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Author Topic:   Burma Textiles Need Help
Richard posted 1/24/03 11:57 PM     Click here to send email to Richard  
Hello:I'm glad I found this site. I have a couple of textiles from Burma that I need help identifying. This the first one. It is hand spun cotton and woven in two panels. The size is 100 cm x 140 cm not counting the fringe. I have posted detailed pictures of the front and back. Nay help will be appreciated.

posted 1/26/03 7:01 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
RichardA nice woven piece. I am not able to identify it myself. I have been through my reference books without much success. To me it has something of a Chin feel about it (and there are many different Chin groups). I have a feeling that I have seen something like it - but haven't pinned it down yet. I was looking off one of the links on the tribaltextiles site and found the one I list here which has some short notes on different Burmese weaving techniques. This piece looks as if the supplementary design is weft rather than warp - which according to this link would suggest Kachin rather than Chin. Be interesting if we get any comments from those more familiar with Chin/Kachin textiles. (I have a couple of Chin pieces myself but not at all like this. Pamela

Sandra Shamis posted 1/27/03 4:04 AM     Click here to send email to Sandra Shamis  
Hi Richard, Based on only the dyes used, it may be a traditional Chin blanket, although the dimensions are a bit small. Any evidence this weaving may have been attached to another lenght (the photos were excellent but I still couldn't tell). Pamela is right, the geometric motifs are from the Kachin repetoire. Another problem is that local styles all over SEAsia seem to be coalesing for a very long time, and this may have been woven in either Kachin or among
Susan Stem posted 1/28/03 5:47 AM     Click here to send email to Susan Stem  
Richard and Pamela- I'm no expert, but would like to direct you to a reference which includes a piece with similar motifs, proportional size (I cannot find a size given in said reference), and colors as yours: Jacobs, Julian; The Nagas- Hill Peoples of Northeast India; Thames and Hudson 1990; p.293 (top right). I hope this helps. I find it hard to identify a textile without handling it, but in terms of appearance, the similarities to Naga pieces are noteworthy.

posted 1/28/03 10:49 AM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
Susan - thanks, just the incentive (!) I needed to buy this book! I have seen it around for some time but never actually bought it. I was wishing when I was hunting though my references and was seeing comments on Naga pieces that I had the book. Would seem to come from the area of Burma to north west. (Just ordered the book through Amazon. Hope it arrives quickly!!!) Pamela

Richard posted 1/29/03 0:46 AM     Click here to send email to Richard  
Pamela, Sandra, Susan Thank you very much for your help. I will check out the references and get back to you. I really appreciate how much this site can help us all. Best regards, Richard
posted 1/29/03 1:20 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
Well, my copy of 'The Nagas' has just arrived (24 hours from ordering on the web!) I certainly agree with Susan that page 293 is VERY reminiscent of Richard's weaving. Just an additional point for us all to be wary of. I have had a response from another textile enthusiast, Sandra Herber, who is currently travelling in Asia including Burma. She picked up my email asking her to look at the forum and accessed the web site in Bangkok airport. She hesitated to respond directly to the forum as she didn't want to upset Richard! However, I think her comments are useful for all: "I took a quick look, and agree with whoever said they looked Naga. I would be interested in knowing where he got them since there are lots of new Naga designs (or textiles incorporating Naga designs) that are being expressly made for tourists. (Some are actually made by a group of Chin women who are good weavers but who can't sell their Chin materials). They certainly don't look Kachin to me. If they are new, that might be the expalantion." Notwithstanding Sandra Herber's words it may well be that Richard's weaving is a genuine Naga piece rather than a Chin copy of Naga. Whichever it is, there is no doubt that the weaving is a 'quality' piece of weaver's art. Pamela

Richard posted 1/29/03 10:17 PM     Click here to send email to Richard  
Hello all of my new found friends. Let me first stress that in no way will I ever be upset about learning the truth about something I've collected. The best knowlege sometimes comes through "hard knocks". I've always bought what I like first and worry about the details later.This textile as the other I have questions about were obtained as we say here in Kentucky "from the backwoods". The dealer/collector I purchased it from travels to Burma and that area in general to purchase restorable antique machinery. I'm sorry that I can not get more specific as it is getting harder for him to find what he is primarily interested in and I do not want to make it even more difficult. The textiles he buys are usually found in some very remote areas including the Burma India border. Some day an expert will have to decide whether it is a Naga piece or a Chin knockoff. All I can say is I would guess it's authentic with a weaving technique that can be studied for hours. Anyway, please keep your opinions coming as I love a good debate from which we all will benefit.Best regards, Richard
posted 1/30/03 6:41 PM     Click here to send email to Pamela  
Richard, thanks for your positive words! Have you actually got/seen a copy of ‘The Nagas’ Hill Peoples of Northeast India? I am afraid that I currently do not have access to my scanner or I would send you page 293. It would seem that we can say about your textile that it is ‘in the style of a body cloth of a man who has taken heads – Yimsungr’. I have been all through The Nagas book and have been irritated to find that there seems to be no definition of ‘Yimsungr’ as a group or a place. At the beginning of the book there is a map with, near the border with Burma in the ‘Unadministered District’ a word ‘Yimchungr’ which possibly refers to a Naga tribal group or a district. I have tried putting both words into Google in the hopes that I might be able to go further. I am away from my library so can’t get to a decent Atlas. I would also like to look at a couple of my books on weavings from Bhutan since I recall that these have some similarities to the Naga weavings. It will have to wait! Pamela

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