In the center of the du dou (traditional Chinese under garment) is an embroidery of the Goddess of Child Delivery, the Taoist goddess who is in charge of fertility and child bearing. The young wives would worship the goddess by offering sweet and fruits in the temple, a “cim” stick would be drawn, a lucky cim would meant the goddess has granted the woman’s wish of having a child, a small jacket would then be put on the child figurine which the goddess is holding. After the child is born, the mother would return to thank the goddess with a feast of offering.
This costume belonged to the Sanjiang Dong Tribe of the Guangxi area.
The garment is made with handwoven fabric with brocade trimming around the collar and placket, a decorative embroidery trimming is added to the bottom of the jacket. It would be worn as an opened jacket revealing the embroidered du dou that is worn underneath.
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The creature on top of the hat is not an alien or a monster but a tiger. This powerful animal has been a subject for worship, its strength and fearless image offers a kind of protection and aspiration for the Chinese. Along with other costume of the tiger theme, the tiger hat would be given to the child by the parents on Chinese New Year so the child can be protected for the rest of the year.
Click here to see the other tiger costumes.
A delicate embroidery of flowers with gold threads on a fine piece of silk. An example of the school of Guangdong embroidery where different thread material is being used, gold, silver, horse hair and even threads made from peacock’s feather.
This item is a du dou, a traditional under garment which is made by the girl for their lover, husband and children. The pattern on the this du dou seems to be cropped which might indicate that it was taken from a fine top garment, something that is far too precious to throw away even if certain part is torn.
A small portfolio decorated with a piece of embroidery filled with blessing symbols.
The cow in the middle of the embroidery is known as a Spring Cow, it is part of the Chinese New Year traditional that has been passed down since 800B.C. The figure of a cow would be made with straws and mud, a day before (Li Chun – the first day of spring in the 24 solar terms) it would be brought to front gate of the town where it would be whipped by all the notable of the town or village. The ritual is believed to wake up the Spring Cow, the passing of the freezing winter, the start of agriculture and the gone with winter ailmnet. With us city dwellers who are far away from the farmland and the fields, the only Spring Cow we will see is perhaps the one printed at the back of the Tung Shing which gives us prediction of the year’s weather. Well, for this year will is suppose to be drought, we seems to be getting a lot of rain so far.
Around the Spring Cow are blessing objects;
@12 o’clock – yellow moon, an object of worship,
@2 o’clock – the double trapezium, Fang Sheng, the hairstyle of the Queen Mother of the West, has the ability to pacify,
@5 o’clock – rhino horn, resembling victory,
@7 o’clock – scroll of books and painting, wisdom
@10 o’clock – the 3 blessed star Fu Lu Shou,
@11 o’clock – in form of a white cloud shape is Ru Yi, “as you wished”.
This is a hat for the new born baby, a blessing from the mother.
Three different fruits are embroidered on the top of the hat (click on the links for more stories about the symbolism);
Peach – symbolizes longevity,
Promegranate – symbolizes fertility,
Buddha’s Finger – symbolizes happiness.
All the good thoughts from the mother to the child.
This is fine piece of embroidery on silk.
A corner is trimmed back on this perfect square, a minimal cutting for the costume.
A Du Dou, a traditional undergarment.
The curve is placed on the collar with a string tied around the neck, strings from the two diagonal corners tied around the body.
Chrysanthemum and peony flowers are the theme of the embroidery, symbolizing happiness and wealth.