Skip to content

Posts from the ‘China’ Category

New Project Pages

Here on Shreds and Patches, there is a new menu item for Projects. The Projects landing page gives a quick overview of, and links to, some of key projects that I am involved in and the menu can also lead visitors directly to project pages. Right now there are project pages for the “Museum Ethnography in the Native South” project (2020-present) and two sub-projects of the larger “China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project” of the American Folklore Society and the China Folklore Society. These are the “Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies” (2017-present) and “Intangible Cultural Heritage and Ethnographic Museum Practice” (2013-2016).

IMG_7750

Near Old Dali, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, China, May 2019.

Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China at #AFSAM19

I am here using a blog post not to share current news, but to get an older document online and linkable. What follows is the short (public) and long (unseen, for peer-review) abstracts from the panel “Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project” presented at the 2019 American Folklore Society Annual Meeting (October 17, 2019, Baltimore, Maryland). My intention is to link to this post from a new (February 2020) page for the “Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies” (sub-)project. An earlier post on the panel appeared here.

Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project

In a three-year phase of the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, researchers from six museums have collaborated in a binational program of ethnographic research in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In this panel, project participants will report on the research, sometimes emphasizing textile practices such as embroidery and basketry, sometimes focusing on heritage issues, sometimes discussing the lessons of the collaboration. The presenters will share their findings in accessible ways but China specialists may wish to know that research has taken place among the Dong people of Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County and the Baiku Yao people living in Nandan County.

Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project

In a three-year phase (2017-2019) of the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project of the American Folklore Society and the China Folklore Society, researchers from six museums have collaborated in a bi-national program of ethnographic research in two counties in northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In keeping with the larger project of which it is a part, this museum sub-project has focused on questions of cultural heritage policy and practice. The researchers have paid particular attention to various local textile practices in local Yao and Dong communities, considering these practices in their own terms and in relation to the ways that they are being impacted by such heritage practices as cultural tourism, master artist designations, eco-museum development, and formal training initiatives. In this panel, project participants will report on aspects of the joint work, sometimes emphasizing studies of such textile practices as weaving, embroidery, and basketry, sometimes focusing on heritage phenomena, sometimes discussing the lessons of the joint work. In most instances, presenters will touch on all of these aspects in varying degrees. Reporting on a period of field research recently completed, the presentations will be an early stage in a process that will lead to formal publications drawing on the research project. The presenters welcome feedback on these early reports of work recently concluded. The presenters will share their findings in ways that will be accessible to those without knowledge of Chinese ethnography. Specialists may wish to know that the research team’s work has taken place among the Dong people of Sanjiang County, particularly those living in and around the town of Tongle and among the Baiku Yao people living near Lihu town in Nandan County. These communities are home to the Sanjiang Dong Eco-Museum and the Nandan Baiku Yao Eco-Museum, key institutional partners in the research collaboration.

Sources on the larger collaborations that contextualize this specific project include volumes by J. Zhang and Song (2017) and MacDowell and L. Zhang (2016) and an overview by Lloyd (2017). Relevant works in material culture studies include books by Formoso (2013) and L. Zhang (2010). Studies of cultural heritage topics of relevance to the panel include Chio (2014) and a volume edited by Bumenfield and Silverman (2013).

References Cited

Blumenfield, Tami and Helaine Silverman, eds. 2013. Cultural Heritage Politics in China. New York: Springer.

Chio, Jenny. 2014. A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Formoso, Bernard. 2013. Costume du Yunnan. Nanterre: Société d’ethnologie.

Lloyd, Tim. 2017. “The Inside Story of the AFS China-US Project.” AFS Review. June 12, 2017. https://www.afsnet.org/news/349609/The-Inside-Story-of-the-AFS-China-US-Project.htm

MacDowell, Marsha, and Lijun Zhang, eds. 2016 中国西南拼布 | Quilts of Southwest China. Nanning: Guangxi Museum of Nationalities.

Zhang, Juwen and Song Junhua, eds. 2017. Metafolklore: Stories of Sino-US Folkloristic Cooperation | 文化对话:中美非物质文化遗产论坛. Guangzhou: Sun Yat-sen University Press.

Lijun Zhang. 2010. China Folk Art Crafts. Beijing: China Agriculture Press.

The schedule of presentation from the conference program follows:

Diamond Session: Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project

Sponsored by the American Folklore Society, the Folklore and Museums Section, and the Transnational Asia/Pacific Section

Sarah Junk Hatcher (Indiana University), chair

8:00 The Fabric of Life: Baiku Yao Textiles in Huaili Village
Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art)

8:15 Field Research on Dong Textiles in the Tongle Area of Sanjiang County
Miaomiao Fan (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

8:30 Mijiu and Mai Wup: Trilingual Fieldwork and an Indigo Dying Method
MicahJ.Ling (Indiana University)

8:45 Imagination and Enlargement: Daily Performance and Life History in Ethnographic Video
Xiaoyan Liang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

9:00 Notes on Basketry among the Dong People of Sanjiang County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
C.KurtDewhurst (Michigan State University Museum)and Jason Baird Jackson (Indiana University)

9:15 Building a Museum Collection of Work Baskets in Northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Jason Baird Jackson (Indiana University) and Lijun Zhang (George Mason University)

9:30 A Rice Basket: Basketmaking in a Baiku Yao Community (Film Screening)
Jon Kay (Indiana University)

9:45 discussion

Hertz - The Fabric of Life

The title slide from Carrie Hertz’ presentation to the #AFSAM19 panel.

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region at #AFSAM18

I am here using a blog post not to share current news, but to get an older document online and linkable. What follows is the short (public) and long (unseen, for peer-review) abstracts from the panel “Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region” presented at the 2018 American Folklore Society Annual Meeting (October 18, 2018, Buffalo New York). My intention is to link to this post from a new (February 2020) page for the “Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies” (sub-)project.

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

In this Diamond session, participants will share preliminary results from ongoing field research among the Baiku (White Trouser) Yao people of Nandan County in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Presentations will explore aspects of local Yao material culture, with a special focus on fabric arts and basketry. The presenters share an interest in the ways that these craft activities are being impacted by such cultural heritage practices as master artisan designations, cultural tourism, and eco-museum-based community documentation projects. The field research is one part of the American Folklore Society and China Folklore Society’s joint Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project.

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

In this Diamond session, participants will share preliminary results from ongoing field research among the Baiku (White Trouser) Yao people of Nandan County in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Presentations will explore aspects of local Yao material culture, with a special focus on fabric arts and basketry. The neighboring villages of Huatu, Manjiang, and Huaili, where the panelists have pursued joint field research under the auspices of the American Folklore Society and China Folklore Society’s joint Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, are communities with a high level of engagement with cultural heritage initiatives, the most visible of which is the Nandan Baiku Yao Eco-Museum, with which the researchers have partnered. The presenters share an interest in the ways that craft activities are being impacted by such cultural heritage practices as master artisan designations, cultural tourism, and eco-museum-based community documentation projects.

Kurt Dewhurst will present an overview of the team’s 2017 work in Guangxi and situate it in relationship to the larger projects of which it was a part. Jason Baird Jackson and Lijun Zhang will report on the team’s studies of bamboo basketry among the Yao, tracking baskets from making to marketing to household use. Miaomiao Fan and Marsha MacDowell will discuss Baiku Yao textile arts, characterizing the status of textiles, especially clothing arts, inside and outside the local community. Xiaoyan Liang and Jon Kay will both report on aspects of the video documentary work pursued during the December 2017 fieldwork, offering general reflections arising from the specific experiences of each filmmaker.

While some studies of the Baiku Yao have been published in Chinese ethnological scholarship, English-language studies are rare and focus mainly on Baiku Yao participation in eco-museum development (Nitzky 2012, 2014; Yi 2013). Within the larger literatures on the Yao peoples in the Southeast Asia Massif, Yao textiles have received considerable attention, but those of the Baiku Yao are distinctive and little documented (cf. Pouret 2002). English-language scholarship on basketry among the Yao is nonexistent, a situation that holds largely for the minority nationalities of Southwest China as a whole. These peoples and their diverse and impressive utility baskets are largely left out of surveys of Chinese basketry (Kwan 2010, but see Fei and Chang 1945). Sophisticated treatments of Yao culture, society, history, and circumstances in modern China by Western scholars have not yet taken up the circumstances of the Baiku Yao specifically (ex. Litzinger 2000) and the Baiku Yao situation has similarly not been considered in the context of larger comparative discussions of the region and its peoples (Chio 2014; Scott 2009; Turner, Bonnin, and Michaud 2015). Future work by the binational team aims to bridge Chinese-language and English-language scholarship on the Yao and their neighbors and, as in this panel, to begin introducing English-speaking audiences to the Baiku Yao. The team also aims to further connect its studies among the Baiku Yao to wider Chinese-Language and English-language work on cultural heritage (ex. An and Yang 2015; Hafstein 2012; Noyes 2017; Song 2015; Zhang 2014).

References Cited

An, Deming, and Lihui Yang. “Chinese Folklore Since the Late 1970s: Achievements, Difficulties, and Challenges.” Asian Ethnology 74, no. 2 (2015): 273–90.

Chio, Jenny. A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014.

Fei, Xiaotong, and Tse-i Chang. Earthbound China: A Study of Rural Economy in Yunnan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1945.

Hafstein, Valdimar T. “Heritage.” In A Companion to Folklore, edited by Regina F. Bendix and Galit Hasan-Rokem, 500–519. Blackwell Companions to Anthropology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

關善明 [Simon Kwan]. 中國竹籃 [Chinese Basketry]. Hong Kong: 沐文堂美術出版社 [Muwen Tang Fine Arts Publication], 2010.

Litzinger, Ralph A. Other Chinas: The Yao and the Politics of National Belonging. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

Nitzky, William. “Mediating Heritage Preservation and Rural Development: Ecomuseum Development in China.” Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development 41, no. 2–4 (2012): 367–417.

Nitzky, William. “Community Empowerment at the Periphery? Participatory Approaches to Heritage Protection in Guizhou, China.” In Cultural Heritage Politics in China, edited by Tami Blumenfield and Helaine Silverman, 205–32. New York: Springer, 2013.

Nitzky, William David. “Entanglements of ‘Living Heritage’: Ecomuseum Development in Rural China.” Dissertation, Arizona State University, 2014. http://hdl.handle.net/2286/R.I.25920.

Noyes, Dorothy. Humble Theory: Folklore’s Grasp on Social Life. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017.

Pourret, Jess G. The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. London: Thames & Hudson, 2002.

Scott, James C. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Song, Junhua. “An Analysis of the Current Situation and Problems of the Digital Protection of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.” Cultural Heritage, 6 (2015):10-23.

Turner, Sarah, Christine Bonnin, and Jean Michaud. Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017.

Yi, Sabrina Hong. “Examining the Suojia Ecomuseum and the Nandan Ecomuseum in China.” In ACAC 2013 : Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Arts and Cultures, 168–77. Bangkok, Thailand: Srinakharinwirot University, 2013. http://dro.deakin.edu.au/view/DU:30055238.

Zhang, Lijun. “Living with/in Heritage: Tulou as Home, Heritage, and Destination.” Dissertation, Indiana University, 2014.

The schedule of presentation from the conference program follows:

Material Culture Studies among the Baiku Yao of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Sponsored by the American Folklore Society, the Folklore and Museums Section, and the Henry Luce Foundation

Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art), chair

8:00 Collaborative International Museum Fieldwork: Joint Documentation and Learning
C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum)

8:15 From Maker to Marketplace: Aspects of Basketry Among the Baiku Yao
Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University)

8:30 Continuity and Transformation: Basketry, Personal History, and Community Life
Lijun Zhang (Anthropological Museum of Guangxi)

8:45 A Probe into the Art and Inheritance of White Trouser Yao Textiles
Miaomiao Fan (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

9:00 Baiku Yao Textiles in the Marketplace: A Quest to Understand Traditions and Adaptations
Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University Museum)

9:15 Ethnographic Documentary and “Return Visit” Methods in Guangxi
Xiaoyan Liang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi)

9:30 Craft and Videography: An Ethnographic Approach and Collaborative Method
Jon Kay (Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University)

9:45 discussion

IMG_0608

A portion of Manjiang village, a Baiku Yao community, viewed from above. December 14, 2017. Photograph by Jason Baird Jackson.

#AFSAM19: Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China

Notes on Basketry among the Dong People of Sanjiang County E

A title slide showing key project sites in the Dong areas of Guangxi and Guizhou.

Shreds and Patches has been quieter than usual as I work my way through a really complicated semester. In the midst of the jumble of unforeseen circumstances, there are some good things actually happening according to plan. One of these was the most recent in a series of panels at the American Folklore Society Annual Meetings reporting on the work of the museum partners in the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project. Earlier this month, at the start of the 2019 meeting in Baltimore, members of our group, presented a panel on “Material Culture and Heritage Studies in Northern Guangxi, China: Ethnographic Reports from the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project.” This is the panel abstract:

In a three-year phase of the China-U.S. Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, researchers from six museums have collaborated in a bi-national program of ethnographic research in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In this panel, project participants will report on the research, sometimes emphasizing textile practices such as embroidery and basketry, sometimes focusing on heritage issues, sometimes discussing the lessons of the collaboration. The presenters will share their findings in accessible ways but China specialists may wish to know that research has taken place among the Dong people of Sanjiang County and the Baiku Yao people living in Nandan County.

Carrie HERTZ (Museum of International Folk Art) presented on “The Fabric of Life: Baiku Yao Textiles in Huaili Village.”

Hertz - The Fabric of Life

A title slide related to the textile arts of the Baiku Yao people of Nandan County, Guangxi.

FAN Miaomiao (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi) presented in absentia on “Field Research on Dong Textiles in the Tongle Area of Sanjiang County.”

Micah J. LING (Indiana University) shared her paper “Mijiu and Mai Wup: Trilingual Fieldwork and an Indigo Dying Method.”

LIANG Ziaoyan (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), also presenting in absentia, shared her paper “Imagination and Enlargement: Daily Performance and Life History in Ethnographic Video.” Her paper focused on her experiences in our work in Sanjiang County.

C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum) presented a paper that he and I, with help from ZHANG Lijun (George Mason University), worked on together titled: “Notes on Basketry among the Dong People of Sanjiang County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.”

I (Jason Baird Jackson, Indiana University) presented a paper for which Lijun was co-author. It was about “Building a Museum Collection of Work Baskets in Northern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.” The paper focused on the collection of baskets assembled for the collections of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

AFS2019 Jackson and Zhang C (Slides)

A slide evoking in basketry collected for the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The session concluded with a presentation of a film by Jon Kay (Indiana University) titled “A Rice Basket: Basketmaking in a Baiku Yao Community” It is now viewable online on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/QrD_-lrB9UY

This session, and one that preceded it in 2018, will be a springboard for more sustained writing by many project participants. We have learned much during our collaborative work in Guangxi. I thank many the local people in Nandan and Sanjiang Counties who have taught us and our hosts and partners at the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum, the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum, and the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi. Special thanks also go to The Henry Luce Foundation, the China Folklore Society, and the American Folklore Society for their support of the broader projects of which ours museum and material culture efforts are just a part.

 

 

 

A Cooperative Craft Survey in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Part 1

A note on photographs. Here just a few photographs from the first day of our May 2019 travel in Yunnan are presented. It will take time to work through all of the images that were made during the travels described in this post. When a fuller report is ready, the team will share additional images.

In May, after the conclusion of the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage (where our focus was Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies), I was part of a group of American museum folklorists who traveled to the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Yunnan Province. A spin-off project from the China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, our group was very generously hosted by the Institute of National Culture Research at Dali University in the city of Dali (Figures 1-2). Together with members of the Institute’s faculty, we traveled throughout the prefecture meeting Bai craftspeople working in a range of material forms. From them, we learned about their craft disciplines and about their experiences participating in formal intangible cultural heritage initiatives. This opportunity to learn from talented makers in Yunnan offered a wonderful comparative experience, pointing to commonalities and differences with northern Guangxi, where our group has been pursuing collaborative studies with partners from the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi, the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum and the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum.

Institute of National Culture Research Discussion Photograph (Size Reduced)

Figure 1. Dr. CUN Yunji, leader of the Institute of National Culture Research at Dali University, hosts a discussion on heritage research. Participating were faculty, researchers, and students from the Institute and visitors from the three participating institutions in the United States (Michigan State University Museum, Museum of International Folk Art, and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University. May 23, 2019. Photograph courtesy of the Institute of National Culture Research.

A full account of the Dali-area craft survey is in preparation and I am hopeful that we can share it later. Here my aim is to thank our very generous hosts and interlocutors.

Dali University Institute of National Culture Research Group Photograph (Size Reduced)

Figure 2. Members of the Institute of National Culture Research, Dali University together with the visiting team from the United States. May 23, 2019. Photograph courtesy of the Institute of National Culture Research.

During our time in the Bai region, our bi-national team visited with a silversmith, a wood carver, a ceramicist, an embroiderer who also makes elaborate fabric figures and miniature dioramas on ethnographic topics, two tie-dye artists, and two basket makers. In each case, these craftspeople maintained active studios and most guided the work of many students, apprentices, and junior colleagues. Nearly all were recognized as masters on some formal level (national, prefectural, county, etc.) within China’s system of intangible cultural heritage recognition, promotion, and safeguarding. We also attended a key calendrical festival of regional importance and visited the Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng Temple near (old) Dali (Figures 3-5). While old Dali was our home base, we traveled to many towns and villages and spent one night in old Shaxi. We enjoyed traveling with our colleagues from Dali University and holding discussions with them on areas of shared research interest while visiting the university’s beautiful campus. Many layers of cultural history are evident when traveling in the Dali area. Long favorited by international and Chinese tourists, Dali and the whole region has an elaborate tourism economy and infrastructure, reflective of dramatic and constant change within the period of China’s “opening up” (see for instance, the research of Beth Notar). As throughout the country, one can also see Dali-specific evidence of older historical eras, from the time of the cultural revolution to the republican and imperial eras. In this region, particular emphasis is given (at present) to long-distance trade on the Tea Horse Road. Intercultural connectedness is a theme in tourism and historical consciousness that draws on the story of trade routes, the region’s religious complexity, and its distinctive place in the region’s long history.

IMG_8636

Figure 3. Erhai Lake and the Dali Basin as seen from the Dali University campus near Dali (Old Town). May 23, 2019. Photograph by C. Kurt Dewhurst.

I record here our deep appreciation for our generous and knowledgeable colleagues at Dali University and in Yunnan more broadly. Many friends in the Chinese folklore studies community assisted us making this journey. We look forward to sharing the fuller story of this trip and to thanking our partners by name in a more formal report. Special thanks go, of course, to the craftspeople who opened their studios, workshops, and homes to our team of Chinese and American scholars.

IMG_7750

Figure 4. A view of The Three Pagodas and the Cang Mountains. May 23, 2019. Photograph by Jason Baird Jackson.

IMG_6492

Figure 5. A small glimpse of the very large Chongshen Temple and Monastery complex near (old) Dali.  May 23, 2019. Photograph by Carrie Hertz.

2019 Summer Folklore Institute: Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage

I have just returned from a second summer trip to China. This time I was part of an American delegation to one of the summer institutes jointly organized by the China Folklore Society and the American Folklore Society. Previous joint institutes were held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA at the School of Advanced Research (2018), in Hailar, Inner Mongolia, China at Hulunbiur University (2017), and in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China at Inner Mongolia Normal University (2016).  This year’s institute was hosted by The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. As in past years, the lead funder was the Henry Luce Foundation, which generously supports a broader program of work being pursued jointly by the AFS and CFS working together. As always, other funders and local organizations provided additional support for this institute.

IMG_0179 1

Figure 1. Participants in the 2019 Summer Folklore Institute: on “Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage” July 13, 2019. Photograph courtesy of The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

It was a great pleasure to participate in the institute, a gathering that offered a chance to connect with new American and Chinese colleagues while also reconnecting with colleagues whom I have ongoing ties (Figure 1). The institute not only strengthened ties with Chinese and American colleagues, it further helped me understand intangible cultural heritage work being pursued in China (and in the U.S.).

Staged for two days at the mid-point of the institute was a larger international conference on the same theme. This International Seminar on Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage included all of the American and Chinese institute participants, but added a significant additional group of Chinese participants as well as one colleague from Bangladesh and one from Japan (Figure 2). A few of the seminar participants were old friends, but most were new colleagues from whom I was thrilled to learn.

IMG_0225

Figure 2. Participants in the International Seminar on Building Capacity for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage. July 15, 2019. Photograph courtesy of The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

If you would like to learn more about the institute, there are (so far) two reports published on it (besides this one). The China Folklore Society published a report just after the institute got under way. If you do not read Chinese, you can open the link in Google Chrome and use Google Translate for a rough translation. This report is here: https://www.chinesefolklore.org.cn/web/index.php?NewsID=19023

The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage published a report at the conclusion of the institute. It can be found here. Again, Google Translate can provide a rough translation. https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/gk0KwKcHxq70ZHNXywo2Bw

The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage also published a report at the conclusion of the international seminar. It can be found here: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/eY-X2ATW7aUudqwTewXDSA

Thanks to all of the participants in these gatherings. Special thanks go to all of the organizers and faculty, to the leadership of the CFS and AFS, and to our generous hosts at Sun Yat-sen University, including Professor SONG Junhua, Director of The Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies

The following is a report on The Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies (第七届中美民俗学与非物质文化遗产论坛: 博物馆民俗与遗产研究的协作工作). The version of record appears on the website of the American Folklore Society. This version adds more images. You can find a copy of the conference program here. –Jason Baird Jackson (杰森. 拜尔德. 杰克逊)

During three beautiful spring days in Beijing, a group of Chinese and American scholars and cultural workers gathered to discuss practices of collaboration in folklore studies and intangible cultural heritage work, with a focus on collaborations between ethnographic museums and between such museums and other groups in society. Held on May 19-22, 2019, this was the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage, one of a long-running series of conferences organized cooperatively by the China Folklore Society (CFS) and the American Folklore Society (AFS), as part of a broader binational collaboration begun in 2007. These forums have explored various aspects of cultural heritage policy, practice, and theory, giving US and Chinese participants an opportunity to learn about the state of the field as pursued in the national context that is not their own (Lloyd 2017).

This Seventh Forum, focusing on Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies, was held at the Indiana University China Gateway office in Beijing. Meeting under the auspices of the CFS and the AFS, the conference’s program was organized by the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi (Guangxi Museum of Nationalities), with extensive logistical and practical support provided by the two societies and the gateway office staff. Generous financial support was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs at Indiana University.

Delegates to the forum came from a diversity of American and Chinese museums and universities. Chinese institutions represented included the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi, the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum, Beijing Normal University, the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum, East China Normal University, Fudan University, the Guizhou Nationalities Museum, Minzu University of China, Shandong University, and the Yunnan Nationalities Museum. American institutions represented included the Michigan State University Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, Texas Tech University, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (Indiana University), History Miami, the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (University of Oklahoma), and the American Folklore Society (Figure 1).

IMG_2160 copy_ed

Figure 1. Delegates to the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage held at the Indiana University Gateway Office in Beijing, May 19, 2019. Shu Caiqian (Guizhou Nationalities Museum), Zhang Yibing (Guizhou Nationalities Museum, Zhu Gang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Li Mingjie (East China Normal University), Wang Wei (Shandong University), Jessica Anderson Turner (American Folklore Society), An Deming (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Luo Wenhong (Fudan University), Marsha MacDowell (Michigan State University Museum), Surna (Minzu University of China), Kristin Otto (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Felicia Katz-Harris (Museum of International Folk Art), Sarah Hatcher (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Yang Lihui (Beijing Normal University), Lu Chaoming (Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum), Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Chen Xi (Sun Yet-sen University), Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art), Chao Gejin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Wuerxiya (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Fan Miaomiao (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum), Yang Quanzhong (Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum), He Chun (Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum), Michael Paul Jordan (Texas Tech University), Wu Dawei (Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum), Ou Bo (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), Michael Knoll (History Miami), Lan Yuanyuan (Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum), Gong Shiyang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), Jon Kay (Mathers Museum of World Cultures), Luo Yong (Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum), Mai Xi (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi), Zhao Fei (Yunnan Nationalities Museum), Wang Yucheng (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi).

On the afternoon of May 19, the conference began with warm words of welcome from AFS Executive Director Jessica Turner and CFS Past President Chao Gajin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), standing in for current CFS President Ye Tao (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) who was unable to attend (Figure 2). Also offering brief opening remarks on behalf of the program committee were Jason Baird Jackson (Mathers Museum of World Cultures) and Gong Shiyang (Anthropology Museum of Guangxi) (Figure 3). These remarks preceded the forum’s keynote address by C. Kurt Dewhurst (Michigan State University Museum). Extending an earlier discussion of principles for museum collaboration (Dewhurt and MacDowell 2015), Dewhurt reflected on a range of museum collaborations in which he and the MSU Museum have participated. Among the collaborations that Dewhurst addressed were earlier phases of the AFS-CFS partnership, which has included two museum sub-projects (2013-2016; 2017-2019). The first of these encompassed the Fifth and Sixth forum events, the traveling exhibition and bilingual catalogue Quilts of Southwest China (MacDowell and Zhang 2015), and numerous other elements (Lloyd 2017). In this phase, three Chinese museums and three US museums partnered together (Dewhurst and Lloyd 2019). In the more recent phase, collaborators from the three U.S. museums have joined with the Anthropology Museum of Guangxi for a program of joint research focused on textiles and intangible cultural heritage policy in two northern counties of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Central to this new phase of work are the Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum and the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum. Thus, while Dewhurst’s keynote was a general reflection on museum collaboration, his presentation also served to orient conferees to the specific joint AFS-CFS supported projects that gave the forum its organizational context.

The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion in which representatives from the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum and Nandan Baiku Yao Ecomuseum described their work and the community and organizational collaborations in which they participate (Figure 4). American participants appreciated this opportunity to learn about the innovative work of these ecomuseums first-hand and drew comparisons to various kind of community-based museums in the US. While Chinese delegates were more knowledgeable about the form that ecomuseums take in China, they also appreciated the chance to engage with the ecomuseum leaders directly in a comparative scholarly context.

It was an honor that many Beijing-based leaders in the CFS and in Chinese folklore studies overall could attend these opening events, which also included a welcoming banquet generously hosted by the CFS. This gathering was enlivened further when the leaders of the Sanjiang Dong Ecomuseum introduced both Dong flute music and toasting songs to the group. For many American delegates, this was a memorable first experience with the richness of Chinese banquet customs and the beauty of Dong music (Figure 5).

The second day of the conference was a full day featuring presentations from Chinese and American delegates. In line with the goals of the forum, the presenters described specific museum collaboration projects, using them as the basis for broader reflections on the work of museum ethnography and heritage studies today. Translation for most conference presentations was very ably done by Chen Xi (Sun Yat-sen University) and Luo Wenhong (Fudan University) (Figure 6). A number of themes emerged through the juxtaposition of presentations throughout the conference. These included: (1) the nature of museum-based ethnographic and exhibition projects in urban contexts, (2) the dynamics unique to heritage-oriented fieldwork pursued across differences of language, culture, and institutional context, (3) the place of objects and material culture studies within museum collaborations, (4) the use of exhibitions as catalysts for broader collaborations and relationship building, (5) the value of older museum collections for contemporary communities and craftspeople, (6) the place of documentary video in museum ethnography, and (7) the special importance that attaches to national folk costume in diverse museum and local cultural contexts in the current era (Figure 7).

The conference’s third day featured a morning of additional presentations followed by a special outing in which conferees visited Beijing’s Shichahai historic area to learn about cultural preservation and heritage tourism activities centered there (Figures 8-9). Participants enjoyed a hutong tour and a visit to the Drum Towner of Beijing (Gulou). While she could not attend the forum, this outing was curated by Zhang Lijun (George Mason University) and drew upon her folklore research interpreting the narrative performances of hutong tour guides (Zhang 2016, 2019). The conference concluded with a banquet, hosted by AFS and featuring Yunnan cuisine. Highpoints of this concluding gathering were many individual expressions of friendship and goodwill as well as a vigorous singing competition staged between the binational groups gathered around two large banquet tables. Heartfelt singing in Dong, Yao, Mandarin, Mongolian and English brought the seventh forum to a joyful close.

References Cited

Dewhurst, C. Kurt, and Timothy Lloyd. 2019. “The American Folklore Society-China Folklore Society Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage Project, 2013-2016.” Museum Anthropology Review 13 (1): 59-68. https://doi.org/10.14434/mar.v13i1.25405

Dewhurst, C. Kurt, and Marsha MacDowell. 2015. “Strategies for Creating and Sustaining Museum-Based International Collaborative Partnerships.” Practicing Anthropology 37 (3): 54–55. https://doi.org/10.17730/0888-4552-37.3.54

Lloyd, Tim. 2017 “The Inside Story of the AFS China-US Project.” https://www.afsnet.org/news/349609/The-Inside-Story-of-the-AFS-China-US-Project.htm, accessed June 12, 2019.

MacDowell, Marsha, and Lijun Zhang, eds. 2016. 中国西南拼布 | Quilts of Southwest China. Nanning: Guangxi Museum of Nationalities. [Distributed in the United States by Indiana University Press.]

Zhang, Lijun. 2016. “Performing Locality and Identity: Rickshaw Driver, Narratives, and Tourism.” Cambridge Journal of China Studies 11 (1): 88-104. https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/260292

Zhang, Lijun. 2019. “A Brief Guide to Shichahai.” Video Presentation Prepared for The Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies, Beijing, China.

IMG_1984

Figure 2. Figure 2. Chao Gajin welcomes delegates to the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Collaborative Work in Museum Folklore and Heritage Studies. May 19, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

IMG_2001

Figure 3. Figure 3. Gong Shiyang addresses delegates to the Seventh Forum on China-US Folklore and Intangible Cultural Heritage. May 19, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

IMG_2072 copy

Figure 4. Wu Dawei offers remarks on the work of the Sanjang Dong Ecomuseum during the ecomuseum panel discussion. Left to Right: Lu Chaoming, He Chun, Lan Yuanyuan, Yang Quanzhong, Wu Dawei, Luo Wenhong (translating), Jason Baird Jackson. May 19, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

IMG_2434

Figure 5. Wu Dawei performs Dong flute music at the opening banquet. May 19, 2019. Photograph by C. Kurt Dewhurst.

IMG_2297

Figure 6. Zhang Yibing discusses the work of the Guizhou Nationalities Museum with Luo Wenhong providing English translation.. May 20, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

IMG_2320

Figure 7. Carrie Hertz discusses research related to the exhibition Dressing with Purpose. May 20, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

IMG_2475

Figure 8. Surna discusses her research on Mongol national dress. May 21, 2019. Photograph by Jon Kay.

IMG_7434

Figure 9. Lan Yuanyuan and He Chun begin a rickshaw tour of the Shichahai neighborhood in Beijing. May 21, 2019. Photography by Jason Baird Jackson.

Museum Anthropology Review is a Teenager Now; New Issue is Now Out

Life got away from me last week and I still have more “Exhibition Week” posts to share, but today I turn attention to the new issue of MAR.

It is hard to believe but Museum Anthropology Review is now in its thirteenth year. If you are interested in a bit of how MAR got to this point and where it will be heading in the near term, you can check out the editorial that I wrote for the new issue, just out. You can find the whole issue, including my piece, online here: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/mar/issue/view/1589. As always, MAR is not just free to readers but open access.

MAR is the journal of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University’s museum of ethnography, ethnology, and cultural history. The new issue is particularly focused on reports recounting projects undertaken at the MMWC and by its partners, friends, and regular collaborators.

Three MMWC colleagues share projects that they led. Jon Kay tells the story of Traditional Arts Indiana’s exhibition for the Indiana Bicentennial, Emily Buhrow Rogers reflects on the Cherokee Craft, 1973 exhibition, and Kristin Otto discusses our museum’s projects relating to so-called Ghanaian fantasy coffins.

MMWC partners C. Kurt Dewhurst and Timothy Lloyd report on the larger Sino-US collaboration project that the MMWC has been an active participant in and Marsha Bol, another participant in that collaboration, shares background on a different project, her recent exhibition on beadwork at the Museum of International Folk Art. Regular MAR contributor Kerim Friedman is joined by his collaborator Gabrielle de Seta for a discussion of the Sensefield exhibition that they organized as a companion to the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival.

The issue concludes with a book review and an exhibition review by Otto. Both focus on innovative projects of special relevance to museum anthropology in African contexts.

Thanks go to the reviewers and others who helped with this issue behind the scenes. MAR’s transition to teenager status provides an opportunity to thank the librarians and library staff who have worked to support and encourage the journal since its beginnings. Thanks also to all of the graduate assistants who have worked on the journal over the years.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 9.39.39 AM

A partial view of Museum Anthropology Review 13(1)

Exhibitions Week: Quilting Art and Tradition—People, Handcrafts, and Community Life (a.k.a. Quilts of Southwest China)

The MMWC has a huge amount of exhibition related news. This week I devote a series of posts to highlighting some of these developments.

Quilt Exhibition Openging Ceremony 7

Huang Biyu introduces her work as a textile artist to visitors to the Yulin Museum, which is hosting the exhibition Quilting Art and Tradition–People, Handcrafts, and Community Life (the Chinese version of Quilts of Southwest China), March 16, 2019. (Photograph courtesy of the Anthropological Museum of Guangxi)

After a U.S. tour that saw the collaboratively curated exhibition Quilts of Southwest China move from the (1) Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan, USA) to the (2) International Quilt Study Center and Museum (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA), (3) the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (Bloomington, Indiana, USA) and the (4) Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA), the exhibition is now at its third stop in China. Titled in China Quilting Art and Tradition—People, Handcrafts, and Community Life, the exhibition has just opened at the (3) Yulin Museum (Yulin, Guangxi, PRC). It has previously been presented at the (1) Anthropological Museum of Guangxi (Nanning, Guangxi, PRC) and the (2) Yunnan Nationalities Museum (Kunming, Yunnan, PRC). The exhibition is one of several collaborative projects arising out of joint work supported generously by the Henry Luce Foundation and various other American and Chinese funding agencies. The American Folklore Society and the China Folklore Society are coordinating partners for the larger effort that includes the museum partnership linking the Mathers Museum of World Cultures to the MSU Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art, the Yunnan Nationalities Museum, the Anthropological Museum of Guangxi and the and the Guizhou Nationalities Museum (Guiyang, Guixzhou, PRC). The exhibition was jointly produced by the six museum partners and was co-curated by Lijun Zhang and Marsha MacDowell.

Colleagues from the three Chinese partner museums (AMGX, YNNM, GZMN) attended the exhibition opening in Yunlin as did featured textile artist Huang Biyu, who did an artist’s demonstration and worked with a large group of local students in an exploration of Chinese quilting design. Photographs from the opening events taken by Chu Chu and Li Jie of the AMGX are shared here.

Did you miss the exhibition or would you like to do a deeper dive into the world of minority textiles in Southwest China? The bilingual catalogue edited by Marsha MacDowell and Lijun Zhang is available from Indiana University Press. Find it on the press website here: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=808361

Thanks to our friends at the AMGX for managing the Chinese tour of the jointly produced exhibition and thanks to the staff of the Yulin Museum for hosting it. It is tremendous to think that a jointly produced exhibition that first opened at the MSUM in 2015 is still traveling and reaching new audiences.

 

 

Shreds and Patches in 2018

Which Shreds and Patches posts were most popular in 2018? These were:

  1. What is the current status of confidentiality and non-disclosure policies at HAU?
  2. Coconut Rattles in Florida and Oklahoma
  3. What is the Museum Anthropology Review Business (Labor) Model?
  4. The IU Gateway Office and Tsinghua University Art Museum (12/8)
  5. The University of Tartu, Appreciated
  6. The Mallet: Making a Maul in a Baiku Yao Community
  7. Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, Revisited, Again (12/9)
  8. The Ethnic Costume Museum at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology (12/9)
  9. Workshop on Ethnographic Methods in Museum Folklore and Ethnology
  10. Pot Holders, Or William C. Sturtevant Collections Research, Day 1

Numbers 1 and 3 arose in the context of the systemic problems with Hau that became widely known and discussed beginning last summer. Numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 relate to collaborative work in China. Numbers 2 and 10 are retro posts that I wrote back in 2012 and relate to studies of the William C. Sturtevant Collection at the National Museum of Natural History. Number 5 is a post related to my 2019 travels in Estonia.

Shreds and Patches has featured 580 posts spread over about 4123 days since my first post, The site software reports 101,258 views from 30,545 visitors. The peak week for 2018 was June 11-17, when the Hau inspired posts appeared. That week saw 2076 views from 1675 visitors. Peak wordiness came in 2011 with 41,403 words. This year saw 22,681 words (prior to this post).

Thanks to everyone who reads and appreciates the posts and special appreciation goes to the those who wrote guest posts during 2018. Happy new year everyone.

IMG_4386

%d bloggers like this: