"Homage to the Hmong"
THE HMONG. Hill tribes of China and South East Asia
Since 2000, I have reverently collected the embroidered clothing and jewelry of the Hmong in China, Vietnam and Thailand. Exquisite, fine, labor-intensive hand embroidery, banding, braiding, batik, dye - where stitch, design, color and particular use, have significance. The same with weaving: pattern, color, technique, width, use. Clothing and adornments dress the body from head to toe where every detail is a pictorial identity of tribe, history and migration.
For generations textile traditions of identity were passed down to the girls, silver-smithing to boys, as the wealth of the tribal hill farmers were vested in the women’s daily adornments.
Education brings non-subsistence farming career choices and urban migration. Traditional Clothing and Jewelry are for sale in markets. Textile and Silver-smithing traditions will eventually be a lost art.
NOTE: The Hmong Hill Tribes of Laos and N. Vietnam were recruited for US Guerrilla warfare and rescue of American pilots in fighting the Communist insurgency in the Vietnam war. Tens of thousands soldiers died. After the US withdrawal, the Hmong population suffered genocide in retribution for supporting the US.