Authors: LiZu Zhibel Zhenpin, LongBei Yishu
Chinese text; illustrated with many wonderful color photos
127 pages; Hardcover with dust jacket; 10” x 13.25” or 24 x 33.5 cm
Condition: New; edition of 1000
This is a pictorial definitive work about these magnificent textiles which have an 800 year history as tribute cloths. Although the text is in Chinese, the fine and plentiful photos provide a lot of visual information about the sources of motifs, methods of production, etc., plus full images and close-ups of the quilts.
Author: Wang Xueping
Published in Beijing, 2001
Chinese and English
312 pages including 618 color photos; Hardcover with dust jacket and slipcover; 10.5” x 15” or 30 x 45cm
The Li people live in mountainous Hainan Island off the southeast coast of China and have had their rich culture eroded considerably since the photos and information in this book were collected in the 1980’s. Wang Xueping verified the material and collected more in 2000, resulting in this publication. This is the definitive work on the Li ethnic groups’ material culture. It presents all aspects of the culture including: architecture; familial customs; food; dress and ornament; farming, hunting, fishing and gathering; transportation and communications; religion, divination and funeral; tattoo; woodwork, weaving and pottery; music, dance and sports; with a final section on brocade patterns and the dragon quilts.
Two old embroidered panels (probably hat panels) have been stitched onto a nice background of handwoven black cotton to form an attractive composite. Age and wear is apparent in the coloration and bits of embroidery pattern peeking thru the silk threads (see detail). A thin edge of woven silk with silver threads provides a nice finish on each piece. This would frame nicely.
Size: 11.5″ x 10.5″
Fine chain, satin and cross stitch embroidery decorates these two, almost identical panels from the Ge-jia people in Guizhou Province. This pair of panels would have adorned the back of their handsome batik jacket as ‘tails’ (please see Clothings and Ornaments of China’s Miao People, p.131). Each panel is a work of art, therefore we are offering them individually. The fine silk embroidery on cotton is complemented by accent bands of dark blue cotton attached with very fine, decorative (probably machine) stitching. Contrasting black and white outlines and accents the central motifs. Condition is very good, with very minor soil and a bit of fugitive color at the upper left (TACH343) and on the lower left (TACH343b).
Size: 10.5″ x 9.25″
From Nayong, in Guizhou province, this short panel was worn as a sort of bib/apron and is similar in style of embroidery to TACH397,398 and 399. This one has finely handspun indigo cotton in the central area, flanked by finely embroidered panels engagingly depicting flowers and birds in a thickly layered satin stitch. The flowers petals are built up in satin stitch and have become three-dimensional. All embroidery is fine silk on cotton. No ties remain on this one, though condition is very good, with minimal surface soil.
Size: 15.75″h x 16.25″ across the bottom
Probably from the Hmong/Miao in Yunnan Province, China, this elaborately decorated festival apron shows a flower vase flanked by flamboyant birds and flowers in each corner, with more flowers bordering the central panel. Done in satin stitch with acrylic yarn, it also includes rickrack and purchased ribbon and beads. Condition is very good with only a few strands of beads missing.
Size: 24.5″ (including fringe) x 9.75″
Probably from the Hmong/Miao in Yunnan Province, China, this prettily colored festival apron is finely embroidered in pleasantly harmonious colors. The symmetrical design is of stylized flowers. Beads and pompoms finish the lower edge. Condition is very good with only a few missing bead strands. These panels are wonderful as added embellishment on a jacket, or framed and grouped together.
Size: 23″ (including fringe) x 10.5″
Probably from the Hmong/Miao in Yunnan Province, China, this festival apron is fearless in color and elaborate in design. Complimentary colors of red and green are used to eye-dazzling effect and are accented with gold foil and black. Executed in cross-stitch and satin stitch, it also includes rickrack and beads. Condition is excellent.
Size: 22.5″ (including fringe) x 10″
Probably from the Hmong/Miao in Yunnan Province, China, this festival apron is boldly colored and patterned. Executed in cross-stitch and satin stitch, the design is rather formal and sophisticated, but executed in clear, contrasting colors. Further embellishment includes rickrack, ribbon and beads. Condition is excellent.
Size: 23″ (including fringe) x 9″
From Nayong, in Guizhou province, this short panel was worn as a sort of bib/apron and is similar in style of embroidery to TACH397,398 and 399. This one has black velveteen in the central area, flanked by finely embroidered panels engagingly depicting flowers and butterflies. The flowers petals are built up in satin stitch and have become three-dimensional. All embroidery is fine silk on cotton. The black edging along the top is silk, and funny little trade cloth cotton pieces with ‘atomic’ motifs fill in where the embroidered strips stop at the lower corners. One woven cotton ribbon tie, with tasseled end, remains and vestiges of the others are on the reverse side. The trade cloth hints at a mid-20th century age, but the condition is very good, with minimal soil.
Size: 16.5″h x 18.5″ across the bottom
Old and well-used, this child's tunic nonetheless has some charming details including bat motifs (for good fortune/prosperity) on the front, elaborate silk ribbon bordering the bottom and the arm openings, and a woven ribbon tie at the shoulder. All is lovingly handstitched and with multiple borders. Condition reflects hard use, with some water staining and wear to the silk borders. Priced accordingly.
Size: 14.75″ x 14″
From the Hmong/Miao in Nayong, Guizhou province, these bib/aprons have an unusual shape and work that is pleasingly graphic, yet with subtle embellishment. This one has an embroidered top panel with added bands of ribbon on the sides and midsection in pleasingly harmonious colors. All stitching is by hand. There is some soil and fugitive color, but it does not detract. Also the lower edge has some tears and holes as befits its age; possibly from the mid-20th century.
Size: 27″ x 13.5″
Probably from the Hmong/Miao in Yunnan Province, China, and worn as a festival apron, this colorful textile has a dynamic design employing four angular birds flanking a central plant form. Charming cats look out from the bottom of the panel (see Detail 1), and a row of flowers borders the top. Executed mostly in cross stitch, it also uses ‘rick rack’ and commercial ribbon to embellish the piece.
Size: Panel: 26.5″ x 15.25″
This child’s bib from the Dong people in Guizhou Province, has strong graphic elements made by appliqué and embroidery techniques, plus embellishments of handwoven silk ribbon. Concentric applique bands are hand-stitched with minute running stitches, and fine decorative cross-like stitches outline the lower panel and ornament the corners. The background is finely woven, handspun indigo cotton. (Please see Christi Lan Lin’s Symbolism of Chinese Children’s Bibs; p.68)
Size: 24″ x 13″
These old baby carriers (TACH223, 224, & 225) are well-used, but of such beautiful coloring that we couldn’t resist them. Each is embellished with a large butterfly in the center of a handspun, indigo cotton panel. Borders decorated with very small cross-stitching in silk on cotton make a colorful frame, and the lower panels depict a four part flower appliqued in silk. Ready to frame, these would make a stunning grouping hung together or in the same room. This one is not in quite as good condition and is priced accordingly.
Size: 26″ x 18″
This amazing confection of ribbon, rick rack, and handstitching is artful in its coloration and execution. One curious aspect is a deliberate ‘scrunching up’ of the cross-stitched borders, giving the piece lots of textural interest and dimension. The many lines of varied ribbon are separated by embroidered lines in a multitude of colors including turquoise, lilac, lime green, blue, and black. Motifs include upside down birds, stylized flowers, and spirals. Two rows of beaded fringe, one of which ends in heart beads, finish the bottom. Condition is quite good. This would be fabulous if framed in a shadow box.
Size: 22″ x 27.5″ (including fringe)
This lively embroidered design is intended to be an embellishment at the collar and shoulder of the dress worn by women in the area around Honghe in southern Yunnan Province, near the border with NW Vietnam. It is fascinating for several reasons: it is a work in progress and shows basting stitches and the layering of the fabrics prior to being appliqued into place; also, in addition to applique, a satin stitch is used to great effect. The dynamic, swirling motifs and fine sewing in silk on cotton and silk make this an artful as well as instructive piece which would display well in a frame.
Size: 19.5″ x 18″ across points
These old baby carriers (TACH223, 224, & 225) are well-used, but of such beautiful coloring that we couldn’t resist them. Each is embellished with a large butterfly in the center of a handspun, indigo cotton panel. Borders decorated with very small cross-stitching in silk on cotton make a colorful frame, and the lower panels depict a four part flower appliqued in silk. Ready to frame, these would make a stunning grouping hung together or in the same room.
Size: 27″ x 20″
Originally the tail of a Miao, or possibly Dong, woman’s coat, this panel is covered completely with fine silk embroidery, not weaving! This one has nine bands, each with a different design, and comprises several panels stitched together. Handspun cotton backs each piece. Metal-wrapped silk threads enliven some of the designs. These are beautiful framed, or could be added to a garment as elegant embellishment.
Size: 16″ x 11.75″
From Nankai, in Guizhou Province, this collar has an unusual pattern in the embroidered area, which is executed in satin stitch, not cross-stitch. The surrounding border is also unusual in design and striking in the use of color. All embroidery is on finely woven natural cotton. Condition is very good.
Size: 17.5 in. w. x 19 in. (decorated area)
From Nankai, in Guizhou Province, this collar employs traditional coloring and designs (see Writing With Thread p.279). Cross-stitch and satin stitch are finely executed in silk in medium green, dark red, soft pink, and white on a background of black cotton. Condition is very good.
Size: 17.5 in. w. x 17.25 in. (decorated area)
From Nankai, in Guizhou Province, this collar employs a lovely color combination of dark red, turquoise, orange and white in the fine, silk embroidery. It is framed by nicely contrasting bands in the traditional combination of red and yellow cotton. The lining of the standup collar appears to be indigo hempcloth; the rest of the embroidery is on fine indigo cotton. This is an older piece and is in very good condition, except for one small hole.
Size: 17 in. w. x 20 in. (decorated area)
This unusual old Miao baby carrier panel is covered in dense, finely chain-stitched flowers which have faded beautifully with age, and are framed by bountiful appliqued borders. From the Flowered Hmong subgroup in Guizhou Province of southern China, it is from the mid-20th century. Condition is very good, tho faded. This displays very subtly and would be attractive mounted on linen.
Size: 32″high x 15.5″ wide @ top, 12.5″ wide @ bottom
From Shiping, in south central Yunnan province, this beautiful tunic and belt set is finely embroidered in a brilliant combination of colors of silk. Various reds and dark pinks are embroidered on different shades of green, and black, making a richly dynamic interplay of color. Most embroidery is in satin stitch, but the side connecting bands on the tunic are in cross stitch, outlined with colorful dark pink braided silk bands. The tunic collar is adorned with hemispherical metal beads and lightweight coinlike buttons (probably metal-plated plastic). The unfinished lower edges are typical, as it is intended to be covered by the belt. The belt is quite long and wrapped around the body several times, with the ends worn at the back. It is in a complementary blue cotton handsewn on the bias. Both pieces are in excellent condition and are an unusual find, as we usually can get separate pieces, but not sets.
Size: Vest-13″ x 22″; Belt-7 3/4″ x 10′-0″
Beautifully embroidered in silk, this is a fine example of this type of panel from Liping County, Guizhou. It could be Dong, or Miao, as both groups live in this area. The central panel includes multiple swastika motifs, which are considered auspicious, and is bordered by a blue cotton frame, and edged in not-too-shiny calendared cotton. Fine silk ribbon ties are attached at two corners. Condition is excellent, tho this is not a new piece. These older pieces with fine work and good colors are becoming hard to find. Please see Bonding Via Baby Carriers, #50 for a similar example.
Size: 14.25″ x 16″
Very unusual in coloration, this fine piece appears to have been woven in a soft brick red/peach cotton (maybe natural dye), with added, embroidered accents of light indigo, pale peach, and hot pink silk. Perhaps the accents were added later to an older blanket, as the blanket shows some slight wear and fading, but the accents do not. The overall design is subtle but attractive, with a frame of swastika meandering around a field of diamonds framed with running hooks. The accents pick up the light and enliven the surface nicely. Condition is quite good, with the exception of a 2.5″ repair at the bottom/center.
Size: 29″ x 24.75″”
Very softly faded with age, this elegant old blanket once had purple and pink diamond designs outlined with indigo, but now the indigo is pronounced and the other colors are very muted. Note the nicely matched seams and the design created there. Comprising three panels, it has a ramie foundation and silk supplementary weft; the indigo motifs are cotton. One end of one panel has a quirky ‘false start’ where the weaver changed her mind. Condition is good with fairly even wear and fading. A dark area in the upper center panel in the photos is not really noticeable in reality.
Size: 56.75″ x 37.75″
Unusual, rich copper-colored silk on a soft, indigo/grey background creates an elegant effect on this lovely old blanket. A wide border comprising small diamonds creates a window which is filled with ‘king’ symbols and diamonds, indicating this as a boy’s blanket. The silk supplementary weft weaving is on fine cotton or ramie dyed in a soft indigo color. Condition is quite good, with no holes or repairs, but random areas of wear are evident, especially in an area where the indigo interacted with the silk. Probably early 20th century, this must have been lovingly used.
22 in. x 26.75 in.
Woven with a lively pattern of alternating squares, each of a different design, this fine silk on silk panel once decorated a Miao baby carrier in Guizhou Province. Most prominent of the motifs are the meander and crane, both rendered very finely in blue silk on off-white; pink weft stripes break up the surface at approximately 1″ intervals.
Size: 54.5″ x 7.5″
Used by the Shui ethnic minority group in Guizhou Province, this elaborately embellished old baby carrier features couched silk embroidery, metal sequins, old silk ribbon and brocade silk on cotton and wool. These pieces are famous for the use of horse hair wrapped in silk for curved embellishments. Well-loved and used, but still very handsome, this beautiful old piece would display stunningly, with a richness of color, texture and pattern.
Size: 41″ x 24.5″ (top), 16″ (bottom)
Almost the size of a baby blanket, this gorgeous fragment is a fine example of this genre with excellent embroidery and beautiful, mellowed colors. The main motif is concentric lines of cats, or perhaps protective fou dogs, bordering running, indigo diamonds containing stylized flowers. It is finely made with good matching at the seam. Mostly silk on ramie, with only the indigo motifs in cotton. A border of black cotton is a recent addition. Condition is very good, with a small original repair and no holes.
Size: Field: 26.75″ x 24.25″; OA: 35.75″ x 33.25″
This lively little blanket is unusual in that the background is dyed with indigo, which complements and contrasts nicely the purple and pinks of the silk decorative motifs. Six individual borders ring the central panel, giving the piece a pleasing visual complexity. Soft to the touch, it has a lovely ‘drape’. Condition is very good, with a bit of wear on some motifs and one small hole.
Size: 25″ x 23.5″
This rare and unusual old baby blanket is of a design unlike any other we’ve ever seen. A lively geometric pattern of lustrous embroidered silk in shades of pale copper forms a lush field of running diamonds separated by grey lines, and with white accents. The foundation has warps of white cotton alternating with light indigo cotton, which create a neutral, grey background. Uneven coloring in the image is caused by rhe sheen of the silk and is not obvious in reality. Condition is very good, with minimal wear and a lovely softness. Possibly early to mid-20th century.
25.25 in. x 23.5 in.
Beautifully colored and designed, this is a fine example of the old Miao aprons from Shidong in eastern Guizhou Province. Woven with thick silk supplementary wefts for most of the colors, and cotton ones for the dark indigo, it is rich to the touch. The iconography includes stylized flowers, long-tailed birds, short-tailed birds, butterflies, horses and other unidentifiable figures. Bordered with dark indigo, handspun cotton, it has the woven silk ties intact that are from this area. Condition is very good, with some fugitive color, but it does not detract.
28.25 in. h x 26 in. w
From the Meifu group of Li people on Hainan Island, this fine old woman’s headcloth is most unusual. The deep end panels are covered in extremely fine silk embroidery in geometric patterns, and lively, couched Chinese characters, also done in silk. The body of the piece is fine indigo cotton. The language is not Chinese, but is supposed to be archaic poetry. We consider it visual poetry: the combination of motifs results in a very graphic, but refined and elegant composition executed in fine materials. Probably from the late 19th century or early 20th, it is in quite good condition with the exception of loose silk threads (see Detail 2) and some wear on a few of the characters. These are heirloom pieces and not easily found.
Size: 10.75″ x 67.5″ not including fringe
Beautifully designed, this old Zhuang blanket was woven with an integral frame for the outside border, which surrounds a traditionally-designed central field filled with diamonds. There are three different groups of designs in the border and field (see Detail_1), including running swastikas for many blessings. Dark indigo lines with hooks enliven the central field, and indigo diamonds punctuate the border. Made with a foundation of very fine ramie, silk is used for supplementary weft designs, except for the indigo motifs, which are cotton. Condition is very good, with some wear, but no holes or repairs.
Size: 58.5″ x 35.75″
Handsome dark indigo combines with golden yellow and light blue on this long four band skirt from the Meifu group of Li people on Hainan Island. The ikat is crisp and intricate, with some in light blue. Condition is like new and it’s fairly soft, unlike more recent ones. This is a beautiful example of Meifu ikat and weaving.
Size: 36.75″ x 43.5″ if opened
From the Qi Li group, this old wedding tubeskirt exhibits the patina of age with mellow colors on fine, handspun cotton. Supplementary warp and weft decoration is mostly in silk, with silk embroidery also used. Comprising three bands, wear to one or more of the bands possibly required some recycling, as the center band has an indigo background, and the flanking bands have black backgrounds. Otherwise, it is in quite good condition with some wear, but no repairs and only a few very small holes. Probably early to mid- 20th century.
Size: 33.5″ long x 48.5″ if opened up
This fine old wedding skirt from the Qi sub-group of Li is beautifully mellow in color and feel. The indigo cotton and golden silk embellishments were handsome when new and have aged well. The skirt comprises three bands, with the top one of silk and cotton supplementary warp on indigo cotton. The second includes warp ikat, in addition to supplementary warp and weft weaving. Silk embroidery includes dancing figures and other attractive motifs. The third band is embellished with both weaving and embroidery in fine repetitive motifs that are traditionally used on these special skirts. Condition is quite good, tho there have been some repairs and some embroidery is worn. This skirt is quite old and has been handed down through the generations. Late 19thc-early 20thc.
Size: 32.5″ long x 48.5″ if opened up