Miao Hmong Batik- Nature, Totem and Myth

Miao Hmong Batik is plain, aboriginal and powerful. The traditional designs are geometric. With the influence of the Han Chinese, more figurative designs like flowers, birds, and fish have been introduced over the centuries.

These pictures, not confining themselves to exact details of natural images, are boldly different and exaggeratedly drawn. Miao Hmong love nature. They enjoy expressing their joy with nature and their own aesthetic feelings in the way of Batik art. As they do not have written transcripts, you may also find abstract symbols or geometric patterns in their artworks, which could be their totems or myths.


Butterfly and Whirlpool


Miao Batik Local artists have developed a diversity of batik motifs, including those based on images of butterflies, whirlpools, centipedes, fish, birds, dragons and pear blossoms. Every motif conveys special meaning. Among these, butterfly and whirl pattern are most popular. Miao regard butterfly as the god for reproduction and beauty. Therefore, it has become a popular subject in Miao batik. The whirlpool motifs inspired from rivers embody union and auspiciousness in Miao culture.




Miao Batik Simple, traditional patterns such as the bronze drum are the oldest forms found on quilt covers dated before the 20th century. The bronze drum is a powerful symbol relating to the spirits of the ancestors, and is a traditional pattern found in many Miao’s embroidery and batik.


Crab and Pomegranate


Miao Batik

Crabs and pomegranates both relating to birth of many kids are often found in batik designs.


White Tiger


Miao Batik This handmade batik table cloth features the image of the White Tiger, a mythological guardian according to Chinese legend. Legend had it that when a tiger reached 500 years old, its tail would turn white. In this way, the white tiger became a kind of mythological creature. It was said that the white tiger would only appear when the emperor ruled with absolute virtue, or if there was peace throughout the world.


Vermilion Bird


Miao Batik The Vermilion Bird is an elegant and noble bird in both appearance and behavior. It is very selective in what it eats and where it perches. The Vermilion Bird is often associated with the mythical Phoenix due to their associations with fire.


Water Buffalo


Miao Batik

The horns of the water buffalo, symbolizing Miao ancestor’s life and death.


Modern Batik


Miao Batik Although there are thousands of different batik designs, particular designs have traditionally been associated with traditional festivals and specific religious ceremonies. Previously, it was thought that certain cloth had mystical powers to ward off bad luck, while other pieces could bring good luck. Today, a large number of artists apply the traditional batik in their modern art. They bring in new themes and include more cultural and social messages adding modern concept in line with batik.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

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