History of the Forbidden City of China, £8.99
Height: 135.000 cm
Width: 160.000 cm
Purchased from Gina Corringan
‘One hundred bird’ coat
Danzhai, Guizhou Province, China
AD 1960 – 1990
Festival coat worn by Miao (Hmong) people
This coat was made by women of the Miao (also known as the Hmong) community in Guizhou Province, China. The Miao are a cross-border people who live in Vietnam, Lao and Thailand as well as in south-western China.
Miao textiles in China often display design elements which show the influence of both China’s majority population (the Han) and of other non-Han peoples living in this highly diverse part of South-west China.
This coat is richly decorated and could have been worn at a festival or by someone conducting a ceremony.
It is part of a collection of Miao textiles collected in Guizhou, China and has been embellished with thin sheets of applied green ‘silk-felt’. The birds were sewn using satin-stitch.
The 12 free-hanging panels at the bottom have been decorated with chicken feathers and shiny grass seedpods, called ‘Job’s tears’. These free hanging panels are reminiscent of Tibetan textiles.
Both the design and decoration of this coat suggest that it is associated with Miao ritual and understanding of the universe.
G. Corrigan, Fabric Folio: Miao Textiles from China (2001) pp. 46–47