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Headcloth
Place of Origin: Philippines, Sulu Archipelago
Date: 1900-1960
Materials: Tapestry weave silk
Dimensions: H. 32 1/8 in x W. 33 1/2 in, H. 81.5 cm x W. 83 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Textiles
Object Number: 1993.25
On Display: No
Culture: Tausug people

Description

Label: For centuries the Sulu Islands in the Southern Philippines have been a center of trade. In the 1800s the most common trade goods imported into the region were textiles from China, India, Java, and Europe. Inspired by this cornucopia of fabrics, the highly skilled Tausug weavers of the Sulu Islands adopted foreign techniques and forms to produce their own remarkable textiles. In the hands of the Tausug, traditional Chinese tapestry weave techniques were adapted to produce designs of kaleidoscopic complexity (pis siyabit). Traditional Islamic headcloths for men, such as this one, can be folded into a wide variety of styles, each emphasizing a different aspect of the complicated geometric patterns in the fabric. These patterns show how carefully the weaver has established symmetry and regularity, then introduced subtle variations. Diamonds, crosses, chevrons, and zigzags—many having multiple stepped borders—crowd together in a dazzling display. Then, just as the mind grasps the pattern, the eyes play a trick, and figure and ground suddenly reverse.

More Information

Exhibition History: Arts of the Islamic World from Turkey to Indonesia (Tateuchi Gallery, September 5, 2008 - March 1, 2009)

"Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Additional Label:

Try following this artist's strategies in detail. Put a large square in the middle and four smaller squares at the corners. Put Xs in the corner squares and fill the center square with diamonds, crosses, chevrons, and zigzags. Cover every other area with a diamond lattice.

Starting at the outermost band of the center square, make a pair of stepped zigzag lines in white and purple, with pale green beyond them on the outer side and orange on the inner. Complicate each of the four corners with an extra half-unit of zigzag and orange area. Then, moving inward...

You are giving up, aren't you? Take my word that if you continue counting units, checking color sequences, and so on, you'll be amazed at the themes and variations, the mirror images and reverse mirror images, the regular and irregular counterchanging of colors, and many other complex effects.

- FMcG ("Gorgeous" exhibition)


Label: For centuries the Sulu Islands in the Southern Philippines have been a center of trade. In the 1800s the most common trade goods imported into the region were textiles from China, India, Java, and Europe. Inspired by this cornucopia of fabrics, the highly skilled Tausug weavers of the Sulu Islands adopted foreign techniques and forms to produce their own remarkable textiles. In the hands of the Tausug, traditional Chinese tapestry weave techniques were adapted to produce designs of kaleidoscopic complexity (pis siyabit). Traditional Islamic headcloths for men, such as this one, can be folded into a wide variety of styles, each emphasizing a different aspect of the complicated geometric patterns in the fabric. These patterns show how carefully the weaver has established symmetry and regularity, then introduced subtle variations. Diamonds, crosses, chevrons, and zigzags—many having multiple stepped borders—crowd together in a dazzling display. Then, just as the mind grasps the pattern, the eyes play a trick, and figure and ground suddenly reverse.
Exhibition History: Arts of the Islamic World from Turkey to Indonesia (Tateuchi Gallery, September 5, 2008 - March 1, 2009)

"Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Expanded Label:

Try following this artist's strategies in detail. Put a large square in the middle and four smaller squares at the corners. Put Xs in the corner squares and fill the center square with diamonds, crosses, chevrons, and zigzags. Cover every other area with a diamond lattice.

Starting at the outermost band of the center square, make a pair of stepped zigzag lines in white and purple, with pale green beyond them on the outer side and orange on the inner. Complicate each of the four corners with an extra half-unit of zigzag and orange area. Then, moving inward...

You are giving up, aren't you? Take my word that if you continue counting units, checking color sequences, and so on, you'll be amazed at the themes and variations, the mirror images and reverse mirror images, the regular and irregular counterchanging of colors, and many other complex effects.

- FMcG ("Gorgeous" exhibition)