The Roots of Asian Weaving

Boudot, Eric and Chris Buckley (2015). The Roots of Asian Weaving: The He Haiyan Collection of Textiles and Looms from Southwest China, Oxford and Philadelphia: Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-78570-144-3, hardback, 474 pp., fully illustrated in b/w and colour, drawings, charts, appendices, bibliography, index. Price: £60.

An amazing book full of information, historical details as well as technical drawings and accounts concerning the various type of looms from southwest China, notably from Gzuzhou to Hainan Island. It includes looms associated with the Buyi, Dai, Dong, Li, Maonan, Miao, Yao and Zhuang peoples. Many of the examples of textiles and looms illustrated come from the He Haiyan Collection, Beijing. It is clear that the authors understand the weaving process and how looms work (this is not always the case) and what makes the various types of looms different from each other. The family history of the various body tensioned looms from this part of China is of especial interest. The book is fully illustrated, with drawings and photographs, which is essential for any study of textiles and how they are made.

Recommendation: This is a tour de force and needs to be in any serious library (institutional or private) of anyone who is working or studying Asian textiles and want to understand how these textiles were made, and what is the relationship between one form of hand weaving technology and another in southwestern China in particular.

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood

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TRC Gallery exhibition: 12 - 15 August 2019: Out of Asia: 2000 years of textiles

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