Ho Zhao-hua
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Weaving and dyeing the ideal of reproduction among Shidong Miao in Guizhou province
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This chapter is an ethnographic study of the traditional cloth making and clothing of Shidong Miao societies in Guizhou province. It is divided into three parts. The first provides detailed descriptions of cloth making, weaving, dyeing and finishing, considered to be the conception, gestation, and then socialization which cosmologically invest the cloth with personhood. The second part focuses on the process of making jackets; including how they are designed and how embroidery is done. It provides documentation of the various styles, design, and stitching categories, and their significance for Miao in Shidong. The third part of the chapter offers a discussion of the social significance of embroidery, and includes a brief description of different clothing for clear distinctions of gender and occasion. The labor of making fabric and embroidery is traditionally female. Moreover, the embroidery is considered a metaphor of Shidong women’s life. The high-quality embroidery created by Miao women constitutes a unique means of cultural reproduction of the past and the present as it shapes Miao identity.

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