Monday, March 30, 2009

Writing with Thread Exhibit: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities

Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities opens at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM on May, 15, 2009 and runs through August 16, 2009.

"Writing with Thread explores the meanings associated with the production and use of indigenous clothing. In societies without written languages, traditions and customs are orally passed from generation to generation. However, the textile arts, largely practiced by women, provide tangible evidence of a group's history, myths, and legends. The signs and patterns woven or embroidered in their clothing are often replicated in the accompanying silver ornaments made by men. Together, the textiles and silver ornaments, as complements to their oral traditions, record and transmit ideas and concepts that are important for the preservation and reconstruction of the identities of their makers and users. The exhibition, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind to date, will showcase costumes from the Miao, Yi, Dong, Tujia, Shui, Zhuang, Dai, Buyi, Yao, Wa, and Zang. The needlework and silverwork of each ethnic group show variations in their myths of origin and heroic combats, communal memories, and wish fulfillment."

Many of the people whose work is shown did not have a written language and used their embroidery to record important historical events - they serve as visual records.

This is one of the world's most outstanding collections of costumes from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century that were worn by 31 of Southwest China's 56 minority ethnic groups and includes 500 examples of rare and historically significant clothing, jewelry and silver ornaments.

The exhibition is documented and accompanied by a 320-page illustrated catalogue.
For more information, contact the Museum of International Folk Art:


Karoda said...

oh my! these are beautiful! also, i'm always thinking about writing on cloth and am always inspired by cultural expressions of communication. thanks.

Gwen Magee (Gwendolyn) said...

Karoda I so-o-o agree with you. Just wish I could see this exhibit in person.