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Miao Women’s Embroidered Glossy Batik Shirt with Square Collar and Diagonal Placket Front

Museum of Ethnic Costumes, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology

Museum of Ethnic Costumes, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology
Beijing, China

This square-collar blouse is heavily-embellished on the shoulder with colorful patterns featuring peaches, pomegranates, phoenix and bats set on a red foundation. The white strands of yarns used to fix the edges of motifs and the gold threads to stitch the outline of the red foundation fabric brighten the palette of the entire garment. The cross-stitched geometric floral patterns in purple, blue and green on an orange ground on the hem of the diagonal placket stand out as an interesting contrast to the foundation fabric. The central areas of sleeves and the yoke are decorated with batik appliques in the shape of vortex, a pattern called “wo tuo” in the Miao language, believed to originate in the worship of water by the Miao people. The vortex patterns with a harmonious palette here were done by applying red and yellow pigments on a single-color batik. The cuffs are hemmed with white handmade cloth featuring black stripes and lozenge patterns, while on the back of waist there are two symmetric embroidered red strips, from the end of which there used to be hanging beaded fringe that are now missing. The side slits and bottom line are hemmed with overlaid strips of black, white, red and orange, which is a signature for the sub-group of the Miao people the wearer belongs to. With a green chain-stitched hem on the inside, the bottom of the front, which is in glossy fabric, was pleated first and then smoothen and flattened, creating a visual effect of bright and dark stripes.

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