TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer mailto:%20daniel.d@infonie.be
Date  :  02-01-2001 on 08:25 a.m.
Dear Steve,

Thanks for this interesting Salon. Itís a discovery for me. I havenít any knowledge in this field and I am glad to learn some more.

I have some questions. May be you can answer.

1/ All the pieces you show are made of silk or cotton. Did the weavers used other material like wool?

2/ All the designs are abstractly drawn. Are there any reasons?

3/ I am a bit surprised to see how certain designs like the starsÖ are universal.


Daniel Deschuyteneer

Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  02-01-2001 on 09:02 a.m.
Dear Daniel,

As far as I know, everything is cotton and/or silk. Not surprising, really. These people do not raise sheep, and they live in a part of the world where cotton is much more comfortable than wool. There is a long tradition of excellent silk weaving in southeast Asia, and, as in most of the world, the luster and luxurious feel of silk makes it the yarn for special items.

The Lao hill tribes don't use a lot of representational motifs, although the serpent is pretty recognizable as are the figures of people and animals on the T'ai Daeng shaman cloth. The concentric diamond motif is their representation of an eye, just as it is in western and central Asia, and their are small, but easily identifiable birds on one of the T'ai Hun skirts.

Indonesian and Cambodian ikat work is often very representational, with animals, plants and ships clearly depicted. I don't know what the historical forces are that led the T'ai away from realistic drawing in their textiles. It doesn't appear to be lack of skill - their ikat and supplementary weft work is detailed and fine. In fact, every time I've had occasion to show the T'ai skirts I've had to work to persuade people that they weren't looking at embroidery.

As for universality of motifs, you can find things that look a lot like boteh in Andean textiles!

Steve Price

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