Artwork: Miao Baby Carrier
Design No: CH1012 (A)
Embroidery Style: Po Xian Xiu
Era: Late Qing Era (circa 1910)
Framed Dimensions:
910mm x 640mm
Unframed Dimensions:
530mm x 265mm
Reference Material: Yang Zheng Wen, Miao Zu Fu Shi Wen Hua, pp. 30, 170-196.

The Story behind the Artwork

During the Qing period it was recorded in Miao Man Tu Ce that the Miao living in Daan, Anshun, Zhunyi and Guiyang belonged to the Hua Miao group. The Hua Miao from Anshun were recognised as producing the highest quality floral patterned embroidery using red and gold coloured silks. This work is an excellent example of that sophisticated style from the period when China saw the collapse of the Qing Empire and the birth of the Nationalistic Republic.

This work has a base cloth of black hand woven bu (cotton) onto which have been appliquéd a series of individual embroidered fabric medallions of various background colours. The two rhombus shaped panels with red bu backgrounds, representing the sun, have sunflowers at the centre using gold silk as the petals and green and blue silk representing flower buds and leaves. The surrounding medallions with blue bu backgrounds, representing the sky, have intricately embroidered flying bird motifs which use a rich palette of colour including red, pink, green and gold silks. This style is unique to the Hua Miao. The use of the sunflower and bird motifs communicates a desire for future generations to be healthy, happy and to achieve high social status.

The superlative quality of this work is self evident. Despite being approximately one hundred years old the artistic and technical skill of the embroiderer shines through. Originally this work would have been more vibrant but the fading of the colours over time has produced a softness and elegance to the piece.