The fabric designs of the “Yao” or the “Mien” are well known for their stitching patterns passed on from generation to generation.
The intricate designs and careful stitching have made this Mien art well known.
The stitching is done by the women while they are waiting for their harvest to grow. The learning process starts when the girls are around 9-10 years old. They are taught by their mothers and grandmothers.
In order to keep the tradition going, the elders encourage the younger girls to stitch. They tell the girls that if they do not learn, they will not have any clothes to wear.
The interest that the younger generation has in this art is both refreshing and important. The intricate patterns have traditional names for examples; Cho bieaw, Dok, Chum Cha, Num Chel. It is not certain where this art started as there is a lack of historical evidence. But from local knowledge, we believe that the designs were inspired by nature, the trees, and the flowers in the forest.
The stitching of the Mien is considered among other tribes as unique and beautiful. It is also incredible that the designs that fabrics are not on the side of the fabric that is being stitched.
The value of this art is not in the quantity of the products produced but the beauty of the stunning designs. Each piece of fabric takes a lot of time to stitch. Because of their faith and dedication to their tradition, their work is full of personality and color. The fabrics express the individual’s connection to her history.