Exhibition: A World of Looms – Weaving Technology and Textile Arts in China and Beyond

Exhibition dates: 30 May – 15 September 2018, Hangzhou, China

This is the first exhibition in China to present the rich cultural heritage of looms and weaving technologies from around the world. It celebrates the marches of textile innovations in not only China, but also in a broader context of textile traditions over vast geographical areas. The exhibition will be divided into three galleries – China, Eurasia, Americas and Africa – each featuring a representative selection of looms. These range from recently excavated archaeological findings, through to Jacquard looms and multi-shaft looms.

Conference: 31 May 2018

A one-day conference runs concurrently with the exhibition A World of Looms and features many distinguished textile scholars including OATG member Chris Buckley. The presentations are very diverse and cover loom technology from China, Japan, Laos, Indonesia, Iran, Africa, and the Andes. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended.

For more information on both the exhibition and the conference click here


Event: Chris Buckley Talks about Patterns in Silk – The Marvellous Innovations of Tai Weavers

Event date: Tuesday 9 May 2017, 6–8 pm

This talk will discuss the ingenious patterning systems that Tai weavers use, and will show how their influence has been felt from imperial Chinese silk workshops in the east to the development of computing in the west. It will be illustrated with outstanding Tai textiles from China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Chris Buckley was educated at Balliol and Wolfson Colleges in Oxford. He has spent the last two decades living in Asia, and now lives in Oxfordshire. He is the co-author of The Roots of Asian Weaving (Oxbow Books, 2015) with Eric Boudot.

Location: The Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.

Admission is free for members, £3 for non-members.

For more information, and to register for your place, visit the Eventbrite page.

Event: Chris Buckley Talks about the Evolution of an Ancient Technology

Chris Buckley - Evolution of an Ancient Technology

Event date: Tuesday 16 February 2016, 4pm

This talk by OATG member, Chris Buckley, will discuss two studies of contemporary East Asian weaving cultures: one is a micro-level study of how weaving culture is transmitted and sustained, the other a macro-level study of technologies and techniques used across the region. The talk will compare the two and show how macro-level patterns arise from micro-level processes, and discuss the wider implications, particularly for how technology evolves in traditional societies.

Much of what we call ‘culture’ is ephemeral. For example, it is unlikely that many of us could recall in detail the conversations we had with colleagues and family a month ago, let alone a year ago. We may have skills that have been hard-won, such as driving a car or playing a musical instrument, but few of us will play any role in passing those skills on to another generation. If we forget something important we pay it no heed, since we can probably find it again in a book, a document or an email.

With these things in mind, it is striking how pre-literate societies, possessing few of the tools that we have to hand, have managed to create and maintain cultural traditions that have lasted millenia. This includes craft traditions, of which weaving is one example. The loom designs and techniques involved with these traditions are amongst the most complex devices created in pre-modern times. How is this feat accomplished?

Chris will look at this question and others using examples from weaving traditions in Asia. Many of these traditions are very old, but are still active today (albeit under threat). In particular he will share new data from two studies, one semi-quantitiative, ‘micro’ study of how weaving traditions are passed between generations, and one ‘macro’ study of weaving technologies (looms) and techniques across the East Asia region. The macro study is probably the largest purpose-built database on material culture in general (and traditional technology in particular) assembled to date. Viewed together, the studies contain important insights into the processes by which cultural traditions are maintained, and the consequences of these processes. This includes phenomena that have been predicted, but never previously observed ‘in the field’.

Please feel free to pass this invitation along to other interested people. The UCL seminar series is open to the public (and free of charge).

This talk will take place in Room 209, UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31–34 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PY.

For more information, visit the website of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, London.