The Miao Hmong has a large and widely distributed population, their clothes and accessories are regionally distinctive. The variation are expressed in the length, color, collar, button, silver ornaments and the hairstyle.
Five Major Styles
Miao Hmong costumes are divided into five major styles: Southeastern Guizhou style, Mid and Southern Guizhou style, Sichuan-Guizhou style, Western Hunan style and Hainan style. Among these, Western Hunan, and Southeastern Guizhou are typical and more distinguishable.
Men and Women Costume in Hunan
Miao Hmong living in the western part of Hunan province have kept close ties with the Han Chinese since ancient times. They wear a similar style of clothing to the Han Chinese. Men wear a short Chinese-style jacket with buttons on the front and wrap their head in a turban. Women used to wear red skirts, but now prefer pants with an embroidered apron over the top and a vest over a jacket. They usually decorate the cuffs of the sleeves, edges of pants, and jacket hems with lace. They like to wear a kerchief and silver ornaments on their head.
Men and Women Costume in Guizhou
Miao Hmong women in southeastern Guizhou province have more choices in their dress. Some like to wear a Chinese-style jacket with buttons on the right, and some wear a half-length jacket with loose sleeves. Most wear either a pleated skirt or pants. Women in this area have long hair tied in a knot on the top of the head, which they tie with a cotton kerchief. Some also have their hair tied with a scarf into a bun, and then pin a silver ornament on the bun. Men wear a short Chinese-style jacket with buttons down the front or a long gown with buttons on the right side of the front. All men wrap a band around their head.
Miao Hmong women wear more colorful and decorative costumes in the central and southern parts of Guizhou province. They wear a long pleated skirt and V-style jacket with buttons down the front with ribbons and ornaments. Women wrap their head with a kerchief, or wear a hat in addition to a silver necklace, silver pins, and earrings. Men in these areas wear a long gown with buttons on the right of the front and long pants.
Costume Distinguished in Line with Ages
Miao clothing is distinguished in line with ages. Dresses are often in bright colors for unmarried women, and more subdued blue, black, and gray for married or older women. The older women have a distinct hairstyle and less silver ornaments on their hair.
While there are variations in costumes between Miao Hmong villages, there is a predominant use of silver jewelry, embroidery, and batik in women’s costumes and the Miao Hmong culture embedded in the costumes is likewise complex and rich in tradition.
by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com
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