Opening of the Out of Asia exhibition, TRC, 14th July 2019. Photograph: Willem Vogelsang.On Sunday, 21st July, Gillian Vogelsang wrote:
Last week Sunday (14th July 2019) saw the opening of the TRC exhibition: Out of Asia: 2000 Years of Textiles a pop-up exhibition that was set up to coincide with the massive International Convention of Asia Scholars in Leiden (co-organised by the International Institute for Asian Studies) and which had as its theme: Asia and Europe, Asia in Europe.
Over fifty people came to the opening of the TRC exhibition. I gave a lecture about ancient and modern textile contacts between Asia and Europe, and about the so-called Silk Roads that led from China, through Central Asia to the Middle East and on to Europe. And of course, in some cases in the opposite direction. But not only items were transported along the Silk Roads, but they also moved from India in all directions of the compass and were often transported along many maritime trade routes. Think of chintz and Kashmir shawls, and of course, the Paisley motif (buteh) that originated in India.
Words of welcome were also given by Sandra Sardjono of Tracing Patterns Foundation, Willem Vogelsang of IIAS, Leiden and the director of IIAS, Philippe Peycam.
Several people donated items to the TRC Collection, including a uniform dress worn by a nurse during the Second World War (1939-1945) and a child’s costume of a maid that was worn to a fancy dress party celebrating the liberation of The Netherlands from the Germans in 1945. These will be used in the TRC’s exhibition about textiles and dress during the Second World War, which will be held in the summer of 2020. Furthermore, John Ang presented two Malay batiks – one with turtles that represent long life – a good omen for the TRC!
Equally important, we had the chance to talk with many people about the work of the TRC, how we are expanding, needs for the short term and the long term. In other words, lots to think about.
Apart from the exhibition, the TRC also organised a week of special events. It was intense, but great fun! Over the week we had well over 200 visitors to the TRC, who attended a regular series of workshops in the morning and lectures in the afternoons. The visitors an workshop/lecture participants came, literally, from all over the world. The subjects ranged from Japanese and Western textiles and fashions over a 200 year period by Francesco Montuori, Malay batiks by John Ang, and three different forms of technical weave analysis, presented by Eric Boudot and Sandra Sardjono. Linda McIntosh discussed Lao textiles, and Chris Buckley gave a workshop on Asian looms and their lineage. The loom workshop on Friday 19th was followed by a talk on medieval Indian textiles excavated in Egypt (by the writer of this blog). The main practical workshops were given by representatives of Zhuo Ye Cottage, who came especially from Taiwan. They gave two workshops – basically an introduction to indigo dyeing. Fascinating. Many thanks to all our speakers.
On the same day as the indigo workshops (Thursday 18th July) there was a series of textile lectures at the National Museum of Ethnology, as part of the ICAS Conference. This part of the conference was organised by Sandra Sardjono and Chris Buckley.
A big word of thanks needs to go to all the TRC volunteers who have been helping prepare the exhibition and looking after participants of the workshops and lectures. Without their help it would not have been possible.
We are now seriously thinking about having one and two-day events on various textile themes to coincide with conferences in Leiden, as well as a TRC series of one-day events. So if you are coming to Leiden and are willing to give a paper, let us know! Who knows we may be able to organise a themed day of talks.