Miao Applique Pleated Skirt
The Miao people is a large ethnic minority group in Southwest China with a rich textile history. In some villages, traditional women’s clothing consisted of pleated skirts worn with short, high-collared jackets. The skirt would be either short, medium, or long depending on which group the woman was from. Legend says that a mother and daughter were behind the design of the skirt, after being inspired by the pleat-like features of a local fungus.
The skirts can have hundreds to thousands of pleats, and are decorated with embroidered or appliqué geometric and organic shapes. This piece has a dark indigo-dyed ground, which is separated from the bottom by a polychromatic embroidered ribbon. The bottom of the skirt is decorated with appliqué, embroidery, and a woven striped fabric. The appliqué is very intricate and is pieced together on small 2″-3″ squares that are sewn together. Some appliqué colors sit on top of the dark blue ground, but some have shapes cut out to reveal a color underneath. The shapes are outlined with polychromatic couched embroidery and other small designs.
Circa: 20th Century
Condition: Very Good, some holes
Dimensions: 26" waist, 29" height
Inventory number: WR4012