L-M BRIC News No. 9                                             05-10-2006 © 
L-M Braiding Research & Information Center / Masako Kinoshita
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 Braiding in Toraja /L-M braiding (2)
 Surveys of 08/28-09/10/2005 and 12/08-12/29/2005

Keiko Kusakabe 

1. Introduction

In Search of Nene (Note 1)

Sadan Toraja is the anthropological name of the Toraja People who live upriver region of the Sadan River in Tana Toraja Province of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia.

In this mountainous region bare white walls of lime rocks form a natural fortification preventing encroachment from the outside. Although the majority of people have converted to Christianity or Islam, many still practice the rituals and customs of native religion; many water buffaloes are sacrificed at large funeral feasts, and the traditional ship-shaped house, tongkonan, is flourishing, where generations of heirloom art and textile objects are stored.The loop braiding, however, is declining because those who know the technique are growing very old. My surveys are about the trips to villages looking for nene (Note 2).

 Outline of My Survey Trips

For the surveys in August and September 2005, I selected two areas; northern Sadan where tourists find weaving villages, and the eastern area where customs of native religion are kept well.

I found in the northern area, a practice of the l-m braiding used among a small number of weavers making braids for sirih bags (Note 3). The eastern area was busy with manene ceremonies, memorial services for ancestors, where I found women who knew the l-m.

The December survey was conducted in the southern area where I documented the mud-dyeing ritual performed during native funeral ceremony.

 I also surveyed the relation between the techniques and the custom of funeral hood and headband, pote, making.

In this article, I will report only the surveys relating to the sirih bag. The ongoing survey for the pote will be reported later when it will be completed.


2. Characteristics of l-m technique in Sadan Toraja


Let me first review how the l-m is used in Toraja.

First: the l-m technique is used for making the pote, an important ritual accessory for funeral rites. The women's pote is a hood woven in a plain weave with the lower portion forming an exquisite lace-like panel of complicated plain-weave slits from which hang cascades of long loop-braided fringes. For the men's pote, various mixtures of loop-braided bands are fashioned into headbands with a wide range of styles.

Second: l-m braiding is used to make objects for daily life as well as for ceremonial and formal occasions. The best representative is braids used as pull strings and carry straps for sirih bags.
They are also used for holding in place elaborate heavy beadwork accessories called kandaure.


(Photo 1 Woman wearing Kandaure leads funeral procession. She holds a set of formal betel chewing paraphernalia that is essential to a funeral ceremony.
At a funeral held in B. Village, Sadan Toraja, October, 2000. Photo: K. Kusakabe © 2000)

As objects of daily life, there are shoulder straps for sheaths for labo
, the dagger Torajan men routinely carry, and those for kapipe, a pouch for carrying cooked rice.

Third: l-m braids are used decoratively on clothes as trimmings around neck and sleeve openings and front facings. This type of usage has also been observed in the Mamasa Region. 

The Techniques and Their Names/Three Basic Procedures

The technique is called mang kabi here in Sadan Toraja as it is in Mamasa. Although today the technique is fading away, many of those older than middle age remember having seen it as a child.

The terms I have recorded are:

mang kabi kalebu: square braid (kalebu means round. The same as Mamasa)

mang kabi papipang: flat braid (papipang means flat things. Not the same as Mamasa)

mang kabi dipiak: twin braids (means divided into two. Not the same as Mamasa)

These three terms prove that these three basic procedures have been practiced in Sadan Toraja as they have been in Mamasa.

The Two-person Braiding and 9 loops in Sadan Toraja

There is a term, mang kabi sitadoan, meaning 2-person braiding in Sadan Toraja. The Toraja-Indonesia Dictionary describes it as braiding performed by 2 persons. One person gives a thread to the other and vise versa and the other person receives it. (Note 4).

Added to this evidence, many elderly residents gave me testimonials that they had witnessed the practice of 2-person l-m braiding. During the survey in December, I also saw in some villages over 10 examples of pote made of double-square braids. Out of these 10, I confirmed that 6 were made of 9 loops. (I deem that the possibility of the rest were also made of 9 loops is high.) From the fact of wide distribution of double-square braids and funerary headband, pote, I suspect that the development of the 2-person l-m techniques in Toraja and their funeral custom has been interrelated.

I also noticed that some flat braids facing the opening of my newly acquired old sirih bags showed a possibility of having been made using 9 loops.
l-m lace You might remember that 2-person braiding in Mamasa used 10 loops (News No.8). It should be noted that these two regions that have historically tied closely have two different approaches to the same technique.

I also found a shirt with a front facing of a braid made using 3-person lace technique. This also indicates the wide range of the technical development in Sadan Toraja. (Note 5)

(Photo 2 Shirt with an insertion of a braid made using 3-person lace technique. Photo: K. Kusakabe © 2005)

3. Ideas for Purse Strings

Progress in the Research

Many sirih bags I have collected from Mamasa and Sadan Toraja have the opening trimmed around with a flat braid.
kandaure bagA thin square braid circles the opening passing through in and out the stitches of the flat braid. The square braid works as a closure string as well as reinforcement of the opening.

(Photo 3a Purse for carrying a kandaure. Carry string is threaded through the stitches of the 4-ridge flat braid. Photo: K. Kusakabe © 2006)

At the earlier survey trip (March, 2005), I recorded for the first time in Mamasa flat braids with slits for passing the closure braid. During the summer 2005 survey in Sadan Toraja, I found braids with yet another usage as carry straps, explained in the following section, in addition to those with the same idea of Mamasa.

broacadde sirih bag(Photo 3b  Purse with facing of a 4-ridge flat braid with slit opening and a novel carry strap.) 

Sirih bags equipped with these novel braids are still made on a small scale and sold in Sadan Toraja. During the survey of August to December 2005, I recorded three women in S-, B- and T-villages (north), and one woman each in B-village (east), S-village (south), and P-village (south-west), altogether six women, who make tie strings and carry straps. These types of sirih bags, however, are not in my collection from Mamasa. It might be that the idea did not grow in Mamasa because they already had developed the use of tablet-woven bands for this purpose. (Note 6)

Ideas for the purse strings

Sirih bag, known also as sepu, is a women's purse necessary in the society where a custom of betel chewing still remains strong. It is also an important accessory for formal attire. While the majority of sepu sold commonly in town are simply made, they were originally made of the body of hand-woven brocade trimmed by loop braids. This is the type of sepu that has been made traditionally in northern villages known as the Weaving Villages by tourists. I confirmed three braiders, nene M, nene A and nene B in the area.  The former two spent a half-day enthusiastically demonstrating their skill.

Nene A demonstrates
(Photo 4 Nene
A demonstrates l-m braiding on the balcony of granary with her grand daughter assisting. Photo: K. Kusakabe © 2005)

The set of braids attached to sepu are baba sepu (the facing around the opening) and ulang sepu (closure and carry strap). The former is a 10-element (5-loop) 4-ridge flat braid with slits made regularly inserting about three repeats of the twin flat procedure between those of the 4-ridge flat. I outlined in the issue no. 8 about rante rante braid with slits for the same purpose made using the same method in Mamasa.

The carry strap has a square braid or (4-ridge) flat braid in the middle part and twin 2-ridge flat braids at both ends. Twins are passed separately through the slits of baba sepu from one end along the front and backsides of the purse opening. The ends of the twins meet on the other side of the purse opening where they are tied together.
nene M made this bag. 
The twins on the other end of the strap are passed in the same manner from the opposite side of purse opening. The strap works smoothly in opening and closing the purse.

(Photo 5 Nene M made this lovely hand-made sirih bag. She has made every part by her own hands: weaving, braiding and beads works. Photo: K. Kusakabe © 2006)

Here I find an example of witty ideas of utilizing l-m braids in Toraja. Unfortunately, no younger generation seem to be interested in inheriting these techniques.


 4. Sirih Bag with Red-Diamond-Patterned Baba Sepu

I acquired a small sirih bag trimmed with a red-diamond-patterned braid.

sirih bag with red and white facing( Photo 6a Small sirih bag trimmed with a red-diamond-patterned braid.   The braid laid on top is the result of the work of Ms. L and myself.   Photo: K. Kusakabe © 2006.

The body of the purse is of plain-weave natural-color cotton. The fabric shows slight weft-way ridges, the kind known as bamban in Toraja. The fabric has a long history and is a favorite among the people. It is, however, no longer produced.

The carry strap is of 5-loop braid of pineapple fibers exactly like the braids describe in the previous section. Fibers from pineapples growing naturally in the surrounding mountains have been used for ages.

The baba sepu on my sirih bag, however, is of cotton threads dyed in red and creamy natural-colored threads of pineapple fiber. It has 8 ridges, not 4 like all other sirih bags I have seen so far. On the ends of the braid tucked in a corner I counted 4 red and 5 cream loops each, altogether 18. This braid undoubtedly is an l-m braid!

Reproducing the 8-ridge flat braid with a red diamond design.

I tried my hypothetical procedure assisted by Ms. L, one of young Torajans who happened to work at the place where I had been staying. She had no knowledge of the l-m technique.

8-ridge flat braid(Photo 6b  Closeup of the sirih bag with facing of  an 8-ridge flat braid)

The braid (baba sepu
) consists of two alternating short sections, ground and slit.
The 18-element (9-loop) 8-ridge flat braid forms the ground. To make this section one of the two braiders braids a 4-ridge flat and the other briader twin 2-ridge flats. The 4-ridge braid and the twins are connected as they braid at the selvages and become an 8-ridge flat braid.

The slit section occurs when the red threads come to the center of the braid. Here both braiders work in twin 2-ridge flat procedure while they keep connecting each other. This produces twin 4-ridge flat braids in two layers. (See ILLUSTRATED INSTRUCTION NO. 9)

To connect braids between two braiders (R for the braider on the right-hand side, and L on the left-hand side) working with 9 loops, the braider with 5 loops (R for example) works one cycle of a procedure and then passes the connection loop to the other braider with 4 loops. Upon receiving it, he/she, now having 5 loops, works a cycle of 5-loop procedure, and then passes the next connecting loop to the first braider and so on. As can be seen, with the 9-loop procedure, the braider holding 4 loops has to wait until the other braider with 5 loops finishes one cycle and passes the connection loop. In contrast, when using 10 loops, the two loops are exchanged between the two braiders and so they do not have to wait because the both always have 5 loops. The difference between the two methods is that the former method, it may take a bit longer to make a same length but both of the two connected ridges float over 2 ends of the elements. With the latter, one of the connected ridges has a float over 3.

Although the method described here is entirely that of my own composition based on the specimens collected in Sadan Toraja, what they used would be most likely the same as mine. It is quite likely that the technique has developed from that of 9-loop double-square braid of traditional pote making. This, however, needs to be proven.

Although Toraja may look almost like a spontaneous museum where old and beautiful textile arts are scattered around, it is not easy to come up with what I am looking for. Frequent visits to villages in hope of chance findings are as indispensable as assistance given to me by many people. In addition, I learned during the past year that the most important factor is to cultivate critical eyes to appreciate cultural properties. I thank the editor of L-M BRIC News, M. Kinoshita, for her assistance. 

For further reading on the textile culture of Toraja:

1. Keiko Kusakabe's works in English
Fall 2002; Spring 2003; Fall 2003; Spring 2004.

2. Other authors' works
R. J. Holmgren and A. E. Spertus, Early Indonesian Texrtiles from Island Cultures: Sumbe, Toraja, Lampung,
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989.

On anthoropology of Toraja:
Hetty Nooy-Palm, THE SA'DAN-TORAJA, The Hague
: Martinus Nijoff, 1979.

See Nihongo-ban, no. 9 for Japanese publications.

Editor's Note:
In the 2-person braiding, each of the two braiders works using one-person technique but exchange some of the loops between the two. Thus the two parallel braids made by the two are connected at the selvages and become a braid twice as wide.

The idea of the 2-person braiding has been well known since it appears in the 15th and 17th-English records. Actual native practice today, however, has never been reported until last year when Kusakabe actively sought it in her survey in Sulawesi after having found several double-square-braids in her collection. (L-M BRIC News, no. 8)

In the idea of constructing a double-square braid using the 2-person procedure, it is natural to simply double the one-person procedure, each braider holding the same number of loops as when working alone. This, however, produces a minor irregularity of one extra float on one of the connecting ridges.

The problem of this irregularity can easily be avoided by using 9 loops instead of 10, which is twice 5, the number of loops used for one-person l-m braiding. I am sure that the idea has occurred to a number of other people besides myself. In this issue, Kusakabe proposes a 9-loop 2-person l-m procedure she has devised from what she heard and witnessed during her survey in fall and early winter, 2005, in Saddan Toraja, as the one that is most likely to have been used among the Saddan Toraja people. The procedure is described in detail in ILLUSTRATED INSTRUCTION SERIES: No. 9.

Although the procedure used here is for Method no. 2 of f-h l-m technique, it may also be applied to Method no. 1. (Note 7)

The relationship between the tradition of the Saddan Toraja and the 9-loop technique
How important is it not to have pattern irregularities in a twill flat braid? There doesn't seem to be any practical advantages in the case of these braids, especially as there is no way to avoid an irregularity when the upper and lower layers are connected forming an 8-ridge flat braid. A
s Kusakabe conjectures, a preference for nine loops over ten among the Saddan Toraja might stem simply from a preference for odd numbers over even numbers rather than from any structural consideration.

About f-h l-m procedures for making regular twill flat braids:

It is often said that you cannot produce flat braids with a regular pattern by the l-m. As explained above, however, this is not true. Twin flat braids with each layer of, say, 17-element 2/2 twill or 25-element 3/3 twill can be produced by connecting twin 2-ridge twill flat braids with 4 braiders. Naturally the number of loops held by each braider has to be adjusted accordingly, as in the case of the 9-loop procedure.

This means that you should not dismiss the possibility of an old braid specimen being an l-m braid just because it has a regular pattern. In such cases, you must consider other related matters that might have taken place in deciding which one of other possible techniques had actually been used.

On the Braided Seal Strings on a Document from 1590

Independent Researcher  Joy Boutrup


The document is a ratification of the marriage contract in 1589 between King Jacob VI of Scotland (later crowned James I, King of England (1603-16250), who succeeded Queen Elisabeth I) and princess Ann of Denmark (the daughter of Frederik II).

Photo 7.  The Document from 1590.

J. Boutrup published a shorter version on the same subject in the catalog of the Fall 2005 Special Exhibition Controlling 4-Horse Carriage Like Braiding At Gasngoji-Temple in Nara, Japan. She also gave a lecture on the same subject at the symposium on the l-m braiding held on 10/30/2005 in Nara, Japan, hosted by Gangoji Temple and Gangoji Institute for Cultural Property Research.


An Excavated Silk Sock

at Reshui in Dulan, Quinghai, Northwestern China (Note 8)

News passed from Noémi Speiser

 In a letter to Noémi Speiser Milton Sonday wrote about "a 5-element braid trimmed over seam lines of a slipper from the 7-9th c." shown in the exhibit, CHINA: DAWN OF GOLDEN AGE 200 B.C.-750 A.D., held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NewYork, USA, Oct. 12, 2004-Jan 23, 2005. (Note 9) He asked what it could be that Midori Sato, textile conservator at the MMA, had described in her report at a seminar as "threads of various colors are paired and remain paired in the over-one-under-one interlacing on the center two ridges but at the side ridges where the threads are single."

The feature described seems to be a four-ridge (5-element) braid with a 1/1 pattern on the surface showing paired elements in the inner two ridges but single at the selvage two ridges. If the observation is correct, it agrees with that of a braid with an unorthodox pattern (UO), and raises the exciting prospect of finding evidence of the l-m technique in the 7th-9th c. in Quinghai, China. Unfortunately, however, the research conducted on it hasn't yet been published, making it difficult for third-party confirmation. If further exploration of the structure of the specimen is possible, we might even be able to determine which of the two methods of finger-held l-m (method 1, one with A-shaped fell and method 2, the other with that of V-shaped) was used in Quinghai. The apparent geographic division of the two methods is one of the topics that need further enquiry.

We already know that the l-m technique existed in the 1st c. B.C. in Yunnan, China. (News no. 1 and no. 3) M. Kinoshita also pointed out that the l-m is most likely to have been the technique used to produce the XI fabrics excavated from various archeological sites of the Han dynasty (Note 10). M. Omura found in a couple of poems in the ancient Chinese anthology, Shih ching (ca. 4th c. B.C.) an identical phrase comparing the gesture of horsemen controlling carriage horses to that of braiders at work. Terra-cotta statues of horsemen from the famed Qin Shihuangdi tomb, although they are works about one century or so later, suggest strongly the gesture of l-m braiders. This possibly places the practice of the l-m technique in China to the 4th c. B.C.

The Quinghai specimens are later comers compared to these types of evidence, but they are unique in being actual braid specimens. We hope that further analytical observation will be continued on them.

 L-M braiding in Ecuador and in Ethiopia

"Hilos, tejidos y pieles (= Threads, Fabrics and Leather)" by Celsar Bianchi reports the practice of l-m braiding among the Shuars, a native people in Ecuador. (Note 11)

The news came from N. Speiser in several snipplets of Xeroxed pages found in her old folder.

Severn or a smaller number of loops may be used.  Shorter braids are made by a braider by supporting the braid head on his big toe.  For making longer braids, two persons cooperate, one for braiding and the other for tighening the structure.

L-m in EcuadorExplanation to the illustartion at right, copied from the book, tells that 7 loops are mounted on the fingers, La, Lb, Lc, Ld, Rb, Rc, Rd and the left index finger (La) is inserted through the loop on the left middle finger (lb) and picks up the upper shank of the loop on the right small finger (rd).
Another illustration shows that the picked-up loop (rd) now has moved to the left index finger (la) after having been drawn out through the shed. They no doubt show the procedure to make UO no. 1 using the PALMS FACING EACH OTHER AND OPERATED BY THE INDEX FINGER method, i.e., f-h l-m method no. 1 also known by the A-Fell method.  There seems to give no information of the practice of method no. 2.
(Note 7)   While using 7 loops are mentioned, the illustrations do not always show 7 loops.

Speiser also sent me a note from one of her former students, Kathrin Kocher, a textile conservator at the Ethnological Museum in Zürich, who wrote that she found a gorgeous costume of Emperor Minelik II of Ethiopia (1844-1913) with a necklace of a dark blue (indigo?) loop-braided string.  She reports that the braid is a 4-ridge tubular braid (square braid) with 5 loops still attached to its ends.   Small metal elements decorated the braid.  The museum have six such necklaces.

We have known that the l-m technique has been practiced in almost all the northern costal regions of the African continent.  Now we see that the area expands to the eastern region where the technique existed at least a century ago. 

Braid Making for the Replica of "Kozakura-kawaodoshi Yoroi" Nishioka Armor Studio  Chizuru Nishioka (Note 12) 

The original armor, Kozakura-kawaodoshi Yoroi = Armor with Deer-Skin Lacing of Stencil-Dyed Cherry Blossoms, titled Tatenashi, was one of the heirlooms of Takeda Family in Kai and is a national treasure. (Note 13, 14) It is now owned by Kanda Tennjin Sha Shrine, Enzan, Koshu City, Yamanashi Prefecture.

TatenashiThe armor is believed to have been constructed in the Mid Kamakura Period (1185-1333) with assembled armor parts of the Heian period (794-1185), and since then has gone through many repairs and renovations.

The Yamanashi Prefectural Museum commissioned us to construct a replica to the style of the mid Kamakura period to be shown in the regular museum display.

(Photo 8: Front view of the replica of the armor: Armor with Deer Skin Lacing of Stencil-Dyed Cherry Blossoms by Fumio Nishioka. Braids by Chizuru Nishioka. Courtesy of Nishioka Armor Studio © 2006)

Accordingly we constructed the braids for the armor using the ancient traditional loop braiding technique, kute-uchi.

At present, no braids on the original armor are from the period of Heian or Kamakura. The only remaining laces are edge trimmings (mimi-ito) of deerskin from a later period.

The armor is illustrated in Shuko Jisshu = Catalog of the Ten Categories of Antiques published in the late Edo period. (1603-1867) The small span of mimi-ito barely visible in the drawing of the armor appears to have 6 ridges with a checker-board pattern of red, green and white. While we have never seen 6-ridge lacing used on medieval armor, we have known occasional cases in which 6 ridges showed on the surface because two ridges of an 8-ridge lace had been rolled under. These often turned out to be kikko (= tortoise-shell) pattern lacing. We, therefore, decided to use the kikko pattern for our mimi-ito lacing, which is used, in our observation, on the majority of armor from the 13th to 16th centuries.

As for the actual procedure of producing the kikko braids, we selected the two-person method in which the braid is made as a 4-layer quadruple square-braid with one side left open (Method 2). (Note 15)

mimiito by Nishioka

Photo 9: Top and middle row: Obverse and reverse sides of the edge trimming braid (mimiito) of kikko pattern made by Nishioka, and bottom: Square braid for the
installation cords for shoulder guard (sode-no-o).

The braid thus made would be flattened out along the open side and would become a 2-layer quadruple square-braid with kikko design on one face. (See News No. 7, Discovered!! Fragments of Tortoise Shell Design Braids.  See also illustrated instruction series no. 7)

Ninety percent of the 30+ kikko specimens from the 13th to 16th centuries we had examined had an identical stitch pattern of the threads. It is crucially important that the technique used for reproduction is able to reproduce exactly the same pattern.  To this end, the procedure that connects 4 square braids side-by-side (Method 3) requires movements of the loops not natural to the technique. It also produces a braid with a trapezoidal cross section, which is never witnessed in old specimens.

On the other hand, the procedure that produces twin kikko braids (method 1), and that of the Method 2, have no such unnatural movements and produce braids with a rectangular cross section. We chose method 2 over method 1 merely because the latter takes extra time in our tight schedule.  Method 1 produces twin kikko braids which tend to separate from each other on the frame, making it more time consuming to tighten the braids.  Since I have to work alone rather than two- or four-people cooperation, we use a braiding frame for providing extra hands.   (Note 16)

The braids for other parts of the armor, such as sode-no-o (installation cords for shoulder guard), kabuto-no-o (installation cord for helmet) and agemaki (large bow on cuirass), attached to the original armor, are all Edo-period replacements.

We decided to use square braids for our armor that are more often used for the armor from the Kamakura period.

We made sode-no-o using kute-uchi with 7 loops.  However, we used marudai (stand-and-bobbin technique) for kabuto-no-o and the agemaki, a large bow that hangs on the cuirass of an armor. They are fatter braids needing stronger arms to control with kute-uchi.

As for the yarns, for kikko braids we used silk reeled from a special breed that produces fine filaments similar to medieval silks. For the rest of the braids, we used hand-reeled silk yarn produced in Japan from conventional sources.

The yarns were dyed at our studio: red from rubia tinctorum L., green indigo overdyed with phellodendron amurense Rupr.


Report from Frieda Sorber (1/8/06) (Note 17)

Frieda Sorber gave us a list of her l-m-related works presented here. There are a few new discoveries as well as items worth pursuing further research. Unfortunately she was not able to provide us any more details due to her very busy work schedule. 

1.     Analyzed 3 types of L-M braid on a Central Asian purse, radiocarbon-dated between 5th and 7th c. AD>. This is in a private collection and I need its approval to share pictures and description.

2.     A document with seal and L-M cord at an exhibit on a religious order and hospital in Liar, not far from Antwerp. The oldest document on display, preserved in the Liar city archives is a letter from the bishop of Cambray sent to Liar in 1253. It has one seal, attached with a cord in reddish brown silk, 2-ply thread, clearly 10-ends (no loops preserved) normal 5-loop unorthodox.

3.     Some medieval loopbraids in Turnhout and Tongeren in Belgium. I published on the braids in Tongeren years ago. Joy started analyzing braids after my studies from the 1980's and has actually solved several problems that I could not solve at the time.

4.     Fieldwork in North Africa, where I documented the use of loop manipulated and free-hand braiding in Morocco and Tunisia.  One part of the Moroccan research was briefly mentioned in the proceedings of the TSA symposium of Los Angeles in the early 90's.

5.     One I discovered 3 weeks ago, a medieval purse with a double unorthodox like those Joy described in her papers on Sion and others.

6.     An older book on weaving in Greece contains an illustration showing 2 women making a strap with loop braiding. I'll try to understand the Greek text.

7.     I also found an example in a sewing course from Turkey. I'll try to make a note on this and send some pictures.

Editor's note:  F. Sorber's steady searching keeps widening our information relating to l-m techiques in medieval Europe, present day North Africa and elsewhere.  We had speculated that there would be the l-m in Turkey, perhaps even the hand-held kind.  We regret that her busy work schedule kept us from hearing further details.  We look forward to her future reports on these subjetcts.

Report: Symposiums on L-M Braiding:

"Handling Carriage Horses like Braiding"

Mari Omura
Date: 2005/10/30 (Sunday)
Place: Municipal ASUNARA CENTRE for Gender-Blind Participation.
Hosted by Gangoji-Temple and Gangoji Institute for Cultural Property Research
Grant: 2005 Art & Culture grant of Nomura International Culture Foundation
Supporter: Japan Fabric Culture Society 

Speakers: M. Kitagawa, M. Kinoshita, N. Speiser, J. Boutrup, Y. Ogawa.

The Symposium was held in conjunction with The Gangoji Fall Special Exhibition, 2005/10/30-11/17 of the same title.

We had almost 70 attendants from all over Japan, including artists and producing crafts persons for traditional kumihimo as well as l-m braiding and armor making, curators and librarians from museums, researchers, teachers of various textile fields and the general public. An active discussion involving participants of various interests concluded the symposium.
With a colloquium on the structure of braids for a limited participation of 12 conducted by N. Speiser
on the following day, these were rare and fruitful two days for the participants.

scene 1scene 2(Photo 10a and b: Scenaries from the symposium)

Prof. M. Ishikawa pointed out that it is important to learn the ways ancient Chinese lived and their culture in order to understand Japanese culture, which has received a deep and wide range of influence from China. One example is the evidence from the two poems in the Shih ching that the l-m braiding may possibly have been practiced as far back as the Chou Dynasty (1100 BC-256 BC). According to Professor Ishikawa, this type of braiding techniques is not known in China today. We asked his cooperation in introducing the knowledge to his field of expertise.

Although M. Kinoshita's works had been published and known among textile researchers, some audience members said that this was the first time they had been able to understand the contents and the extent of the research. More events like this should be organized to ensure that her theory is propagated and appreciated.  

In view of participants as far as Belgium and the USA in addition to the speakers from; Denmark (Boutrup), United States (Kinoshita) and Switzerland (Speiser), it seemed as if braiding was no longer a minor field in textile research.

I would like to add that the special exhibition at the Gangoji Temple had more than 3500 visitors in the period of 10/30-11/13.

It was a very rewarding experience for us that the Symposium specifically on braiding techniques, which, I dare say, must have been the first in the world had been concluded successfully. We appreciated and are encouraged very much by the voices thanking us for providing the occasion. We would like to express our appreciation here to all those who attended the symposium.
We are grateful for the grant from 2005 Art & Culture Grant of Nomura International Culture Foundation, and support from Japan Fabric Culture Society.

We now anticipate holding the second meeting at the Basho Manor in Kurobane, Ootawara City (Tochigi-ken), Japan, for 2007. Although Kurobane is better known as a place where famed poet Basho had stayed a substantial number of days before he left for his last trip to Northern Japan, this is where Shika Suyo=Thesaurus of Ceasing War that contains the source of Kute-uchi was written by M. Ozeki, and where the original book is now housed, at the Basho Manor.





The basic techniques

The basic techniques II: Methods of connecting selvages

8-ridge falt braid with slitsNo. 9: Loop braiding in Sulawesi, Indonasia.
Basic three procedures, how to make a rante rante.
K. Kusalabe's instruction for making 8-ridge BABA SEPU using 9-loop 2-person technique.

Photo 11:
Sample swatch of 8-ridge BABA SEPU according to Kusakabe"s instruction made by herself and Ms. L.

Publications related to L-M BRAIDING:

04exhibit illustrated catalog

Compiled by M. Kinoshita/Edited by H. Takeda, Exhibition 2004 "INVITATION TO LOOP-BRAIDING" Illustrated Catalog, 94 p., 109 col. photos, 31 b/w photos and 9 diagrams, private pub.: 2005. Price ¥3,500 + S&H.

Gangoji-ten zuroku

Reining as if Braiding: Special Exhibit 2005
Catalog, Edited by Gangoji and Gangoji Institute, contributors: J Boutrup, M. Inoue, M. Kinoshita, N. Kisawa, A. Miyazaki, M. Omura, N. Speiser, 
Phone +81-742-23-2376,  ¥1,000.

Tak V Bowes Departed: a 15th Century Braidingn Manual Examined
, E. Benns & G. Barrett, Soper Lane, 2005.  www.takvbowes.co.uk

Periodicals: M. Kinoshita, 'Two-person Loop Braiding Procedures Converted for Working Alone', Strands, Issue 12, 2005.

New URL of L-M BRIC News http://www.lmbric.net

Activities related to L-M BRAIDING:

A plan for The First KUMIHIMO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE (2007/11/12-16) hosted by the Future-Applied Technology Center at Kyoto Institute of Technology is progressing. Keynote speeches, exhibitions, seminars, hands-on classes as well as tours to area kumihimo studios have been planned. For more information please contact:
Dr. Makiko Tada; 2-6-44-203 Misawa, Hono, Tokyo, Japan 191-0032. Phone: +81-42-592-7767, Fax: +81-42-593-3204

Past activities:


Construction of a Replica: Armor with deerskin lacing of stenciled cherry blossom pattern by F. Nioshioka for the Yamanashi Prefecture Museum. Chizuru Nishioka made braids for the armor using kute-uchi. She made the 4-person kikko braid solo using enlarged wooden frame designed by M. Kinoshita.

Annual exhibit: H. Kasuga presented an L-M Braiding Corner at the Annual Hakuho Exhibition: Panels introducing L-M techniques and her works of l-m braids, as well as her kumihimo works.

Gangoji Special Exhibit of Fall, 2005 'Handling carriage horses like Braiding', 2005/10/30-11/17.

Lectures and Symposiums: Symposium on L-M Braiding. 2005/10/30 (Sunday) at Municipal ASUNARA CENTRE for Gender-Free Participation. Hosted by Gangoji-Temple and Gangoji Institute for Cultural Properties, Granter: Nomura International Culture Foundation, Supporter: Japan Weaving Culture Researchers. Speakers: Kitagawa, M. Kinoshita, N. Speiser, J. Boutrup Y. Ogawa.

Planned for 2006: Jacqui Carey, LM workshop, 20-21st May 2006, This is for beginners/improvers and a chance to recreate some historical and traditional examples from all over the world. Jacqui Carey, Summer Court, Rdgeway, Ottery St. Mary, Devon EX11 1DT UK. L-M Workshops by M. Kinoshita, in October in Wako-shi and November, 11-13, and 25-26 in Nara-shi, Japan, are tentatively planned.
<>Past workshops:
C. Kawabe. Lecture and mini workshop of the
archaic technique at Otani Women's Junior Collage, 01/12/05; Family Workshop at Izumi-Otsu Oriamukan, 08/07/05; C. Kako, Adult Workshop 08/06/05;  Invitation to L-M Braiding at Hyogo Prefectural Museum, 08/07/05 and others; S. Sumiura, Workshop, at Shiga Children's Museum, 'Starting from the Traditional Red Braids for newborn babies.' 08/05, It will be repeated in 2006; M. Kinoshita, 3-day workshops in Wako and Nara, 10/11,18, 25/05; 11/4, 5, 18/05, L-M braiding introduction courses; 10/12, 19, 26/05, 11/6, 19. 20/05, Solo Technique (a one-person technique for two-person braiding, mid-level); 11/26/05, Aoyama Gakuin University, lecture and mini-workshop, H. Kojima gave an introductory workshop for the textile group to which she is a member.

Study group: Kodai Chusei Kumihimo Fukugen Kenkyukai (KFK) has been formed in January, 2006 with 16 active members.  Bimonthly meetings.

Field Surveys: Keiko Kusakabe The accounts of the three trips in 2005 to Sulawesi Il., Indonesia is reported in this issue. See Issue No. 8 for surveys in 2004.

Acknowledgement: Contribution of reports; J. Boutrup, K. Kusakabe, M. Omura, F. Sorber.  News items: N. Speiser. To our library: Illustrated Catalog of the Fall 2005 Special Exhibition, Gangoji Institute for Cultural Properties. Assists in editing: J. Kinoshita, in Spanish: J. Velez. Monetary contribution: T. Hine, C. Kawabe, N. Kajitani, R. Ward. Also to those who sent letters of encouragement.

Corrections:  F. Sorber's name was spelled as Sober in some of earlier issues.  We reget the mistake.

Appologies: We apologize that the publication of the News No. 8 (http://www.lmbric.org/n8) was delayed by almost a year under a compelling circumstance.  Please find it along with all earlier issues on our new URL: http://www.lmbric.net

L-M BRIC News is totally self-supported publication by the Loop-Manipulation Braiding Research and Information Center founded by Masako Kinoshita to promote the study of L-M braiding. Donations from interested readers, however, are welcome.

 Masako Kinoshita's Home Page is: