Archives for posts with tag: Miao


Waist 430mm, Hong Kong

A waist coat we have designed with a piece of brocade from the Miao tribe.  In traditional Miao costume, its normally found as a decoration for collars, sleeves, as well as for baby carriers.

For needle brocade, the technique used for this fabric please fwd to 9m20s.



L600mm, China

A wrapped around skirt of the Miao tribe.


The Miao tribe made their own costume, fabric from scratch.
Starting from the plant, making threads, weaving, wax resist painting, dyeing, making a costume.

Please watch this amazing documentary about the Miao and the hemp, it is a million time better than I can describe in words.

maio bag

W300xL250mm, China

When I saw this bag,  I felt the tribal craft has really adapted to the new material and function.  Carrying on the bold embroidery tradition, it  has also made use of fluorescent beads and pom-poms, compartments for wallets and travelling pass.

silver bracelet

DIA70xH70mm, China

This fine silver bracelet was one from the Miao tribe in China, the size of a cuff of a shirt, reminiscent of part of the armor.  They are worn in pairs and would be up to 4 pairs at the same time.   Different branches of the Miao tribe have their individual bracelet which all the women would be wearing.

L250xW70mm, China

This is a pair of embroidery shoes of the Miao tribe (for more about Miao tribe shoes, see our earlier post, Embroidery Shoes).  Today I would like to concentrate on the cloth sole of the shoes which is entirely handmade.  Before rubber and leather sole became popular in China, most of the soles are made with cloth, it is a common household practice, even mother remembers making shoes for herself in her childhood.  Here is mom’s instruction:

  1. Save up old clothes and off cuts for a year, so materials are ready for making new shoes for Chinese new year
  2. Cook up some glue with water and rice flour (the Chinese version of wall paper paste)
  3. On a flat board, applied glue to the edge of the board, then stretch the a large piece of cotton cloth, apply a layer of glue over it.  On the second layer place smaller pieces of cloth, avoid any overlapping or gaps, apply a layer.  On the top place a large piece of cotton, avoid creases, applied glue over it.  Let dry for a night
  4. Use a newspaper to trace out the sole of the old pair of shoe, enlarge to suit.  Prepare an addition one for a size larger.
  5. Cut out from the dried cloth pile 6 pieces from the larger template (large filler – LF), 7 from the smaller (small filler – SF) one and 2 smaller pieces for the heel (H).  Put the pieces of the same size together, clamp them and give it a good trim so that they are the same size and shape.  Reverse the template and cut out the soles for the other shoe.
  6. Take a piece from the large filler and mount a piece of cotton, wrapped the edges over to the top.  This will become the bottom layer of the sole (BS), the piece that touches on the ground.  Take the other 6 larger fillers and stick on a cotton piping around it.
  7. Then places the fillers in the order; BS-LF-SF-LF-H-SF-LF-SF-LF-SF-LF-H-SF-LF-SF-SF-SF.  Stitch temporarily to hold them together, clamp it well and sew the edge with hemp string (you will need an awl for this).  Then make uniform and small stitiches (as seen in the photo) throughout the whole of the sole.
  8. The completed sole is then brushed with warm water and covered with a blanket overnight.
  9. The next morning, the sole is compressed with a mallet and air dried.
  10. Now the sole is complete, all you need to do is the upper shoes and of course the embroidery …

W100xL600mm, Thailand

The Hmong tribe is one of the 5 major hill tribes in Thailand, the Hmong is a sub tribe of the Miao tribe in China.  It is believed that due to the cultural reforms brought on in the Qing dynasty, a search for more fertile land that have brought on a massive immgration in the 18th century.  According to records in the Chinese literature, the Miao tribe can be dated back to 3rd century BC.

These embroidery were decorative pieces on the sleeve or collar of the Black Hmong costume, unfortunately the garments which these embroidery have been on were too worn to be kept, these are the pieces that have been salvaged.  Traditionally, these garments were worn during the Hmong New Year in November or December when the harvest has been completed.  They are combination of cross stitching and patchwork, the embroidery patterns all have a subtle symbolic meaning; (left) a protection cross, (center) flowers, (right) snails.  These embroider pieces are a perfect for any handmade projects, bags, jackets, etc.

W600xL900mm, China

This is one of the traditional costume of the Miao tribe from the Qian Chung Nan area  In fact there are over 200 different styles within the Miao tribe, different district would have their own costumes (hairstyle, accessory, clothing, etc) which has been modified along the different dynasty.  From the Qing dynasty, embroidery, silverware, Manchurian style left or right breasted garments were added into the collection.  This garment would have been worn by a middle age female; made with blue cotton, tailored to be loosely fitted with no collar.

L1400xW1000mm, China

This is a patchwork embroidery duvet cover of the Miao Zu minority tribe.  As the name patchwork embroidery suggests, its a combination of both type of needlework; colours are created by the patchwork and the detail added in by the embroidery.  The Miao has their own individual language but not an individual text; their history is passed down the generations by word of mouth in form of songs or as a design on their embroidery.  The story is symbolised by the pattern of the embroidery, for example in this work, bird = happiness and freedom, flower = young girl, butterfly = mother, dragon = power, etc.

L250mm, China

This is a pair of Miao Zu minority tribe embroidery shoes.  The Miao has their own individual language but not an individual text; their history is passed down the generations by word of mouth in form of songs or as a design on their costumes (by embroidery, accessories, folding, stitching, etc).  For example, Butterfly = ancestors, mother.  As fashion is their form of literature, it goes hand in hand that they have superb embroidery skills.  The skill would be passed down from mother to daughters.  Traditionally, embroiled shoes are worn by single young ladies who would select different shoes for different suitors and occasions.

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