Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Dizos 12th February 2010 08:34 PM

Ethnographic Textiles + Weapons
 
I've noticed that most advanced weapon making cultures also have tremendous weaving traditions. Does anyone here match textiles and weapons from the same cultural groups? I have some very broad regional matches, but no precise cultural matches. The textiles make a great backdrop for displaying the weapons.

Battara 12th February 2010 09:29 PM

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HI Dizos,

Some of us do display textiles with out toys...er...weapons. Here are 2 of my examples:

The first one (left) is a picture of a Kalinga datu head axe with Kalinga shield and the background textile is also Kalinga.

The second display (right) is a Moro suit of armour with a Moro (Samal) barong, a Moro twistcore spear, and a Moro textile (Maranao malong) in the background.

Dizos 12th February 2010 10:02 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
HI Dizos,

The first one (left) is a picture of a Kalinga datu head axe with Kalinga shield and the background textile is also Kalinga.

The second display (right) is a Moro suit of armour with a Moro (Samal) barong, a Moro twistcore spear, and a Moro textile (Maranao malong) in the background.


That's what I'm talking about. Tremendous!

Battara 12th February 2010 11:05 PM

Thank you. I think they go hand in hand, if you can get the textiles. We had a similar thread in the past, though I don't know where it is. The cultural context of our pieces brings out the piece more as a part of a whole instead of a display in isolation. Again if you can get the textiles. Do you have any textiles that go with your toys?

Jim McDougall 13th February 2010 12:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizos
I've noticed that most advanced weapon making cultures also have tremendous weaving traditions. Does anyone here match textiles and weapons from the same cultural groups? I have some very broad regional matches, but no precise cultural matches. The textiles make a great backdrop for displaying the weapons.



Excellent topic Dizos!
Actually in ethnographic material culture it is well established that there are often similiarities in symbolism in the motif of textiles, such as Berber items and in the Middle East in certain cases with rugs, with that found on weapons decoration. It seems like there was once a book titled "The Afghan Amulet", I forget details and the author, but the theme was with regard to the importance of amuletic motif in textiles. I thought it might be good potential for studying decorative motif, but did not pursue it further regrettably. Hope there will be takers here :)


All the best,
Jim

Rumpel 13th February 2010 01:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Excellent topic Dizos!
Actually in ethnographic material culture it is well established that there are often similiarities in symbolism in the motif of textiles, such as Berber items and in the Middle East in certain cases with rugs, with that found on weapons decoration. It seems like there was once a book titled "The Afghan Amulet", I forget details and the author, but the theme was with regard to the importance of amuletic motif in textiles. I thought it might be good potential for studying decorative motif, but did not pursue it further regrettably. Hope there will be takers here :)


Sheila Payne. I also have her more recent effort. As a slightly snobby anthropologist, I have to say her ideas are quite diffusionist, and un-grounded in fact. But still quite fun...

On a similar note, there's a dealer in Portobello with an Afghan (Tajik?) embroidered saddle jezail sheath that's utterly beautiful, and would quite fit my (heavily prettified) jezail, but his stall's been shut for weeks...

If any London-based members are interested in textiles, there's an amazing small shop on Islington Green- Uzbek chapans etc, mid-1800s. The owner held an exhibition (and wrote the catalogue, which I own) for the V&A. Quite spectacular.

edit: and don't get me started on suzanis... oy...

carlos 13th February 2010 07:49 AM

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I have only one combination between weapons and textiles and this is one of my best kampilan.
Thanks
carlos

Nagawarrior 13th February 2010 04:12 PM

I have placed a rug from the Caucasus on the wall behind my Cherkeska : the traditional outer garment of the Caucasian tribesmen, worn by Kuban and Terek Cossacks, in this weapon and textile display.
Some of the symbolism seen on the rug.
Ram's Horn - Sheep and rams were a vital source of warmth and comfort, as well as being central to the livelihood of the tribe. Their wool was the primary material used in weaving, which they considered a sacred activity. Throughout history, the ram's horn has been used to summon the group together as one. The ram's horn symbolizes strength, power and fertility, suggesting that life itself is not temporary, but eternal.
Star of Wisdom - The eight-pointed star is an archetypal symbol that appears in cave drawings and likely stems from the dawn of mankind. This motif depicts man's potential for inner wisdom and understanding; in fact King Solomon wore an eight-pointed star on his ring as a reminder of inner striving. The tribal weavers lived an elemental lifestyle with minimal possessions. They believed that wisdom was the true wealth that could be obtained through the striving one made amidst the many challenges of one's daily activities.
Thanks to Claremont Rug Company for symbolism info.


Jim McDougall 13th February 2010 04:54 PM

Thank you so much for the response Rumpel! Yes it indeed was Sheila Payne, and now that you mention it, the book was very much intended for very general audience and, entertaining, I suppose somewhat in 'Indiana Jones' fashion. Not a bad thing, but not entirely helpful from the perspective I was then seeking.
Intriguing notes on the Central Asian stuff there, and these vendors sound fascinating as I imagine the things you must have access to finding!!!
There definitely is a lot to be discovered in aligning these material culture symbols with weaponry and accoutrements of these regions, and I really look forward to more discussion.

Naga, thats exactly what we're talking about!and thank you for sharing those key notes on symbolism in these rugs (absolutely fantastic grouping there of weapons, and especially with the dimension added with the rugs).It is to me patently impossible to be in the presence of these kinds of rugs without imagination and resulting temporal adventures getting the best of me :)

Jose, speaking of adventures! Very, very nice grouping there as well, and its great to see these variations in them carrying the same comprehensive effect. Wow! :)

Carlos, a beautiful kampilan, and again, this addition of the material and bells represent important talismanic symbolism. Very nice example and thank you for sharing it.



All the very best,
Jim

Tim Simmons 13th February 2010 06:36 PM

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This cloth is a real silk one not rayon. Must have belonged or presented to a VIP.

Jim McDougall 13th February 2010 07:00 PM

In our careers in the airline industry, my wife and I often had great opportunities to meet many people from many cultures. My wife had a management position in which she handled certain employee affairs, and one man needed to return to his home in Africa as his mother had passed away.
When he returned, in gratitude for my wifes handling of details to help him in making this trip, he very ceremoniously presented her with a bolt of cloth very similar in some of the colors Tim has shown.
I cannot recall details on tribe or country, but what was important was that the cloth itself was offered with far more reverence than afforded simply to an everyday textile, and with extremely deep gratitude and reverence.

It seems clear that in many cultures, the reverence for material culture is often well placed in many forms, and our true understanding of these offer important dimension to learning more on the weapons they used.

All best regards,
Jim

KuKulzA28 13th February 2010 09:58 PM

Atayal traditionally wove with rammie - a very laborious process.


A. G. Maisey 13th February 2010 11:38 PM

For those with an interest in the relationship between weaponry and weaving, I would suggest a reading of "Iban Art -- sexual selection and severed heads" --- Michael Heppell, KIT publishers, Amsterdam, ISBN -10: 9054500050

In Iban culture hierarchical position, and the suitability for marriage was largely determined by weaving in the case of women, and the taking of heads in the case of men. Men carved the hilts of their own weapons, and this was a way of demonstrating that they were not one dimensional warriors, but also possessed a finer side.

There is far too much involved in these Iban cultural practices to be covered here, and their complexity would make any attempted abbreviation too simplistic. However, there is a distinct sexual counterbalancing between the male role as warrior and association with weaponry, and the female role as society's cohesive force.

Since Iban culture can probably be regarded as containing base elements of most, if not all, tribal cultures within the maritime cultures of South East Asia, an understanding of these base elements could be of use to those with interests specific to these cultures.

Jim McDougall 14th February 2010 01:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKulzA28
Atayal traditionally wove with rammie - a very laborious process.




Hi KuKulz,
Please pardon my adding some information on this excellent weapon, which I know you have expertise on, but there may be others (like me:) who may not be aware of these weapons or terms. This very interesting weapon, which I now have found is a 'laraw', shows very nicely against this cloth.

I have read your previous comprehensive thread on the weapons of Taiwan (formerly Formosa) and the Atayal, who are the aboriginal natives there. I understand that 'rammie' is a plant fiber used in weaving scabbard straps?

I believe that the diamond type geometrics in the material represent the eye of the ancestors who are protective, the red color represents blood & power, and the horizontal lines have to do also with the spirits of ancestors. Obviously this is material I am just now searching, so I would defer to you and others who specialize in this field for more accurate descriptions.

These weapons certainly show well against traditional textiles!

All best regards,
Jim

yuanzhumin 14th February 2010 03:45 AM

Jim, the Atayal were forming one officially recognized tribe till few years ago, then the Truku and the Sedeq were recognized as distinct groups from the rest of the Atayal. The Atayalic groups are only present in the northern part of the island. The island is occupied by 10 other austronesian tribes such as the Paiwan, the Bunun, the Puyuma, the Rukai...). These are mountains and plains austronesian groups. In addition, a little island south of Taiwan (Botel Tobago/Orchid Island/Lanyu) is inhabited by another tribe, the Yami/Tawu who is distinct because of its oceanic culture. In fact, the rammie is widely used as a textile fiber among the aborigines tribes of Taiwan and is also used to make scabbard straps, but not only. Scabbard straps can also be made of rattan or bamboo (see some photos in the Yang Grevot Collections). Concerning the design and the colors, you are right but the red color is also used to protect against the bad spirit and the diamond patterns is also representing the ancestor snake skin pattern.

Kukulza, nice traditional textile ! Really matching the knife.

Maisey, yes, in Taiwan also, textiles making is exclusively the work of women, and their skills in this matter are highly appreciated, while the knives and their use such as head hunting is only the privilege of the men who are decorating the scabbards and the hilts. The hierarchy and the order in the Taiwan tribal society was largely based on this sharing of the traditional roles.

I don't have pictures of my weapons with a matching textiles, but I have something here that is very close in the idea : a special bag that the Atayal warriors used to place the severed heads on their way back from a head hunting party. See the link http://www.formosatribal.com/show.php?item_id=261

Tim Simmons 14th February 2010 01:22 PM

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Another region.

Jim McDougall 14th February 2010 04:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by yuanzhumin
Jim, the Atayal were forming one officially recognized tribe till few years ago, then the Truku and the Sedeq were recognized as distinct groups from the rest of the Atayal. The Atayalic groups are only present in the northern part of the island. The island is occupied by 10 other austronesian tribes such as the Paiwan, the Bunun, the Puyuma, the Rukai...). These are mountains and plains austronesian groups. In addition, a little island south of Taiwan (Botel Tobago/Orchid Island/Lanyu) is inhabited by another tribe, the Yami/Tawu who is distinct because of its oceanic culture. In fact, the rammie is widely used as a textile fiber among the aborigines tribes of Taiwan and is also used to make scabbard straps, but not only. Scabbard straps can also be made of rattan or bamboo (see some photos in the Yang Grevot Collections). Concerning the design and the colors, you are right but the red color is also used to protect against the bad spirit and the diamond patterns is also representing the ancestor snake skin pattern.

Kukulza, nice traditional textile ! Really matching the knife.

Maisey, yes, in Taiwan also, textiles making is exclusively the work of women, and their skills in this matter are highly appreciated, while the knives and their use such as head hunting is only the privilege of the men who are decorating the scabbards and the hilts. The hierarchy and the order in the Taiwan tribal society was largely based on this sharing of the traditional roles.

I don't have pictures of my weapons with a matching textiles, but I have something here that is very close in the idea : a special bag that the Atayal warriors used to place the severed heads on their way back from a head hunting party. See the link http://www.formosatribal.com/show.php?item_id=261


Thank you so much Yuanzhumin for this more detailed information, thats exactly what I was hoping for!! While it is wonderful looking at these impressive groupings of weapons with these materials as great displays, I always want to know more beyond aesthetics. I guess its just the anthropologist wanna be in me :)
It helps a lot seeing the designs and patterns in these textiles to know about the symbolism involved, such as the diamond pattern and red color.

All best regards,
Jim

Dom 3rd March 2010 10:33 AM

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Hi Gentlemen

some of my ethnographic arms and items, mainly from Middle-East
associated with a typical Persian carpet ... Kashan :p

all the best

+

Dom


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