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Different Textiles of Ethnic Groups
Author:toguizhou / Update time:2021-04-06 17:46:08 / Hits:0

The variety of clothing worn by the minorities of South-West China and Guizhou in particular, provides travellers with a daily visual feast. Clothes are as much a social and ethnic denominator as pure decoration. They also show whether a woman is married or not; if unmarried, clothes are a further pointer to a woman's wealth and skills in weaving and embroidery.

Many women in remote areas weave their own hemp and cotton cloth, though mass-produced cloth is commonly bought in the local markets or departement stores.The same is true for dyes. Many women will not attend festivals in the rain for fear that the dyes in their fabrics will run. Some families, especially in Dong areas, still ferment their own indigo paste, and you will also see this for sale in traditional markets. Methods of producing indigo are greatly treasured and kept secret, but these are increasingly threatened by the introduction of artificial chemical dyes.

Embroiedery is central to minority costume and is a tradition, passed down from mother to daughter. Until recently, embroidery was never bought and sold but rather handed down through generations. The designs include many important symbols and references to Miao(Hmong) myths and history. Birds, fish and a variety of dragon motif are popular symbols. Today the best designs are copied onto paper-cut and sold.

The highest-quality work is often reserved for baby carriers, and many young girls work on these as they approach marrying age. Older women will often spend hundreds of hours embroidering their own funeral clothes. You may see women embroidering small strips or panels can then be removed after the main festivals or when the jackets gets old. Baby hats are also embroidered and decorated with silver symbols to protect the infant. Embroidered insoles were once popular, but are becoming less so. A great place to get a close look at some traditional work is the festival in Shidong, the festival is called Sisters Meal Festival.

Costumes move with the times, In larger towns, Miao women often substitute their embroidered smocks with a good woolly jumper and their headdresses look suspiciously like mass-produced pink and yellow Chinese towels.

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