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tribaltextiles.info • View topic - a mystery textile from Olivier

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:20 pm 
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I have received an email this evening from Olivier Tallec with 2 photos attached of a mystery textile in his collection. He says: "I send you a new textile 's pictures attached. I am looking for informations about the exact group or subgroup. I suppose it is from the hill tribes of south Laos/Vietnam. If you have some better informations? As you can see on the detail, there are some very small tin beads in the weaving." I have posted the two photos into a web page http://www.tribaltextiles.info/forum/mystery_030703.htm
I am sure I have seen something similar illustrated in my library, perhaps central Vietnam. To me it looks like a man's loin cloth. Any suggestions.....? Pamela

originally posted 3 Jul 03


Last edited by Pamela on Sat Jul 05, 2003 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:21 pm 
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I seem to have lost my first attempt at this post-if it surfaces in cyberspace, I apologize for the redundancy. OK- Olivier has a very nice loincloth, probably Katu (or Co-tu, as the Vietnamese call the group). I am seeing some of these here, as well as very similar ones from the Attapeu province in S. Laos. The ones from Vietnam seem to use lead beads, whereas the ones from Laos have white glass seed beads woven in. They both utilize an almost jersey-like knit on the area with horizontal stripes, which in addition to the beads gives the ends weight. I don't see this weaving technique in use in any other textiles from this region. Dr. Howard has a nice example and lots more information on the Katuic peoples in his Textiles of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, p.177, #77. He says that the majority of them live "in the upland areas surrounding the Bung and Cai Rivers in four communes in Phu Loc District in Thua Thien-Hue Province and in Hien and Giang Districts in northwestern Quang Nam Province. There are approximately 17,000 in Saravane and Sekong Provinces in Laos." He also says that "there are few cultural differences between the Ta-oi and Katu." I add this because the Ta-oi also weave beads into their textiles, tho I see black plainweave backgrounds used rather than indigo, as well as other differences. It would be interesting to do some comparative study on a variety of these loincloths. Thank you Olivier for bringing these to our attention.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:23 pm 
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Very interesting piece, Olivier. When I was doing fieldwork in the Philippines many years ago, I came across a number of loincloths from the tribal areas of Northern Luzon. The Ifugao and Ibanag among others, had these magnificant ones. Philippine languages are all Austronesian of course; the Naga and other tribal groups, share many textile traits with Austronesian.It might be interesting to set up a subfile of loincloths, an area of interest (um) for many reasons.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:25 pm 
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I agree with you Sandie about loin cloths being interesting. Recently I have become very much aware of them. Susan, thanks for the detailed references to the Michael Howard book - which is interrupted bedside reading and why I thought I had seen something similar before and Central Vietnam came to mind. The literature on Khumi/Khami etc show photos of men wearing loin cloths. Of course, it is the men who first stop wearing traditional clothing so in areas that are the most accessible and open to western influence you no longer see such items as loin cloths. I think it is on Mark Johnson's site on one of his Burma travel pages that he has photos of a festival with the men forced by the tender modesty of officials to wear modern shorts underneath their loin cloths. I think that the loin cloth was the traditional male garment of very many groups throughout south east asia (except perhaps in very much cooler upland areas). Pamela


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:25 pm 
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I emailed Olivier last night asking for some dimensions of the loin cloth and his reply is: "the textile is made with two panels of red wool fringe at each side (on the picture the two panels are superposed, so you can see only one)measurement is : length (including fringe) : 4,60 meters! width (without fringe):35cm It is quite similar to loincloth of some Jorai or Edde people from Vietnam." At 4.60 metres it is certainly long! Photos tend to show the cloths wrapped several times around the hips. Pamela


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:28 pm 
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Many thanks for all these informations. I have found few informations in a french book about hill tribes of Vietnam, in particular about a group called Mnong Gar and another Edd or RhadŽ who wear longcloth. These longclothes were made by the young men (who was weaving the two panels at each side)and the young women (who was weaving the longer part). This longcloth was a symbol of their futur union. Do you have similar informations about Co-tu group? Many thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 9:16 pm 
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Olivier,

In reading your last post, I was taken by the comment that the weavers of the loincloths were men.

If so, it would be one of only several textile traditions woven by men.

Let me know if this is true.

Best, Sandie


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 11:14 am 
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Sandie,

I was struck earlier by your comment above as to whether the textile that Olivier referred to was, in fact, woven by a man. I had a look in the Howard book Textiles of the Central Highlands of Vietnam and the reference given by Susan Stem but could not see any mention of male weavers.

I thought of this post today - and that you might like to add to your 'collection of male weavers' - when I was reading the article on The Textiles of the Northern Chin http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... c.php?t=57 David and Barbara Fraser comment on page 125 of their article that "Women were generally the weavers, but among many Northern Chin there is no prohibition against men doing so." There is a reference to page 128 of "The Structure of Chin Society: A Tribal People of Burma Adapted to a Non-Western Civilization." by F. K. Lehman in Illinois Studies in Anthropology No 3. The University of Illinios Press, Urbana, 1963.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 12:32 am 
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Hi Pamela and Olivier,

While reading Pamela's last post, I remembered I forgot to ask about the wool fringes. As far as I know, wool is not used anywhere in SEAsia, and sheep are not raised.

Would the wool have come from China or Nepal? Traded? Used on anything else? Normally loin cloths are worn in very warm areas, even in mountain regions, if the looms are simple; why wool against skin?

The Tai Dam who settled in Cental Thailand, have a technique of using mirrors as decoration, very similar to the ubiquitous Indian decoration. Could the mirrors have replaced beads? Unlike the Indonesians, the T'ai never use small beads as decorations; hilltribes do however, and I've often wondered where their use of mirrors began.

One last word: About male weavers. I believe it was men who did batik initally in Indonesia. And in Thailand now,men are doing mat mi (ikat designs), although they were long thought to be too heavy handed for the tying. Taboos?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 9:23 pm 
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Sandie,

I think that the red wool to which Olivier refers is really a matter of decoration - check the photo http://www.tribaltextiles.info/forum/mystery_030703.htm and is in the part of the loincloth which hangs free and is not really against the skin. I think that it is also interesting how trade allows decorative elements to be used that are not at all local i.e. the wool here and cowrie shells across southeast asia.

Actually, looking at the photo again, the red tuffted threads looks a bit like cotton to me but Olivier, of course, has seen and felt it close to. I am away from my library at the moment so cannot check the Howards' book on the Central Highlands to see if they quote the type of thread in the examples they show.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 8:42 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 9:08 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:45 am 
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I agree with Bill about the 'wool'- it is never seen in this region which is tropical. I have seen similar material used on otherwise all cotton loincloths from Vietnam, but believe it to be acrylic commercial yarn probably purchased from a market. The only wool I've seen used is on Kachin textiles from northern Burma.


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