Exhibition of Diverse Material Culture

Cape Times (South Africa), July 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

Exhibition of Diverse Material Culture


BYLINE: VERONICA WILKINSON

CAN YOU imagine time captured by material culture in a better way than in the ancient practices of dyeing, weaving and embroidery that act as a bridge between centuries and generations from China?

Transcending language as a visual codex providing clues to status, ethnic identity and geographic region, the social fabric of China's 56 ethnic groupings is diverse, colourful and regionally distinctive.

At a time when the rapidity of change in China has been swift enough to endanger many traditional arts and craft practices among indigenous agrarian and nomadic communities, the only link with practices like the application of batik, which dates back to the Han dynasty (206BC-220AD), and the symbols that often depend on clever puns or plays on Chinese words have been tangible fragments of utilitarian or decorative ritual that have survived the ravages of time to bear mute witness to the past.

Status, myth and the supernatural are all elements showcased by the current exhibition of collected ethnic minority festival costume dating from the 19th century to the present at the Sasol Art Museum, 52 Ryneveld Road, Stellenbosch, until August 29.

A selection of the Chinese textiles collected by Dr Iain Andrew Stephens, a horticulturalist and theologian at Stellenbosch University, introduces valuable elements of Chinese material culture that have significant relevance at a time when overburdened global resources force us to examine our consumption and explore benign methods of production.

Stephens was born in Chipinga, Zimbabwe, in 1971 and went to school at St George's College in Harare. He graduated from the University of Natal before obtaining his PhD (Agriculture) at Stellenbosch University in 2003.

In 2007, while lecturing in Taiwan, Stephens had his interest in Chinese textiles aroused by the acquisition of|a baby carrier remnant bought at an antiques market.

Circumstances led to his purchase of a collection of textiles originally intended for a museum that forms the base of his collection, which increased through donations by kindred spirits and informed purchases.

The textiles on display showcase weaving techniques from continuous warp to backstrap with varying widths from thin braid-like tapers used as ties to wider cloth used for skirts, tunics and baby |carriers.

These labour intensive manual production methods incorporate patterns like rhombs, keys, spirals, zigzag and the swastika, which appears both as a central field of design and border pattern.

A powerful emblem of eternal change with an important philosophical significance in Buddhist art, it generally evokes good luck. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Exhibition of Diverse Material Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.