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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 5:29 pm 
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hi

i am posting two pictures of an antique textile, that has given me quite a headache, as i have not been able to get any information on the origin and use.
on my last trip to burma i have acquired a silk longyi. the piece is approx. 4 metres long and 52 cm broad. the piece is made of a very fine silk quality (unlike most of the royal court luntayas, which are quite thick) and has been sewn togehter two fold (so it is actualy around 8 metres long). natural dyes have been jused in the making of this piece, which i suggest to be at least 100 to 150 yrs old.
the person i bought the piece from believed it to be hmong and the pattern used for the silk would suggest this to be accurate. the material though, i believe is quite unusual and suggests that it has been made for a high ranking person and/or for ceremonial use only. but this is just my best guess. i have been spending quite a bit of time trying to find information on this piece. so far, i have not been able to find anything similar to the textile i own.

my hope is, that somebody might recognise the textile and could provide me with some information.

i am posting a picture and am looking forward on any comments.

thank you

renzo


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2006 10:32 pm 
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Renzo

This is a very beautifully woven silk textile. I would be very surprised indeed if it is a Hmong piece.

To me it is much more closely allied to the traditional tapestry weaving which is based in Mandalay and Amarapura. I have had a look at some photos which I took in 1998 and, although the patterns are not identical the ability to carry out the beautiful curves in tapestry weave is there. I am going to post some photos of weaving which was being done in 1998 and also some examples of older weaving in a government institution. My travel diary notes: "We then went to the government school (a training college for girls) where a few were learning to weave. Three girls were learning tapestry hand weaving of silk. We saw some woven material in a display case supposedly from a King and Queen – old patterns and old weaving."

Unfortunately when the tapestry weaving is being done a cloth covers most of the weaving which has been finished to protect it and only a small amount at the edge being woven shows.

Hopefully Susan Stem will see this post and confirm whether she has seen are any similar examples in the Sbun Nga Textile Museum in Chiang Mai where Khun Pom has collected examples of court dress including some examples of weaving from Burma.

A helpful reference on the Burman weaving tradition in Amarapura is in 'Handwoven Textiles of south-east Asia' by Sylvia Fraser-Lu. See 88-92.

Your textile is very beautiful and my photos and comments do not really shed much light on it - only a suggestion of where the skill to create it might exist.

Thanks for sharing it with us. I hope that perhaps other members (or browsers) may be able to shed some light.


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File comment: tapestry weaving in one of the many weaving workshops in Mandalay in 1998. My notes refer to hand-operated looms with mainly silk tapestry weaving.
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File comment: Painting behind the looms at a government training college in Amarapura showing a tapestry weave longyi being worn
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File comment: some examples of older tapestry weaving in a show case at a government training college in Amarapura
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File comment: Student weaver in Government training college in Amarapura - view of the top of the weaving
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File comment: underside of tapestry weaving
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Last edited by Pamela on Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:40 pm 
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dear pamela

thank you very much for your information.

i am specifying the dimensions of the item, since i have not been very clear:

the weave of the textile is

l: 800 cm / 312 inches
w: 52 cm / 20.3 inches
the longyi is plied/two fold and stiched together at one end

there are two continuous "wave" Patterns on this piece are around 20-25 cm wide (7.8 - 9.8 inches).

unlike the dense tapestry style luntaya acheiqs, the wave pattern of the item shows no relief and is made in a very fine, soft and thin silk quality. i have so far not come across a piece made with these specific features in burma.

regards

renzo


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:58 pm 
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Renzo

The more that I look at the photos of your textile the more beautiful I think it is. It looks to me as if there is a texture in the weave - is there a twill?

Looking at the close-up it could be a very modern piece both by design of the shapes, colouring and texture. I find it fascinating how an old textile can look modern.
I have been trawling through my library - and have quite a list of where your textile does not appear! The designs which catch my eye - but are not the same seem to be Burman or Shan.

I wonder if the Bank of Thailand Museum in Chiang Mai have any similar examples? They not only have textiles from Thailand and of course there have been close links with Burma particular in the north. I noticed that some of the textiles from Burma shown in Susan Conway's 'Silken Threads Lacquer thrones' were noted as being in the collection of the person who was the source of the textiles in the Bank of Thailand Museum.

See http://www.tribaltextiles.info/Countrie ... ctions.htm for contact details of the Museum and curators.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:11 am 
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hi pamela

yes, matter of fact, you can see a sort of texture or pattern if you get a close enough look at the item. my camera just didn't allow any useful close ups. sorry!

i have gone through quite a few books too for a reference. in vain so far.
you are right about the modernity of the design. i believe i have seen a similar pattern a year or two ago on a recently made item but cannot remember where that was.

anyhow, i'm sure, that there are more people linked to this page who might have seen something like it before.

let's wait and see.

thanks

renzo


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:40 pm 
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Sorry, Renzo, we don't seem to have been getting much feed back so far!

I emailed Kathleen Johnson who is an experienced weaver (a member of this forum) and has lived in Taiwan and, more recently, Thailand where she was instrumental in the founding of the Thai Textile Society. She has had a look at the thread and her comment was:

Quote:
Dear Pamela,

It looks like an unusual variety of Luntaya silk weaving, similar to the process of the others shown in the pictures. There is a new book out on Luntaya; I forgot who wrote it, I saw it at the Jim Thompson Textile Symposium.

Kathleen Johnson


I tried to find the new book by an initial search on goole but no luck. As you may know, the symposium was in August 05. We need Siriol to have a hunt for us - she is a demon at running books to earth! Perhaps Susan Stem might spot in in Chiang Mai as there is an excellent bookshop there - which, unfortunately, does not provide a mail-order service. You may well know it, Suriwong Book Centre.

All the best,

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:15 pm 
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hello pamela

yes, fair enough. but i really am not too surprised, that there has not been too much feedback. it is not an easy riddle to solve.
anyhow, thank you for your initiative and for activating your network of experts.

the only book on luntayas i know of is from kunlabutr punvasa. it is called An illustrated book of Burmese Court Textiles Luntaya achieq. it came out in Bangkok in 2004 published by Hans Peter Ahrens, [Amarin Printing and Publishing Co.Ltd]
it seems a quite scarce book. i had the chance to browse through it a few times. nicely illustrated. but i haven't been able to find anything like my item in the book.

i myself tend to think too, that it might be a luntaya variation, but i'm not entirely happy with the conclusion.
luntaya were royal textiles which were made according to strict rules and with little variation even through decades and centuries. who would dare to defy court rule by having excentric variations made to a wholy luntaya?

well, i guess, solving the riddle might give me one more reason to go back to burma and do some field research in the not so far future....

also, i look forward to check out the people and places in chiang mai you mentioned.

thank you and let's see, if there will be more feedback

i'm posting a few pics of some of my "traditional" luntayas

regards

renzo


Includes Bibliography.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:53 pm 
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I can't really locate the origin of this interesting textile, but I think I know what it is: the structure (long, but with a well-defined border) speaks to its use as a sari. India and Burma were one administrative unit under the British, and its upper classes had a long history of textile exchange.

Its lightness also points to use as a sari rather than a longyi, since a sari requires more folds in different places, and its border would be traditionally worn over the shoulder.

I also wonder if this textile is really a tapestry weave; the Burmese and T'ai groups do use it in both silk and cotton. The translation of its name (in T'ai) is "flowing water". Tapesty weaves are also known as "flat/kilim", and are related in technique to the kilims of Central Asia.

I think Pamela is right that there seems to be an overweave, probably a twill.

I'm not really an expert on Chinese minority textiles, but I know Hmong when I see it. And there is really no possible relationship with this exquisite piece to either Hmong or Miao.

As a brief note, there are really very few textiles with the dimension of this cloth historically. Some are "patolas" woven in Gujarat for the Thai court, others are woven so contemporary clothing could be made from them, and are new textiles. The Khmer who have also a twill over-weave, make (or made), textiles called "hol", which are also very long.

Hol were woven as heirlooms, and would be cut off to be given to a son when he married. Hol in good condition are very rare and seldom come on the market. The few I have were purchased at a market in Phnom Phen, weren't in very bad condition, but almost anything of value was destroyed under the Khmer Rouge, and other pieces were sold after the Vietmese routed the Khmer Rouge from power.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:27 pm 
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Concerning the book mentioned above by Drrenz:
An illustrated book of Burmese Court Textiles Luntaya achieq. Bangkok 2004 published by Hans Peter Ahrens, [Amarin Printing and Publishing Co.Ltd]

If anyone is interested, one copy of this book is available via ABE books UK:
http://www.abebooks.co.uk/abe/BookDetai ... =588713219

I have done a quick book search for the title mentioned by Kathleen, but no luck. Will let you know if and when I come across copies.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:15 pm 
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Siriol

Many thanks for the book hunt. I see that the Burmese Court Textiles Luntaya achieq book is available from Mary Martin Booksellers in Coimbatore, India. I had never heard of this bookseller before ordering the Textiles of the Highland Peoples of Burma Vol 1: etc (by Michael C Howard) from them (via Abe books) just before Christmas and it arrived beautifully packed and pretty speedily yesterday. I was impressed.

Sandie

I think that Renzo's beautiful textile has the curves executed by the tapestry technique - although it is hard to see exactly from the photo. Kathleen seemed to think so too - and she is an expert weaver. Some of the curves go back on themselves in such a way that I think it would have been difficult to do them in any other way.

Your sari idea is interesting - and the texture of the silk does indeed look very similar to sari weight. Trade in textiles in the region is so important and, of course, the British link to both India and Burma could be relevant.

Renzo

Many thanks for the photos of more "traditional" luntayas in your collection. Some nice photos - which usually one does not see of these textiles - and interesting pieces. The middle one looks more similar in texture of the silk to your special one.

best wishes,

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 Post subject: burmese antique longyi
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:00 pm 
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Yesterday forum member Bertrand Rey had some problems posting a photo on this thread. Today he has been successful but, unfortunately, sent it to me in a private post rather than adding it to this thread. I post message and photo below.

Quote:
Hello Mr Renzo

I see yours burmese luntaya textiles. I purchased in Burma two years ago one. I see one similar in the book you mentionned, mine is more intricate, but I cannot remember clearly, because I don't have this book, I see it quickly at the Bangkok Airport. I want to share with all members to have more information about it. All the embroidery is in silk. Thanks in advance.

Bertrand


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:58 am 
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hi everybody

it's been quite a while since i posted my pictures on a silk textile i wanted more information on. in the meantime i have gathered most of the information i wanted and would like to share it with you:

it is indeed a piece that has been ment to be used as a court luntaya. my piece is a shan variation of the traditional luntayas that was worn by a shan saopa (authority). these were made to be much lighter in fabric altogether, than the burmese luntayas.
the pattern on the textile is a decorative motif that is sometimes (though very rarely) seen on traditional lacquerware. Ralph Isaacs in his book on burmese lacquerware "visions from the golden land" refers to it as the "cloud collar" pattern. this yun jian motif has a well defined pattern used in chinese ornamentation that resembles the ornament used.
still, i have my doubts, this motif should have the same symbolism when used on shan artifacts, but it's an interesting thought anyway.
kunlabutr punvasa has two pictures of these shan luntayas in her book on burmese court textiles, which have also helped identify the piece.

thank you once again, for leading me to the "right path" with your comments.

best regards

renzo


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:34 pm 
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Renzo

I have finally got around to posting a note of thanks to you for taking the trouble to share with us your further investigations on your interesting textile from Myanmar. I really appreciate you updating your original post.

As you have identified your textile as a Shan piece this may be the place to put a link to a recent post from Susan Stem on http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... .php?t=826 about a new book 'The Shan: Culture, Art and Crafts' by Susan Conway. A few weeks ago I was hunting on the web to try and find out if this book had actually been published having seen some advance info on it a considerable time ago. I am pleased to see that it is now 'out'. I have no idea if the book can shed any additional light on your textile but it should give greater background on the Shan.

Thanks again for helping to build up our information base on the forum.

Best wishes,

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:27 am 
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Hello Renzo,
I just returned from Yangon and bought "An illustrated book of Burmese Textiles" at the airport (ISBN 974-272-996-4). Hans Peter Ahrens is listed as publisher and consultant. He has a shop "Lampion" in the River City Complex in Bangkok (email: peter_lampion@hotmail.com).
A google search on the title brought me to your question - and this delightful website! The book appeared on other websites.

From what I heard in Burma, your long piece is a man's Luntaya, such as I saw in Yongon and Mandalay shops. In "Bonbon" in the market in Yangon, the dealer suggested that his best man's luntaya was 80 years old. Was it less finely woven than the ones claimed to be 19th century?
I also heard or read the description "large pattern", which would also seem to describe your piece.
As Pamela's photos show, luntaya are still being woven and sold, but the material is much coarser - thicker threads. Better shops for women's longyi offer them for the exauivalent of US$ 50 or more, usually in the Acheiq pattern with undulating lines. Cheaper ones are made in brocaded fabric, and the acheiq motif appears in much simpler women's longyi.

Jenny Spancake is shown as one of the editors of the book and can be found near the end of this website:
http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/fil ... ipants.pdf

I hope this is a bit of help.

Regards, Larry


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