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Without Silver Jewelry, How Do The Chinese Four Seals Miao Astonish The World?

08.13.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

The Four Seals Miao are a tribe of the Miao ethnic group in southwestern China. Not wearing silver jewelry like other tribes, the Four Seals Miao distinguish themselves with four multi-color square designs embroidered on the front, back, and sleeves of women’s frock. The colors of their clothes are usually blue or black. Women wear short pleated skirt. Some women like to wrap their hair bun with a wide blue cloth which can reach 12 meters.nnThe Four Seals Miao live in a beautiful village named Maige, which in Miao language means ” a place with plenty of trees”. A long time ago, a tribe of the Miao were driven by their enemy to the remote mountainous areas of southwestern China. To get rid of the enemy and lead a peaceful life, the Miao had to ruin all their identity documents. When a Shaikh was going to put the four big seals, a symbol of their tribe, into fire, a girl stood up and said, Why not print the designs of the seals onto my clothes before you ruin them? In this way, we will keep our national soul forever.nnSince then, this Miao tribe kept a tradition of embroidering four colorful square patterns on women’s clothes. And they got a unique name the Four Seals Miao.nnThe Four Seals Miao are famous for their extraordinary batik technique with a history of over 2,000 years. Women use a special knife dipped into melt wax to paint exquisite patterns like animals, birds, and flowers onto a white cloth. The cloth is then dyed in blue liquid, and placed into boiling water to take away the wax. At last lovely blue designs are printed onto the cloth.nnWomen in the tribe are responsible for making the embroidery. To prepare a set of clothes for holidays, they can spend seven to eight months working. Their frocks have a big, multi-layer collar embroidered with colorful designs. One square design – the largest of the four seals ” embroidered on the front of a frock is especially striking. Their pleated skirts are highlighted with horizontal lines symbolizing the rivers and lakes their ancestors crossed during their migration through China.nnPeople build houses with stones and dirt. Corn is their staple food. Only in new years or holidays, they can afford to eat rice. Their farmland is on the hillside. Women carry a back basket contained with manure, and go to mountains to fertilize their land. Everyday they go back and forth 6 to 7 times. Their life is simple and hard.nnFor single young people, they have their own holidays to look for their partners. The famous Flower Dance Festival is held on the fifth day of the first lunar month. They get together to talk, sing, and dance. In the evening they will hold a bonfire party where they sing songs to express their love. The festival lasts for a few days.nnDuring the festival, a ceremony is held to release the soul of a dead tribe member from purgatory. In the ceremony, a man will be chosen to wrap his body with the dead members clothes, and then sing and dance to the Lusheng music in the background. This way, the dead members soul could ascend to the heaven.nnThe people in the tribe like to raise thrush as one of their hobbies. Kept into a cage, a thrush makes beautiful sounds which are pleasant to hear. Some thrushes are trained to imitate the sounds of other animals, including hen, rooster, cat, and dog. Go to their village on a beautiful sunny day, you will hear the sweet songs of a thrush.

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