years old, although it would be almost impossible to say for sure even if seeing the original piece (often, the centres of these circles were left blank as the tying band would cover this area, as can be seen in your photo above). The baby carrier below is made of tu bu and has a pattern similar to that in the centres of your upper circles. This carrier was claimed to be about 90-100 years old, which is unlikely, but could well be 60/70 years old.

On the subject of skirts, here are a couple of embroidered examples. The first one is about 100 years old. Other than the two ends, the patterned area is all embroidered, the ends using batik with the spiral pattern. (Fu Ren University in Taiwan has a superb example of this type of skirt, which they date as 1902). This skirt is 53 cm high, and 700 cm long without pleats (330 cm long with pleats) with the embroidered area being 480 cm long. The second skirt is a little later, its style generally dated to around 1920. This skirt includes both batik and embroidery, with the batik being on yang bu attached to the heavy tu bu skirt. The embroidered pattern on both these skirts is of stylized butterflies.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia winter baby carrier
Ge-Jia-winter-baby-carrier-.jpg
Ge-Jia-winter-baby-carrier-.jpg [ 57.7 KiB | Viewed 12527 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia embroidered skirt 1
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-6.1.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-6.1.jpg [ 59.85 KiB | Viewed 12527 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia embroidered skirt 1
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-6.2.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-6.2.jpg [ 59.37 KiB | Viewed 12527 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia embroidered skirt 2
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-1.1.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-1.1.jpg [ 59.39 KiB | Viewed 12527 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia embroidered skirt 2
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-1.2.jpg
Ge-Jia-embroidered-skirt-1.2.jpg [ 143.76 KiB | Viewed 12527 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:29 pm 
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Andrew

Some more lovely pieces - thank you! Interesting effect - almost trompe d'oiel - of the baby carrier with the shape of the summer carrier in positive shades imposed on the more subtle background.

Many thanks for giving background on my winter baby carrier piece and fascinating to see the same flower in both carriers.

The skirts are very nice indeed. Do you know when embroidered skirts were worn and when batik? Is it a matter of different Ge Jia groups or different occasions? Different age of wearer or different period of making? Or, just a matter of personal taste - somewhow this does not sound quite right in context. (Oh, I must add the measurements to my skirt when I get a minute to measure.) In skirt 2 I can see similar waxed designs in the batik to the waxing in mine.

That last point brings me to say that it is so hard with very fine batik to remember that all the white areas in the design are where the resist of wax was laid down and the fine indigo lines are the fine gaps between the wax. So amazing the control of the wax artist - perhaps it is appropriate here to post a photo of the wax 'knives' to bring home to people just what an amazing skill is behind the pieces on this thread.

Before I post a photo I thought that I would mention that Jose - who was responsible for the technical input behind setting up this forum and getting the add-on of the photo-posting facility to work - was very taken with the wax resist on this thread. Every now and then he comes to see how the 'community' is going and I like to share special threads with him. He found the batik stunning, especially the beautiful jackets which you posted first and also the baby carrier with the different birds.

The photo is of a range of Ge Jia waxing implements. I am not sure about in the Ge Jia language but I believe that in Miao the direct translation is 'wax knife'. The wax knives vary slightly in different groups but are basically the same in construction with layers of metal to trap the wax. I can testify how hard it is to control the knife as I was taught in a couple of 2 hours sessions by 2 Ge Jia ladies in a workshop in Kaili when on a trip with Gina Corrigan. There is no doubt that you need to start young and get lots of practice!


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia 'wax knives' - a range of different instruments for creating wax designs - rather like golf, select the correct one for a particular stroke.
ge-jia001_.jpg
ge-jia001_.jpg [ 43.63 KiB | Viewed 12496 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:15 am 
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Pamela

In reply to your question about why some skirts were batik and others embroidered, the answer depends on a number of points. Firstly, embroidery took a lot longer to do than batik, requiring a larger input of time (and perhaps money) to rear the silk worms, produce the silk thread and make (and/or buy the colour dyes) as well as the final embroidery itself. To the Ge Jia, embroidery generally represents a higher skill level than batik and so it was a matter of pride to be able to produce an emroidered skirt (as well as a sign of wealth!). The Ge Jia would also traditionally get married (and buried) in 3, 5 or even 7 complete sets of clothes, so it was important for the outer skirt to be an embroidered one, the inner skirts, being hidden, could be batik. Lastly, the long skirt edges were a good place to practice your batik skills where mistakes would be lost in the pleats of the skirt. It was necessary to perfect your batik spiral pattern skills in places like skirt edges before attempting the more visible items such as sleeves and baby carriers.

Below is an old (early 20th Century) tu bu skirt edge employing both batik and embroidery. The batik is not particularly good, being very uneven, and on the end is an example of even poorer workmanship. In total, this skirt edge is nearly 6 metres long.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia skirt edge (a short part)
Ge-Jia-skirt-edge-4.1.jpg
Ge-Jia-skirt-edge-4.1.jpg [ 59.99 KiB | Viewed 12375 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia skirt edge
Ge-Jia-skirt-edge-4.2.jpg
Ge-Jia-skirt-edge-4.2.jpg [ 57.91 KiB | Viewed 12375 times ]
File comment: Ge Jia skirt edge
Ge-Jia-skirt-edge-4.3.jpg
Ge-Jia-skirt-edge-4.3.jpg [ 59.6 KiB | Viewed 12375 times ]
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:20 pm 
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Andrew

Very many thanks indeed for your response to my question on when embroidered skirts rather than batik might be worn. A very useful reminder that the Gejia as with other of the minority groups in China often wear several layers of clothing to express wealth. The more significant the festival the more splendid (and layered) the costume.

Yes, I can understand that embroidery would take longer not only to execute the stitching but also in the preparation of the silk thread. Of course, to me the embroidery is more achievable - assuming I can buy the thread - since I have a reasonably devloped embroidery skill but a hopelessly underdeveloped waxing skill!

Whilst some of the batik is relatively crudely exectuted I am impressed when I (keep) seeing the pattern which appears either side of the curls in 4.3 and of the embroidery in 4.2. It is pretty intricate and also controlled. This pattern appears in many of the foregoing pieces.

The extra double curl in 4.3 could also be executed trying out the consistency - i.e. thickness - of the wax and the heat level before starting the main design since both can make such a difference to the 'flow' of the waxed design. Pure bees wax is much thicker; parafin in the wax makes it much thinner so that it flows faster (and more uncontrollably if you are not careful). Some groups (I have not heard of Gejia doing this) add gum from certain trees to the wax mixture which can make it thicker.

I am hoping that Bill Hornaday may be encouraged by this talk of Gejia embroidery to post photos of some embroidered Gejia babycarriers which he was foolish enough to mention to me. I have been nagging him all over the weekend to post them so that we can all enjoy and see them with the other Gejia material which we now have displayed on this thread. [See http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=227 ]

I am so pleased with the resource we have gathered. When I have a chance I will put it together into a gallery(ies) - assuming that everyone who has supplied photos is OK with that. I guess, so far, that means you, Andrew?

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Last edited by Pamela on Tue Nov 30, 2004 6:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:23 pm 
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Andrew and Pamela-
In reviewing this thread, I feel that I must commend you two for a really interesting and educational show and tell. The textiles are absolutely gorgeous and the knowledge conveyed helps us all appreciate them more fully. Also helpful are the additional photos of them being used and the tools used to make them. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and resources.

For a photogallery comprised of photos of Ge Jia baby carriers posted this and other threads on this forum go to: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Gallerie ... rriers.htm

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 5:36 pm 
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Location: Bristol, England
As requested by Pamela, a poor quality close-up of the embroidery on the baby carrier posted earlier.


Attachments:
File comment: Ge Jia baby carrier detail
Ge-Jia-emb-baby-carrier-16..jpg
Ge-Jia-emb-baby-carrier-16..jpg [ 59.38 KiB | Viewed 12323 times ]
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