Antique Miao batik

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This is a panel from a Miao baby sling. The Miao live in southern China and represent a distinct ethnic minority in China. I purchased several of these fabrics while traveling in China a few years ago and I think this one is about 80 or 90 years old. The machine produced cotton has been dyed with natural indigo and the design was created using a resist process that employed a wax taken from the sweet gum tree. The process of this batik style has been extensively documented by Sadae and Tomoko Torimaru in their book Imprints On Cloth. They say this intricate form of batik comes from the North Western part of Guizhou province.IMG_2248IMG_2249

This last photo shows just how intricate the batik pattern is. In this example it almost looks like lace. This “lace” portion of the fabric is really only about one inch wide.IMG_2246

In some places the batik has been embellished with green, red and yellow cotton floss. Torimaru notes that this is a common addition to batik from NW Guizhou.IMG_2250IMG_2247IMG_0359

These Miao houses were near the village where I purchased these panels. It was July when I was there. It was extremely hot and the landscape was an almost other worldly green.IMG_0370

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