Miao Embroidery (part 1)

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Miao ethnic dolls

Miao, an ethnic group without written characters, has migrated for many times. Being destitute and homeless, they take clothes as a bond between them, with which they differentiate themselves from others. Clothes increase cohesion among the group, become a concrete signal to express feelings, and inspire the Miao people to survive with their unbending will and nice wishes.

The embroidery is an old craft used to decorate clothes by Miao people. It boasts bright colors, while its patterns are taken from the real life, the history and the legend of Miao people and of exaggerated, unique, and complicated styles. The Miao Embroidery can be found in headbands, waistbands, corsets, dresses, leggings, shoes, bibs, as well as collars, cuffs, shoulders, and back of clothes. Like the sliver accessories, it is also a characteristic of the clothes of Miao women.

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colorful Miao Embroidery clothes

There are over twenty types of stitches for Miao Embroidery, such as Pingxiu Embroidery, Bianxiu Embroidery, horsetail embroidery, and Zhouxiu Embroidery. Pingxiu Embroidery is the commonest. Paper cut patterns are firstly stuck to the base cloth; then, according to the patterns, craftsman embroiders with colorful threads. Bianzi Embroidery also starts from sticking paper cut patterns to the base cloth. Then colorful silk threads are plaited. Plaits can be thick or thin, with each plait in one color, and they are placed on the base cloth according to the patterns. It ends with keeping the plaits in place with a piece of thread of the same color. If people crumple the plaits and keep them in place with a piece of thread of the same color, it is it is then called Zhouxiu Embroidery. Chanxiu Embroidery begins in such a way: stick paper cut patterns to the base cloth; prepare two needles with colorful threads, A and B. Needle A winds around needle B, which pierces downward and upward and winds around needle A. Needle A pierces downward and upward and winds around Needle B again. The process repeats. Bianxiu Embroidery, Zhouxiu Embroidery and Chanxiu Embroidery cost a lot of time, but the products are extremely exquisite. It will take more than two months to embroider a pair of cuffs so that they are used in splendid attire only.

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