June 1, 2014
Textiles of Central and Eastern Arunachal Pradesh

Speakers: Barbara & David Fraser

Some pictures
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In rugged terrain between the Tibetan Plateau and the Brahmaputra River, Arunachal Pradesh is home to a rich variety of peoples who speak one of the Tibeto-Burman languages. Their distinctive textiles, which were noted by European scholars as early as the 1860s, continue to be worn, particularly on ceremonial occasions, including feasts in which mithan (semi-wild bovines) are sacrificed. These textiles include war jackets, tunics and loin cloths for men, tunics and wrap skirts for women, shawls for both and specialized paraphernalia for shamans. The Frasers will show textiles of such groups as the Idu Mishmi, Digaru Mishmi, Miju Mishmi, Apatani and Adi Padam and discuss the role of those textiles in their cultures.

Barbara and David Fraser have studied Tibeto-Burman textiles since 2000. Their book Mantles of Merit: Chin Textiles from Myanmar, India and Bangladesh (River Books, 2005) was awarded both the Millia Davenport Publication Award of the Costume Society of America and the R.L. Shep Book Award of the Textile Society of America. They have curated exhibitions at The Textile Museum, the University of Pennsylvania, Denison University and Haverford College. Their receipt of the Ancient and Modern Prize helped finance their studies in Arunachal Pradesh. Barbara is a retired financial services attorney. David is former President of The Textile Museum, former President of Swarthmore College, a medical epidemiologist, a specialist in textile structure and a fiber artist. He wrote A Guide to Weft Twining and Related Structures with Interacting Wefts (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989) and Ply-split Braided Baskets: Exploring Sculpture in Plain Oblique Twining (Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2014).

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