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TRC Blog: Textile Moments

Borduurwerk in Nepal, I

Een bijdrage van Esmeralda Zee, ‘ vriend’ van het TRC. Zij verblijft een aantal weken in Nepal. Hier volgt haar eerste verslag.

Vlak voordat we uit Nederland vertrokken kreeg ik van Gillian Vogelsang, directeur TRC, het verzoek om wat achtergrondinformatie te verzamelen over borduurwerk in Nepal. Dus toen wij in de Nepalese hoofdstad Kathmandu aankwamen keek ik met ‘borduur-ogen’ om mij heen. Op de eerste dag gingen wij naar de beroemde Swayanbunath tempel. Onderweg liepen we langs een smal pad, waar allemaal kleine, overdekte marktkraampjes stonden, die allerlei kettingen, sieraden, beeldjes en toeristensnuisterijen verkochten. Tot mijn grote verrassing, en kijkend met mijn ‘borduurogen’, was er ook een kraampje waar een 63- jarige man, Ram Chandra geheten, op een borduurraam aan het borduren was. Het bleek een speciale Indiase borduurtechniek te zijn, waarbij je met een speciale naald kleine lusjes vlak naast elkaar door de dunne, katoenen stof heen duwt. Die lusjes worden dan later met een scherpe platte schaar tegelijk afgeknipt, zodat er een soort fluweelachtig effect ontstaat. Door ook nog de lengte van de afgeknipte lusjes te variëren ontstaat er een reliëf. De afbeeldingen bestonden uit religieuze onderwerpen, zoals de god van de wijsheid, Ganesha met een olifantenhoofd en de zoon van Vishnu.

Ram Chandra had de techniek indertijd van zijn vader geleerd en nu hij met pensioen was vond het het een goede tijdsbesteding. Hij verkocht ook papieren patronen, losse speciale borduurnaalden, losse gekleurde kluwen zijde en grote houten, ronde borduurramen. Zijn zoon had er geen belangstelling voor en verdiende op een voor hem gemakkelijker manier geld, namelijk in de meubelhandel. Ik maakte een aantal foto’s en video-opnames, kocht zijn eigen borduurraam met een onafgemaakt patroon van een pauw (lang leven), een aantal borduurnaalden, patronen en kluwen zijde, een Ganesha- én pauwen-afbeelding en prijsde mijzelf buitengewoon gelukkig dat ik al de eerste dag zoveel succes geboekt had in het onderzoek. Toen ik na het weekeinde terugkwam om hem nog wat te vragen, had hij intussen al zijn borduurramen en veel kluwen van zijde en patronen verkocht en was bezig de aan mij verkochte Ganesha-afbeelding opnieuw te borduren…….. Dus er bleek hier nog belangstelling voor te zijn!

Toen we twee dagen later de enorme Bodanath stoepa bezochten, in het oosten van Kathmandu, zag ik in een van de talloze toeristenwinkeltjes die rondom de stoepa staan, machinaal geborduurde artikelen, zoals beursjes, tasjes, tot en met grote reistassen toe, geborduurd op synthetisch suède. Deze Kashmir-achtige techniek, bestaande uit patronen in fijne kettingsteek, wordt door mannen op een trapmachine geborduurd in een dorpje vlakbij Kirtipur, twee uur met de auto ten oosten van Kathmandu. Helaas wilde men mij niet de naam van het dorpje vertellen, waarschijnlijk bang dat ik zakelijke exportbedoelingen had…..

In Thamel, dé toeristenwijk van Kathmandu, bestaande uit smalle straatjes met aaneengeregen winkeltjes voor toeristen, reisbureautjes, exportbedrijfjes, hotelletjes en eethuisjes, ontdekte ik nog kledingwinkels die in kettingsteek, machinaal- én handgeborduurde sjaals, jurken en jasjes verkochten, geïmporteerd uit de Indiase provincie Kashmir, in felle kleuren en met grote bloemmotieven. De kwaliteit verschilde enorm. Sommige jurken waren karig geborduurd en andere overdadig. Helaas waren de jurken vaak kuit- tot enkellang. De prijzen van de jasjurken varieerden van 80 tot 800 euro, afhankelijk van stofkwaliteit en fijnheid, en de kwaliteit van het borduursel.

Esmeralda Zee, 16 december 2016

   

Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Linen garment, ascribed to St. Jerome (d. 420), with lampas weave decoration in the shape of a cross, housed in the Museum of the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore, Rome.

Linen garment, ascribed to St. Jerome (d. 420), with lampas weave decoration in the shape of a cross, housed in the Museum of the Basilica of St. Maria Maggiore, Rome.

Yesterday afternoon, Gillian and I, just arrived in Rome, went to see the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This time we had the chance to see the beautiful thirteenth century mosaics in the loggia above the entrance, and Bernini's floating, spiral staircase. What an extraordinary construction! Most interesting, from our point of view, was the Museum, which we had never had the chance to visit during our previous trips to Rome. It is located underneath the basilica, and you actually have to go outside to go down into the entrance hallway. What a magnificent collection of items, including some stunningly beautiful ecclesiastical vestments. But also a simple garment ascribed to St Jerome (who died in AD 420), the man who allegedly translated the Bible into Latin (the Vulgata text). He also happens to be buried in the same church. It is a simple linen vestment, but decorated with a cross applied to the chest and made of two small bands of very expensive (certainly in the fifth century) silk lampas weave. We also saw a reliquary with textiles and presumably remains attributed to Thomas Beckett (assassinated in Canterbury in 1170). And then the many chasubles, copes, stolas, etc., many of them exquisitely decorated with gold thread embroidery. These ranged in date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. There was even a pontifical outfit dating to the nineteenth century.

We bought a little booklet with the title Guide to the Museum of the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major, written by Monsignor Michal Jagosz (2003).

Gillian and Willem Vogelsang, 25 December 2016

   

Another Marken design, from 1895

There is another chart of a Marken design (click here), further to the two that we published yesterday. This one has been worked on the front of a bodice (locally known as a kraplap), with a design of a stylised tree with birds. The bodice forms part of the TRC collection (TRC 2016.0437g) and was acquired in 2016 (Kircher collection). The date (1895) is added on both sides of the stem, and the initials are placed underneath. The embroidery is carried out in cross stitch using a black silk thread. Unusually, the ground material has a complex woven design, which must have made it difficult to embroider.

Embroidered bodice (kraplap) from the island of Marken, the Netherlands, dated 1895.

Embroidered bodice (kraplap) from the island of Marken, the Netherlands, dated 1895.

 

   

Embroidery charts for Marken curtain design

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower design from the island of Marken, the Netherlands

Flower design from the island of Marken, the Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Queens of the Nile

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shelley Anderson, Tuesday 13th December 2016

   

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TRC in a nutshell

Hogewoerd 164, 2311 HW Leiden. Tel. +31 (0)71 5134144 / +31 (0)6 28830428   info@trc-leiden.nl

Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10.00-16.00 hrs, other days by appointment.

Bank account number: NL39 INGB 0002 9823 59

Gallery exhibition, 3 April - 29 June: From Kaftan to Kippa

Entrance is free, but donations are always welcome !

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Financial gifts

The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Textile Research Centre, Leiden. Since the TRC is officially recognised as a non-profit making cultural institution (ANBI), donations are tax deductible for 125% for individuals, and 150% for commercial companies. For more information, click here
 
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