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I've finished up the discussion and analysis part of my museum notebooks on the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition. This concludes this little project. (If you've been wondering why I've posted so little in my LJ recently, it's because I've been working on this instead.)
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And the final notebook item: a silk robe from the 10-11th c.

I'll be following up with some additional descriptive material and summary of the timeline of the various finds and more discussion of which items might go together as ensembles.
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Another hat. No weasels this time (except maybe in the fur trimming).

The last item (yet to come) will be another robe, from the same era as today's hat.
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A fragment of tapestry re-used as a pant leg. The artistic style and content of the tapestry is similar to ones surviving in Egypt and other Near Eastern sites of the same era.
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Catalog #32: Pullover skirted dress, 5-3rd c. BC, Tomb #55 of Cemetery #1, Zaghunluq, Chärchän

Teaser image:

The really fun part of this one was taking the weaving diagram for the red and blue checked fabric and turning into a Photoshop "pattern" so I could paint it into the garment diagram. I love Photoshop.
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I know I promised you the really really fascinating garment I made multiple pages of notes on, but since I spent all day painting medieval pottery, and since I want to keep up with my item-a-day schedule, and since I want to get to sleep early tonight, I'm fobbing you off with a fairly simple felt hat.
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I am taking a holiday from posting a new sketch tonight because ... the exhibition catalog has arrived! It is thick and heavy and full of gorgeous color pictures (including some angles on objects that weren't available in the display I saw. Unfortunately, what it doesn't have is a level of commentary on the clothing and textiles that fills me with confidence in the knowledge and expertise of the writer(s). Random examples: A fabric with a woven-in design is described as "embroidered". An embroidery that is unmistakably done in silk is described as "woolen". A textile described as "greenish yellow" that was, in fact, a pale indigotin blue. What makes this all the more disappointing is that Elizabeth Barber was a primary author for the catalog and contributed an essay on the textiles. I haven't had a chance to read the essay itself yet and I can only hope that she is not in any way responsible for the flawed catalog descriptions.

Overall, while the catalog presents an extensive and detailed historic and archaeological context for the exhibit, the descriptions of the display items themselves are fairly superficial and lacking in technical detail and occasionally have an oddly and awkwardly propagandizing tone. (Or maybe not so oddly, given some of the political issues around these artifacts and the cultures that produced some of them.) For example, the description of a pair of extremely plain and simple woolen trousers concludes with, "The nature of these trousers comes from their own specific cultural background. They present a rich style of dress, elegant and colorful. For the study of clothing of this period and region, they have a great deal of value." Um ... "rich ... elegant and colorful"????? A plain tabby-weave natural-colored wool textile used for the simplest possible cut of trousers? In a context where we're also looking at richly polychrome silk brocades? It just ... does not compute. Ah well. At least the pictures will be useful in supplementing my notes.
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The Yingpan Man's boots. Only his robe to go and then I move on to the item I consider to be absolutely the most fascinating. (Enough that I took 8 pages of notes on it.)
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Another item from the Yingpan Man display. As the trousers are mostly hidden under the skirts of the robe, this description is mainly all about the embroidery.

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Two more detail items for the Yingpan Man: a text description of the belt, a sketch and description of the wrist bracer.

You know, very much like my "write something every day" experiment (which, alas, I have not kept up in months), it's astounding how much progress I can make if I have a bite-sized daily goal.


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