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Handmade, indigo dyed jacket. The exterior is black, the interior is lined with dark blue cloth. Jacket has a front centre opening, with finely woven bands attached to either side. Bands have a central design of curved lines on a solid background, trimmed by plain and dotted lines. Designs are done in different shades of purple. Identically coloured bands are along the halfway point of the sleeves. Bands have alternating, diagonal rows of swastikas and meander-like designs. They are framed with straight lines and rhombuses. Sides of bands, closest to the cuffs, are trimmed with white and dark brown stitches. Identical stitching along shoulders. Back of jacket has a central panel of vertical stripes, done in shades of blue and brown. Overtop, below the neckline, is an additional decorative panel made of tin embroidery, done in meander-like designs. Panel has long strands of fringe along the bottom edge. Front of jacket has a patch on one side, and another piece is inset around the neck.

Specific Techniques

Traditional Miao handmade jacket with 'tin gimp' embroidery. This type of special occassion clothing is made by Miao women in Jianhe County (剑河县) in the southeast of Guizhou Province (贵州). This technique of metal embroidery (锡绣) is unique to Miao people from Guizhou province and has been practiced for 500-600 years. Miao embroidery was included on China’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2006.


Purchased by the donor from a street vendor in Kaili City in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, China, in 2012. The jacket has been patched, and now appears to be a combination of handwoven and commercially woven fabrics.

Item History

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