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Shan weft-ikat cloth

Shan weft-ikat cloth

  • Place of origin:

    Shan States (made)
    Burma

  • Date:

    ca. 1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, cotton, dye, stitching. Woven in plain weave; bands of repeating weft-ikat with a red warp as well as supplementary weft tapestry with little flowers. (Without bands of inter-locking tapestry)

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.513-1919

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

A rectangle formed with two identical panels hand stitched along the weft edge.

The lower part woven in coloured silks; the upper in cotton, with a small quantity of silk.

The upper part has a thin check in yellow, pale-blue, and red and white silks, on a chestnut coloured cotton and silk ground. The end is turned back and sewn to admit a running string.

The lower part has many horizontal bands, broad and narrow, decorated with a great variety of geometrically-treated motives including fret, hook, dot, cloud and floral motives, chiefly in white, purple and shades of green, yellow and red.

Place of Origin

Shan States (made)
Burma

Date

ca. 1885 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silk, cotton, dye, stitching. Woven in plain weave; bands of repeating weft-ikat with a red warp as well as supplementary weft tapestry with little flowers. (Without bands of inter-locking tapestry)

Dimensions

Length: 184.2 cm, Width: 76.2 cm

Object history note

Circ. 508 to 514 - 1919 formed part of the original purchase from General Wallace (the donor) of 13 Shan weft-ikat textiles for £52. They were returned to the department in 1979.

Extract from the donor's letter September 4 1919:
" In 1886 I was present when we occupied the Southern Shan States of Upper Burmah and purchased some cloths in the villages near Fort Stedman, then the headquarters of the South Shan States Administration".

Historical context note

Eleanor Gaudoin, a descendant of the royal family of the Shan State of Hsenwi, on a visit to the V&A Indian Study Rooms in 1995, made the following comments:
"The roots of shan silk or silk/cotton weft-ikat cloths are to be found in the Lanna/Lao Thai territory of northern Thailand. Lana was a tribute nation to Burma for several centuries until its liberation in c.1780. There could have been a migration of weavers during that period. Otherwise weavers may have been brought back with the 90,000 Thai captives after the sack of Ayuthia in 1767.

The most well know of the weft-ikat patterns are:
zin-me (Chiangmai) and Bangkok (a chevron design).

Weaving was done by women within specialist weaving families in the Inle Lake regiion. The skill and patterns, carefully guarded, passed on from mother to daughter.

An agent or `travelling salesman' would then take the finished cloth from court to court or wealthy homes. The silk weft-ikat would not be sold directly at the bazaars.

The cloths would be fashioned into longyi (tubular skirts). A black cotton waistband would be attached to the top. The longyi would be worn with white cotton cross-over jackets fastened with jewelled buttons.

Descriptive line

An example of a Shan silk and cotton longyi chiefly in yellow, pale-blue, red, white, purple and shades of green on a chestnut ground from Inle Lake, Shan States, Burma. In plain weave patterned with weft-ikat and supplementary weft tapestry designs. c. 1885

Production Note

Made in the neighbourhood of Inle Lake, Yawnshwe State. Misidentified by C. Stanley-clarke as luntaya.

Materials

Silk; Cotton; Dye

Techniques

Hand stitching; Dyeing; Tie-dyeing; Weaving

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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