Yunnan Wenshan embroidery
One of our Weibo followers “Ethnic Handicrafts” has sent us an article that introduced her hometown Wenshan, a Zhuang autonomous region in Yunnan Province. The following essay is what she wrote to Chinavine. Now please join Chinavine to feeling Wenshan’s local conditions and customs.
“Yunnan Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Minority Autonomous Prefecture is located in China’s southwest frontier. Inside statewide there are eight counties, of which Maguan, Funign, and Masupo counties are bordering on Vietnam.
There are eleven minorities ethnic groups live together in Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Minority Autonomous Prefecture. Due to history, geography, war and other reasons, this area is still poverty. Just because the mountain blocked the way for people to entrance and exit, people who lived there are still preserving many unique customs and traditions.
Each year, Zhuang minority’s March festival, Miao minority’s Flower-hill Climbing Festival, and Yao minority’s Panwang Festival attract many scholars and folklore lovers to do the fieldwork. People are especially interested in Bailuo people’s life. Bailuo is one of the Yi minority’s branches, although P.R China has already established for more than 60 years, and the modern life has already became a common lifestyle, here the traditional customs have not changed much. For example, they are still living in the primitive society life tribe. They do not out-marriage. And there’s no modern door lock for Bailuo people. They will do agricultural ritual activity each year at the first dragon day on April in Chinese calendar.
With a long history of Wenshan embroidery, you could find embroidery work everywhere. Each minority has its own unique style of embroidery inside this area. I will not explain all of them. Here, I want to presents Zhuang minority’s embroidery.
There are different types of hats for Zhuang people. For example, Children’s tiger hat, the flower hat, the swallowtail hat, and the crescent hat. They are all embroidered by needle and silk. Some other living goods such as bedding bag, pillow towel, antependium, curtain, handkerchief, as well as lucid ganoderma shoes, all need to embroider grass and ornament on it.
Embroidery is made by crewel needle and thread silk yarn. Zhuang people will also do shadow work embroidery. It needs to use hollow needle and cross line. The most famous embroidery of Zhuang people is shadow work belt, Children’s carpet and Ganoderma lucidum shoes. There are thousands of patterns of the embroidery. Such as Carp paddle, the phoenix toward peony, prosperity brought by the dragon and the phoenix, Unicorn sending child and so on. A piece of common cloth, after some embroidery processing, will become an exquisite art craft.
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