Miao Hmongembroidery use motifs of mountains, sun, butterflies, flowers, birds and creatures to express their history, religious belief, myths and lives. There are so many stories and history recorded in Miao Hmong embroidery.
Butterfly Mother by myth is Miao’s ancestor. She was born on the maple tree. She flew over the lake and fell in love with the water bubble. She laid 12 eggs. The bird helped to hatch the eggs and all the eggs grew into different animals except the largest one who was Miao Hmong ancestor. Butterfly Mother created not only Miao Hmong people but also other creatures hoping Miao Hmong would not feel alone. She believes Miao Hmong people and the creatures will help each other and live in harmony.
Butterfly Mother laid 12 eggs and hatched by a bird. The bird is known as Jiwei. She spent 12 years hatching the 12 eggs, who become China’s twelve zodiac animals.
Heroine Wen Maoxi
By legend Wen Maoxi was born three years after a star fell on the roof of her house. She grew up and married a young man. In that time, Miao tribe was in war with Han Chinese who invaded their village. She went with her husband to the war and fought heroically.
Miao people respect butterfly, the Jiwei Bird and Heroine Wen Maoxi. Their images always appear in Miao embroidery.
Many years ago in a Miao village one day when the villagers were working in the fields, an evil spirit came into the village and stole a baby. The frog saw it and ran to warn the villagers of the danger. The villagers came and chased the evil spirit away. But the evil spirit did not go far away. It was waiting for another chance. Then it stole anther baby again. The frog ran into the forest, stopped the evil spirit and brought the baby back. Everyone was very happy and grateful to the frog. Later, the frog’s face slowly began to change into a female human being’s face.
The images of village life are always embroidered. Men carry wood, woman carry water. Kids are playing. Spiders are considered as reincarnations of dead relatives watching over their families.
Hand in Hand
The image of people holding hands is commonly used baby carriers and baby blankets. It depicts the Miao following the ancestor’s words to stay together and help each other.
by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com
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