Miao Embroidery


Miao Embroidery – History Books Written on Clothes

by Live in Guizhou

PUBLISHED July 7, 2021 • 2MIN READ

The Miao embroidery has no reference books. They embroider whatever they see, the mountains, the waters, butterflies, maples, dragons, birds, fish, ancient myths and all creatures can be embroidered as patterns on clothes. The theme of Miao embroidery expresses Miao women’s view of the world and the universe. They rarely display specific life scenes other than animals and plants in their embroidery works. Modern people also regard Miao embroidery as a reflection of the Taoism which believes in the nature, considering it “history books written on clothes”.

A Treasure of the China Costume Museum: the Hundred-Bird Costume

The hundred-bird costume of the Miao ethnic group is regarded as the “Miao epic worn on the body” and is considered by the China Costume Museum as one of its major treasures. The making of one traditional hundred-bird costume is a long process, as just the pattern making takes more than three years to execute. Besides the long procedure for pattern making, the tailoring is also extremely complicated. The ornaments on the back, shoulders, sleeves and front, the plumage in the hem-line, as well as the patterns on the clothe, are all made one stitch after another. A Miao girl usually gives her best years to the making of such a fancy and gorgeous costume.