34 ethnic groups live in southern China, this exhibit showcases traditional dresses of 15 ethnic groups among them
Each ribbon is divided into three segments: the upper represents the Qingshui River, the middle represents the Yangzi River, and the bottom represents the Yellow River. This design sybolizes the migtation route that the ancestors of the Miao followed, from the Yellow River to the Yangzi River, and eventually coming to the present home near the Qingshui River.
This is made by first putting silkworms on a flat surface, the silk produced by the worms will form a peice of a cocoon which are then stuck together on a peice of plain white cloth with gum from the Chinese honeylocust fruit (Gleditsia sinensis) or konjac gell (from Amorphophallus konjac). Afterwards, it is embroidered with various paaterns using colored silk thread.
This is the traditional costume of a Yi man. The black top is embroidered with colorful laces. The trousers have wide legs that normally come in a range of sizes. Yi men wear a turban made from a long piece of blue cloth. The ends of the cloth is tied into the shape of a horn to the right of the forehead. It is called “Hero Knot” and symbolizes courage .
This is the traditional dress of a Yi woman. The swirl motif, locally called a "ram horn" pattern, is first cut from a piece of red cloth and then sewn onto the black cloth with yellow thread. This simple, practical and colorful pattern alludes to the traditional pastoralist culture of the Yi. The red represents fire, the yellow represents the tiger, and the black represents the clan's social status, all of which are significant in traditional Yi society.
This was the armor of a Yi warrior. It is made of two parts: the breastplate and the back-plate. Each plate is also divided into two parts, the upper part is composed of five large pieces of lacquered leather to protect the chest.The lower part is made of strings of leather pieces to protect the stomach. It opens on the side. It was not only worn as armor for combat, but also a symbol of wealth and power.
Tibetan robes are very loose, and are usually worn with a belt tied around the waist and with one sleeve thrown over the shoulder. Although it is long enough to almost reach the ground, these robes are usually worn knee-length, with the excess pulled up by the belt in order to form a pouch that can be used to carry things like wooden bowls.
This was the brocade robe of a Tibetan noblewoman. It is trimmed with a wide band of fur from a Eurasian river otter (Lutra lutra). Today, China's otter populations are endangered and have been given national protection, ending the hunting of otters in China.The robe is worn with a decorative silver belt which is wide enough to cover the entire midsection of the robe. Robes like this were usually embroidered with flower patterns and studded with jewels. In addition to the robe, Tibetans usually wear a dagger on one side and accessories on the other side, tucked into the belt. The headwear is decorated with precious stones such as amber and coral. In Tibetan society, wealth and status were indicated by clothing made of high quality cloth and adorned with precious jewels.
This is a Tibetan robe made of rich purple wool with leopard fur trim (probably from Pantera pardus delacouri). Tibetan robes are worn loose, with long, wide sleeves. They are usually made of wool, sheep skin or brocade. The collar, cuffs, and hem are usually trimmed with fur, wool or colorful cloth. This kind of robe is easy to put on, take off, or can be worn with one shoulder exposed, versatility that is suitable for doing hard work in Tibet's volatile weather.
This type of dress is worn by the She women in Fujian Province, and is called a Phoenix Dress. The colorful lace embroidery represents the phoenix's neck, waist and beautiful feathers. Women coil their hair on the top of the head and tie it with red wool thread, symbolizing the phoenix's head. There is a legend about the origin of the Phoenix Dress, that long ago, King Gaoxin married his third daughter to Panhu, the ancestor of the She people, as a reward for a victory in battle. The Queen sent a phoenix crown and a phoenix dress to the Thrid Princess along with her best wishes for a happy life. Afterwards, the Third Princess gave birth to one girl and three boys. When the girl married, a phoenix came back from Phoenix Mountains with the shinning Phoenix Dress in its beak. Since then, the She women have made it a tradition to wear the Phoenix Dress as a blessing.
This is the traditional clothing of a Li woman. The top is made of indigo sackcloth without a collar or buttons, while the lappel is trimmed with beads and colored tassels. The hem of the top is trimmed with copper bells and copper coins. The tight skirt below is embroidered with multi-colored threads in geometric patterns.
There is a long history of textile production among the Li, and they are well-known for the quality of their craftsmanship. Tight skirts usually can be classified into three categories: short, medium, and long. The textiles of the Li feature colored designs using white, red, yellow, green, and indigo threads. and various patterns as decoration, which are regcognized as its exquisite and dignity.
This Lisu dress is made of linen. Spinning and waving linen was an important skill learned by every Lisu woman. Girls begin learning to spin thread as children. Though linen is not as soft as cotton, it is strong, breathable, and moisture resistant, and well suited to the hot and humid climate of southwestern China.
This is a blue jacket made by the Dong. It is made of dark cloth and patches of lighter cloth adorning the sleeves.The bottom is trimed with square, diamond, and triangular patterns, and copper bells and feather hang from the fringe. The outfit is completed with a skirt that is decorated with ribbons and feather. This outfit is worn by men for the "lusheng" dance during major festivals.
This is a Naxi cape made of sheepskin and black wool. The seven round patterns represent seven stars and the two upper ones represent the sun and the moon. Together they symbolize the spiritual nature of the Naxi but also allude to the daily lives of Naxi women, who rise in the morning while the stars are still in the sky, and work until the moon comes up in the evening.
These are the traditional clothes of a Yeche woman, a branch of Hani. The black cloth is hand woven and dyed.Yeche women wear shorts and collarless jackets with silver ornaments at the waist. The jackets are worn in many layers. The greater the number of layers, the greater the wealth of the woman wearing it. This particular garment has 9 to 12 layers.
This is an example of Hani clothing made of curare bark.The bark cloth is made from the bark of a tree with a thick, straight trunk, which is peeled from the trunk after the tree is cut down, then rubbed with water to soften it and laid out to dry in the sun. Once it is processed, the bark can be cut and sewn into clothing.
This is is a linen vest, sewed from two pieces of sackcloth, decorated with strings of beads. To make such a dress, people harvested giant clams and ground them into shell beads. It takes tens of thousands of shell beads to make such a dress. Only the tribal chiefs or heroes were allowed to wear it. It is a symbol of power, status and wealth. In the past, it can also be used as a betrothal gift or money.
This dress would have been worn by Huayao woman, a branch of the Dai in Yunnan. The name "Huayao" means "Colorful Waistband" and they get their name from colorful costumes like this one. The bolero, shorter than the waistband, is trimmed with embroidery along the collar, cuff and hem.Huayao Dai women usually wear three tight skirts, with the longer ones underneath so that each layer shows. Traditionally, this skirt should be worn higher on left than on the right.
The Lhoba skirt is made from the straw of finger millet (Eleusine coracana) which is locally called "Chicken claw millet" because the ear of grain splits into three claw-like appendages on the stalk. In the past, women in the Mili and Genhe tribes of the Lhoba used to wear skirts like this one. Today cloth skirt are more practical, however, it is not uncommon for women to wear grass skirts over their modern clothing.