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EVENTS PROGRAMME

Embroidered Blouse from Peshawar, Pakistan

Pitt Rivers Museum

1968.8.4

Talks

Exhibition Tours

Workshops

Visits to Collections

Show and Tell

Members can access recordings of our past online events on the Members' Resources page using the current password.

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

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Tuesday,

28 May 2024

at 2:30 pm BST

in-person event at Rewley House, Oxford

&

Online (Zoom)

Refashioning Contemporary Philippine Piña Textiles:

Artisan and Entrepreneur Initiatives

A talk by

Prof Lynne Milgram

Travelling neoliberal models of governance often promote policies favouring large scale development projects that fail the needs of those engaged in small-scale cultural production such as textiles.  In the Philippines to address this lack of formal institutional support, textile artisans and entrepreneurs, who are primarily women, draw on their local skilly in cloth production to enter the glbal economy more on their own terms. This is particularly evident in the piña (pineapple) textile industry largely uniqu to Kalibo, Aklan, central Philippines. Here, artisans incorporate contemporary design and colours that while rooted in specific regional textile origins also procalim a modernity that responds to shifting trends,

Dr Lynne Milgram is Professor Emerita and Adjunct Professor (Anthropology) in theFaculty of Arts & Science, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This is a hybrid event - please make sure to select the right kind of ticket (onsite or online) so that you receive the relevant instructions.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) at the door or via PapyPal https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/OxfordAsianTextileGr to join online. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image:  Exhibition view.

Helen Wolfe showing a Palestinian dress at the OATG Show and Tell in January 2023.tiff

Saturday,

17 February 2024

at 2 pm GMT

Ashmolean Museum Learning

Centre

(in-person event)

OATG’s 2024 Annual General Meeting

followed by a

Show & Tell

The first OATG event of 2024 is the AGM and Show & Tell on Saturday 17 February at 2.00pm, held in the Learning Centre at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Please note the date has changed from that advertised in Asian Textiles.

The AGM is when a report of last year is given and elect or re-elect the committee. This year there are three vacancies to be filled:

Membership Secretary - nomination received

Social Media - vacant

Secretary -  vacant

If you are interested in joining the committee in any of these posts do get in touch and we will give you more details.

Minutes of the 2023 AGM can be found in the Members page on the OATG website.

After the AGM we will hold our ever-popular Show and Tell when you are invited to bring along one or two of your favourite textiles to share information with the group or it may be something you would like to find out about. We encourage as many as possible to join us for this enjoyable event.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) at the door.

Location:

Learning Centre, located on the lower ground floor of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Image: Helen Wolfe showing a Palestinian dress at the OATG Show and Tell in January 2023.

6. kain panjang; Jogjakarta; 'wayang purwo' copy.jpeg

Thursday,

12 October 2023

at 6.30pm BST

in-person

Pauling Centre

Oxford

Some observations on historic Javanese batik

An illustrated talk by

Jonathan Hope

Jonathan Hope has been fascinated by batik and Indonesian textiles within their cultural  context for several decades. He first visited the archipelago in 1974 and has returned many times since, most often to Java. 

He has written numerous articles for Hali magazine and has lectured on the textile arts of Southeast Asia  at SOAS and for other educational courses including Christies and the British Museum.

He has always worked as an independent and ethical dealer in non-European art including textiles and considers Javanese batik to be his favourite genre.He has placed fine examples in major museums throughout the world. 

In 2011 Jonathan Hope curated an exhibition at the Edinburgh International festival showing batik and Indian trade cloths from his collection. The exhibition told the story of batik and its relationship with the imported Indian cottons, the “sarasa”with a small section on Thomas Stamford Raffles who had arrived in Java exactly 200 years previously. A controversial figure today, Raffles provided some important information on batik in his History of Java and had a rare appreciation of Indonesian culture in general. This will be briefly discussed in the talk.

Jonathan Hope will show a series of images of batik being prepared and worn in central Java and will discuss the significance of certain traditional patterns and he will share some memories of travelling in Java over a period of almost half a century.

A well-known collector of SE Asian textiles, occasional curator, lecturer and writer, Jonathan Hope will also bring some textiles to show at the event.

 

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite - ticket booking is now open.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account or at the door.

Image:

I C 28549 -C.tiff

Thursday,

1 June 2023

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

A living Tradition. Historical and Contemporary Naga Textiles on Show at the Humboldt Forum

A Talk by

 Iris Odyuo and Elisabeth Seyerl-Langkamp

 

Iris Odyuo and Elisabeth Seyerl will begin with a short overview of the new exhibition "Naga Land. Voices from Northeast India" and go on to speak about Naga texiles in particular.

In September 2022 the temporary exhibition "Naga Land. Voices from Northeast India" opened at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. It was curated by an interdisciplinary team from Germany and Nagaland. Starting with the historical Naga collection of the Ethnological Museum Berlin the exhibition looks at various aspects of contemporary Naga society including the design, production and meaning of textiles and fashion.

Naga folktales and folksongs tell about how the art of weaving textiles was brought by gods and spirits. Contact with the colonial powers and Baptist missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth century greatly changed the cultural life of the Nagas. Textiles have lost many of its ritual aspects but still continue to be one of the most vibrant arts.

Nagas are an indigenous people, with their homeland stretching along the north eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and north western Myanmar (Burma). They belong to multi-ethnic groups and subgroups, though they have no common language, they have similar cultures and traditions. In spite of such diversity of tribes and sub-tribes the characteristics that distinguish the various Naga tribes are their colourful textiles that not only identify the tribe but also reflect the ingenuity and artistic ability of womenfolk.

In 2019, Iris Odyuo was invited to the Ethnological Museum Berlin to have a look at the museum’s Naga collection. Material culture of the Nagas exists in large numbers in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The largest collections of Naga objects of around 12,000 pieces are in British museums followed by the ethnological museums in Berlin, Munich and Dresden in Germany, which have about 2,000 objects collectively. In this lecture, Iris Odyuo wants to reflect on some of the museum’s collections and the people who made them and the transformation that they are going through as postulated by James Clifford (2016).

Iris Odyuo

Iris Odyuo is an Associate Professor, Department of History, Sao Chang College, Tuensang, Nagaland. Her area of concern is Northeast India, Sustainable Arts, Place and Identity. She is also a self-taught artist. She works on hand-woven natural fibre textiles and indigo dye. Her work has been featured in Himal Southasian, National Folklife, Hutton Lectures and North East Social Research Centre (NESRC) Monograph Series. Her recent essay In and Out of Museums: Reflections of an Art Historian in Voices from North-East India Nagaland, by Ethnological Museum, Humboldt Forum Berlin 2023. She also exhibited some of her paintings at the ICAS 12 Kyoto Seika University 2021. She has also written articles in book chapters such as Naga art and their market through time: Delocalisation, State Control and Globalisation In Geographies of Difference: Explorations in Northeast Indian Studies, edited by Melanie Vandenhelsken, Meenaxi Barkataki-Ruscheweyh, Bengt G. Karlsson. Routledge 2017. Naga Basketry with special Reference to the Chang and Khiamniungan Nagas In Naga Identities: Changing Local Cultures in the Northeast of India edited by Michael Oppitz, Thomas Kaiser, Alban von Stockhausen, Marion Wettstein. Snoeck Publishers, Gent 2008.

Elisabeth Seyerl-Langkamp

Elisabeth Seyerl-Langkamp works as a Research Associate in the Collections Department of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. She was part of the curatorial team for two temporary exhibitions that opened to the public in September 2022, one being "Naga Land. Voices from Northeast India". She studied Cultural and Social Anthropology as well as Theatre, Film and Media Studies in Vienna and Ljubljana and has also worked at the Weltmuseum Wien, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Ethnological Museum Berlin. She is especially interested in research questions related to textiles and fashion as well as museums and heritage.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite - ticket booking is now open.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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Thursday,

26 January 2023

at 6.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Connecting Threads: Japanese Textiles in the British Royal Collection

A Talk by

Rachel Peat

Magnificent textile gifts have been a central ‘thread’ of courtly relations between Britain and Japan for centuries. From rolls of silk given to Queen Victoria in 1860, to an embroidered screen sent as a Coronation gift by the Emperor Meiji in 1902, this lecture will situate Japanese textiles within the broader history of diplomatic exchange. Alongside tapestries and embroideries, attention will be given to loyal addresses backed with silk brocade, long-lost kimono and the silk lacing on a seventeenth-century armour.

The talk will particularly explore how specific materials and motifs on Japan’s textiles have been used to convey bonds of friendship between the two Courts. Featuring unique photographs and first-hand convey from the Royal Archives, it will also shed light on how members of the British Royal Family enjoyed and displayed these works – from adorning the walls of royal residences, to wearing Japanese garments themselves.


Rachel Peat is Assistant Curator of Non-European Works of Art at Royal Collection Trust. Her role encompasses over 13,000 works of art from across the globe, which today furnish 13 current and historic royal residences.


She is editor of Japan: Courts and Culture (2020), the first publication dedicated to Japanese material in the Royal Collection, and curator of the exhibition of the same name at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, open until 26 February 2023.


The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact. Comprising almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts and running to more than a million objects, the Collection is a unique and valuable record of the personal tastes of kings and queens over the past 500 years. The Royal Collection is held in trust by The King as Sovereign for his successors and the nation. It is not owned by him as a private individual.

Please register via Eventbrite. Booking will open about 4 weeks before the talk.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: Kawashima Orimono Co. Ltd, Embroidered folding screen with a scene from the Tale of Genji (detail), 1970–71. RCIN 29941
Royal Collection Trust / © King Charles III 2022
 

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Thursday,

6 October 2022

at 6.30 pm BST

Pauling Centre

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.

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion).

Location:

The Pauling Centre

58a Banbury Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 6QS

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

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Saturday,

11 June 2022

at 2 pm BST

In-person at the Ashmolean Museum Learning Centre in Oxford

 

Remembering Sheila Paine her travels, her collections and her writing

A live talk by

Nick Fielding with contributions from OATG members

The recent death of OATG Honorary Member, author and textile expert Sheila Paine at the age of 92 provides an opportunity to put her prodigious collecting and writing endeavours into perspective. For more than 50 years Sheila travelled the globe in search of tribal embroideries. Her books, particularly The Afghan Amulet trilogy, both informed and inspired her readers, some of whom later joined her textile-collecting tours through Asia and the Middle East, including many members of OATG. 

 

Starting with a single sampler she inherited from her grandmother in the 1950s, Sheila’s collection developed into one of the best of its kind in the world. She always took copious notes on any textiles she gathered, recording, time, date and place, as well as the price and the person from whom she bought. This talk by Nick Fielding will look at both what and how Sheila collected, and will highlight the enormous contribution she made to the understanding of the process of producing tribal textiles as well as the patterns and motifs they display.

 

After Nick’s talk, members of OATG who have memories of Sheila, or textiles that were once hers, are invited to share these.  If you would like to make a contribution but are unable to attend the event, please send any material and/or photographs to Gavin Strachan gavin@firthpetroleum.com who will endeavour to communicate them to the audience.  

 

Refreshments will be available at the end of the formal session.  The event will notbe available on Zoom.  

The number of people that The Learning Centre holds is limited to 40 so early booking is advised. Please register via Eventbrite. Registration for members will open the 20th of May.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: Sheila Paine in Afghanistan.

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Thursday,

24 February 2022

at 6.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Peru:

A Journey in Time

A Talk by 

Cecilia Pardo

and

Helen Wolfe

An exhibition at the British Museum that showcases the history, beliefs and cultural achievements of the different peoples who lived in the remarkable landscapes of the Central Andes for thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish.

Cecilia Pardo’s talk will introduce you to some of the extraordinary artefacts produced with incredible skill by the different peoples of the Andes displayed in the exhibition A focus will be on the magnificent textiles drawn from both the British Museum and collections in Peru and beyond. 

Helen Wolfe will end with a brief overview of the British Museum collection of Early Andean textiles, numbering over 1,000 pieces.

 

Cecilia Pardo is Project Curator in the America’s Section at the British Museum and Lead Curator for the exhibition Peru: a journey in time. She was formerly Chief Curator and Deputy Director at the Museo de Arte de Lima, Peru.

 

Helen Wolfe was Textile Collection Manager at the British Museum, working extensively on the storage and documentation of the early Andean textile collection for many years.

Please register via Eventbrite here.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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

Image:

Textile with embroidered hummingbirds, early Nasca, Peru 100BC - AD 200 

c The Trustees of the British Museum

Detail from a Qashqai horse cover circa 1900..jpg

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.

Epic iran talk.png

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

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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.

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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.

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Thursday,

25 April 2024

at 6:30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Textiles of the Balkans

A talk by

Gavin Strachan

 

The countries comprising the modern Balkans have at various times been under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, Venice, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and more recently Russia.  In addition, there are three predominant religions: Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism and Islam.  The international powers and the rivalry between the ethnic groups have influenced Balkan history and thinking for centuries.  This overview of the textiles used and produced in the Balkans is partly told through the eyes of British anthropologist Edith Durham (1863–1944) and Serbian painter Nikola Arsenović (1823–1887).

Gavin Strachan has had a varied career both in the UK and internationally which has included a period lecturing on geopolitics. He has been editor of Asian Textiles since 2016. He has an MA from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

 

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Thursday,

7 December 2023

at  6:30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Pull of the Thread:

Textile Travels of a Generation

A talk by

Sheila Fruman

In this talk, Sheila Fruman will present highlights from her newly released book Pull of the Thread: Textile Travels of a Generation. Her travels overland in 1969-1970 from London to Mumbai aroused a keen interest in textiles and carpets but she returned to her native Canada for the next twenty-five years where she earned a Master’s Degree in Communication and worked in senior government positions including as Communications and Strategy Advisor to the Premier of British Columbia.

 

When she went to Algeria in 2001 to conduct workshops for political parties, it was the start of fifteen years working to support democratization in post-conflict countries in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and elsewhere for the Washington based National

Democratic Institute and the United Nations. Finding herself living in some of the countries she had first visited in 1969, she pursued her love of handmade antique carpets and textiles. Further travel and study led her to author a book about fellow textile travelers.

 

These intrepid travelers combed the streets and bazaars of Central and South Asia finding, researching, collecting and selling textile treasures to interested Westerners.  Taken together, their stories are an enlightening guide to understanding how we connect to the past, and how textiles connect the world.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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Thursday,

7 September 2023

at 6.30pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Inventing the Asian Carpet: 

How important exhibitions of carpets in nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe formed the idea of the ‘oriental’ carpet in the West

A talk by

Dr Dorothy Armstrong

It is easy to assume that the beliefs we hold in the West about the carpets of the Middle East, Central and South Asia are historical truths. This lecture instead explores how a western idea of great carpets was constructed through European exhibitions. Beginning with the Great Exhibition of 1851, it goes on to explore carpets in the Paris Exposition of 1878, the Vienna Exhibition of 1892, Masterpieces of Muhammedan Art in 1910, and the International Persian Exhibition of 1931.

Dr Dorothy Armstrong is a historian of material culture. She has taught at the Royal College of Art, Edinburgh College of Art, The School of Oriental and African Studies, and Oxford University. She was the May Beattie Fellow in Carpet Studies at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 21-22, and is now Honorary Research Associate at the Ashmolean. She has written and lectured widely on carpets, and her current book, A History of the World in Twelve Carpets, will be published by Weidenfeld and Nicholson in early 2025. Her previous lectures to OATG include ‘The Ardabil Carpet: The Appropriation of a Persian Artifact’, and ‘Mrs. Beattie and Mr.Getty: A Carpet Controversy’.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite - ticket booking is now open. Registered attendees will receive the link 48 hours before the event.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account . Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: Visitors  viewing carpets at the Great Exhibition, London, 1851 (Image: British Library)

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Thursday,

27 April 2023

at 4.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Frontiersmen of the Crossroad: The Fusion Style of Chinese Shan Dressing

A Talk by

 Thweep Rittinaphakorn (AKE)

 

Lies at the crossroad between upper Burma and China, Shan State has always been the strategic frontier where political powers, trades & economy, and cultures are exchanged resulting in its own unique set of characteristics. It is the area where one of the ethnic Tai subgroups, collectively known as Chinese Shans, live. 

 

Chinese Shan costumes particularly those of females, is the crossbred fusion between the tradition of Tai apparels and Chinese style adornment and adaptation.  The most outstanding items among the repertoire are the female festive skirts. They provide a stunning sight to those who have seen. It has profuse, eclectic, and gaudy decoration incorporating different material and embellishment techniques, unlike any other kinds. 

 

Relying on photographic evidence taken at the turn of the century, old books  & early traveling memoirs plus current dressing practice and physical material evidences drawn from private collection, this talk will first provide initial backdrop of Chinese Shan culture, then deep dive to discuss on their dressing style, accouterments, plus embellishing technique and material used.    

Mr. Thweep Rittinaphakorn (AKE) is an independent scholar whose work focuses mainly on textiles and arts history of mainland Southeast Asia.  He is a textiles curator of The Siam Society’s collection and a regular speaker to the Siam Society, Thai Textiles Society, and The Bangkok National Museum Volunteer group. 

His research on Shan elites’ costumes & photographs and Burmese tapestry silk ‘Luntaya Acheik’ was presented at the annual conference of Association of Asian Studies in 2014 & 2016. He also spoke at the13th International Burma Studies Conference of Northern Illinois University Burma Studies Center in 2018,  The 7th and 8th ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium in 2019 & 2022,  and The Irrawaddy Literary Festival, Mandalay in 2019. His research articles on these subjects were published in “Textiles Asia Journal” as well as “Arts of Asia” magazine. Recently, he just launched his book titled “Unseen Burma Early Photography 1862-1962”, a compendium of old photographs accompanied with well-researched information. 

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite - ticket booking is now open.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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Saturday,

14 January 2023

at 2 pm GMT

Ashmolean Museum Learning

Centre

(in-person event)

OATG’s 2023 Annual General Meeting

followed by a

Show & Tell

 

This year the OATG AGM will be an in-person event in Oxford, followed by the always popular Show and Tell. The committee would like to encourage all members who possibly can to join us in Oxford.

 

AGM

Minutes of the 2022 AGM can be found on the OATG website on the members resource page, reports and forms for this year will be send out soon.

This year David Richardson would like to step down as Membership Secretary. This is a vital role on the committee so if you would like to offer your services, please get in touch with David who can give you more information about what is involved or any member of the committee (emails listed on the back page of the OATG journal Asian Textiles. You don’t have to be based in Oxford as most of the work is done electronically.

We are also still looking for someone to help the Programme Co-ordinators.

 

Show &Tell

This is always an enjoyable occasion for members to get together and bring one or two textiles to show each other, to share knowledge, a story about how it was acquired or ask questions from others about the textiles they bring.

Location:

Learning Centre, located on the lower ground floor of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) on the door.

Image: OATG AGM 2020 - Show & Tell: "Jane O’Brien’s piece was a fine green woollen shawl probably from Kashmir, lavishly embroidered with intricate floral decoration in silk floss. The design included boteh or buta motifs and a range of flowers" quoted from the summer 2020 edition of Asian Textiles.

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Thursday,

29 September 2022

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

 

Translating textiles:

The Indonesian collections of Josef Srogl 

A talk by

Fiona Kerlogue

Museum collections in Europe contain large numbers of textiles brought back from various parts of Asia by travellers and European overseas residents, who collected them in a variety of circumstances, not often recorded in the museum documentation. Family correspondence held in the Náprstek Museum, [National Museum], Prague, from one such collector, Josef Srogl, who was collecting in the Dutch East Indies between 1895 and 1922, was passed to the museum at the same time as much of his collection, providing insights into the journey through which the textiles passed. Many of the perspectives of the collector, information about the available sources, insights into his criteria for selection and his thoughts about the intended uses for the textiles are revealed.

 

Fiona Kerlogue is a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, a Volunteer Specialist on the Specialist Advice Network of the National Trust, a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, a member of the editorial board of Indonesia and the Malay World and honorary secretary of the Anglo-Indonesian Society. She also edits the journal of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society of Great Britain.

From 1989 to 1991 she was a lecturer at the University of Jambi in Sumatra. In 1994 she joined the staff of the Centre for South-East Asian Studies at the University of Hull where she took a doctorate in Southeast Asian anthropology; her thesis was on the batiks of Jambi in Sumatra. Between 2001 and 2018 Fiona was Deputy Keeper of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum with responsibility for the Asian and European collections. She has published widely on the arts of Southeast Asia, the relationship between material culture and memory, the history of museum collecting and the role of material heritage in society.

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. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image credit: Naprstek Museum collection.

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Thursday,

17 November 2022

at 6.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

The Tboli Tribe and Their Ancient Textile

Tnalak

A Talk by

Gida Ofong

Made entirely from specially harvested and handpicked abaca fibers, the T’nalak (tehnalak) is a purely hand-woven fabric originating from and solely produced by the T’boli mountain tribe, one of the oldest, most culturally dynamic, and colorful Tribal Filipinos living today. It is by far the most enduring of my tribe’s artifacts. Using the centuries-old traditional backstrap loom weaving method, tnalak is made from specially processed abaca fibers and tie-dyed with natural coloring agents derived from roots, barks, leaves and fruits of trees. Most of the over 100 traditional designs were conceptualized through dreams and “visitations” which, according to Tboli legend, renders the dreamer speechless and deaf (incommunicado) until the design is fully captured. A 10-yard tnalak takes between 60 to 120 days to process depending on the intricacies of the patterns. Until today, a typical Tboli woman adamantly refuses to cut in size the tnalak for fear of spiritual damnation.

Prior to modern times which became more apparent after the 2nd World War, the Tbolis wove tnalak mainly for clothing or as dowry and bride price during high profile weddings. This prized material is also used as special offerings to the ‘earth spirits’ on major turning points in our community life. In a culture that didn’t have a form of writing, the tnalak served as both literature and art. The Tbolis expressed everything they are in the tnalak: their dreams, beliefs, myths and even their religion. Making use of the various geometrical patterns and the trademark red, black and white colors, the Tbolis weave the natural and the supernatural in the abaca strands.

Tnalak is uniquely and distinctly Tboli.

Gida Ofong came from a long line of tnalak master weavers. Her grandmother from her father’s side, Diwa Ofong, enjoyed the highest standing in the tribe, gifted not just with supreme mastery of tnalak weaving with over a hundred patterns in her memory. She was also a leader (an equivalent to a Judge in the modern world) capable of settling conflicts and disputes within the tribe. On her mother’s side, Lang Dulay, was awarded National Living Treasure by the Philippine government for her mastery of tnalak weaving.

Gida finished her bachelor’s degree at the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University and went on to study local development in Japan on a scholarship grant. Parallel to her engagement with her tribe’s arts and crafts, she spent much of her professional life working with non-government organizations in the Philippines. Her interests include ethnic migrations, indigenous cultures, arts and textiles, and ancient human settlements, including anthropological finds and digs in the ancient world in the hope that somewhere there will be conclusive evidence that points to her tribe’s origin.

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. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: YE KUMU (MOTHER BLANKET) - Craig Diamond , a private collector from Los Angeles, CA, USA

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Thursday,

26 May 2022

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

 

Changes in the production of Burmese textiles in the long 19th century

A focus on dye and fibre characterisation of Karen garments from the British Museum’s collection

A Talk by 

Diego Tamburini, Department of Scientific Research, The British Museum

The 19th century is a complex period in Myanmar’s history, marked by transition from the Konbaung dynasty (Myanmar’s last royal house) to the early phase of complete British colonial rule (1885-1914). Tremendous innovations occurred in this time period and evidence exists that the scientific advances and technological developments taking place in Europe impacted Myanmar’s traditional forms of crafts. Synthetic dyes represent one of the most important categories of new materials created in this period, and their introduction from Europe to Asia is an understudied topic [1-4]. Moreover, little in-depth scientific work on Myanmar minority textiles has been undertaken [5].

For these reasons, a pilot study has been conducted at the British Museum focusing on the dye analysis and fibre characterisation of six Karen textiles with the aim to investigate how the fibres and dyes of such textiles changed over the course of the 19th century and how the changes related to local and colonial trade networks. The textiles span chronologically from the 1830s to the early 1900s and include traditional garments such as tunics and skirts, in addition to representing a broad colour palette and different weaving techniques (plain weave and ikats). The investigation was conducted non-invasively by using broadband multispectral imaging (MSI) and fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS). The results obtained guided a sampling campaign during which samples were taken and investigated by optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDX) and high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to diode array detector and tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-MS/MS). Natural dyes were found on the older textiles, supporting their attribution dates, whereas mixtures of natural and synthetic dyes were identified in the later textiles. Observations on mordants and fibre processing were also obtained, thus drawing an interesting picture on the introduction on new dyeing materials and techniques in Myanmar over this time period. The light sensitivity of the identified dyes will also inform the correct display of these delicate objects, which are planned to be exhibited at the end of 2023 in a major BM exhibition focusing on Myanmar art and history.

References

1. Chen, V.J., et al., Chemical analysis of dyes on an Uzbek ceremonial coat: Objective evidence for artifact dating and the chemistry of early synthetic dyes. Dyes and Pigments, 2016. 131: p. 320-332.

2. Liu, J., et al., Identification of early synthetic dyes in historical Chinese textiles of the late nineteenth century by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detection and mass spectrometry. Coloration Technology, 2016. 132(2): p. 177-185.

3. Cesaratto, A., et al., A timeline for the introduction of synthetic dyestuffs in Japan during the late Edo and Meiji periods. Heritage Science, 2018. 6(1): p. 22.

4. Tamburini, D., et al., Exploring the transition from natural to synthetic dyes in the production of 19th-century Central Asian ikat textiles. Heritage Science, 2020. 8(1): p. 114.

5. Chen, V.J., et al., Identification of Red Dyes in Selected Textiles from Chin and Karen Ethnic Groups of Myanmar by LC-DAD-ESI-MS, in Dyes in History and Archaeology 33/34, J. Kirby, Editor. 2021, Archetype Publications: London. p. 92-101.

 

Diego Tamburini is an analytical chemist by training and obtained his PhD in Chemistry and Materials Science from the University of Pisa in 2015. He specialised in the use of chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques for the characterisation of organic materials. His PhD work mostly focused on the application of analytical pyrolysis (Py-GC-MS) to the investigation of archaeological wood and Asian lacquers.

He joined the Department of Scientific Research of the British Museum in 2016 with an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship focusing on the application of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to the identification of natural dyes in historical and archaeological textiles. His main project focused on the palette of Asian dyes used in the Dunhuang textiles of the Sir Aurel Stein collection.

In 2020, he moved to the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution) as a Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellow. His project focused on the dye analysis of the ikat textiles present in the Guido Goldman collection with the main aim to explore the transition from natural to synthetic dyes in the production of 19th-century ikat textiles from Central Asia.

After a short Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University, focusing on the localisation of proteins in African sculptures, he joined the British Museum again in 2021 in the role of Scientist: Polymers and Modern Organic Materials. His current interests and research lines are related to the development of new analytical strategies based on gas and liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution and high accuracy mass spectrometry to unlock new ways of characterising and identifying natural and synthetic polymers as well as other organic materials.

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. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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Thursday,

18 November 2021

at 6.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

Japanese ornamental textiles through

a dealers eyes

A Talk by 

Luz van Overbeeke

Experience has shown that Japanese ornamental textiles have the ability to bridge multiple taste barriers. A good, well made Japanese embroidery can have that X-factor that makes us pause. 

"My story began in 2012 at the Ashmolean museum, with the Exhibition Threads of Silk and Gold. I completely fell in love with this Art form and have worked with these textiles ever since. Today, I am a specialised dealer, privileged enough to give talks and to share my passion. In this lecture I will try to explain the reasons for the X -factor by illuminating some of the more memorable textiles I have found over the years."

Luz van Overbeeke studied Arts and Antiques in Brussels and graduated with a final paper on Japanese embroideries in December 2013. In the years after she worked on building up a collection and tried to learn as much as she could along the way. In March of 2018 Luz opened Gallery Talking Pieces. The gallery is specialised exclusively in Ornamental Textiles of the Meiji era such as embroideries, Yuzen cut-velvets and Oshi-e.

 

Registration: 

Please register via Eventbrite here.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issue.

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

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Thursday,

14 March 2024

at 6:30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Stitching the Intifada: Embroidery and Resistance in Palestine

A talk by

Rachel Dedman

Embroidery is the most important cultural material of Palestine. This ancient practice, called tatreez in Arabic, is characterised by remarkable beauty and complexity. Beginning with an introduction to embroidery's traditional making, this paper traces Palestinian embroidery’s adoption as a touchstone of national heritage following the Nakba of 1948, and argues for its subsequent politicisation, through PLO policy and the representation of embroidery by artists.

 

During the First Intifada uprising, 1987-1993, ‘Intifada Dresses’ were made and worn by women living in refugee camps and villages of the West Bank, and by those in the diaspora. At a time when Palestinian symbols were banned in public, traditional motifs mingled with doves, rifles, and signs of allegiance to political parties, embroidered in national colours. While protest is associated with immediacy, embroidery is by its nature hand-made, private and slow. Intifada dresses, years in the making, render material the conceptual and psychological strength of the Intifada, through the labour of women.

 

The lecture accompanies Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery, an exhibition curated by Rachel Dedman, currently on display at The Whitworth, Manchester, following a run at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, in 2023. 

 

Rachel Dedman is the Jameel Curator of Contemporary Art from the Middle East at the V&A, London. In 2024, Rachel is curating the seventh Jameel Prize at the V&A in London, and co-curating the State of Fashion Biennale in the Netherlands.

Rachel is the curator of Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery for Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, and The Whitworth, Manchester, in 2023-2024 – an exhibition which evolved from her work for the Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, on the cultural and political histories of textiles and dress. Rachel is the curator of several exhibitions and the author of two books on this subject: At the Seams, 2016, and Labour of Love, 2018. 

Before joining the V&A, Rachel was an independent curator based in Beirut, Lebanon, curating exhibitions and working with artists across the Middle East and Europe. She is published extensively in contemporary art and academic contexts, and holds degrees in the history of art from St John’s College, Oxford, and Harvard University. 

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: Everyday dress from Gaza or Hebron (detail; 1935–40). Photo: Kayané Antreassian; courtesy the Palestinian Museum.

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Saturday,

11 November 2023

at 11.15 am GMT

Online (Zoom)

Unravelling

Tai Textiles from Laos

A talk by

Patricia Cheesman

In this talk Patricia Cheesmann will introduce the complicated types and categories of textiles made by the Tai peoples living in Laos. This huge subject is a labyrinth to many researchers who find the variety of textiles and their identification daunting. I hope to unravel the mystery and introduce a method of identification for these textiles that is based on forty years of research in the field and historical facts.  There are numerous groups of Tai living in Laos including the Tai Lao that is the largest group. By looking carefully at the clothing styles and studying the textiles in detail a pattern appears that is related to their community identity, not their ethnic group. We can enjoy the beauty and superb weaving techniques as well as delve into some of the shamanic and Buddhist symbols that reveal the cosmology and beliefs of the ancestors. 

Patricia Cheesman was born in Singapore and has lived in Southeast Asia most of her life. She completed her higher education in the UK and started researching Tai textiles in 1975 when she lived in Laos where she was working for the UN. She moved to Thailand in 1984 and lectured at Chiang Mai University in the Thai Art Department for over 30 years. Her in-depth field research on the history, origins and techniques of traditional textiles from Laos, Vietnam and Thailand has resulted in numerous published books and articles. Patricia has been a guest lecturer at universities, research institutes and museums in England, Australia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, USA, Taiwan and Thailand.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: The way this woman is dressed reveals her community identification as being Xam Nuea style. She is Tai Daeng.

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Thursday,

13  July 2023

at 6.30pm BST

in-person

Pauling Centre Oxford

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 an independent scholar specializing in the history of Chinese textiles and dress, particularly of the Qing and Republican period. She earned a DPhil in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford in 2015. Her monograph, A Fashionable Century: Textile Artistry and Commerce in the Late Qing (University of Washington Press, 2020) – a study of fashion and textile handicrafts in early modern China – won the Costume Society of America’s Millia Davenport Publication Award 2021 and an honorable mention from the 2023 Bei Shan Tang Monograph Prize. Rachel has published widely on Qing fashion in the journals West 86th, Fashion Theory, Costume, and Late Imperial China. Forthcoming publications include an essay on Ming-Qing Fashion in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Global Fashion.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite - ticket booking is now open.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account or at the door. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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)

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Thursday,

23 February 2023

at 6.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

Honouring the Buddha:

Trade textiles and Burmese wall paintings

A Talk by

Dr Alexandra Green,

Henry Ginsburg Curator for Southeast Asia at the British Museum

The production of art in Burma is primarily related to the generation of merit, and objects made in homage of the Buddha were necessarily objects of beauty. For example, upon entering a temple the viewer is enveloped in a richly textured environment, comprising architectural spaces, sculptures, and mural paintings. The Burmese murals were explicitly produced in order to create a sacred space as beautiful as the heavens that was worthy to commemorate the Buddha and house Buddha images. To do so, artists and donors incorporated the imagery and patterning of luxury textiles into the wall paintings, demonstrating a strong conceptual overlap between these two art forms. This presentation considers the ways in which luxury trade textiles impacted the production of wall paintings in Burma, focussing upon the 17th to 19th centuries.

Alexandra Green is Henry Ginsburg Curator for Southeast Asia at the British Museum. She has a PhD in Southeast Asian Art History from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and has written and edited numerous articles and books on the topic. Her book, Buddhist Visual Cultures, Rhetoric, and Narrative in Late Burmese Wall Paintings, was published by Hong Kong University Press in 2018. Recent exhibition projects include an exhibition and catalogue on Sir Stamford Raffles for the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore in January 2019 and the British Museum in September 2019. She is currently working on a book titled Southeast Asia: A History in Objects based on the British Museum’s collections, which will be published in February 2023 by Thames & Hudson, as well as an exhibition of Myanmar history and art for the British Museum in November 2023.

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite. Booking is now open.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image:  Ceiling, Yokson temple, Myitche, central Myanmar, c. late 18th century

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Thursday,

23 March 2023

at 4.30 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

The Fabric of Life - Textiles from the Ladakh Himalayas

A Talk by

Dr Monisha Ahmed

Situated in the high reaches of the Himalayan and Karakoram Mountain ranges, Ladakh has a diverse textile tradition that reflects its physical, socio-economic and cultural environment. Fabrics used extend from elaborate prestige garments made from imported textiles to simple homespun materials woven from local wool and pashmina. While weaving is practiced throughout the region, differences exist between agricultural and nomadic pastoral communities.

 

Weaving has strong symbolic representations and interpretations that resonate throughout Ladakhi life. The craft engages with Ladakhi society, beyond the making of cloth, to uphold values and determine gender roles. The act of weaving is closely connected to birth and life; the making of cloth is seen as an expression of a family network. Such strong associations resonate within the craft and have implications on its continuity. 

 

This presentation will explore weaving traditions in Ladakh, discussing the history of fibres and textiles, their use and transformation over time. It will examine changes to the tradition first by the Moravian Missionaries and government Handicraft Centres, and more recently by Ladakhi fashion designers. The presentation will look at how the transformations in the making and use of textiles have impacted on the crafts engagement with Ladakhi life, and if the next generation of Ladakhis will continue to recognize this importance.

 

Monisha Ahmed is an independent researcher, writer and curator whose work focuses on art practices and material culture in Ladakh. Her doctoral degree from Oxford University developed into the book Living fabric – Weaving among the Nomads of Ladakh Himalaya (2002), and received the Textile Society of America’s R L Shep award in 2003 for best book in the field of ethnic textile studies. She has co-edited Ladakh – Culture at the Crossroads (2005), collaborated on Pashmina – The Kashmir Shawl and Beyond (2009, 2017), and published several articles on textile arts of the Himalayan Buddhist world, as well as other parts of India. From 2010 to 2016, she was Associate Editor of Marg magazine. Monisha is co-founder and Executive Director of the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO).

Registration

Please register via Eventbrite.

This event is free for OATG members.

Non-members are kindly asked to make a donation (£3-5 suggestion) via the OATG PayPal account. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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Saturday,

16 July 2022

at 3.30 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

 

Uzbek headdresses as an integral part of heritage

A talk by

Yulduz Gaybullaeva

The presentation is devoted to the headdresses of Uzbek women of XIX and the XX centuries and describes the general history of the headdress. The Uzbek headdress is an integral part of the Uzbek gown and traditional kind of Uzbek decorative applied art. One of the most popular and ever-present kinds of national art was always the skullcap, which was a compulsory element of the clothing for women, men, and children as well. There is a famous saying among Uzbek people “there is no future without a past”, thus this kind of art is still alive among Uzbek people and has been still carefully passed on from generation to generation.


The illustrations of skullcaps, shawls, paranjas that are used in the presentation were taken from the museum funds of Uzbekistan.

Yulduz Gaybullaeva is a deputy director of the Center for the implementation of educational programs at Webster University in Tashkent. She is a Ph.D. holder, her thesis title was: The history of Uzbek women’s clothes of XIX-XX centuries. She is the author of more than 22 articles, one monograph, and one book album with co-author Naphisa Sadikova (1930-2015). In 2021 she had a short internship in London, Scotland (United Kingdom) funded by the Government of Uzbekistan. At the present time, she works on her research: The transformation of Uzbek women’s clothes from the ’50s to ’80s.  

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. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

Image: Two different styles of Uzbek bash orau.

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Thursday,

21 April 2022

at 1.00 pm BST

Online (Zoom)

 

Hmong Threads

of Life 

Traditional Hmong Textiles of the Golden Triangle

A Talk by 

Victoria Vorreiter

Over the millennia, the Hmong have developed an astonishingly rich culture as they migrated from their source in the far reaches of northern China along mountaintops that flank the great rivers of Southeast Asia, finally finding sanctuary in the foothills of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar, and further in the four corners of the world.

 

A traditional, self-reliant people living close to the earth—keenly attuned to the rotations of the sun and moon, the cycles of seasons, and the wheel of life—the Hmong have created a complex, all-encompassing belief system rooted in animism. Frequent rites, ceremonies, and festivals are performed throughout the year to maintain harmony between the world of man and the realm of spirits.

 

The Hmong of the Golden Triangle are composed of numerous groups and subgroups that display diverse customs and speak a range of regional dialects. Despite such diversity of practices and vernacular, the Hmong find commonality in shared tenets that permeate their way of life, worldview, oral tradition, and craftsmanship.

 

Of all the characteristics that distinguish the Hmong subculture divisions, none is more striking than the variations found in their clothing. While it is true that “a common thread” runs through untold generations and throughout the vast Hmong diaspora, these threads are woven, dyed, tailored, embroidered, and embellished in spectacularly distinctive ways—ways that identify the group while displaying the unique artistry of the Hmong seamstresses who meticulously fashion every piece for each family member through the cycles of their lives.

 

Victoria Vorreiter, an American researcher, photographer, and filmmaker, highlights the traditional garments and fabrication practices of the Hmong of Laos and Thailand through Hmong Threads of Life, a dynamic presentation enhanced by a wealth of vivid photographs and textiles of the Hmong who create and wear them.  

 

Victoria has spent over a decade documenting the traditional music, ceremonies, and culture of the highland peoples of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and China. This has resulted in an extensive body of work, beginning with the Songs of Memory: Traditional Music of the Golden Trianglebook, compact disc, and multi-media exhibit showcasing the six major ethnic groups in the region: Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Mien, Hmong, and Karen. These collections have appeared at the East-West Center, Hawaii; the Jim Thompson Center, Bangkok; the University of Mandalay, Myanmar; the Golden Triangle Gallery, Chicago; and the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural Center.

 

Of late Victoria has delved specifically into Hmong traditions, creating an archive that consists of an in-depth book and film, Hmong Songs of Memory: Traditional Secular and Sacred Hmong Music, and a many-layered exhibition, Hmong Songs of Memory, Hmong Threads of Life, launched in Chiang Mai in 2016, which includes a variety of integrative components—photographs, a film, a comprehensive collection of musical instruments, artifacts, and full textiles of the four major Hmong subgroups in Laos and Thailand.  

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. Without donating you will not be able to join the event. Please do get in touch if you have any issues.

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

Image: by Victoria Vorreiter.

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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: 

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

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Thursday,

27 January 2022

at 6.00 pm GMT

Online (Zoom)

OATG’s 2022 Annual General Meeting

followed by a Talk by

 Sue Stanton,

Textile Conservator at the Ashmolean Museum

The first OATG event of 2022 will be the AGM on Thursday 27 January at 6.00pm (1800 GMT), followed by a talk from Sue Stanton, conservator at the Ashmolean.

 

While life is still unpredictable, instead of our usual annual get together in Oxford it will be held online via Zoom but this, of course, makes it possible for our numerous new members from around the world and other parts of the UK to take part.

 

An important part of the AGM is the election of new committee members (details of the current committee members are listed on the last page of the journal and OATG website ).

 

This year we are looking to fill three posts. Sadly Aimée Payton is stepping down as Web Manager. In addition, as OATG grows and the workload grows, we want to create two new positions to support the existing committee members of Membership and Programme. Both the Web and Membership work can be done remotely but Programme support would have to be someone living near Oxford to help Felicitas now organising the online events from Germany to organise events in Oxford when they start up again.

If anyone is interested in joining the committee, a very friendly and supportive group, or would like more information about what is involved please get in touch.

2021 AGM minutes can be found in the members' section of the website.

The AGM will be followed by a talk by the Ashmolean textile conservator Sue Stanton. She will be talking about her role as a textile conservator during the pandemic. In particular, she will be talking about how the conservation department had to adapt and care for a collection in a building that was largely unoccupied in comparison to its usual operations. Sue Stanton will also describe some of the projects and textiles she has examined and worked on during the past 2 years such as a display of Greek embroideries, an Indian Snakes and Ladders game, a Chinese textile banknote, Indian temple hangings, Tokyo Stories Exhibition.

 

Registration: 

This is an event for OATG members. Members should already have received by email the link to join the event. No prior registration is needed. Please do get in touch should you not have received the link. If you are not a member and would like to join th event to get to know OATG better please email: oatg.events@gmail.com

 

Image:

Embroidered Ottoman Wall Hanging

c. 1700, Ashmolean Museum

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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.

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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.

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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 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 (donations can be given via https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/OxfordAsianTextileGr ).

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

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