TAASA Review Issues

June 1994

Vol: 3 Issue: 2
Editors: Heleanor Feltham & Christina Sumner

Cover Photo
Avalokiteshvara. Late Anuradhapura Period, 8th – 9th Century. Gilt bronze; solid cast. Height 49.8cm. Discovered in 1968 at Veragala Sirisangabo Vihara, Allavava, Sri Lanka. From the collection of the National Museum of Colombo.

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Editorial

THE TEXTILE GROUP OF THE ASIAN ARTS SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA 

Based in Sydney with representatives in four other states, The Asian Arts Society of Australia is now well into its third year. The strength of the society is reflected in the range of ideas and suggestions from both committee and members for its continued growth and for its service to the community. The formation of special interest study groups is one such idea and the first of these is the Textile Group of TAASA.

The idea of forming a special interest textile group, with primary focus on Asia, was put forward by Asian textile enthusiast, collector and TAASA member, Judith Rutherford. During a visit to Hong Kong in mid 1993 Judith spoke with Diana Collins, an Australian textile conservator currently living in Hong Kong, who was in the process of forming the Textile Society of Hong Kong. In the course of conversation they both acknowledged the advantages to be gained by having a textile network linking countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Such a network could facilitate contact between textile enthusiasts as they travel and act as a conduit for the dissemination of information and knowledge.

In November 1993 a meeting of interested people took place to discuss the practicalities of establishing such a group and to form an initial committee. Those present were: Judith Rutherford, Anne Baker, Gill Green, Christina Sumner and Claire Roberts. The idea was then discussed with Carl Andrew, who suggested that the society could be accommodated under the umbrella of TAASA. This was later endorsed by the TAASA committee, and it was decided that membership of TAASA entitles one to become a member of the Textile Group.

Purpose                                                                                                                                                                                It was determined that the purpose of the Textile Group of TAASA would be “to promote the appreciation and understanding of all forms of textiles, particularly those of the Asian region, through the sharing and dissemination of information”.

The Group will provide a forum where textile enthusiasts, collectors and dealers can pursue their common interests in both historical and contemporary textiles.

Functions                                                                                                                                                               The Group will organise regular study, sessions, special seminars and events, and contribute to the TAASA Review. Activities of the Group will be made known via the TAASA Review and TAASA events mailouts. The group will coordinate the second seminar in the TAASA textiles series, on the textiles of Northeast Asia; this is scheduled for March 1995.

Launch                                                                                                                                                                        The Textile Group will be launched on Wednesday 3 August 1994, K Market Learning Centre, Powerhouse Museum, 6-8pm. A selection of textiles from the museum’s collection will be viewed, with commentary by Christina Sumner and Claire Roberts, and Anne Baker will speak about the proposed study group. Members are encouraged to bring along one of their own textiles for discussion and appraisal.

Committee
Judith Rutherford: Convenor
Anne Baker: Study group 
Gill Green: Student program
Ann Guild: Special events co-ordinator 
Claire Roberts: TAASA Review 
Christina Sumner: TAASA Review

Judith Rutherford
Judith has been collecting and researching Chinese textiles for the last 14 years. She has published articles on rank badges, dress accessories and children’s clothing. She is a Chinese textile consultant and has organised exhibitions in Hong Kong and Sydney.

Anne Baker
1986 B.A. majoring in History, History & Philosophy of Science and Political Science. 1993 M.A. History. 1979-82 President Embroiderers’ Guild, 8 years Embroiderers’ Guild Librarian. Anne has had a lifelong interest in embroidery and history; since 1980 she has lectured widely and taught history of embroidery in Australia and New Zealand.

Gill Green
Gill was born in South Africa and emigrated to Australia with her family in 1960. She graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry followed by a Master of Philosophy from London University and finally returned to Sydney in 1988. In 1989 a textile focussed trip to Laos with Patricia Naenna ignited her current passion and interest in collecting, researching and enthusing over the hand weaves and weavers of Indochina. Gill has been the President of the Australian Costume and Textile Society since 1992.

Claire Roberts
Claire is Curator of Asian Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum. The Museum has an extensive collection of Asian decorative arts, including large holdings of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian textiles and dress. She has a longstanding interest in Chinese language and culture and was formerly the Curator at the Museum of Chinese Australian History, Melbourne.

Christina Sumner
Christina is Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Prior to this she practised as a weaver, taught fibre arts, and was involved for six years in field archaeology in Israel and Cyprus. She has a longstanding interest in and specialised knowledge of the history, technology and socio-cultural context of traditional textiles and dress, particularly those of the Asian region.

THE STUDY GROUP

Objectives
One of the principal activities of the Textile Group of TAASA will be to establish a structure for promoting serious textile study and research. The objective of this study group will be primarily educational: to promote interest in and knowledge of textiles amongst interested individuals and the community.

It is expected that group members will be highly motivated and committed to the study of all forms of textiles. The success of the group will depend on the willingness of members to contribute significantly through their active participation.

Mechanisms
Members with specialised knowledge in various fields will be called upon to give talks, demonstrations or workshops. Visiting speakers will be actively sought. Individual members will be strongly encouraged to research specific areas, either of their own choice or on a suggested topic, and to publish articles on the basis of their studies.

Members will be expected to contribute a summary or review of exhibitions, workshops etc attended, especially interstate and overseas.

Periodic presentations of the group’s activities and findings will be incorporated in the TAASA events program.

Meeting structure
Meetings will be monthly and of 2 hours duration, during which time there will be a short talk on a specific subject, followed by general discussion and the opportunity to examine relevant textiles. Time will also be allocated for reports on research in progress, when members will be able to discuss their investigations and air any difficulties they may have.

Launch
A presentation on the proposed study group will be given by Anne Baker at the inaugural meeting of the Textile Group of TAASA on Wednesday 3 August 1994, in the K Market Learning Centre, Powerhouse Museum, 6-8 pm.

Interested members could prepare for the meeting by giving some thought as to a possible research area, and perhaps to give a brief statement at the meeting as to how they envisage their contribution to the group. For those who require assistance in selecting a topic, a list of suggestions will be available at the meeting.

Table of contents

COMMENT ASIAN CONTENT IN CULTURAL FESTIVALS – John Thompson

PROFILES – Pamela Gutman, Alison Broinowski, ,Yiyan Wang

ROMANCERS OF OLD PEKING – Nicholas Jose

12  KENDIS TRADITIONAL DRINKING VESSELS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA – John Yu

14  AN INVENTORY OF CAMBODIAN TEXTILES – Gillian Green

16  IDENTITIES SUSAN TAYLOR AND THE ART OF JIUTAMAI

18  UNDER THE SHADE OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOM – Linda Wrigglesworth

19  THE SACRED ART OF SRI LANKA – Dr Adrian Snodgrass

20  IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN MORTIMER MENPES – David Dolan

22  EXHIBITION REVIEW ART OF THE HIMALAYAS – Gerry Virtue

23  FILMS TRAPS – Alison Broinowski

24  REVIEWS AND PREVIEWS Exhibitions, Lectures, Events and Performances

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