The overall spiral design of this work represents the significant part played by water in the culture of the Black Miao. The markedly abstract motifs depicting two birdlike figures with owl heads and butterfly bodies are unusual and show a level of artistic interpretation and sophistication not always evident in works of this nature. The upper right and left of the work display animal-like motifs that appear to be a cross between water buffalo and elephants. All represent the Miao religious, spiritual and cultural philosophies as well as communicating their desires for good health and prosperity for the current and future generations.
This magnificent antique example of Black Miao embroidery, at least 130 years old, is definitely one of a kind. The effects of age add to the charm and history of this work and help us to marvel at the talents of the embroiderers of yesteryear.