Skip to content Skip to footer

When you see minority women in the villages, the first thing that will catch your eye is the decoration on their clothes.

The clothes of the Yunnan minority people come in several hundred varieties, many inspired directly from nature, like the bamboo leg wrappings of the Nu ethnic group, the linen capes of the Dulong minority people, the Yi ethnic group’s fire weed garment, the tapa coats of the Kemu people, the feather hats of the Jingpo group, the wooden sandals and palm capes of the Hani ethnic group, the rattan hoops of the De’ ang ethnic group and the yak capes of the Naxi ethnic group, to name but a few.

They are dyed with plants or ores in various colors like indigo blue, alizarin red, and jasmine yellow. The traditional handicrafts used in making their clothes and decorations include the wax printing of the Miao and Yi ethnic groups, tie-dying of the Bai group, and water soaked cloth of the Dai group as well as the embroidery, including cross-stitch work, satin stitch, and cut weaving and flat weaving of other minorities.

The decorations on the clothes, referred to as ” historical records ” carry many symbols and mysterious meanings. From the embroidered cloaks and pleated skirts worn by the Miao ethnic group, the older generation can ” read” the epic of ancient expeditions and migrations. The decorations worn on the head of the Hani master of sacrificial ceremonies carry the history of the migrations of their ancestors to the south and the enigmatic language of Creation.

The white triangular handkerchiefs worn on heads of Jinuo women imitate the Goddess of Creation and the red and black stripes on their clothes and hats symbolize the number of souls. The Yi group’ s cockscomb hats and round felt hats with eyes on them are the magic key to drive away evil spirits. The decorations worn on the heads of the Hani girls indicate love.
Some minority people prefer black. They believe black is elegant and resembles the spirit of their ancestors. Some prefer red. They believe red is the color of Heaven and must be worn on head as a sign of respect.