Tag Archives: China

Tsethang serge Cloth Weaving Revival in Tibet

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Firstly, apologies for ‘dropping out’ of the habit of regular blogging in the last couple of months – I seem to have lost the momentum lately!  However, these two reports about a revival of weaving in Tibet caught my attention and I thought I’d share both of them with you.

What I find odd about both of them is that there is no clear picture of what Tsethang serge looks like, made up into a garment, and that altho this featured initiative seems to have begun in 2007, it is suddenly receiving a lot of attention for the money it could potentially make!

I came across the first article about this story of traditional weaving in Tibet on the China Daily Site this week and when I looked for more info, all the other articles seemed to be copies.  The only one with a little more to say is the second I have copied, from China Tibet Online.  Nevertheless, having never heard of this cloth before, I thought you might like to see what I found.  If anyone has any more information, please let me know.

I was going to copy the full articles, but have given up as the formatting didn’t work, so if you are interested in seeing more pictures etc, please click on the links – smile.

( Xinhua )Updated: 2015-11-28 14:27:03

Vanishing traditional weaving revived in Tibet

Tsethang serge, considered the finest of all Tibetan

traditional fabrics, has reemergeddecades

after disappearing from the market. [Photo/tibet.cn]

Intangible cultural heritage becomes poverty alleviation tool in Lhoka

2015-12-01 10:32:00
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 “Ze Tier, or Tsethang wool serge, is a handmade textile art based on Tibetan Pulu, in which the warp and woof are gradually changed from coarse to fine and the texture from thick to thin. It was very popular during the fifth Dalai Lama period and became a special tribute fabric Tibetan monks and prominent officials used to make clothes”, said Pasang. “Today, a tailor-made Tibetan costume made from ‘Ze Tier’ white cashmere sells for 13,000 yuan and a scarf for 1,300 yuan.” Through self-financing, in 2008 Pasang set up an ethnic serge hand-weaving cooperative in Nedong County, Lhoka Prefecture.

Through help from relevant government departments, he obsessively embarked on a path to rescue the development of “Ze Tier”. From the cycle of choosing, weaving and processing the fine wool, to passing on the weaving skills to younger students; from the 42 poor students initially enrolled to the 72 permanent staff farmer contractors across three counties, this thousand-year-old serge craft is once again bursting with life. Apart from inheriting and carrying forward an outstanding ethnic cultural heritage, this small grassroots cooperative is also taking on the burden of driving the local people out of poverty. Disabled, unemployed youth, housewives and poor households – there are many like Dawa Tashi at this cooperative. They have not only mastered a skill, but also have broken out of poverty. According to Pasang, since establishment of the cooperative, they have directly found employment for 136 people and indirectly found employment for 322 people in extended industries.

SILK

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SILK

This is a very informative post of the history of silk in China, from ancient myths about the origin of silk, the medieval international trade in silk, via The Silk Road, and some thoughts about modern tourism in China. Debbie has written several posts on the theme of Silk. See also my post “Luscious Silks“.

spaceship china

China has an exceptionally long history. It is one of the few civilizations on Earth that has a continuous culture, an ancient past, a vibrant present, and a certain future.

None of the cultural attributes, industries or thoughts of China epitomize that long history better than  SILK.

Silk from Beijing 

Silk culture – known a sericulture – began in China many centuries back. 嫘祖, Lei Zu or Ancestor Lei, whose name was 西陵氏, Xi Lingshi, was an Empress.Not just any Empress, mind you, her husband was the Yellow Emperor, China’s legendary ancestor-hero.

IMG_1704 Yellow Emperor carved in stone, at entrance to park along the Yellow River

One day, the young empress (she was only 14 years old at the time) was drinking tea under a mulberry tree. A cocooned silkworm fell into her cup of tea, and a long silken thread emerged from the coccon. SILK was born.

silk from a…

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P is for Peacocks

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P Today I have contributions from both China and Romania!

I have a friend in China, who blogs as Spaceship China  and recently visited Xishuangbanna, a region far south in the southern province of Yunnan, home to the Dai people, and took some stupendous photos.

One of my customers, Florance, lives in Romania, and happens to breed peacocks.  She sent me some pictures of her peacock chicks, after seeing ‘my Easter chicks’.  They have both given me permission to use their photographs.

peacock+feather+image+graphicsfairy3bThese stunning iridescent peacock feathers, which almost everyone, at some time, has admired, come from the male of the species and are used in as glorious mating displays to attract the far duller brown female of the species!

They have inspired countless artists and writers, and have at various times, been fashionable additions to hats and fans, and home decorations.

male in full display

male in full display

Just to blind you with science – this bit comes from Wikipedia – smile – it explains how the colours in this display are produced by ‘reflection and refraction’.

As with many birds, vibrant iridescent plumage colours are not primarily pigments, but structural coloration. Optical interference Bragg reflections based on regular, periodic nanostructures of the barbules (fiber-like components) of the feathers produce the peacock’s colours. Slight changes to the spacing of these barbules result in different colours. Brown feathers are a mixture of red and blue: one colour is created by the periodic structure and the other is created by a Fabry–Pérot interference peak from reflections from the outer and inner boundaries. Such structural coloration causes the iridescence of the peacock’s hues since interference effects depend on light angle rather than actual pigments.[2]

But going back to the whimsical – this is a myth about ‘The Peacock Princess’ as recounted in spaceshipchina.com!

peacocks in Xishuangbanna, China

peacocks in Xishuangbanna, China

The Dai people have a legend about their ancestors. One day, the Prince of the Dai was visiting a lake, and he saw seven peacocks fly down. At the lakeside, the peacocks turned into young women. Fascinated, the prince waited for them to return. As they took of their mantle – feathers on their head – they turned into the women and went bathing.

The prince stole the youngest swan’s mantle, and when the others turned back into birds, she stayed human. The prince married her, and she became known as Princess Peacock.

img_0114 Nearby kingdoms were jealous of the Dai’s riches and wars broke out. The prince was far away fighting. Some people blamed the Princess Peacock and called for her death.

The peacock woman asked the king to perform a dance to ensure the safe return of the prince. Taking her feather mantle, she started dancing and transformed back into a peacock and flew away.

The Dai people worship peacocks as being messengers of peace, kindness, love and beauty.

The story of the seven heavenly peacocks is reminiscent of other myths regarding the constellation Cygnus.

White Peacock, Xishuangbanna

White Peacock, Xishuangbanna

Peacocks have other Royal Connections – During the Medieval period, various types of fowl were consumed as food, the more wealthy gentry were privileged to less usual foods, such as swan, and even peafowl were consumed. On a king’s table, a peacock would be for ostentatious display as much as for culinary consumption.[30] 

And there are many other myths associated with these beautiful birds see Wikipedia again!

Before Florance sent me the pictures below, I had never seen peacock chicks, they look like any other chicks until they are about 2 months old, when you can start to see the differentiations.  This is a selection of the pictures she sent me from Romania.

She doesn’t currently have a website or blog, but if you want to ask her any questions about rearing peacocks, I will be happy to pass them on to her, or if you leave a comment below, perhaps she will answer them herself!  Her English is very good.

To see the titles, hover over the pictures, or click on them and you will get them enlarged in a slide show format.

Happy Chinese New Year

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Happy Chinese New Year

Is it the ‘year of the goat’, or the ‘year of the sheep’?  Well let’s ask an expert – smile!

Thanks Debbie, for permission to re-blog any of your posts, and as its the Chinese New Year on Thursday 19 February this year, I thought I’d choose this one, after all as you live in China, its the most appropriate one!  If readers are interested in this post, you might also like to look at the previous post on spaceship china “Going Home for the New Year”.

spaceship china

If you do a quick internet search, you’ll find the most popular Chinese New Year expressions are

新年快乐   Xīn Nián Kuài Le,  or 年年有余 nián nián  you yu.

These expressions are found everywhere on the internet because they are actually used regularly in China. The first one is simply “happy new year” and the second one means “every year have fish” – a way of wishing prosperity for all.

You’ll also hear 过年好 guo nian hao – meaning the old year has passed, and indicating best wishes for the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new.

With the year of the sheep or goat ( 羊 yang can mean both sheep and goat) arriving, expressions with these animals are popular. Whilst  expressions relating to goat are common , the cuddly toys which fill shops every Chinese New Year are more likely to be sheep than goats –…

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