Check out these women scarf images:
Phù Lá Hán
Image by Linda DV
Bac Ha market.
The Phu La, have nearly 8900 inhabitants living in the provinces of Lai Chau, Son La, Lao Cai and Ha Giang. The largest part settles in Lao Cai.
The Phu La are also called Bo Kho Pa, Mu Di Pa and Va Xo Lao.
From ’54 Ethnic Groups’ VNA publishing house, Hanoi.
I bought this book in ‘Vietnam Museum of Ethnology’ Hanoi.
There are six Phula sub-groups: Flowery Phula, Black Phula, Phula Han, Chu La Phula, White Phula and Xa Pho.
There are also approximately 4,200 Phù Lá in China, where they are classified as members of the Yi ethnic group.
Women of this Phu La subgroup wear indigo trousers instead of skirts. This subgroup wears high-collared blouses of green or blue, with embroidered bands sewn on the cuffs and around the upper sleeves. They cover the blouse with a decorated apron, held up by a silver chain around the neck. They often wear a plaid scarf as a head covering. Phula women, as well as men, always carry beautifully decorated cloth handbags.
Image by A.Davey
Aka "Female Figure Bottle"
Nasca culture, Peru.
2nd to 6th century, A.D.
Ceramic and pigment
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The individual depicted here has the type of cranial deformation favored by the Nazca culture. Deformed skulls of this type have been found in Nazca burials. The deformation process began in infancy. I wonder whether it will ever come back in fashion . . .
Oh, how I wish I could untangle and understand the iconography of the paintings on Nazca ceramics such as this one.
When we look closely at the painting, we find an entire vocabulary of apparenly abstract shapes and human body parts, especially trophy heads.
This vessel give us valuable clues about the attire and hair styles of ancient Nasca women. I suspect she’s wearing gloves and has her hair in a sort of spit-curl on the side of her face.
What I don’t know is whether the designs are incorporated into the textile garments the woman is wearing, whether they are fashion accessories such as a scarf or shawl, or whether they serve a narrative purpose, like a text being flashed onto a surface from an external source.
The scholar Donald Proulx has written an article about Nazca iconography, and my quick scan of the piece suggest this ceramic object might fall into the "Proliferous Strain" category that dates to 450 to 550 A.D.
Proulx describes it as follows:
"Phases 6 and 7 belong to the "Proliferous Strain" which is characterized by motifs that often include abstract elements as part of the design. Rays and tassels are appended to many of the motifs, particularly those displaying mythical subjects (Roark, 1965:2). Other designs become highly ornamented and elaborated, with elements being repeated several times in order to fill in vacant space. Anatomical relationships become less natural or disproportionate, and there is a tendency to multiply ornaments and body parts (Roark, 1965:54). Minor elements, such as mouth masks or forehead ornaments, become the center of attention, with much emphasis placed on elaboration of design. At the same time a shift in the number and variety of motifs takes place, with more frequent examples of military themes (warriors, weapons, trophy heads) and geometric designs occurring in the art."
I’ll be reading his article soon and will update this description with any insights I might gain as to the signficance of the amazing designs.
Donald A. Proulx University of Massachusetts
Originally published in French, German and Spanish in: in Inca – Perú: 3000 Ans d’Histoire, edited by Sergio Purin, Pp. 384-399. Gent (Belgium): Imschoot, uitgevers, 1990. Minor revisions with added illustrations 2007.