By Kartika Putra
Entering this village, we had a purpose and it was to dive right into the Miao culture, learn as much as possible and hopefully find some textiles that we can use for our next collection. Longga village is located in west Guizhou and we came here because of the sub-minority group that live here. The long horned miao people are known for their hair wrapping ceremony; a cultural tradition to collect hair from their deceased ancestors and wear it around horns on their heads.Witness the process here. We watched in awe as she beautifully crafted her up-do but it was the textiles that she showed us afterwards that really got our senses tingling.
Hand stitched fluoro orange cross stitching is the first thing you see in her traditional attire. Completely hand made with soo many beautiful detailing and imperfections. Her jacket was tiny – she let me try it on and I felt like I was going to break the stitches with my wide shoulders. It was constructed using patches of cross stitch work sewed together to create the end product. You can see where each individual patch is sewn and also where its missing. A beautiful collection of patterns through the orange and white hues!!
She handed us the batik jacket and we almost died. This is it! this is what we want! Look at the intricate patterns, the fusion of geometrical lines and curves, the faded indigo and cracked wax lines, even the design of the jacket. Absolutely perfect! I was already imagining our collection unfold in my imagination… until we find out that this jacket was made of patches also! we enquired about buying some batik and what she offered was just a patch. Sadly, batik design is not as common practice in Longga village these days – she said that it takes too much time and you only need a few for your ceremonial jackets!
We couldn’t find anyone in the village that was practising the textile technique but we were filled with hope that we were in the right region for this type of textile. It must be in abundance in another village – we just have to find it.
We left Longga village saddened by the fact that we couldn’t buy more of the beautiful batik textiles but nevertheless we were beyond satisfied with our discovery of it and our experience with the long horned Miao.