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 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.

Sheila Paine in northern Afghanistan for 11 June.jpg

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

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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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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.

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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.

Travellers in the Great Steppe lower res

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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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)

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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.

Door section of a bed tent from the Greek Islands, work-in-progress(1).jpeg

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

EA2007.104

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.

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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,

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,

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.

Getty Kevkorian lot1 no 20 Herati .jpg

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

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