TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Embroidery charts for Marken curtain design

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The two attached charts are based on designs from two curtains that originate from the fishing village of Marken in northern Holland. The curtains date to the late nineteenth century. They were made from hand woven linen cloth (even weave), and embroidered using a slightly twisted dark brown silk thread. The designs were worked in cross stitch and Holbein (double running) stitch. One design (click here) represents a pair of girls holding birds, and they are standing on either side of a tree (TRC 2016.1379). The pattern is a very old form and illustrates a tree of life motif. The second pattern (click here) is a stylised bunch of flowers (TRC 2016.1378). The two curtains were donated to the TRC by Mrs. M. Kircher in April 2016 and form part of an extensive collection of European embroideries.

Design of girls and birds from the island of Marken, the Netherlands

Design of girls and birds from the island of Marken, the Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower design from the island of Marken, the Netherlands

Flower design from the island of Marken, the Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Queens of the Nile

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Prof. Olaf Kaper, guest curator the exhibition Queens of the Nile, and board member of the TRC.

Prof. Olaf Kaper, guest curator the exhibition Queens of the Nile, and board member of the TRC.

I enjoy exhibits where both the achievements and the foibles of people come through. And despite thousands of years, it is the ancient Egyptians’ humanity that comes across in the exhibition “Queens of the Nile” at the National Antiquities Museum (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) in Leiden (the Netherlands), running now until 17 April 2017. There are some 350 objects on display that chart the lives of Great Royal Wives, such as Ahmose Nefertari, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut and Nefertari.

A Pharaoh had many wives. This was a potential source of serious trouble, as the long papyrus scroll on display, detailing a harem conspiracy instigated by Tiye against Ramses III shows. But there was only one Great Royal Wife, who was likened in power to the goddesses Hathor and Sekmet (the latter has two stunning, lion-headed statues in the exhibit). Ahmose Nefertari, who controlled temple administration, was indeed worshipped as a goddess by the artisans who worked in the Valley of the Kings. There is a replica of the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti, who helped make a religious revolution in ancient Egypt. I personally enjoyed the granite statue of Hatshepsut. While she wears the kingly nemes-headdress, she also wears a woman’s dress. What she doesn’t wear is the usual false beard, which she used to indicate her status as a king.

And there is a reconstruction of the tomb, in the Valley of the Queens, of Queen Nefertari (not to be confused with the earlier Ahmose Nefertari). This tomb has beautiful wall paintings. In one of these, the Queen is shown bearing a tray with four forked symbols (hieroglyphs for ‘textiles’) in front of the god Ptah. Textiles played an important role in the rituals for resurrection, from actual mummy wrappings to symbolic offerings. The TRC made an exact replica of the linen garments Queen Nefertari would have worn in life (see more here). It is a display like this that makes these women come alive. These garments, and a small wooden statuette of a young girl, named Nefertemau, were the most poignant for me. Nefertemau died still a child. Her mother commissioned the statuette for her dead daughter in order to ‘make her name live.’

When you visit the exhibit, be sure to see the Museum’s new re-opened Egyptian wing. It does feel more spacious than before. The largest room contains statues. Every fold or plait in the image is clearly carved, from the stiff kilts of the men to the ankle-length dresses of the women. In the next room are some real treasures—a large display case with beautifully woven (and perhaps embroidered?) fragments of Coptic textiles. Go to the back of the display case and open the drawers. Inside are some exquisite fragments of approximately two dozen Coptic textiles. The colours (red, blue, orange and brown) still glow, and the designs of people, plants, and animals are lovely. The human figures include the chubby, slightly lop-sided figures that characterize Coptic art. I am guessing, based on Coptic textiles in the TRC collection, that these are wool on linen, from the 3rd to 6th centuries CE. I guess because, strangely, there was no information given at all about these exquisite pieces. A TRC colleague did write to the Museum about this and got a prompt reply that information texts were still being prepared and will be put up soon.

Shelley Anderson, Tuesday 13th December 2016

   

Feathers

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“A World of Feathers” is the latest exhibition at the Ethnographic Museum (Museum Volkenkunde) in Leiden (the Netherlands, click here), which runs until 5 March 2017. It showcases an impressive collection, mostly of headwear, but also capes and haute couture gowns and scarves. One room is devoted to an amazing variety of birds whose feathers are used, from pheasants (think Queen Maxima’s stylish hats), eagles and owls (North American medicine men’s healing sticks and war leaders bonnets), to peacocks and the lowly chicken, whose dyed feathers trim an Aztec-inspired Mexican concheros dancer’s skirt.

The variety of feathers is enormous, as are the contexts the garments are used in. Whether it’s a chic Parisian wedding or a boy’s initiation rite in New Guinea, feathers are used to decorate and distinguish the human body, to show status and identity. As such, they can also be political: indigenous activists in the Amazon are now wearing traditional feathered headdresses to show pride in their roots—and to make a statement about protecting their land against deforestation. There is a short video with a Cherokee scholar, Dr. Adrienne Keene of Brown University (USA), who explains why many Native Americans are offended when non-Indians wear war bonnets at football games or in fashion shows.

The exhibition uses many excellent short videos to go deeper into the theme. My favorites included an interview with a Hawaiian woman who makes traditional leis (garlands) from thousands of small feathers. And an interview with an employee at Maison Lemariè, the only remaining plumassier in Paris. There, over 1000 ostrich feathers were being added, by hand, to a gown. It can take over 200 hours to steam (a process which adds sparkle) and apply feathers to a single dress. But it is the objects themselves which evoke interest. There is a seal skin and eider down cap from Greenland. A head dress made from plastic drinking straws, to replace a ritual feathered head dress that was destroyed, in Brazil. Also on display is a coil of up to 60000 red cardinal feathers, from the Solomon Islands. This is called tevau, and such coils were used as money up to the 1980s.

Last but definitely not least, there is a feathered cloak from the Chancay culture, excavated from a coastal grave in Peru, from circa 1100 to 1450. The feathers were collected from Amazonian birds, hundreds of miles and over the Andes mountains away. Fortunately anyone who wants to see this worthwhile exhibition doesn’t have to travel that far.

Shelley Anderson, 10 December 2016

   

Two days, and hundreds of veils

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One of the participants of the Veils and Veiling workshop on 4-5 November, wrote to us with the following brief account:

Over a two-day span a small group came together at the TRC to listen and learn about veils with the TRC director, Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood. The workshop in early November was called Veils and Veiling and the premise was to understand the notion of veiling from various perspectives. We looked at the history and variety of veils from northern Africa to Central Asia. We were able to touch and try-on all the versions of veils that covered the head and torso, specifically focusing on the face veil.

The participants in the group were diverse mix ranging from students to instructors from as far as Japan and the United States. Each member of the small group brought their own curiosity and insight on the subject, asking questions and sharing ideas in a very casual and organic manner. Over the course of the two days, as the Leiden rain drizzled outside, we were absorbed in the samples Dr. Vogelsang presented to us. The hours flew by as she told of the cultural significance and the context the garments were worn in. Her captivating stories of princesses and nomads whisked us through centuries and danced us across the globe. Over tea and coffee, we reflected on and discussed how our perceptions had changed since the start of the workshop. Being able to try on the countless garments and to ask questions about the construction and the function of the pieces were thoroughly beneficial. The Centre is an invaluable resource that must be venerated for the scale of its collections as well as the wealth of knowledge its director brings to the community. Truly, an enriching two days. Best, Hawa

Hawa Stwodah, USA, 14 November 2016

   

Hungarian embroideries, a knitting sampler from AD 1791, and an embroidery chart of an Hungarian cushion cover

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Hungarian cushion cover, TRC 2016.2246. Click on photograph for PDF-file.

Hungarian cushion cover, TRC 2016.2246. Click on photograph for PDF-file.

A few months ago the TRC announced that it had the chance to acquire a small collection of Hungarian textiles, mainly embroideries. Thanks to the help of various people the items arrived at the TRC last week and we have been busy photographing and cataloguing them (they are now all online in the TRC Collection, nos. TRC 2016.2237 to 2016.2261).

The textiles include a variety of different embroidery techniques and designs. Over the next few weeks we will be putting various charts online via the TRC Blog. In fact, the first of these Hungarian designs (TRC 2016.2246) is now available (click image) and consists of an eight-pointed star set within a diamond-shaped trellis work. It is worked on an even weave cotton material using a mid-blue stranded cotton thread. The design is worked in cross stitch. The pattern comes from a cushion cover that dates to the latter half of the twentieth century.

Knitting sampler dated AD 1791, TRC 2016.2261

Knitting sampler dated AD 1791, TRC 2016.2261

Among the Hungarian objects was something we had not expected. We knew the new acquisitions included a knitting sampler (TRC 2016.2261) and we had presumed it was early twentieth century in origin. On closer inspection, however, we found that there was a date, namely 1791, which would make it one of the earliest known dated knitting samplers from Europe. It takes the form of a narrow band sampler and is knitted using a linen thread. The top half of the sampler follows a classic needlework sampler format, namely it has various initials, a date, the alphabet, followed by 0-10 in numbers. The rest of the sampler is divided into two vertical rows with numerous lacy knitting patterns. We are now looking for someone who would be willing to translate these patterns into charts so that they can be published online for everyone to enjoy!

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 12 November 2016

   

Two cross-stitch patterns for ecclesiastical garments

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Tunic and stola with embroidery, TRC collection.

Tunic and stola with embroidery, TRC collection.

As part of the huge Kircher collection of European regional dress aand textiles, we also received two particular ecclesiastical garments with embroideries. We are not exactly sure where these two come from, but they are a stola (click here) and a short tunic with wide sleeves (click here). The garments smelt of incense when we unpacked them (and still do!). The embroidery is worked in a dull red cotton perlé using a simple cross stitch. There are two similar, but not identical, designs, which makes us wonder if these two garments were originally meant to be worn together or not. The stola design is the simpler of the two.

Gillian Vogelsang-Estwood, 11 November 2016

 

 

   

Veils and veiling workshop, 4-5 November

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Burqa faceveil from the southern Sinai. TRC 2004.0066.

Burqa faceveil from the southern Sinai. TRC 2004.0066.

A two-day Veils and Veiling Workshop was held at the TRC on 4-5 November. It was a great pleasure to give as well as, for me, being instructive, thanks to the range and depth of the questions raised by the participants. The workshop was a mixture of practical and theoretical details concerning the history, use and social/cultural contexts of head, body and face veils of many different types and groups. The meaning of the head and its symbolic use for power was discussed in detail, but one of the questions was not easy to answer and needs further thought - what is the symbolic meaning of the nose!

Attention was paid to what was the difference between the main types of face veils - batullah, burqa, niqab, qina, etc., how they differ with respect to materials, construction and decoration, and whether this was a religious, social and/or economic indicator(s). We also looked at the various types of veils to be found in North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, the Iranian world, as well as Central Asia and the northern Indian subcontinent. There was the opportunity to try on various forms from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, as well as Afghanistan. The various forms of burqa and chadari associated with Afghanistan and Pakistan were discussed and then tried on, as it is so important to understand something of how it feels to wear these garments, rather than seeing them as abstract items in a photograph.

And this is one of the strengths of the TRC's ever growing collection and workshops - the chance to see, feel and discuss actual examples.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 10 November 2016

   

Japanese Noh Theatre garments

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Nuihaku met maanbloemen en takkenbossen, Japan, 1700-1800, collectie Okura Museum of Art

Nuihaku met maanbloemen en takkenbossen, Japan, 1700-1800, collectie Okura Museum of Art

Refinement and elegance are two words that come to mind when I think of Japanese textiles. A small exhibition now on display in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum highlight this point. Kimonos from the Okura Collection (running from now until 13 December 2016 in the Museum’s Asian Art department) features seven 18th to 19th century kimonos used as costumes in Noh theatre.

This type of theatre began in Japan in the 14th century and continues until today. It is very stylized, with stock characters, and combines song, dance and music. It was popular with the Japanese aristocracy. The colours and quality of the costumes (and masks, some examples of which are also on display) helped with characterization. Costumes became more luxurious, decorated in gold and silver leaf, over the centuries, reflecting more elite clothing as the rich flocked to Noh theatre.

On display, for example, is a kariginu, an outer garment worn by noblemen when they were hunting. It is fastened on the side with a thick multi-coloured cord. This cord, which also appears on the sleeve openings, looked to me like kumihimo, a Japanese braiding technique. (There are numerous YouTube tutorials on kumihimo, see here). This garment, like all of the textiles on display, is made of silk, and decorated with gold leaf. Another garment, used to represent an aristocratic woman in Noh theatre, is a 19th-century karaori. This silk costume is beautifully decorated in gold thread with good luck symbols, such as red poppies and mythological birds.

Karaori means ‘Chinese style textile’ and originally referred to a type of richly-decorated fabric (silk, often in a twill weave) that looked embroidered, but was in fact woven. This technique first appeared around the end of the 14th century in Japan. Similarly, another kimono (weft-dyed, 18th century, green silk) on display looks to be decorated with lovely blocks of patchwork, but is woven. It was fashionable in the 15th century to re-use old brocade for patchwork in kimonos—until weavers learned to imitate the look.

One stunning textile, at least, appeared to be designed specifically for the theatre. This is a hangiri, a sort of pants suit. It has a deep red colour with two large dragons in gold brocade. Also on display is a choken, an unlined outer garment of silk gauze, decorated in a purple wisteria and gold fan motif, which much have looked beautiful when danced in. Last but not least there are two nuihaku, kimonos worn by younger actresses. One is an 18th century silk damask embroidered with moonflowers and red brushwood, a literary reference to the classical Japanese novel Tale of Genji. This textile is considered the highlight of the exhibit. I found all of the textiles very beautiful. The only disappointment was the fact that not more costumes were on display.

Shelley Anderson, 8 November 2016

   

Presidential T-shirts

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Small display of T-shirts with political slogans for US presidential elections. October/November 2016, TRC, Leiden.

Small display of T-shirts with political slogans for US presidential elections. October/November 2016, TRC, Leiden.

November 8 is Election Day in the US, when a new President and Vice-President will be elected. To mark the occasion the TRC has mounted a small exhibition of T-shirts that promote or mock different candidates from America’s two major political parties, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The nine T-shirts on display are typical examples of American political textiles. They portray the candidate’s face and a slogan. This slogan either casts the candidate as a responsible leader or as a foolish incompetent.

Slogans from successful past presidential campaigns might also be evoked, such as the “Give ‘em hell, Harry!” T-shirt (cotton/polyester, Honduras, 2016) on display. This was the 1948 campaign slogan of President Harry Truman. The donkey on the T-shirt is a symbol of the Democratic Party, and so shows the wearer’s affiliation to the party.

Lees meer: Presidential T-shirts

   

About the TRC Intensive Textile Course, Johannes Vermeer and St. Clare

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The Straatje van Vermeer (1632-1675). Courtesy Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, acc. no. SK-A-2860.

The Straatje van Vermeer (1632-1675). Courtesy Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, acc. no. SK-A-2860.

The last week has been very busy for various reasons. We have been running, for example, the October Intensive Textile Course. There were eight participants (the maximum we accept for each course), including colleagues from the London Museum, the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia) and Yale University (USA), as well some American and Dutch lovers of textiles. The week went very quickly as we studied, investigated and discussed a range of practical subjects (fibre identification, spinning, dyeing, weaving, etc.), as well as looking at a wide range of textiles from Europe, India and Indonesia (and other regions and countries between). Because the current TRC exhibition is about European embroidery, we spent time really looking at the objects on display and discussing how they were made, worn and regarded. The course will be repeated from 13-17 March 2017 (three places left) and again from 10-14 April 2017 and from 16-20 October 2017. For more information, click here.

This week was made more complicated because we had a donation of Dutch urban clothing coming in from a family in Wassenaar. The items included many garments and accessories from the 1910’s to the 1950’s, including a number of 1920’s cloche hats, as well as a range of early 1940’s outfits, shoes and hats. One of the course participants, a specialist in European twentieth century fashion, proved a great help in selecting and identifying the garments !

Beacuse of this and other donations and acquisitions, the nature of the TRC collection has been changing tremendously over the last few months, and we are working hard on getting more and more items on-line (click here) so that people around the world can share this amazing and diverse collection.

We also reached the amazing number of 2200 entries for the digital needlework encyclopaedia, TRC Needles. Click here to have a look at this fascinating collection of brief articles on a wide range of subjects that relate to decorative needlework, from materials, tools, embroidery stitches, to books, films, poems, paintings, samplers, and regional styles from around the world. Read here for instance about the famous 'Straatje van Vermeer' painting, by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The woman to the right, in the door opening, is probably making bobbin lace! Or would you like to read about St Clare, the patron saint of embroiderers?

And last, but by no means least, the current TRC exhibition about European embroidery is attracting more and more visitors. And, if I may say so myself, it is a beautiful exhibition that will inspire you to find out more about the techniques, designs and history of European decorative needlework.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 22 October 2016

   

Chart of a Swedish reindeer design, 1960's

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Below is a chart of the embroidery design that is derived from the pattern used for a woman's cotton apron from eastern Europe. It includes stylised deer worked in black embroidery thread (cross stitch and Holbein stitch). It dates to the 1960's.​ For a PdF file of the chart, click here.

 

East European deer chart, 1960's

East European deer chart, 1960's

 

Deer design for an East European apron, 1960's.

Deer design for an East European apron, 1960's.

 

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 16 October 2016

   

Embroidery chart of a Romanian geometric design

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As part of a new series of embroidery charts is a pattern that was used for a mid-20th century woman's blouse from Romania. It was worked in cross stitch and chain stitch in light blue and turquoise. The stitches are worked in various directions. The pattern is worked on the sleeves. It is an urban garment embellished with a traditional design. For a PdF file of the chart, click here.

 

Embroidery chart of Romanian woman's blouse.

Embroidery chart of Romanian woman's blouse.

 

Embroidery of Romanian woman's blouse, mid-20th century.

Embroidery of Romanian woman's blouse, mid-20th century.

 

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 16 October 2016

   

Review of the TRC Intensive Textile Course

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Dr Dana Sonnenschein, from New Haven, USA, was one of the participants of the TRC Intensive Textile course in September 2016. She sent the following review:

Last month, as part of the research for my sabbatical project, I traveled to take part in an Intensive Textile Workshop at the Textile Research Centre (TRC) in Leiden, Netherlands. The experience was amazing! Taught by TRC Director Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, the five-day course combined hands-on work in textile production with overviews of global and historical practices and interpretation of historical and contemporary textiles in light of the participants’ (new) knowledge of process and product. Each day involved at least one activity, beginning with a detailed study of a myriad of natural, artificial, and synthetic fibers; moving on to individually carding, combing, and hand-spinning wool; communally dyeing wool and silk using 21 natural dyes and four different mordants and, in the case of cochineal, two different temperatures of dye-bath (to produce a rainbow of some 120 colors); individually weaving a variety of patterns on small table-looms; and, also individually, producing samplers of batik, ikat warp threads, and plangi (tie-dye using Taiwanese techniques, which produce designs I never dreamed of back in grade school when I was rubber-banding flower-power tee shirts).

Marieke Roozeboom, one of the course participants, behind a bobbin lace pillow.

Marieke Roozeboom, one of the course participants, behind a bobbin lace pillow.

I’m not sure what I liked best, the forensics of finding out whether a scrap of fiber was flax or hemp, the pleasure of watching my hands and a simple spindle turn wool into yarn, the slow emergence of a pattern when weaving with a needle, or the adventure of painting a cotton scrap with hot wax. I learned that I will never be a master-dyer—that would take a lifetime—but I’ll always remember that iron “saddens” the color. And now I understand the basics of most of the processes involved in producing fabric and clothing, from prehistory through the present, knowledge that will inform future poems as well as my creative work with fiber. An historian or archeologist could use such skills to add an experimental component to her or his research, as Grace Mary Crowfoot did when she established that certain ancient Egyptian textiles were produced by the kind of loom still used by early twentieth-century Bedouins.

Each day of the Intensive Course also involved mini-lectures giving the “theory” of what we’d been practicing, followed by discussion of exemplary textiles, which Dr. Vogelsang-Eastwood guided so that participants learned to read/interpret everything, from pieces of cloth to garments from specific places and for particular purposes (for example, a symbolic sari, inexpensive and intended for purchase by a poor person as a temple offering vs. an expensive and carefully hand-printed sari, enormously valuable to its original owner but fallen in price/worth as soon as it became second-hand). As those examples suggest, understanding textiles is a way of understanding identity and culture (and vice versa). To truly read anything that came into one’s hands, one would need to study not only the object but when and where it came from. Fortunately, the TRC houses many stories as well as boxes and boxes of textiles. And, unlike most curated collections, which focus only on display, the TRC emphasizes research, so almost all its treasures may, with care, be handled.

Lees meer: Review of the TRC Intensive Textile Course

   

Unieke 3-oktober gift voor TRC

Moniek van Sandick overhandigt een kostuum van de 3 Oktober Vereeniging aan Gillian Vogelsang, directeur TRC.

Moniek van Sandick overhandigt een kostuum van de 3 Oktober Vereeniging aan Gillian Vogelsang, directeur TRC.

Afgelopen donderdag kreeg het TRC bezoek van Moniek van Sandick, een van de eerste vrijwilligsters van de TRC en nu gemeenteraadslid in de gemeente Leiden. Maar Moniek is ook lid van de 3 October Vereeniging, dat roemruchte orgaan dat sinds 1886 elk jaar leiding geeft aan de festiviteiten in Leiden die de bevrijding vieren van de stad, nu al weer 442 jaar geleden, om precies te zijn op 3 oktober 1574. Op die dag ontdekten de Leidenaren dat het Spaanse leger, dat de stad vele maanden had belegerd, uit de omstreken van Leiden was vertrokken. Van de 18000 inwoners van Leiden vòòr het beleg, waren er 6000 omgekomen of gestorven.

Het ontzet van Leiden leidde mede in de jaren die volgden tot het ontstaan van een onafhankelijk Nederland. Direct leidde het ontzet tot de oprichting van de Universiteit Leiden, die op 8 februari 1575 officieel werd ingesteld.

Het ontzet van Leiden wordt elk jaar nog steeds groots gevierd. Leidenaren en oud-Leidenaren eten haring met wittebrood, ter herinnering aan het eerste voedsel dat na het ontzet in de stad werd ingevoerd, maar ook hutspot, dat mengsel van aardappels, wortelen, uien en klapstuk, dat volgens de verhalen vanuit het verlaten Spaanse kamp naar de stad werd gebracht in een enorme ketel. Enorme ketel ....., de verhalen zijn wat overdreven. De bewuste ketel wordt bewaard in Museum De Lakenhal, en is niet zo vreselijk groot.

Maar terugkomend op het bezoek aan het TRC van Moniek van Sandick. Zij bracht voor de TRC collectie het officiële kostuum dat van 2005 tot 2015 door vrouwelijke leden van de 3 Oktober Vereeniging op 3 oktober werd gedragen. Een prachtige aanwinst voor de TRC collectie, die daarmee eens te meer de verbondenheid met de oude textielstad Leiden aangeeft.

Willem Vogelsang, 1 oktober 2016

   

An Hazara faceveil from Afghanistan

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Ruband faceveil from Afghanistan. TRC 2016.2038

Ruband faceveil from Afghanistan. TRC 2016.2038

Last week we reported on the acquisition of a burkini from Australia (click here). Now the TRC has acquired yet another unusual and very intriguing item that is also related to the concept of veiling, namely an Afghan face veil (ruband), which is decorated with Hazara style embroidery. It dates to the early 20th century and probably comes from the Kandahar region of Afghanistan. The Hazaras constitute an ethnic group in Afghanistan that is Shi'ite, rather than Sunnite, and speaks Persian (Dari), with many Mongolian loanwords. They claim to descend from the Mongolian armies of Djenchis Khan, that occupied Afghanistan in the early 13th century. For their embroidery in general, see TRC Needles.

Rubands originated in Persia in the 17th century and remained in use throughout the Persian world of influence until the mid-20th century. They were worn over the top of a chador. The use of separate rubands continued in the form of the veil section of the well-known chadaris and burqas, which combine both chador and ruband, and which are still widely used in Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively (there are examples of both forms in the TRC Collection).

 

Detail of face veil.

Detail of face veil.

Although the TRC knew of Pashtun examples of rubands (decorated with Kandahar style embroidery), the existence of Hazara versions is a new and exciting discovery for us. The embroidery on the face veil takes the form of a series of geometric shapes, stylised plant motifs, as well as amulets (‘hand of Fatima’) carried out in satin stitch (see TRC Needles) and double running stitch, with a touch of herringbone stitch in the border. The stitches are all worked in floss silk of various colours (probably dyed with aniline dyes). The eye section (to the right) has been created using drawn thread work, and is surrounded by satin stitch embroidery in the Kandahar style. This veil will be included in the TRC’s project on embroidery from Iran, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, as well as being on display in the 2-day course on veils and veiling at the TRC (4-5 November 2016).

Gillian Vogelsang, 28 September 2016

   

Burkini: When men tell women to undress for modesty's sake

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Ban the Burkini sign

Ban the Burkini sign

Women’s burkini swimwear seems to provoke controversy. In 1907, the Australian world champion swimmer, Annette Kellerman, was arrested by police for indecency. Her ‘crime’ was to wear a one-piece swim suit that stopped above her knees. Decades later the bikini was banned in several countries after its first appearance in 1946. Proclaimed ‘sinful’ by the Vatican, the fashion magazine Modern Girl Magazine wrote in 1957 that "it is hardly necessary to waste words over the so-called bikini since it is inconceivable that any girl with tact and decency would ever wear such a thing".

And now there’s the burkini, swimwear that covers everything except a woman’s face, hands and feet. It’s popular with some Muslim women who want modest clothing. This August in France over twenty coastal municipalities declared a ban on burkinis. Dozens of women have since been fined for wearing a burkini based on the grounds that the outfit does not respect “good morals and secularism”. In Nice, four police officers demanded that a Muslim woman lying on the beach remove her long-sleeved tunic. Photographs of the incident went viral and prompted an international debate. While France’s highest administrative court has ruled that the burkini ban of the town of Villeneuve-Loubet is illegal, mayors of other communities with similar laws have refused to lift their bans.

Lees meer: Burkini: When men tell women to undress for modesty's sake

   

TRC in Indonesië

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TRC vrijwilligster Else van Laere in Sulawesi, Indonesië.

TRC vrijwilligster Else van Laere in Sulawesi, Indonesië.

Else van Laere, een van de TRC vrijwilligers, is momenteel in Indonesië waar zij voor de organisatie PUM helpt bij het verder uitbouwen van een commerciële textielondernemning. Zij stuurde ons het bijgesloten bericht:

Voor PUM ben ik nu bij een bedrijf dat gerund wordt door een 37-jarige vrouw, Kristina, en waar met name (school)uniformen en kleding op maat wordt gemaakt. Het is het meest verbazingwekkende bedrijf dat ik in al mijn Pum-missies ben tegengekomen. Als kind van acht jaar werd Kristina langdurig ziek en van school genomen. Na een half jaar was ze nog steeds niet beter en toen moesten haar ouders haar het huis uit doen (anders zouden de ouders volgens een plaatselijk geloof overlijden). Ze kwam terecht bij een gezin waar ze tot haar 17e als meid werkte. Toen trouwde ze. Haar man kreeg een baan elders in de provincie, maar overleed daar al gauw. Daar zat ze als 18-jarige met een kind van tien maanden. Ze heeft dat kind elders moeten onderbrengen en is weer als meid gaan werken (je hebt dan alleen kost en inwoning, maar geen salaris). Ze hertrouwde, maar is in 2007 weer gescheiden. Ze had toen vier kinderen.

Ze heeft vervolgens werk gevonden in een naaiatelier en daar twee jaar gewerkt. Toen had ze geld genoeg gespaard om twee naaimachines te kopen en is samen met haar zus voor zichzelf begonnen. In 2013 gaf ze naailes aan diverse jongeren en de 25 besten vroeg ze te blijven. Ondertussen was ze de scholen in de omgeving afgegaan om orders voor schooluniformen te krijgen. In Indonesië dragen alle schoolkinderen (en ook ambtenaren) een uniform. De scholen schrijven elk jaar een ander uniform voor, dus elk jaar moeten alle kinderen een nieuw uniform aanschaffen. Ze kreeg de nodige opdrachten: niet omdat ze goedkoper was maar omdat ze de onderwijzers een “bonus” in het vooruitzicht stelde, in de vorm van kleding of stof. Sindsdien groeit het bedrijf als kool; ook omdat ze kwalitatief betere uniformen verkoopt en ze (meestal) tijdig aflevert.

Lees meer: TRC in Indonesië

   

High delegation from Iran

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Woven (brocade) cloth from Yazd, Iran, presented to the TRC by H.E. Masoud  Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran.

Woven (brocade) cloth from Yazd, Iran, presented to the TRC by H.E. Masoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran.

The last few days have proven, most unexpectedly, to be quite exciting and intriguing! Early on Thursday afternoon the Iranian Embassy, The Hague, rang the TRC to say there was a delegation of Iranian officials in the Netherlands and they would very much like to come and see the TRC, discuss how we work, and to review our collection of Iranian dress, which we assembled some fifteen years ago in Iran. At present, the Iranian dress and textiles collection at the TRC consists of over 1200 items and includes garments and outfits for men, women and children from all the main cultural and ethnic groups in the country. We could collect the textiles thanks to the financial support of Shell and the enthusiastic cooperation of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO).

A few hours later our honoured guests arrived. They included His Excellency Mr. Masoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of Iran and President of the ICHHTO; the wife of Mr. Soltanifar; Dr. Bahman Motlagh (the deputy of Mr. Soltanifar; the wife of the Iranian ambassador to The Netherlands, and staff from the Iranian Embassy.

Lees meer: High delegation from Iran

   

Opening of the exhibition, and much more

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The TRC’s latest exhibition Embroidered Europe is now open and attracting many visitors from all over the world – literally from Taiwan to Twente. In addition, on Thursday we had the privilege of showing the exhibition to H.E. Masoud Soltanifar, the Vice-President of Iran and his wife, as well as the wife of the Iranian Ambassador to the Netherlands, and other honoured guests. See my blog article about this visit.

In order to give people an idea of the scale and variety of the current exhibition, we are now working on a visual report with a number of photographs from the official opening that took place on Tuesday 30th August. This will be sent around next week to followers of the TRC as well as appearing on our webpage.

The opening was carried out by the well-known Dutch textile and costume curator, Ms. Gieneke Arnolli (who is also chair of the Dutch Kostuumvereniging), and Mr. Daniel Czonka of the Hungarian Embassy, The Hague, responsible for cultural affairs. But, quite rightly, attention at the opening was focussed on Mrs. Magdalena Kircher, whose collection (some 1500 pieces) has just come to the TRC. This exhibition was designed to honour her work, dedication and love of European regional dress. The TRC is now in a position to carry on her work in the form of this and more exhibitions, publications, and workshops.

Speaking of workshops, on Wednesday 31st August, the TRC’s Wednesday Workshop was on the theme of European Embroidery, with an in-depth guided tour of the exhibition, and a two-hour practical based on various techniques, from chain stitch to Hungarian braid stitch, in various materials (cotton cloths and felt) and threads (cotton, wool of various ply’s and thicknesses). The Hungarian braid stitch is fun to do, once the initial technique is mastered and it is a very effective method of decorating a garment.

The next Wednesday Workshop will take place on the 28th September and is about the Holbein stitch. In addition, there is a 5-day intensive textile course between 19 - 23 September (two places available), and again between the 17th and 21st October (one place available). On the 4th – 5th November there is a two-day workshop about veils and veiling – with a burkini available for people to see what it actually is and what all the fuss is about! Please get in contact with the TRC at Dit e-mailadres is beschermd tegen spambots. U heeft Javascript nodig om het te kunnen zien. if you wish to attend any of these, or indeed any other, TRC workshops.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 9 September 2016

   

Chart for Hungarian/Romanian embroidery

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One of the blouses in the TRC collection and currently on display in the exhibition Embroidered Europe, is decorated on the sleeves with bands enclosing an intriguing design of ornate squares and tiny trefoils. The embroidery is worked in cross stitch and double running stitch (Holbein stitch) on a fine, even-weave cotton ground.

The blouse comes from Hungary/Romania and dates to the mid-20th century. The design is worked in a mid-green cotton thread. It can also be worked in silk, a six-stranded cotton thread (three strands at a time) or a fine, cotton perlé, but please remember that the ground material needs to be adapted to the type of thread used. At first glance the pattern looks easy, but you have to take care because of the mirror imaging and reversals in the pattern.

Chart for embroidery on an Hungarian/Romanian blouse. Please click the illustration for PdF file.

Chart for embroidery on an Hungarian/Romanian blouse. Please click the illustration for PdF file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, 10 September 2016

   

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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, 5 sept. - 19 dec. 2019: Sokken&Kousen

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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

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