5 hours ago
Monday, 3 August 2015
I didn't buy any vintage Miao garments at the exhibition but I got this beautiful old Ge Yi Miao jacket from Mrs Zhang. I think the scrolling patterns were called 'dazi'. They have couched outlines and are infilled with what looks like French knots or a similar stitch. It is also known as 'forbidden stitch'.
The jacket's fabric would probably originally have been dark indigo, but it is now a purple colour. I think Mrs Zhang said it was about 50 years old.
She had cooked a big lunch for us too.
Even next to the dining table, there were small pieces of antique embroidery pinned to the wall.
An antique suit of armour was next to the TV.
The long and narrow box with the rounded end slung across the front of the armour is an arrow quiver.
This is the shield that went with the armour.
A bronze drum? It has the star/sunburst pattern on the top.
The triangular designs around the base reminded me of ancient Japanese designs found on bronze bells.
This embroidered blanket was Qing (pronounced Ching) dynasty (1644 - 1912). The colours reminded me of the 1718 coverlet. I wonder if this was also 300 years old? Certainly these are natural dyes. There were all kinds of animals, including phoenix and dragon.
Another blanket, similar age. The figures seemed a little more defined in this design. The creatures include the kirin (Japanese) or qilin (Chinese).
The style of this jacket, combined with the variety of different techniques decorating it, are very similar to a jacket in Gina Corrigan's book 'Miao Textiles from China', which is listed as coming from Danzhai county, Qingdongnan, so it was made locally.
It combines simple patchwork in various special fabrics with several kinds of embroidery.
Mrs Zhang stitched this jacket herself.
It was one of several pieces for which she has received many awards. It seems the Chinese don't go in for rosettes at textile shows but issue certificates instead.
We are used to seeing the Miao jackets displayed with a pole or lath through the arms and shoulders rather than actually being worn. The fronts cross over and form two points rather than just hanging loosely, and are held in place with ties stitched to the jacket.
An apron completes this festival ensemble.
This one is hand embroidered.
We had only just begun looking at Mrs Zhang's collection and there was much more to see...
The following morning, we set up a stand with some of my quilts at The 8th China Kaili Original Ecological Cultural Tourism Festival and 2015 China (Guizhou) International Folk Crafts Fair. At this point, I was feeling really jetlagged and almost anything would have been preferable to hanging quilts at 8.30 a.m.! We got them up with lots of help. I chose quilts that I thought might appeal to the (mostly Chinese) visitors to the show.
We had a chance for a quick walk around the show before the opening ceremony started and the crowds arrived. Luckily the hall wasn't too large, more the size of Quilts UK than Festival of Quilts. These are contemporary Chinese embroideries on traditional themes.
Many stands were selling vintage local pieces of embroidery.
Locally made batik.
I'm not sure where this jacket is from, but I liked the swirl patterns very much.
Miao jackets from near Kaili.
This was my favourite piece, from Yunnan. This photo was from just before the show opened and the trader was not on the stand to ask how much it was... probably just as well! Martin Conlan (Slow Loris) later told me an ensemble like this would probably be around £1, 100 - £1500, depending on condition).
One of the singers at the opening ceremony on the outdoor stage. I don't know much about her costume, but it looks like a stage costume with some traditional influences and modern colours. It is a shame I can't get video upload to work, as I really liked her songs.
Miao people were demonstrating traditional crafts in front of the stage.
The opening ceremony included a costume display with various Miao minority tribal ensembles. Some of the silver head dresses were amazing.
This is the 'shining cloth', dyed with indigo. It looks almost metallic and quite spectacular when worn and creased.
Back to the 'United Kingdom' stand (my patchwork) on the left of this stand. We had a lot of interest, especially in the Denman Kannon which was part of the display. Unfortunately, the exhibition was on for two days, so we had to leave for Pintang without my quilts. Mrs Zhang brought them over on July 27th, but it meant that none of my students saw these quilts, which was a shame.
I was interviewed (with Sarah translating) by one Chinese newspaper but alas I didn't get the newspaper cutting or feature.
Buying batik just before we left at lunchtime. This is made near Kaili, by the Geija people (classed as part of the Miao group). I brought back one of the batik squares panels (white on blue) in the centre of the photo. I would have liked to have bought more things at the exhibition, but I had to fit everything back into my suitcases later!
We went to Mrs Zhang's flat to see some of her textile collection before driving to Pintang - photos of that are coming soon.