This woman’s dress or jumlo is the featured Object of the Month from the SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection) Trust.
It was made from a woven black cotton fabric and is finely embroidered with silk threads. It is constructed from three main parts: a bodice, long wide sleeves and a full skirt comprised of numerous triangular inserts of cloth, known as godets. Symmetry is an important element in the design and jumlos are elaborately adorned with buttons, beads and coins. This particular example features beadwork, mother-of-pearl buttons, metal amulets, chains and Pakistani coins dating from 1948 and 1949. Some jumlo are further embellished with zips, lead weights, key and bath chains, padlocks and brass buttons.
Jumlos are made and worn by women from the Shin community. The Shin are semi-nomadic shepherds, who live mainly in the upper valleys of Indus Kohistan, in north west Pakistan, where farming is difficult due to the dry, mountainous landscape. The Shin people move their livestock to higher or lower ground in accordance with the seasons, leaving their village homes during the summer months.
The SADACC Trust is based in Norwich, UK, and more information on this jumlo and many other objects can be found on their website
You wait ages for an update and then two come at once!
Following their research trip to the Indonesian island of Kisar last autumn, OATG members David and Sue Richardson have just uploaded a new section on the current state of textile production there to their website, Asian Textile Studies.
This new section looks at the textiles of the two different communities – the Meher and the Oirata – and includes a short video of how they spin using a small basket. It also discusses the unusual way they outline the warp ikat motifs after they are woven. They hope you enjoy reading it here
OATG members David and Sue Richardson have just uploaded a new section on Lau Wuti Kau – tubeskirts from the island of Sumba decorated with shells – to their website, Asian Textile Studies.
This is very comprehensive and covers the history and distribution of shell decoration throughout the area, how they were used, and of course the fascinating motifs created using shells. They hope you enjoy reading it here
OATG members David and Sue Richardson have been working hard recently on the textiles of Kisar Island, Indonesia, and have uploaded the first two parts of what is intended to be a three-part section to their website, Asian Textile Studies. They hope you enjoy reading it.
Part I is available here, and Part II is available here. There is a great deal of well-researched, detailed historical information available here, both on the culture and textiles of Kisar, and it’s very well illustrated. I recommend taking a look!
Thanks for making this information available, David and Sue!
For my latest Textile Tidbit, I recommend a short BBC programme about the production of kimonos in present-day Japan.
This programme visits the remarkable island of Amami Oshima in the southern oceans of Japan, to follow the elaborate handmade production of a traditional Japanese kimono. Over five hundred people are involved in producing the island’s famous mud-dyed silk, which takes many months to produce. The film follows the painstaking process of the silk being bound, hand dyed, woven and finally turned into a kimono by a seamstress. Along the way we not only discover the history of the kimono tradition, but also the many difficulties facing the kimono industry in modern Japan.
To watch this programme online, visit the BBC iPlayer website (unfortunately for international readers, this video is only viewable in the UK).
Today’s Textile Tidbit is a link to the Tribal Music Asia website, and this year’s Songs of Memory update. Although the site focuses mostly on the songs and music of Southeast Asia, there are also a large number of pictures documenting traditional textiles in the areas of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and China.
This summer’s update includes information about three exhibitions of traditional crafts from these places, and several photographs. I recommend taking a look if you’re not already familiar with the site.
To read more about this project, and to view the exhibition photos, read the 2016 Songs of Memory update, or visit the Tribal Music Asia website.
For today’s Textile Tidbit, I recommend a short BBC programme about a handweaver in north west China, from their recent mini series ‘A Day in the Life of Three Master Craftsmen’.
The Uyghur community in north west China have been making Atlas silk for thousands of years. Mattursun Islam and his family are continuing the tradition, using a combination of handmade techniques and mechanised looms. From designing the patterns to colouring, dyeing and weaving the thread, this film follows each stage in absorbing detail. We also get an engaging glimpse into how their family and working life are closely connected. With rival companies often copying his designs, Mattursan is proud of his reputation.
Subsequent episodes in this mini series explore the lives of a wood carver and a potter.
To watch this programme online, visit the BBC Four website.
For today’s Textile Tidbit, I wanted to share with you some news about OATG member Nick Fielding’s new book. South to the Great Steppe, about the English explorers Thomas and Lucy Atkinson was, in part at least, inspired by his interest in Central Asian textiles. He says:
“It was while trying to work out the various population movements in Central Asia that I first came across the Atkinsons. That led me to Thomas’ book Oriental and Western Siberia, which contains many interesting descriptions of Steppe nomads and their clothing. Thomas was also a very accomplished artist and his watercolours show their costumes to great effect. I realised that the Atkinsons had been almost forgotten and decided to find out more about them. That eventually led to the publication of the book, as well as taking me on many fascinating journeys to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Siberia.”
Nick says he has now started on a second book on the Atkinsons, this one covering all their travels, including in Eastern Siberia. In total the intrepid couple travelled more than 40,000 miles, much of it on horseback, during almost seven years of travel. Lucy also gave birth to their son in what is now eastern Kazakhstan. This summer Nick will take a group of ten of the Atkinson descendants to this region to visit the place where their ancestor was born and to see other sites associated with the couple.
South to the Great Steppe: The Travels of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson in Eastern Kazakhstan, 1847–52 was published by FIRST, London, in 2015 (ISBN-13: 978-0954640996). Link to the book on Amazon here. The picture above is an engraving of one of Thomas Atkinson’s paintings from his book.
There is some good news and some bad news, for today’s Textile Tidbit. The bad news is that for this post I had actually wanted to share an event with you: an illustrated talk from Japanese artist Satoru Aoyama, about his medium and method, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. But unfortunately it got booked up so fast that there’s now little point in doing so. However, I thought that readers might be interested in finding out about the work of this artist, and the good news is that I can still share something about Aoyama with you here in spite of the event being fully booked.
Building up layer upon layer of intricate coloured thread, Japanese contemporary artist Satoru Aoyama creates photo-realistic interpretations of his subject matter entirely constructed through the art of embroidery. Like pixels on a monitor, Aoyama reproduces modern media images through an assemblage of fine stitches to disguise his craft and any evidence that his efforts are handmade and thus tricking the eye. Aoyama explores and re-values craft art forms and technology rendered archaic in modern art with his highly original ideas and methods.
To see more examples of his work, visit the art blog Faith is Torment.
If you would like to register for the waiting list for tickets for this event anyway, it’s still possible to do so via Eventbrite, here. The talk is free to attend, but booking is essential. It will take place on Monday 25 April at 7pm, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Studio, London. For more information, visit the website of the Japan Foundation, London.