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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
I am hoping that someone is able to help in identifying a mystery cross-stitch embroidered rectangle - which was originally sourced as one of a pair by Martin Conlan in S W China. Unusually Martin is unable - so far - to identify the origin and ethnic group concerned.

The two rectangles of indigo dyed cloth have very fine and regular cross-stitch embroidery in a fine cotton which has (about) three twists of very fine thread. The embroidery has been done across the weft of the fabric - there is one selvedge at the top of rectangle as shown in the photo of the overall piece. The other edges have all been torn to size.

The cross-stitch embroidery is all done by counted thread and is amazingly and beautifully regular and the colours of rust, a soft orange and green on the very dark indigo/black fabric is very satisfying.

Each rectangle of embroidered cloth is 105 cm x 36.5 cm and the embroidery seemed to be identical on each piece. The only difference was that one piece (the one I chose) has what seems to be a test of four crosses one under the other at one end (the 'top' in my photos). The textiles were embroidered but never used.

Can anyone help with an ID of ethnic group and how the pair of textiles were intended to be used?

They could, of course, be used as table runners. However, there is a huge amount of very fine embroidery and we cannot believe that this amount of work was done just to sell into the tourist marketplace. A similar effect could have been achieved far more quickly and with so much less effort. The quality of eyesight needed to follow the counted thread work is very considerable even when the pattern has been established.

I only have a couple of intuitive thoughts. There is something about the pattern and colours that reminds me of an encounter in the night market in Chiang Mai in 1988 with to a young Akha woman, a market trader, who said that her mother had embroidered some (small) strips which, in my memory, have some link. My other thought is that could be a Yao/Mien background - overtones of trousers worn in Vietnam. As I say, this is purely a 'feeling' and absolutely not based in any intellectual ID.

File comment: length of embroidered textile
IMGP0036w.jpg [ 181.76 KiB | Viewed 12419 times ]
File comment: detail of embroidery
IMGP0038w.jpg [ 115.9 KiB | Viewed 12419 times ]
File comment: detail of pattern - reverse of embroidery
IMGP0041w.jpg [ 107.92 KiB | Viewed 12419 times ]
File comment: the 4 test crosses
IMGP0039w.jpg [ 77.34 KiB | Viewed 12419 times ]

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