Celebrating the elaborate costume of China’s Miao community

miaoNottingham’s Chinese New Year celebrations got underway earlier this month with a dazzling display of textiles at Lakeside Arts Centre.

The exhibition, which is curated by Xuesen Zeng, is an homage to the embroidery of the Miao community, who live in south-western China.

The Miao people, who are cut off by the mountains, have no written language so they use highly elaborate garments as a way of identifying their heritage and beliefs. As you might expect, the ceremonial costumes are particularly impressive, for example the wedding and festival dresses are made up of many layers and ornate silver jewellery.

Like many artisan techniques, China’s rapid industrialisation could signal a decline in Miao craftsmanship. Increasingly, people are now working long hours and do not have the time to hand stitch these beautiful clothes. Moreover, if members of the younger generation do not learn these embroidery skills, they could be lost forever.

The exhibition, which is in the Wallner Gallery, runs until 10th February. Entry is free. For more details on the Chinese New Year celebrations in Nottingham visit the Lakeside Arts Centre website.

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