Uzbek headdresses, Egyptian, Japanese and Malay textiles

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The next OATG event takes place this Saturday 16 July, so book now to make sure you don’t miss out!

Uzbek bash orau headdresses. © Yulduz Gaybullaeva

Yulduz Gaybullaeva will discuss Uzbek headdresses as an integral part of heritage. Dr Gaybullaeva’s thesis was on The history of Uzbek women’s clothes of 19th-20thcenturies, and her presentation will include skullcaps, shawls and paranjas from museum collections in Uzbekistan.

This is an online event and as it will begin at 15:30 BST we hope that many of our international members will be able to join us. It is free for OATG members and there is a small fee for non-members. Click here for more information and to register.

While on the subject of headdresses an exhibition recently opened at the Liechtenstein National Museum in Vaduz, entitled Head Adornment, Traditional Costume and Identity.

Wheel-shaped headdress with the seven roses motif. Probably made around 1850 in the Lake Constance region. © Frank Rossbach

“Historical headgear from the Lake Constance area and over 35 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa can be seen for the first time in a new concept. The more than 300 objects date from the 18th to the 21st century. Across the world, headdresses indicate social status and origin. The variety of textile and metal head ornaments includes bonnets, shackles, hair ornaments and other rare forms. A special focus is on wheel and gold bonnets from Liechtenstein and Austria, including individual items from the archive of the Liechtenstein Traditional Costume Association. Numerous complete costumes from Europe with their headdresses give an impression of the variety of regional clothing styles.” – Museum Press release

The exhibition runs until 30 October, and you can see more images of some of the headwear here. I was somewhat surprised at the use of white European models to show the headwear from Africa and Asia.

On 23 July the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California will host a Zoom programme shedding New Light on Textiles from Late Antique Egypt.

“The Museum für Byzantinische Kunst (Museum of Byzantine Art) in Berlin owns the largest collection of Late Antique Egyptian textiles in Germany.  This rich collection became the source of inspiration for New York artist Gail Rothschild’s new series of monumental paintings.  Rothschild transforms everyday woven objects from late antiquity into 21st-century art in her paintings. By juxtaposing her work with the original small-format ancient textiles from the 4th‒9th centuries, a fascinating dynamic emerges between the artifacts of a past culture and contemporary artistic production.  The enormous size of Rothschild’s works encourages viewers to examine the small-format textile fragments more intensively, which provides an opportunity to re-experience the original weavings as handcrafted masterpieces, as well as to learn about their everyday functions and uses by cultures of the past.  This program is inspired by an new exhibition at the Museum of Byzantine Art, and will feature Senior Curator Cäcilia Fluck in conversation with artist Gail Rothschild, both about the art, and the textiles themselves.” – TMA/SC

This free online event begins at 10:00 PDT, which is 18:00 BST and you can register for it here.

I mentioned the excellent exhibition of Japanese textiles currently on show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in a previous blog.

Ainu robes on show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

There are several stunning Ainu coats on display and for those who would like to learn more about these indigenous people and their amazing textile culture there will be a talk next Thursday evening (21 July) at 18:30 CDT. This talk is in person, and the speaker will be Christina M. Spiker, PhD, visiting assistant professor of art and art history, St. Olaf College. Booking is essential so click here for The Ainu of Northern Japan: Their Unique Textile Tradition.

One of the most intriguing coats on display was made by an unknown Nivkh woman from the Amur region, using fish skin. A lot of work has had to go into its conservation, before it could be shown to the public.

Fish skin coat before and after conservation

I really enjoyed reading this article by Alex Bortolot, explaining more about the materials used in the making of this coat.

“Nivkh women used reindeer sinew to sew the pieces together. Not surprisingly, in their choice of materials, they knew exactly what they were doing: in wet conditions, sinew thread expands, plugging the needle holes in the skin and rendering the whole garment more waterproof. “

The article then discusses some of the conservation methods which had to be employed to clean the coat and to repair some of the many tears in it. I highly recommend reading this.

A major new exhibition opens in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday 24 July.

Splendours of Malay World Textiles is an unprecedented exhibition displaying the entire genre of textiles from the Malay World. It will be accompanied by workshops, lectures, and a catalogue that will be published in 2023.

“650 textiles divided into 12 major categories of textile techniques will be on display. These include some of the best examples of Songket (brocade), Limar (weft ikat), Telepuk (gold leaf applique), Tekatan (embroidery), Pelangi (tie-dye), Ikat Loseng (warp ikat), Tenunan (plain weave of stripes and checks), Linangkit (tapestry), Cetakan (prints), Batik (wax resist), Renda (lace) and Anyaman (woven unspun plant fibre). Textiles of other countries that relate to these Malay textiles will also be on display to enable direct comparisons.” John Ang

If some of those terms are unfamiliar to you do read this article by Koyyi Chin in Tatler Asia, which provides a lot more background to John’s collecting and has illustrations of some fabulous textiles.

The exhibition runs until the end of October and tickets can be booked through John’s website.

I write this blog for the Oxford Asian Textile Group which, as you can see from the name, is based in Oxford in the UK. However about forty percent of our members are in other countries. Benefits of membership include three editions of our Asian Textiles journal each year, plus a free programme of events. Some of these are in person events, and others are on Zoom. All of our Zoom talks are recorded so that they can be viewed later through the members only section of our website.

Our forthcoming programme includes talks by Dr Fiona Kerlogue on batik, Maria Wronska-Friend on Kimono and Sarong, Gida Ofong on T’nalak from the Philippines, Monisha Ahmed on Ladakh and Alex Green on Burmese textile patterns. Membership runs from 1 October each year, but anyone joining now will not have to pay again until October 2023, in effect getting three months extra membership!

Finally, don’t forget to let me know about any textile events you hear of, so that I can share the information on here!