TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Hoe herken je kant?

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Kanten kraagje voor een japon, begin 20ste eeuw. TRC 2017.3324.

Kanten kraagje voor een japon, begin 20ste eeuw. TRC 2017.3324.

In het weekeinde van 4 op 5 november werd in het atelier van het TRC de boeiende workshop van Olga Ieronima over het uitgebreide onderwerp “hoe herken je kant” gehouden. Hoewel het buiten goot en de regen op de lichtkoepel van het atelier van het TRC kletterde, luisterden binnen zeven zeer geïnteresseerde en in textielkennis al ervaren deelnemers naar Olga’s heldere uitleg van de verschillen tussen bijvoorbeeld naaldkant en kloskant, geborduurd tule en gehaakt kant, filetwerk en tamboereerwerk en bijvoorbeeld hoe machinaal kant eruit ziet.

De zeer ervaren Olga had haar eigen grote ronde kloskant-kussen meegenomen en gaf daar een korte demonstratie van. Er was ook een kloskant-kussen in the TRC collectie met alle variaties die er te vinden zijn in soorten kantklosjes. Waarschijnlijk is die indertijd klaargemaakt toen het TRC in 2014 een expositie “Over kant Gesproken” had opgezet, waarover toen een alleraardigst informatieboekje is geschreven.

Bovendien had Olga voor elk van ons een uitgebreide en uitgeprinte beschrijving van de geschiedenis van de kanthistorie, uitgewerkte fotovoorbeelden en tekeningen gemaakt dat we als naslagwerk voor later konden gebruiken. De voorraad én de kwaliteit van de enorme variatie aan voorbeelden van kant van het TRC zijn immens! Ze lagen allemaal keurig gesorteerd klaar om niet alleen bekeken, maar ook aangeraakt en gevoeld te worden. Dit is een bijzondere specialiteit van het TRC, die door de deelnemers erg gewaardeerd werd.

Na afloop van dit weekeinde wisten we veel meer over kant én kregen we ongelooflijk veel bewondering voor de makers van kant én konden we zelfs (weliswaar met enige moeite) de verschillende soorten kant van elkaar onderscheiden! Helaas regende het nog steeds flink toen we tevreden naar huis gingen……

Esmeralda Zee, donderdag 16 november 2017

   

TRC weekend workshop on lace

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

TRC weekend lace workshop, 4-5 November 2017

TRC weekend lace workshop, 4-5 November 2017

There were eight participants (from four different countries) at the TRC’s recent weekend workshop on “Identification of Lace”. The workshop was expertly led by Olga Ieromina, a TRC volunteer and an enthusiastic lace maker herself. Olga began by giving a working definition of lace as a decorative openwork fabric, in which the pattern, and any ground that links the pattern parts, are gradually built up by the interworking of free threads.

She explained four different markers that can be used to identify lace: how is it made (for example, handmade or machine made, the type of stitches used in construction, etc); what type of lace (needle lace, bobbin lace, hairpin lace, etc.); what kind of thread is used (examples included linen, silk, cotton, synthetic, wool or metal); and the lace’s country of origin and date.

A brief history of lace followed, from its 15th century origins in southern European embroidery and cut work, through the 17th century’s stunning needle lace (much of which originated in Venice), to the rise of Flemish bobbin lace in the 18th century and on to the 19th century’s machine lace.

TRC weekend lace workshop, 4-5 November 2017

TRC weekend lace workshop, 4-5 November 2017

We then began the most enjoyable part of a very enjoyable weekend—identifying, examining and handling many different and beautiful examples of lace in the TRC collection, from continuous to guipure, looped or appliqued; made by hand and by a variety of machines (including Puschers, Barmen and chemical). Our learning was enhanced by a series of short video clips, which showed how different laces were made and by the experiences of the participants themselves, whether we were curators, collectors, craftswomen, conservators or in the vintage business. Olga also produced a very useful handout on lace identification for each participant. I came away from the workshop with more knowledge and even more admiration for the creators of such complex and beautiful textiles.

Shelley Anderson.

Friday, 10th November 2017

   

Syriac Orthodox display opened

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Display of clothing and objects associated with Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. 5th Nov. 2017. Photograph by Gewargis Acis.

Display of clothing and objects associated with Bishop Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek. 5th Nov. 2017. Photograph by Gewargis Acis.

Sunday 5th November: The last few days have seen some interesting events and developments at the TRC. As seen from a previous blog, we had a donation of a christening gown dating from 1947. It is embroidered with the names of 17 babies who had been christened in the gown. An item about it was also put on the TRC’s facebook page and many people have seen the item and reacted to it.

Saturday and Sunday saw a new development at the TRC, namely a two-day course on the identification of lace and its many different forms and types. The course was given by Olga Ieromina, one of the TRC volunteers and a dedicated lace maker and responsible for the TRC’s collection of lace. More details about the course will come online shortly.

In the meantime Willem and I have been hard at work at the Syriac Monastery in Glane, in the east of the Netherlands. We have been helping the community to prepare a display about the previous Syriac bishop, called Mor Julius Yeshù Çiçek, who died in 2007 and who had a strong influence then, and indeed now, on the monastery and the people associated with it. Saturday was spent getting the final details of the exhibition in order, text boards hung, podiums and stands covered, objects in order (especially three outfits worn by the bishop) and finally getting the object descriptions written and translated into Dutch and English. Two showcases for the display were provided by the Volkenkunde Museum, Leiden.

Lees meer: Syriac Orthodox display opened

   

Doopjurk met een rijke geschiedenis

Doopjurk uit 1947 gemaakt van parachutezijde, met geborduurd de namen van 17 dopelingen, tussen 1947 en 2013.

Doopjurk uit 1947 gemaakt van parachutezijde, met geborduurd de namen van 17 dopelingen, tussen 1947 en 2013.

Het TRC ontving vandaag wel een heel speciale nieuwe aanwinst voor de collectie: het is een doopjurk die in 1947 werd gemaakt van parachutezijde dat de grootvader van de baby tijdens de oorlog ergens had gevonden of gekocht. Hij had drie dochters, en die kregen elk een stuk van de zijde. Twee zusjes maakten er een blouse van; de derde een doopjurk voor haar eerste kind. Geen gemakkelijke klus, want de jurk moest worden gemaakt van een schuine baan stof met een schuine naad in het midden aan de voorkant. Om die naad een beetje te verbergen, borduurde de jonge moeder langs de naad de naam, geboortedatum en geboorteplaats van haar dochtertje. Later voegde zij daar nog aan toe de datum van de doop, de naam en plaats van de kerk, de naam van de dominee en de bijbeltekst van de doop. 

De doopjurk werd daarna in de familie nog heel veel gebruikt, en elke keer werden alle gegevens weer op de jurk geborduurd, en na zeventien dopelingen is de jurk bijna helemaal vol. De laatst geborduurde tekst is die van een baby die in Harderwijk werd gedoopt op 12 maart 2013.

 

Lees meer: Doopjurk met een rijke geschiedenis

   

Strengthening the TRC archives and research facilities

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Girl with child from Walcheren in Zeeland, in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, in local costume. Photograph was taken in 1929.

Girl with child from Walcheren in Zeeland, in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, in local costume. Photograph was taken in 1929.

The TRC Leiden has just been given a small photo album that dates from 1929. It depicts daily life in Zeeland just before the Second World War. A way of life, including many of the garment types that have now vanished. The album includes 39 photographs taken during the holiday of Mr and Mrs N.G.J Schouwenburg from Amsterdam. They and their young daughter, Gera, then aged one, were in Zutphen in Overijssel, in the East of the Netherlands, and in Oostkapelle in Zeeland (in the south) for a holiday. It would appear that they were part of the vicars and elders associated with the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederlands Hervormde Kerk), as they stayed with Mr. van Paassen (Zutphen) and Mr. Gijsman (Oostkapelle), both of whom were vicars of that particular Protestant denomination. The album contains both family images of the Schouwenburgs and Gera (she regularly appears in the photographs).

With respect to the TRC interest in dress and identity, the images in this album present a fascinating glimpse of life for a middle class urban family (the ladies are wearing some wonderful cloche hats), who were clearly interested in the regional dress still worn on a daily basis by men, women and children in Zeeland.  We are now working hard on identifying all of the regional dress forms represented in the photographs.

These photographs can be found at the TRC Digital Collection under the numbers 2017.3322 (a-z, and za-zo), or by typing in Schouwenburg. One of the aims of the TRC is to present online a range of photographs and other images relating to textile and dress history from around the world. If you have any photographs that you know the date, place and perhaps even the people depicted, and you would be willing to donate to them TRC can you please let us know at Dit e-mailadres is beschermd tegen spambots. U heeft Javascript nodig om het te kunnen zien. . Many thanks!

Gillian Vogelsang, 31st October 2017

   

National Silk Art Museum, Weston, Missouri, USA

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Stevengraph showing Queen Victoria, woven in Coventry (England) in 1841.

Stevengraph showing Queen Victoria, woven in Coventry (England) in 1841.

I first became interested in Stevengraphs after the TRC acquired several examples (see TRC 2013.0419 and 2013.0462 via the TRC’s digital collection). Stevengraphs are pictures woven from silk. Originally in shimmering white, silver and black threads, designers later used coloured silks to create pictures. Stevengraphs are named after the English weaver, Thomas Stevens, who developed the process.

Stevens began producing silk bookmarks and greeting cards in the 1860s, using mechanical looms and punch cards. These affordable silk pictures became very popular in Victorian England, and gradually became larger and more detailed. It was a delight, then, to discover a museum dedicated to Stevengraphs.

The National Silk Art Museum in Weston, Missouri (USA) has some 300 silk pictures on display, ranging from small souvenirs of various World Fairs, to portraits of celebrities and royalty, to large reproductions of paintings by Rembrandt, Goya and Raphael. There is also a special display of embroidered post cards of World War I, similar to those in the TRC collection. The majority of the pictures, especially ones depicting religious or sporting scenes, are from France, not England, produced by firms such as Neyret Freres.

The exhibition opens with a display (post cards, photographs and stereoscope slides) on the history of silk production, with an emphasis on 19th century American involvement in silk. In 1603, silk worm eggs and mulberry seeds were sent to the British colony of Virginia, by order of the English king, in the hope of establishing a silk industry that could compete with French and Italian silk production. Crops like tobacco and indigo, however, proved more commercially successful. There were many silk mills, mostly in the eastern USA, during the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th.

Stevengraph showing Joan of Arc.

Stevengraph showing Joan of Arc.

In the 1830s there was a get-rich-quick craze (similar to the 17th century ‘tulip mania’ in the Netherlands), which involved planting hectares of mulberry trees in order to raise silk worms. The craze ended in failure, and most American mills imported raw silk from elsewhere.

The collection of the National Silk Art Museum began as a sort of craze, too, according to the curator John Pottie, who has put together the collection. “I collected sports memorabilia. In 1980 I bought a small engraving of French billiard players. When I got it home I realized it was silk, not an engraving.” Pottie fell in love with the way silk pictures change in light. “It’s almost as if they are breathing,” he said. Everything about Stevengraphs, from the way they look to the way they are produced, fascinates him. It is easy to see why after seeing the collection on display.

Shelley Anderson, 25th October 2017

   

Modest clothing

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Mormon modest clothing for a temple visit, Utah (US).

Mormon modest clothing for a temple visit, Utah (US).

Earlier this year, the British BBC reported on an unexpected but growing fashion trend: modest clothing. While reporters found many different ideas about what constituted modest clothing, there was agreement that the trend is being fueled by younger Muslim women who do not want to compromise either their faith or their sense of self-expression through what they wear.

But modest fashion, with dress hemlines below the knee and higher necklines, is also important to many other people. Among these are members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons), a Christian religious group that began in the USA in the 19th century. There are approximately 15 million Mormons around the world today, with over half living in the US. “Our bodies are sacred, so we need to clothe it appropriately,” one American Mormon told me. “We dress modestly in order to not call attention to ourselves. This means not exposing our bodies, so no see-through or sheer clothing, but also not wearing loud colours. I think it boils down to showing respect for myself and my body.”

Both Mormon men and women should dress modestly, she said. “In an everyday situation you probably won’t be able to spot an LDS member. Maybe at the beach, because men would wear longer swim trunks, and women would be in a one piece bathing suits—no bikinis.” Clothing worn to Sunday church services is mostly a personal “matter of taste,” she continued. “I have a long red dress. It’s modest, but I don’t wear it to church because it’s loud.”

Mormons who are initiated and make additional spiritual commitments also go to a temple. The clothing worn to temple must be all white, which symbolizes purity. Women wear white dresses with long sleeves, which are either mid-calf or ankle length, and white shoes. Men wear white suits and ties and white shoes. Larger temples may rent out this clothing, which is considered sacred, or believers can buy the clothes at LDS clothing centres.

Other clothing that is considered sacred is special underwear. Called ‘garments’, these are available at LDS clothing centres only for Mormons who have made certain personal commitments. “Garments remind us of the spiritual promises we have made. They’re sacred. The only time you don’t wear them is in the shower, or swimming, or when you are being intimate.” Garments are always white—except in the case of Mormon military personnel. The LDS and the US military have agreed that Mormon service members can wear camouflage garments.

While I was allowed to photograph the modest clothing for sale at a LDS clothing centre in Utah, I was not allowed to photograph the sacred garments.

Shelley Anderson, 8th October 2017

   

Syriac Orthodox community in Glane, the Netherlands

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Joost Kolkman photographing Father Antonios of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the St. Ephrem monastery, Glane, the Netherlands. Thursday, 5th October 2017.

Joost Kolkman photographing Father Antonios of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the St. Ephrem monastery, Glane, the Netherlands. Thursday, 5th October 2017.

The last few months we have been helping with a small exhibition about the life and work of His Eminence, Mor Julius Yeshû Çiçek, the former Syriac Orthodox archbishop for Central Europe, at the St. Ephrem Monastery in Glane, in the Netherlands. On the 5th November there will be a memorial service at the monastery in honour of the bishop, who died on the 29th October, 2005, and was laid to rest at the monastery on the 5th November.

Thanks to the help of the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden, two large showcases can be used to present items relating to the life of Mor Julius Yeshû Çiçek, including his calligraphy equipment and amazing artwork. There will also be three outfits that he wore and other items, such as his slippers (worn during services) that are decorated with pearls. Joost Kolkman, our indefatigable TRC photographer and web designer, Willem and myself were busy at the monastery on Thursday, sorting out items, dressing mannequins in the bishop's clothing, taking photographs of objects, buildings, statues, etc. We really enjoyed the day, working together with the ever so friendly, helpful, and very resourceful members of the community.

We also worked on the next Syriac project, which is about monastic and liturgical dress. Joost took beautiful photographs of some of the priests and monks, and their clothing.

The photograph shows the team in full swing: Joost takes a photograph of Father Antonios, I am holding up a piece of foam board to redirect the light, and Willem took this picture. In the background you can see one of the large showcases on loan from the Volkenkunde Museum in Leiden.

Gillian Vogelsang, 8th October 2017

   

African Textiles Study Day in Brighton

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Just had a few days in Brighton on the southern coast of England. I was attending a one-day meeting on Fashioning Africa, which is a project organised by the Royal Pavilion and Museums. The Project is about looking at, talking about and collecting African fashion, both traditional/classic forms as well as items made by specific fashion designers in various countries, including Ghana and Nigeria.

The meetings were very well attended, with colleagues, students and other interested people from all over Britain (and one from Holland) attending and taking part. There were two sessions, one with lectures and an afternoon session focusing on objects. For the first time ever I was described as a global textile specialist! I quite like the title.... now to make it true. Anyway, going back to the morning talks, it was fascinating hearing from the various speakers and how they approached the subject, the question of ethical collecting, and why should a British museum collect African garments? However, the question was turned around by referring to the large Afro-British population here, therefore why would you NOT collect items that represent their cultural background?

The afternoon session was spent looking at various groups of objects and explaining some of the different ways of looking at them, why were they made, what are they saying, etc. Participants moved from one table to another. There were tables with woven, dyed, and embellished forms, and some specialists explaining. At my table (embellished), I was not sure whether I had said the same things to all the groups, or had missed things out, let alone talked about all the objects. But the questions, comments and suggestions kept me going. There were some really interesting points made.

There was also a mystery object that the museum had put on my table..... Anyway, it turned out to be an Egyptian appliqué, something I know a little about as we had an exhibition on this subject at the TRC some years ago (for the TRC digital Egyptian appliqué exhibition, click here). Quite a relief.

One thing that was clear is that people's knowledge of fashion was good, but lacking in how to recognise basics, such as what is made of cotton, what is hand sewn, different types of weaves and embellishments. It has made me really think hard about a 5-day intensive textile course just on African textiles. If you are interested let me know and I will see what we can arrange with Brighton.

It was good having the chance to talk with colleagues, see people I had not seen for a while (including several who had been to Leiden on the normal 5-day intensive textile course), and to meet with students and enthousiasts with a passion for textiles and the stories they can tell.

Gillian Vogelsang, 1st October 2017

   

TRC as a cultural ark

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Four of the nine frames illustrating the various stages in binding and dyeing an ikat cloth.

Four of the nine frames illustrating the various stages in binding and dyeing an ikat cloth.

The last few days have been spent sorting out, tidying up and getting on with cataloguing and updating items for the TRC Collection, following the very busy week we have just gone through. Among some of the items registered is a wonderful series of frames made by the ikat weavers from Kalimantan (Borneo), who were at the TRC in August. The nine frames illustrate the various stages of setting up, binding and dyeing a set of warp threads (‘web’) using the ikat (resist, binding) technique before the coloured threads are woven into a piece of cloth.  At the same time the TRC acquired a loom used in the making of an ikat cloth, as well as an example of the finished product. All of which can be viewed on our collection online (nos. TRC 2017.3127- 2017.3129).

The design chosen by the weavers for these pieces (both on the frames and the finished item) is a stylised boat, symbolising the journey through life - both for me and the TRC. This symbol led me to think about one of the functions of the TRC, namely as a ‘Cultural Ark’, a title we were given by the Yemen Ambassador a few years ago when he came to see our Yemeni dress collection, while talking about the current civil war in the country that is causing so much havoc in so many directions.

Basically the TRC Leiden is a ‘boat’ that is home to examples of different production techniques, textiles, garments, and so forth that are not only stored here, but equally important, these items can be viewed, researched, published and exhibited, so that everyone around the globe can see them (actually or digitally), as well as preserving these objects for the future. The library, lectures and workshops are all part and parcel of the TRC experience and journey to becoming one of the most accessible cultural heritage resources (anywhere).

Over the next few weeks we are going to highlight various aspects of the TRC Collection, things that are old, new, large, small, smelly….. but all with a story to tell. Not bad for a ‘little’ institute in Leiden!

Gillian Vogelsang, 20th September 2017

   

Amish Plain Clothes

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Amish apron, Jamesport, Missouri, USA, 2017 (TRC 2017.2999).

Amish apron, Jamesport, Missouri, USA, 2017 (TRC 2017.2999).

Jamesport, Missouri (USA), is a small farming town surrounded by hectares of maize fields. Its official population is approximately 500 people. There is one other thing you should know about Jamesport, which made it perfect for my mission of expanding the TRC’s collection of North American textiles.

Jamesport is home to the largest community of Amish people west of the Mississippi River. Some 165 Amish families live and farm around the town. You can see them driving horse-drawn buggies on the roads (the use of cars and electricity is considered too worldly). They worship according to their Anabaptist beliefs and still speak the German dialect their ancestors did when they first came to North America in the 1700s. They also wear a distinctive form of clothing that they call ‘plain’ or ‘simple’ dress.

I wanted to buy some examples of this clothing for the TRC. Amish clothing is unadorned, in muted colours. The women wear ankle-length dresses, with an apron and bonnet; the men long trousers with shoulder straps. The clothing appears old fashioned in the 21st century and immediately distinguishes the wearer as a community member.

Pair of trousers for an Amish man, from Jamesport, Missouri, USA, 2017 (TRC 2017.2986).

Pair of trousers for an Amish man, from Jamesport, Missouri, USA, 2017 (TRC 2017.2986).

It was easy to find Amish quilts for sale in Jamesport. This distinctive style is immediately recognizable: dark colours (except for the pattern known as Star of Bethlehem or Broken Star), no checks or prints, with a centre dominated by an abstract motif, frequently of bars or stripes or blocks, with wide, unadorned borders. Amish quilts are also very collectible and sell for USD 1000 to USD 2000.

Amish clothing, however, wasn’t so easy to find. Fortunately, two shops in Jamesport gave me the same advice: drive down the hill for three miles, cross the railroad tracks, and look for the first building on the left. The directions were spot on: inside this shop were rows and rows of used Amish clothing, plus pickles, preserves, and other home goods for sale.

All the clothes were of a synthetic mix (except for a few pairs of denim trousers), and were of factory woven material. The clothes were also all skilfully home made, except for the men’s long sleeved white shirts (TRC 2017.2981), which were factory-made. Male trousers (TRC 2017.2982, 2017.2986) had a buttoned fall-front flap, with pockets and shoulder straps in the same material. While trousers for adult males and younger boys had buttons, some clothes for infants (TRC 2017.2984 and 2017.2983) used metal snaps. Many Amish consider zippers too worldly and will not use them.

While the male clothes showed no personal embellishments, there were small differences in some of the adult women’s dresses (TRC 2017.2995a, 2996, 2998). Almost all were loose fitting and ankle length, in solid pastel colours (primarily blue, grey, and green), with no prints or checks. Some featured a yoke or bib in the same material and most had a pocket. Sometimes an apron was made of the same material as the dress. While all the sleeves reached below the elbow, some women had made close-fitting cuffs, others loose. On some dresses a thin strip of the dress material has been sewn around the cuffs, a discreet embellishment. I did find one unfinished woman’s white dress with thin stripes (TRC 2017.2997), which made me curious about its story. All the clothes can be seen in the TRC’s on-line catalogue at www.trc-leiden.nl.

18th September 2017, by Shelley Anderson

   

Opening of the Central Asia exhibition, and much more

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Opening of the TRC exhibition "Dressing the 'Stans', 12th September 2017, by Prof. Peter Frankopan.

Opening of the TRC exhibition "Dressing the 'Stans', 12th September 2017, by Prof. Peter Frankopan.

This last week has been extremely busy thanks to a wide range of activities taking place at the TRC Leiden. Monday was spent putting the last touches to our new exhibition called Dressing the ‘Stans’: Textiles, clothing and jewellery from Central Asia. This exhibition was created as part of the Asia Year celebrations in Leiden that culminated in the opening of the Leiden University’s new Asia Library by H.R.H. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

The TRC exhibition (which was not opened by the Queen), was in fact opened on Tuesday by Prof. Peter Frankopan, Oxford University and author of the now famous book The Silk Roads (2015). Prof. Frankopan gave a short, but very much to the point, talk about the important role of textiles, especially silk, in linking cultures and groups together over the centuries. The exhibition will be on display until mid-December, so you will have ample chance to see it. In addition, in a few weeks’ time a digital version of the exhibition will appear on the TRC digital exhibition list (which is getting longer and longer with a range of very different exhibitions!).

Dressing the 'Stans' exhibition, from 12th September until 22 December 2017.

Dressing the 'Stans' exhibition, from 12th September until 22 December 2017.

Anyway back to Tuesday, the opening was followed by a light buffet, which gave everyone the chance to talk with Prof. Frankopan and to see the exhibition. Various guests promised items from home for the TRC Collection. Speaking of which, we were offered some Dutch regional dress items from one family from Nieuwland (Nieuw- en Sint Joosland) in the south of the Netherlands. Thanks to the generosity of one of the ‘Friends of the TRC’ who was at the opening, these items will be coming to the TRC next week and will enhance our growing Dutch regional dress collection.

Wednesday was spent with visitors to the exhibition, sorting out administration and getting my lecture ready for the following day. Thursday was spent meeting people at the Pieterskerk Leiden, following the opening of the Asia Library by Her Majesty. I was also able to talk with more people about the TRC (including the new British Ambassador to The Netherlands). Networking and getting the message about the TRC known to a wide range of people is important! And yes, we were offered as a donation some more textiles by an elderly lady whose father and mother collected embroideries and other items from Asia.

In the afternoon I gave a lecture as part of the Opening celebrations. To my surprise, it was a full house and people were standing (well one person was, but as it was Peter Frankopan, I am not complaining!). It was fun to talk about the exhibition and what we are doing to such an interested group.

Friday was spent tidying up, photographing and cataloguing some items from Turkey related to the Syriac Orthodox Church, as well as Afghan garments and textiles kindly given by May and Rolando Schinasi from Nice in France (all these are now online, see our catalogue). We also sorted out and sent off a grant proposal to the Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds. This proposal is all part of a really exciting project that the TRC recently got involved in – if you are a knitting fanatic and interested in a challenge, please keep an eye on the TRC website! I can say no more at the moment, but it's BIG.

And now to find twice as much space and four times the amount of money to house, present and enjoy everything! But before all of that happens, a cup of tea and a biscuit are required.

Gillian Vogelsang, Saturday 16th September 2017

   

Koperasi Jasa Menenun Mandiri and the TRC

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Participants to the ikat workshop having lessons on how to weave on a body-tension loom.

Participants to the ikat workshop having lessons on how to weave on a body-tension loom.

For the last fortnight (12th – 24th August 2017), the TRC has been host to two weavers, Mapung Salomina and Emiliana, and Mrs. Musrikah Siti. Mrs. Siti is a museum curator and representative of the Koperasi Jasa Menenun Mandiri, a weaving co-operation with well over 1200 members, of which c. 300 weave on a daily basis. All are from from Sintang, Kalimantan (Borneo) in Indonesia. Their visit was facilitated by Esmeralda and Theo Zee, both of whom with strong connections with Indonesia.

A series of ten workshops and lectures were presented to over seventy participants. These meetings helped people to understand the process of ikat production, from the preparation of the cotton threads (using a spindle wheel), to the binding of the warps for ikat making, the dyeing of the threads and the weaving of the end product. In addition, there were extra workshops on various basic basketry and beading techniques.

The weavers, Mapung Salomina and Emiliana, set up two ikat looms in the TRC Gallery and this number was increased to four for the weaving workshops. This meant that each of the participants had at least thirty minutes working on the loom, learning and understanding the basic movements and techniques required. Every movement was watched and corrected by Mapung and Emiliana. It was hard work, especially for people who are not used to working with body-tensioned looms. But it certainly increased everyone’s appreciation of, and respect for what is involved in making an ikat textile in this manner.

The strict approach of the teachers was reflected in the binding lesson, when one (unfortunate) participant had spent a long time binding some warp threads only to have all bindings removed because they were not done in the ‘proper’ manner! A fact that was appreciated by the participants, as Mapung and Emiliana made it clear that the groups were there to learn new techniques and not to develop their own forms. The need for the participants to change how they thought about a design, how to describe it and more importantly how to communicate it from the brain to fingers was very apparent. People learnt a lot about themselves as well as about Sintang forms of working.

Lecture on the identification of Indonesian ikats, by Esmeralda Zee.

Lecture on the identification of Indonesian ikats, by Esmeralda Zee.

These workshops were very well attended and intensive – there was a lot to take in within a relatively short period (generally three hours), so the socialising and gossiping that is found in many Western sewing bees and quilting parties was not encouraged! Which is not to say that the TRC staple of tea/coffee and biscuits was absent. These were seriously needed.

The educational function of the TRC also came to the fore in two lectures that were given, one by Mrs. Esmeralda Zee, assisted by Mrs. Musrikah Siti, Mapung Salomina and Emiliana, and the second by myself, about non-Indonesian ikats, based on historical and modern examples in various museums, as well as in the TRC Collection. The use of deep fringes on the Ecuadorian ikats was especially noted. Mrs. Musrikah Siti is now going to develop a series of talks about non-Indonesian ikats to show how Indonesian forms fit within a global setting.

The weavers came with a variety of items for sale, some of which the TRC has purchased. In addition, we have acquired one of the looms used for the workshops – with the web, heddles and sticks all in place as well as ordering a series of small-scale frames that show step-by-step how a Sintang ikat is made. These will form the basis of a digital exhibition about ikats from around the world to be published in the near future.

The closing ceremony on Thursday afternoon (24th August 2017) was carried out by Prof. Bambang Hari Wibisono, the cultural attaché of the Indonesian Embassy in The Hague. His presence was greatly appreciated by all, as it confirms how important such cultural exchanges and events are, both in Indonesia and the Netherlands.

Gillian Vogelsang, 27th August.

   

A prehistoric puzzle

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

One of the Cahokia Mounds, Illinois, USA.

One of the Cahokia Mounds, Illinois, USA.

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic site, in Illinois (USA), is an UNESCO World Heritage site. It is most famous for its almost 100 human-made earthen mounds and for its Woodhenge, a circle of evenly spaced red cedars aligned with the solstices and equinoxes. Cahokia’s centre is Monks Mound, the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas, whose base covers almost fifteen acres (over five and a half hectares) and which stands one hundred feet (thirty meters) high.

Archaeologists don’t know who built Cahokia or why, but during its peak from 1050 to 1200 CE it supported a population of between ten and twenty thousand native Americans. It was a highly structured society, which cultivated maize and squash on an industrial scale. They must have also manufactured textiles on an industrial scale. Numerous ceramic spindle whorls (often made from pieces of broken pottery) have been excavated in Cahokia and from its surroundings.

Fragments of dyed fabric have been found in the nearby Spiro Mounds (Oklahoma), which was under Cahokia’s rule. The fabric had with geometric patterns in red, black and yellow. Carbonized textile remains (of both cordage and fabric) have also been discovered. In at least one case, impressions left in the soil of a burial pit left clues as to how mats were woven from reeds or rushes.

These traces, and the study of historic native American textile production, reveal that the people of Cahokia used techniques such as finger weaving, braiding and twining. Deer sinew was pounded and separated into fibres for sewing hides together. Needles and pins were made from deer bones. Fur from rabbits and dogs (and perhaps other fur-bearing mammals) was spun into thread for weaving or sewing clothing; human hair was also spun or braided in order to make bowstrings. The stems of plants such as milkweed and dogbane was processed and spun to produce a silky-like thread for weaving; likewise the inner bark of trees like basswood, black locust, and cedar was made into strips for clothing, cordage, baskets, floor mats and sleeping mats.

Garments were made from animal hides and from plant fibres. Depictions of clothing (e.g., on carvings and petroglyphs) show both men and women wearing fringed kilts, with geometric patterns and wide sashes. Textiles were also decorated with shell beads, as the spectacular excavation of Mound 72 has shown. Over 280 bodies were excavated in the 1960s. It appeared to be the burial tomb of an elite male, who was found lying on a two-inch-thick layer of twenty thousand marine shell beads. The beads are thought to have decorated a bird-shaped cape or blanket about six feet long, which had disintegrated.

The grave goods buried in Mound 72 included mica and beaten copper (both used for jewellery), over seven hundred arrow heads and another cache of 36000 shell beads. Many of these goods came from hundreds of kilometres away, which point to extensive trade contacts. Cahokia and its excellent Interpretive Center are well worth a visit, both for anyone interested in ancient civilizations in general, or the pre/history of native American people in particular.

Shelley Anderson, 8th August 2017

   

A textile day in Jaipur, India

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Modern example of gota and zardozi work from the City Palace, Jaipur. Acquired for the TRC collection on 1st August 2017.

Modern example of gota and zardozi work from the City Palace, Jaipur. Acquired for the TRC collection on 1st August 2017.

Today, Gillian and I visited Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, India. Since neither of us had ever been here, we were very curious this morning when our taxi driver and his brother, who have been with us for the last few days and have proven to be very patient and amused by our company and weird interests, drew up at the hotel and took us to the city centre. Our first port of call was the City Palace, where, we had been been told, there was a small display of garments worn by the past Maharajas of the city.

We were extremely surprised to discover that the palace grounds house a beautiful little textile museum with the most interesting garments, well displayed and with excellent text boards. They include some beautiful chogas, angharkhas and jamas, as well as a late-nineteenth century Chinese gown bought by the then Maharaja. The most prized item in the displayed collection is a pashmina (both warp and weft) floor covering dating to the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.

Anyone paying a visit to Jaipur and being interested in textiles and garments used and worn by the Maharajas of Jaipur for the past few hundreds of years should certainly pay a visit. And not only the museum itself was a pleasant surprise, so was the museum shop with high quality merchandising, including textiles and garments made and embroidered in the palace workshop.

The afternoon we spent touring Jaipur and Jaipur bazaar, looking for textiles and textile materials. We ended up in a shop called Satguru’s, managed by Mr Aneesh Sharma, who not only showed us some of his interesting textiles, but also obviously loved talking about them and explaining techniques and giving us the local names. We bought several interesting Rajasthani embroideries, demonstrating various local techniques, including so-called Rajasthani phulkari (normally associated with the Panjab). We completed our tour in the bazaar itself, looking for materials for gota embroidery (characterised by pieces of metal thread ribbon cut or folded to shape). When with the help of many bystanders and some tea one of the bazaaris finally turned up with what we wanted, we decided that it was time to call it a day. A cappuccino in the City Palace was a well-earned reward. Tomorrow we will be heading back to Delhi.

Willem Vogelsang, 1st August 2017

   

Estonian folk costume

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

If you ever find yourself near Tartu (Estonia), one place you should visit as a textile enthusiast, is the Estonian National Museum. Besides the wonderful exhibitions about Estonian culture and history, there is since the 22nd of June 2017 the exhibition “Regarded as a norm, perennially worn”. This exhibition consists of 150 sets of traditional folk costumes from all across Estonia. The costumes are from all the rural municipalities of the country and reflect the seasonal and geographical diversity of traditional dress.

Another exhibition that is of particular interest is the permanent exhibition “Echo of the Urals”. This exhibition gives insight into the culture of the Finno-Ugric peoples, who are indigenous to large parts of, among others, Scandinavia and Eurasia. The exhibition is a beautiful mix of costume, culture, daily life, rituals and traditional art of Finno-Ugric peoples. This mix gives a wonderful insight into the cultural landscape through the combination of these cultural elements combined with modern media, such as displays and music. One gets a taste of what it would feel like to be part of the various cultural worlds of Finno-Ugric societies.

When I visited the exhibition it felt like stepping into another world. Through the use of sound you feel like you are truly standing near an isolated cabin in the woods or in the middle of the village square during a festival surrounded by music.

For more information about the museum, see http://www.erm.ee/en and its exhibitions http://www.erm.ee/en/news/regarded-norm-perennially-worn and http://www.erm.ee/en/content/echo-urals

Deandra de Looff, 1st August 2017.

   

Goldwork from Agra

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Modern piece of goldwork (zardozi) from Agra, India. Acquired for the TRC collection on 30th July 2017.

Modern piece of goldwork (zardozi) from Agra, India. Acquired for the TRC collection on 30th July 2017.

Today was spent in sight seeing and embroidery, a well-recommended combination in Agra, India. Agra used to be the capital of the Mughal kings (early 16th to mid-19th centuries) and not surprisingly Mughal period monuments abound. Willem and I went to the Taj Mahal at 07.00 and it was already getting busy. It lived up to expectations! It is an amazing complex and the Mughal inlay work is really beautiful. I now have a much better appreciation of Mughal textiles and designs in general. Then onto the Red Fort (where Willem was ecstatic seeing the so-called Gates of Somnath, which the British took from Mahmud of Ghazni's tomb in Afghanistan in 1842), followed by the exquisite mausoleum of Itimad ud-Daulah ("Baby Taj") and the tomb of the greatest of the Mughal emperors, Akbar, at nearby Sikandra. The latter is a bit disappointing, architecturally, especially after seeing his father's (Humayun's) tomb in Delhi.

After a break we then went looking for Agra embroidery. We had been told by some people that it did not exist and by others that it did. Well, it does and there are three styles associated with Agra, all of which come under the heading of zar-dozi ('precious work' or literally 'gold work') because of the use of metal threads. A characteristic feature of work from Agra is the use of precious and semi-precious gems that are sewn onto the silk and metal thread embroideries. These are in keeping with the Mughal embroidered hangings and carpets that are referred to in early written accounts. We saw one piece that literally glowed due to the silk, metal thread and gems. It only cost 50000 euros... it was very interesting talking with the embroiderers (male in public, with the bulk of the work being carried out at home by women). It would appear that there is a thriving embroidery scene in Agra!

Gillian Vogelsang, 30th July 2017

   

Lucknow chikan, and more

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Printing blocks for chikan embroidery designs, Lucknow, India (27th July 2017).

Printing blocks for chikan embroidery designs, Lucknow, India (27th July 2017).

Today (27 July 2017) has been spent wandering around the Indian city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. We bought several items, including two veils worn by the groom (sic) at an Indian wedding (Hindu, Muslim and Sikh). These are called sehra and can be made from flowers,, beads, etc. They are hung from the groom’s turban during the early parts of the wedding ceremony. The bride may wear a net veil or sometimes a matching sehra. The examples we bought are for the Shia Muslim community and include the name of Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed.

More specifically, however, we have been learning about chikan thanks to the help of Dr Sugandha Shanker. We first went to the main museum in Lucknow (which is situated in the zoo) to see some nineteenth century examples of chikan (two types, the flat and the raised versions) and then onto the old bazaar and we talked with various craftsmen (especially the block printers) and sellers, as well as briefly discussed embroidery with some of the women who actually produce the work. Thursday is a quiet day in the bazaar and it opens up again in full force on a Friday, but we now have a shopping list for tomorrow of traditional forms, and modern examples of the latest developments, including black chikan. Can this actually be called chikan? Well, according to the people here, yes.

Detail of a pashmina shawl decorated with chikan embroidery, Lucknow, India (photograph 27th July 2017).

Detail of a pashmina shawl decorated with chikan embroidery, Lucknow, India (photograph 27th July 2017).

We also visited the most amazing designer chikan shop, called ADA, which is run by Mr Haider Ali Khan, a knowledgable and very courteous gentlement who clearly loves chikan. The shop has a wide variety of chikan forms, from traditional to modern. They are also working on sustainable forms of ground cloth, using protein fibres (milk, corn, bamboo, banana, as well as lotus – this one was a new one to me and is very soft). In addition, he very kindly brought out some of the rarest and most valuable examples in his shop, so we could appreciate their beauty. These included one form of chikan worked on a pashmina twill weave ground (extremely difficult to embroider with the chikan techniques) and a chikan sari that took about two years to make (for sale at a simple, one lakh of rupees or about 1400 euros). It is an amazing piece of work and I could just look at it for hours seeing how the stitches and designs have been brought together. In fact I ordered a small sample (A4 size) for the TRC Collection, it will take about three months to make. More about that in the future! I would also like to thank Mr. Khan for a lovely framed piece of chikan embroidery, which he very kindly gave me.

There was another type of embroidery called kamdani, which involves using narrow stripes of metal plate. A type of work that is dying out as it is so labour intensive. Unlike chikan work that is regarded as women’s embroidery, kamdani is worked by men (probably because it involves metal thread). If you are in Lucknow and have time to visit ADA (63 Hazratganj, Lucknow), then please do, it is worth it.

Gillian Vogelsang, 27th July 2017

   

Chasing embroideries in Delhi

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Detail of a Chinese-style Parsi embroidery from India, made in 2017 for the TRC.

Detail of a Chinese-style Parsi embroidery from India, made in 2017 for the TRC.

For the last week Willem and I have been in New Delhi, India. Willem for work (leaving me here in Delhi while he went to Thailand for a few days) and me for, well, work if you call hunting for hand embroidery work. Actually it has been quite difficult to find any good quality items. Much is quickly made and sold at relatively high prices by and to people who have little knowledge of the subject. I was offered printed, woven and machine embroidered pieces, even a brass elephant at one point, but little hand embroidery. I would very much like to thank Pralay and Neena Kanungo for helping me chase embroideries in the state emporiums. It was fun, and certainly gave an insight into the embroideries of the many parts of India.

But as the week went on life has improved and I have been talking with various groups about hand embroidery. This information is needed for the new encyclopaedia the TRC is working on, as well as for a possible exhibition about Indian and embroidery. One of the groups I have been talking with are the Parsi, a Zoroastrian group from what is now Iran that has lived in India for a thousand years. They have long been merchants especially with China and not surprisingly, there is a strong Chinese feel (design, colour and technique wise) to much of their embroidery. In the past they also produced European Berlin wool work designs, and amazing portraits worked using ultra-fine single stranded silk threads, as well as their own versions of the Chinese embroideries. The latter combine Chinese, Persian, Indian and European elements.

In addition to talking about embroideries we also talked about Zoroastrian clothing and I have ordered some special items that are worn under normal garments, plus a beaded toran, a form of decoration that goes over the doorway to welcome visitors and protect the home. And, although it is only at the early stages, we have been discussing the possiblity of having one of their students come to the TRC for a month to learn about creating and running a small collection. Interesting days ahead!

I have also been talking with Jasleen Dhamija, the Indian grande dame of textile and embroidery studies. It has been a great privilege to meet and talk with her. Her comprehensive knowledge of Indian and indeed Asian textiles is amazing. She has also very kindly offered to help with the new encyclopaedia, which gives a lot of confidence in what we are doing. Tomorrow Willem and I go to Lucknow to look at chikan embroidery (a form of white work), and then onto Agra to see the Taj Mahal and local embroidery, and then finally onto Jaipur, which has another form of embroidery called gota (which is more of an appliqué technique than embroidery). I am beginning to wonder whether it will be necessary to buy another suitcase for the trip back....

We will certainly miss the hotel we are staying, Lutyens Bungalow along Prthviraj Road; the meals around the long table in the garden, surrounded by squirrels, birds and bats, and the ever so friendly and helpful staff have been a great support, certainly while I was on my own.

Gillian Vogelsang, 25th July 2017

   

Buddhist robes

Er zijn geen vertalingen beschikbaar.

Two Buddhist nuns in pink. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

Two Buddhist nuns in pink. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

I attended an international conference on Buddhist women recently and was fascinated with the variety of robes Buddhist nuns wore. It made me want to learn more.

Buddhism began some 2,500 years ago in northern India. There are three main traditions, each with a distinctive dress, and hundreds of denominations within each tradition.

The oldest tradition within Buddhism is Theravadan, practiced today mainly in southeast Asia. A Theravadan monk’s robe comes in three pieces: a sarong-like piece that falls from the waist to the ankles, tied by a cotton string; a rectangular piece (from two to almost three metres long) that is wrapped like a sari around the body, and draped over both shoulders or only the left shoulder; and a similar extra robe that can be worn in cold weather (called a sanghati robe). The nuns wear the same, plus a bodice underneath the robe.

“There’s a lot of fiddling and readjusting with Theravadan robes. They’re always slipping, as there’s no buttons or knots,” said an Australian Theravadan nun.

The colour of Theravadan robes ranges from orange to yellow to ochre. In Thailand, where there is a controversy about women’s ordination (hence, who can legally wear ordained robes), it can be a radical act for a nun to wear these robes.

Many Buddhist women in Thailand and Cambodia who want to renounce secular life wear a less controversial long white skirt, long-sleeved white blouse and a white rectangular cloth draped over their left shoulder. In Burma, nuns wear a saffron-coloured ankle-length skirt, a pink long-sleeved blouse and a pink rectangular cloth, again draped over their left shoulder.

Fortunately for Theravadans, the earliest Buddhist strictures around the appropriate cloth for robes no longer apply. Originally only cloth that had been thrown away was allowed: cloth soiled by childbirth or menstrual blood; gnawed by oxen or mice; burnt; or shrouds for the dead are specifically mentioned as permissible. Embellishing the robes by adding cowrie shells or owl feathers was prohibited. The cloth was scavenged, washed and then dyed with turmeric or saffron. These colours were supposedly considered unattractive. When I asked a Tibetan nun why her robes were maroon-coloured, I got a similar response: “It’s an unattractive colour.”

Theravadan nun from Thailand. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

Theravadan nun from Thailand. Photograph by Shelley Anderson.

As Buddhism spread to northern Asia, robes changed. Exposing the right shoulder, a sign of respect in India, was considered indecent in China. There, nuns started to grow their own food rather than going on alms rounds. A grey long-sleeved tunic and loose trousers were practical to work in; a long-sleeved, ankle-length grey robe (adapted from Daoist robes), tied left over right; and an often differently coloured sanghati robe completed, and still completes, a Buddhist nun’s outfit. . “It’s very convenient and quick, if a visitor comes. Your clothes might be dirty from gardening but slip on a robe and you are ready to receive visitors to the temple,” a nun from Singapore told me.

It is the same in Korea, with some different details: a long grey cloth belt is knotted in front to close the robe. In some orders novices wear brown on their collars and cuffs for their first four years. A grey sun hat, grey tennis sneakers and grey knapsack may complete the nun’s every-day wear.

In Japan, a nun’s dress frequently consists of a white undershirt, and a short tunic and baggy trousers in grey or blue. A black ankle-length robe wrapped left over right (“You would frighten people if you wore it right over left—that’s for a dead person,” a young nun told me) can also be worn. This robe is made of a gauzy material for summer and a heavier material for winter (“It’s all polyester!” the same nun said).

Different denominations are shown by wearing different colored sashes over a shoulder, embroidered with the symbol of the denomination. More adaptations can be expected in robes as Buddhism spreads to the west. One Japanese teacher has suggested that American Buddhist robes should be made of blue denim, as it is inexpensive and common.

Shelley Anderson, 11th July 2017

   

Pagina 6 van 14

Zoek in TRC website

TRC in een notendop

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428  info@trc-leiden.nl

Openingstijden: Maandag tot/met donderdag, van 10.00 tot 16.00 uur. Andere dagen alleen volgens afspraak. Wegens vakantie gesloten tot 11 augustus.

Bankrekening: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59, t.a.v. Stichting Textile Research Centre.

Toegang gratis, maar een vrijwillige bijdrage is zeer welkom.

TRC Gallery tentoonstelling, 12 - 15 augustus 2019: Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles

facebook 2015 logo detail

 

 

Financiële giften

The TRC is afhankelijk van project-financiering en privé-donaties. Al ons werk wordt verricht door vrijwilligers. Ter ondersteuning van de vele activiteiten van het TRC vragen wij U daarom om financiële steun:

Giften kunt U overmaken op bankrekeningnummer NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, t.n.v. Stichting Textile Research Centre.

Omdat het TRC officieel is erkend als een Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling (ANBI), en daarbij ook nog als een Culturele Instelling, zijn particuliere giften voor 125% aftrekbaar van de belasting, en voor bedrijven zelfs voor 150%. Voor meer informatie, klik hier

Voor het overmaken van giften, kunt U ook gebruik maken van Paypal:


Abonneer u op de TRC Nieuwsbrief