EVENTS PROGRAMME

Embroidered Blouse from Peshawar, Pakistan

Pitt Rivers Museum

1968.8.4

Talks                                  Visits to Collections

Exhibition Tours                 Show and Tell

Workshops

Members can access our online events using the same password as for the current year's magazine.

For more information on all events please contact oatg.events@gmail.com.

Thursday,

21 October 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Fiber Arts from Papua by Tracing Patterns Foundation

A Talk by 

Chris Buckley and Sandra Sardjono of the Tracing Patterns Foundation

The Dani people of the Baliem Valley in Papua possess no looms, but fiber forms an essential part of their lives, so much so that the explorer Karl Heider called theirs a ‘culture of string’. 

In this talk Chris Buckley and Sandra Sardjono of the Tracing Patterns Foundation will talk about the fiber materials in the archive of Dani material culture, collected by the late Dr O W Hampton during the 1980s and now being conserved by the Foundation. It includes some fascinating non-loom fiber technologies such as plaiting and knotless netting. Large head-nets were important items of dress for women, as well as practical carrying containers. Some of the most interesting and unusual artifacts are stone tools and sacred objects, bound with fibres, feathers from birds of paradise, and other materials. The talk will be a fascinating introduction to a little-known culture.

Sandra Sardjono is an independent researcher and curator, and president of the Tracing Patterns Foundation, a nonprofit cultural organisation in California that promotes studies of world textiles and indigenous scholarships. She is former Assistant Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Textile Conservator at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, New York. 

Chris Buckley is a member of the OATG and a specialist in the looms and weaving cultures of East Asia and Oceania. He is the author of the book 'Roots of Asian Weaving' on the weaving traditions of Southwest China, with Eric Boudot. He has had a varied career, including twenty years spent living in China, during which time he ran a traditional rug weaving workshop in Tibet.

 

Registration: 

Registration will open circa one month before the event via eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

The recording is now available for members here!

Thursday,

22 July 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

DRAGONS WOVEN WITH GOLDEN THREADS

A Talk by 

Walter Bruno Brix

The German Textile Museum houses nearly 30,000 textiles from all over the world. In this collection although 500 textiles from China and 1,500 from Japan are kept. Walter Bruno Brix was allowed to scientifically process the collection in recent years. In 2020, nearly 120 Chinese textiles were published and are shown in an exhibition in the rooms of the museum until the end of the year.

In the lecture, the author and curator will present some of the highlights of the exhibition. He will provide insights into the diversity of the garments, textile techniques and patterns, but also a bit into the intensive provenance research.

Walter Bruno Brix works internationally as author and curator for museums and collections. His main field are textiles from Japan, China and Korea, he specializes in Buddhist textiles. 

During several stays in Japan he was able to deepen his knowledge by always including the craft aspect and the practical side. Another topic is deciphering the multiple symbolic meanings of textile patterns.

Registration:

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Registration for non-members opens the 25th of June.

The Zoom- link for the event will be sent to registered attendees ca. 48 hours before the event.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: View of the exhibition.

The recording is now available for members here!

Thursday,

22 April 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

KIMONO:

Kyoto to Catwalk

A Talk by

 Anna Jackson

The kimono is an iconic garment. A symbol of Japanese national culture and sensibility it is generally perceived as a traditional, unchanging costume. The recent V&A exhibition Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk, countered that conception, revealing that the kimono has always been a highly dynamic, fashionable garment. It also explored the major impact the kimono has exerted on global dress styles over the last 400 years. 

Due to the pandemic, we had to cancel the scheduled visit to the V&A last year. In this talk, Anna Jackson, the curator of the exhibition, will take us on a fascinating journey from the sophisticated culture of 17th century Kyoto to the contemporary catwalk and reveal some of the stories behind the exhibition. 

Registration:

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account.

The Zoom- link for the event will be sent to registered attendees ca. 48 hours before the event.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

 

Image:

Kimono ensemble by Jōtarō Saitō, 2019 

Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The recording is now available for members here!

Thursday,

10 December 2020

at 6.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Travellers in the Great Steppe – Nomads and their Textiles

A Talk by

Nick Fielding

Nick Fielding will speak about his new book Travellers in the Great Steppe: from the Papal Envoys to the Russian Revolution. In addition to some of the wonderful travellers’ tales he has uncovered about these remote and under-explored regions, he will also talk about representations and descriptions of nomadic textiles published in accounts of their journeys.

Nick Fielding is a journalist and author. As well as working on the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday, he has travelled extensively in Central Asia, southern Siberia and Mongolia over the last 40 years, both on horseback and on foot. His book South to the Great Steppe: the travels of Thomas and Lucy Atkinson in Eastern Kazakhstan 1847-52 was published in 2015. He writes the blog Siberian Steppes https://siberiansteppes.com and is a previous editor of OATG’s Asian Textiles.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account.

The Zoom- link for the event will be sent to registered attendees.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: Book cover.

Postponed to 2021.

Book Talk

A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing

with author

Dr Rachel Silberstein

A plethora of embroidered and trimming ornament – ribbons, borders and appliqued motifs piled onto jackets, robes, skirts, trousers, and accessories – was the defining characteristic of late Qing fashion. This trend was ultimately caused by the growth in commercial workshops which produced textile handicrafts in greater volume and for greater numbers of consumers than ever before, widening access to fashionable techniques, materials, and design. Despite the importance of these commercial workshops, both to dress production and local economies, they have received little attention from dress and art historians more interested in imperial design and constructing an idealized view of genteel ladies sewing their own dress.

This talk examines the expansion of commercialized dress and embroidery production during the late Qing period. With a focus on Suzhou, the center of fashionable dress production and embroidery, it shows how this city benefitted from the Gu embroidery trend, and how the expansion of commercial embroidery created networks of urban guilds, commercial workshops and subcontracted female workers. Though little attention was paid to these workers, objects of fashion reveal much about women’s participation—as both producers and consumers—in the commercialization of textile handicrafts. By reading objects of clothing and accessories from museum collections alongside pattern-books and advertisements, we will see how embroidery shops and accessory producers sought to brand and market their wares, and in turn, what these efforts tell us about the conflict of gender values inherent to the commercial production of dress and embroidery.

Rachel Silberstein is a historian of visual/material culture and gender in early modern China, with a particular interest in fashion and textile handicrafts. She earned a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford (2014). Previously ACLS / Henry Luce Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Rhode Island School of Design, she is currently a lecturer at the University of Washington. Her book, A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing, published with the University of Washington Press, combines texts and objects to investigate how handicraft commercialization changed women’s engagement with fashion during the mid-late Qing period. She has also published research on Qing fashion in the journals Fashion Theory, Costume, and Late Imperial China.

Image: Figure 1.2. An anonymous family portrait of four generations of a Manchu family in late Qing Beijing, ca. 1853. Ink and mineral pigments on paper, 185.5 × 384 cm. Mactaggart Art Collection (2007.23.1), University of Alberta Museums. Gift of Sandy and Cécile Mactaggart. (detail)

Thursday,

23 September 

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Show & Tell

An event for

OATG Members 

OATG had a Zoom Show & Tell on 30 January, after the AGM, which proved most successful. The format will be similar. One of the compensations of using Zoom is that members right across the world can join in, and detailed and/or atmospheric photographs can be shown.

The Show & Tell will run for about 50 minutes. Gavin Strachan, the editor of the journal, will host it. 

If you are interested in showing one or more textiles or related objects (or perhaps Showing & Asking) we would like to hear from you, preferably by 10 September.

More details are provided in the personal invitation OATG members will receive via Eventbrite.

Image:Detail from a Qashqai horse cover circa 1900.

The recording is now available for members here!

Thursday,

10 June 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

The textiles and carpets in ‘Epic Iran’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum

 

A Talk by 

Sarah Piram,

Curator for the Iranian collections at the V&A

Epic Iran is the first exhibition in almost a century in London to present an overarching narrative of Iranian art and history, from 3200 BC to present time. Textiles and carpets will be highlighted in different parts of the show. This talk will give an overview of some major works, from early silk fragments showing roundels of animals, to Safavid carpets and contemporary craft tradition. 

Sarah Piram is curator for the Iranian collections at the V&A. She is completing a collaborative doctoral degree at Paris Nanterre University and the Louvre Museum on the history of Iranian heritage and museology in the last century.  

Registration:

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account.

The Zoom- link for the event will be sent to registered attendees ca. 48 hours before the event.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: Carpet with poetry verses, 1550-1600, Iran. Silk warp and weft, knotted wool pile, areas brocaded with metal thread. 231 x 165 cm. V&A: T.402-1910. Bequeathed by George Salting

The recording is now available for members here!

Saturday,

20 March 2021

at 11 am GMT

Online (Zoom)

People without history in eastern Indonesia, powerful or powerless?

A Talk by

Dr Geneviève Duggan

Societies with no written traditions are said to have no history. This has been the case for many outer islands in Indonesia which for too long were neglected by historians who considered them insignificant.

The inhabitants of the island of Savu in the Lesser Sundas have been known as the ‘people-who-do-not-eat’ which classified them as ‘primitive’. This intrigued Geneviève Duggan who three decades ago decided to study the culture of Savu and discovered, its peculiar lifestyle embedded in very ancient traditions where important life crisis ceremonies are the responsibility of women whose intangible power reside in hand-woven cloths produced for the occasion. Where a stranger sees only a piece of textile, the informed insider through the power of memory sees and feels the power of the cloth.

Geneviève Duggan started to research the culture of the island of Savu in the province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) while living in Indonesia. She initially explored the weaving traditions of the island which became the subject of her MA obtained in 1998 (University of Heidelberg) and published under the title, Ikats of Savu, women weaving history in eastern Indonesia, (White Lotus, 2001). Her PhD thesis ‘Memory processes on the island of Savu’ (National University of Singapore) received the 2009 NUS Wang Gungwu Award and the Ananda Rajah Prize. She is currently living in Singapore.

Registration:

Registration will open about 4 weeks before the event via Eventbrite for members and a week later for non-members.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account.

The Zoom- link for the event will be sent to registered attendees ca. 48 hours before the event.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

 

Image:

A boy and his rooster at a ritual cockfight.

The recording is available for members here.

Wednesday,

21 October 2020

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Cloth that Changed the World:

A New Exhibition on the ROM’s collection of Indian Chintz

A Talk by

Dr Sarah Fee, Senior Curator, Global Fashion & Textiles (Asia and Africa) at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

For the first time in 50 years, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)'s world-renowned collection of Indian chintz is being presented to the public in a new original exhibition. Lead curator Dr. Sarah Fee will share highlights from the exhibition and discuss its wider narrative arc that traces 750 years of global trade in, and desire for, this most-influential of India’s trade textiles, from medieval times to the present. She will also share the challenges of bringing the exhibit to fruition during this time of global pandemic.

Sarah Fee is Senior Curator, Global Fashion & Textiles (Asia and Africa) at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (ROM). She holds degrees in Anthropology (Grinnell College, BA, Oxford University, MSt) and African Studies (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, PhD). She joined the ROM in April 2009 where she is responsible for the museum’s collection of 15,000 textiles and fashion from Asia, Africa, and eastern Europe. In addition to Madagascar, where she did her doctoral research, she focuses on the textile arts of the wider western Indian Ocean world.

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG paypal account.

The Zoom- link for the event will be send ca. one week before the event to registered attendees.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: Indian Chintz from the ROM Collection.

The recording is now available for members here!

Thursday,

26 August 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Mrs Beattie and Mr Getty:

A carpet controversy

A Talk by 

Dr Dorothy Armstrong

In 1969, May Beattie, a British carpet scholar with no academic affiliation, working from her home in Sheffield, was invited by John Paul Getty, one of the world’s richest men, to catalogue his growing collection of carpets. In the following months, the two strong personalities went head-to-head over their provenance. This quarrel had a direct effect on the collecting practices of what became the world’s richest arts institution, The Getty Foundation, and has left open questions about a set of Persian and Indo-Persian carpets. It’s a revealing episode of the interaction of scholarly challenge and market practices around a set of beautiful and luxurious carpets. 

The lecture is the first fruits of the work of the Ashmolean Museum’s new May Beattie Visiting Fellow in Carpet Studies, Dr Dorothy Armstrong. Dorothy is a historian of material culture, with a particular interest in the textiles of South, Central and West Asia. Her recent research has focused on the way ‘oriental’ carpets were put to work in the colonial period to support the values and agenda of the coloniser. Before taking up the May Beattie Fellowship, she taught Material Histories of Asia for the V&A/Royal College of Art History of Design Programme. Dorothy is a return visitor to OATG, where she has spoken before on synthetic dyes in Persian carpets of the 19th century, and on the reinvention of the Ardabil carpet on its arrival in the west.

Registration: 

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Registration for non-members opens the 8th of August.

The talk will be followed by a discussion, you are welcome to post your questions in the chat during and after the talk.

Image: A controversial carpet: 16th century Persia or 19th century Persia or India? Purchased by J.Paul Getty from the Kevorkian Collection, 1969

The recording is now available for members here!

Thursday,

13 May 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

DRAWING WITH SILK:

Greek Island Embroideries in the Ashmolean Museum

A Talk by 

Dr Francesca Leoni, Assistant Keeper and Curator of Islamic Art, Ashmolean Museum

Through a selection of highlights from the Ashmolean Museum  collection, the exhibition MEDITERRANEAN THREADS -

8th- and 19th- Century Greek Embroideries

explores the visual richness and technical sophistication of 18th- and 19thcentury Greek embroideries, as well as their debt to the many artistic traditions that flourished around the Mediterranean. 

 

Due to the pandemic OATG had to cancel its visit of this exhibition at the Ashmolean. Exhibition curator Dr Leoni will tell us more about some of the exciting discoveries she made while preparing this textile exhibition which will hopefully soon reopen.

Dr Leoni is an art historian specialising in the Islamic Middle East with a focus on the Persian-speaking world. Her interests include book arts; cross-cultural exchanges between the Islamic world, Europe and Asia; the history and circulation of technologies; and contemporary art from the Middle East.

Image: EA2004.6 © Image Courtesy of the Asmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Saturday,

30 January 2021

at 2 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

OATG’s 2021 Annual General Meeting

Committee members will report on activities in 2020. Committee elections will be held. Sadly, Judith Colegate will be retiring from her position as Meetings Secretary and, in addition, we are looking for additional support to run the events programme especially once on-site events will be possible again. 

If you wish to become part of the Committee please do let us know in advance. We are happy to provide you with more information about each position.

This year we will obviously not be able to host our usual Show and Tell in the normal way. However, our online meeting gives us the opportunity to better involve some of our overseas members, many of whom are new. Following the formal AGM we invite a limited number of them to talk to us all about a special textile in their collection. During that session, comments will be welcome from all members on each textile shown. The Membership Secretary will shortly contact all members living overseas with details on how they can participate.

We hope to plan a separate Show and Tell session later in the year as part of the new online events programme.

We look forward to seeing you, even if only on screen, at the AGM!

Registration:

This free event is for OATG members or those who wish to join the group.

Please register via Eventbrite to receive the Zoom link.

The Zoom link for the event will be sent ca.48 hours before the event to registered attendees.

You are welcome to post your questions and suggestions in the chat after the Committee reports.

 

Image: A toran festival hanging from Gujarat for the entrance to the home or for a festive gathering. They are hung to welcome Lakshmiji, the Hindu goddess of good fortune, wealth, fertility and prosperity. It was shown at the AGM in 2019 by member Judith Gussin. Photo by David Richardson.

*This Event is now cancelled.

KIMONO AND SARONG

Four centuries of Japanese and Indonesian textile connections

A Talk by

Dr Maria Wronska-Friend

The exchange of textiles between Japan and Indonesia was initiated probably in the 17th century by the Dutch traders who, until 1868, had a monopoly in the trade with Japan. As the trade goods used to be dispatched from the ports of Java, at times textiles destined for Indonesian markets were sent to Japan where they became highly treasured goods, incorporated into local dress or used in the tea ceremony. At the same time, at least from the beginning of the 19th century, residents of Java highly treasured Japanese katagami fabrics brought to Batavia as a return cargo from Nagasaki.

Japanese fascination with Indonesian textiles, especially batik, continues until today with at least a dozen of workshops on the northern coast of Java specializing in the production of batik kimonos, obi and silk fabrics decorated with a fusion of Japanese and Indonesian motifs. The talk will be illustrated with examples of contemporary batik fabrics made on Java for Japanese customers.

Dr Maria Wronska-Friend is an anthropologist and museum curator. Her research interests include textiles and garments of Southeast Asia in global perspective, in particular cross-cultural transfer of textile technology and aesthetics. She gained her PhD at the Polish Academy of Sciences focusing on Javanese batik technique in European decorative arts in 1890-1930. Since 1992 she is associated with James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, where currently she is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow.

Unfortunately due to travel restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus outbreak Maria Wronska-Friend is unable to travel to the UK from Australia. As a consequence, we are sorry to announce that her talk Kimono and Sarong. Four centuries of Japanese and Indonesian textile connection on April 16th has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule the talk for a later date this year or next year.


We will also be reviewing other planned events as this unprecedented situation develops over the coming weeks.

Image: Hand-drawn batik on silk made in 2018 in Yogyakarta, Central Java, for the Japanese market. Private collection.

The Oxford Asian Textile Group programme includes talks, events and visits on a variety of textile-related topics. Lecturers are from the UK as well as overseas specialists visiting England.

Talks are usually held at either the Education Department of the Ashmolean Museum or at the Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.

OATG talks are free for members and £3 for non-members.

For more information or programme suggestions, please contact oatg.events@gmail.com.