Yao Houx Han
Yao houx han (Man's sash)
Unknown Miao/Hmong designer, Thailand
Gift of Ruth Sharp
As a part of Iu Mien (the largest subgroup of Yao people) cultural practices, tshongx tshongx (embroidery) skills are a highly valued expertise. During the period Ruth Sharp collected these items, a Yao woman would be responsible for creating intricately embroidered clothing items and accessories for herself as well as for her family. These women would also employ a number of techniques within their embroidery. The first is congx-jiemc, created through the use of parallel running stitches, which produces an “in-laid weave effect” (Hoffman 1982, 49); the second is congx-tiu, a horizontal stitch similar to a holbein stitch; the third is congx-nyiet, a diagonal cross-stitch; and the last is njiuc, a stem stitch used for borders. The creator of this sash embroidered the design using njiuc, congx-tiu, and congx-nyiet. The two patterns used on the main section of embroidery are known as som and lomh zeuv and are embroidered with the congx-tiu technique.
This digital publication from the University of California contains diagrams of embroidery stitches described in the above text.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Asian Art Department holds a full ensemble from circa 1900 that illustrates how these pants would have been worn in relation to other articles of clothing.
These formal outfits, posted in a Iu Mien community Facebook group, show an interpretation of Mien embroidery.
Fraser-Lu, S. (1988). Handwoven textiles of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press.
Goldman, A.Y. (1995). Lao Mien embroidery: Migration and change. Bangkok: White Lotus.
Hoffman, E. (1982). Dress and acculturation: Clothing transitions of the Mien (Master’s Thesis). Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.