Guizhou, the remote geographical location and the steep terrain, so that she is like a girl in a veil, long-term maintenance of little-known mystery, mountains block civilization, so that simple and rich, colorful, unique customs and colorful culture and art can be preserved, patchwork art is one of them.

Since ancient times, Guizhou has been inhabited by 20 or 30 ethnic minorities, including Miao, Yao, Dong, Shui, Buyi, and so on. Due to the large population and complex branches of ethnic groups, coupled with the wide geographical distribution, the characteristics of craftsmanship in various regions, and the existence of several differences, even if it is the same ethnic group, there may be differences between villages and villages with “five miles of different winds and ten miles of different customs”, so Guizhou ethnic minorities patchwork, with colorful colors, thousands of patterns and shapes, colorful legends and stories. This article will discuss the origin, status quo and craft techniques of ethnic minority patchwork art in Guizhou.

I. The origin and current situation of ethnic minority patchwork in Guizhou

1. Origin: self-sufficiency and reuse

The ethnic minorities in remote Guizhou have long been in the form of life in the farming economy, and women in the family are responsible for the production and inheritance of clothes in addition to busy housework and farming. In the early production of clothing and other supplies, most of them used natural cotton, linen, silk, wool and other animal and plant raw materials and simple dyeing and weaving tools.

The hardship of the living environment, ethnic minority compatriots grow cotton, spinning, weaving, clothing, because of the restrictions, it takes a year or even several years to make their own set of clothes, so they cherish the fabric, and the remaining corner fabric and the old dress quilt are spliced together to regenerate, which is the origin of Guizhou patchwork.

2. Significance: Record history and take the law from nature

Guizhou ethnic minority patchwork is mostly used together with embroidery, and patchwork is also an important way for ethnic minority compatriots in Guizhou to record history and culture. Today, we can still see their ancient culture, belief in animism (Figure 1), totem worship, ancestor worship (Figure 2), harmonious coexistence between man and nature and other simple ideas (Figure 3), reflecting the ancient farming culture (Figure 4), highlighting the themes of life, love, freedom, equality, and so on.

Figure 1: Continuous flow: Water is the source of all things.

Figure 2: Mother Butterfly: The Infinite Worship of the Ancestors of Humanity.

Figure 3: Owl: The legend has it that an owl shades children from the sun.

Figure 4: Miao migration: documenting the history of Miao migration.

Guizhou is a country of mountains, known as 100,000 mountains. The mountains have brought great drawbacks to people’s travel, and it is very difficult for people to go out of the mountains once, so it is difficult for ethnic minority compatriots to contact the outside world, because the authors of patchwork works have no art training at all, they do not have any art skills, and at the same time do not have any constraints, they take the law of nature, the mountains, rivers, lakes, sky, ocean, flowers, birds, insects, fish… Extract it into your own work as you wish. The “flower back” (Guizhou Shuicheng small flower seedling clothing on the cloud shoulder, known locally as “flower back” in the figure below (Figure 5) is made of cloth in three colors: red, yellow and black, with yellow as the main color, red border, and black hooked line. The local “flower backs” worn by men, women, and children, are all meticulously carved, the patterns are rigorous, and their inlay combinations are meticulous. This pattern has been passed down since ancient times, and it is said that when the Miao people were forced to move west, a clever girl was reluctant to leave her hometown, and quietly embroidered the countryside of her hometown on her clothes to commemorate her ancestors, so that it was passed down from generation to generation, and its color was imitated from the color of the tiger.

Figure 5: Natural landscape: imitation of colors from tigers.

3. Current situation: the art of living The life of art

Today, in Leishan Xijiang, Taijiang Taigong, Kailizhouxi, Majiangxiasi, Danzhai Nangao and Yangwu, along the Luobo River, in Fuquan City, Mayangping and Wangjiapo, Sandu, Guiding Dingdong, Duyun, Guiyang Wudang, Huishui Duck Down, Bijie, Shuicheng, Puding and Li, Cong, Rong and other places, people can still see patchwork art decorating the lives of ethnic minority compatriots, and they are mostly used in-

1. Back fan (Figure 6). Guizhou ethnic minority working women important daily necessities, the production process is complex, because the back fan fan is flat and easy to create, so the patchwork area is larger than the clothing, the graphics are changeable, the craftsmanship is exquisite, vividly embodies the eternal and selfless maternal love, is the majority of less

The crystallization of the wisdom of women of several nationalities

It embodies the eternal and selfless maternal love and expresses the spirit and culture of a nation.

2. Clothing (Figure 7). Mainly used in skirts and clothes collars, shoulders, sleeves, trouser legs, patterns have geometric shapes, natural shapes, commonly used patterns are dragons, phoenixes, flowers, grass.

Figure 6: Back fan

Figure 7: Clothing

3. Shoes and hats. The patchwork is not large, and the patterns are mostly flowers and plants, birds and finches; The pattern is small and delicate, and the general color is simple and elegant, but it is lively.

4. Children’s products. Common ones are hat flowers, saliva neck bibs, vests, etc. The hat flower pattern has dragon, phoenix, peony, butterfly and other patterns. The saliva bib is wrapped around the child’s chin to prevent the child’s saliva from staining the clothes, and it is shaped in a round or semi-circular shape, with the inner ring being round and the outer ring wavy. The motifs are mostly melons, flowers and birds, bats and deformed dragon wind combinations.

Second, Guizhou ethnic minority patchwork craftsmanship

From the point of view of craftsmanship, it can be divided into – patchwork, appliqué, stacking flowers and piling flowers hollow embroidery.

1. Patchwork.


Joining the remaining corner fabrics and reusing them is called patchwork.

Guizhou ethnic minority patchwork is mostly made of simple cross stripes and triangles to make quilts and clothing. The pattern is composed of continuous cells (Figure 8), and both the overall skeleton and the composition of each cell follow the basic principle of symmetry to build a better sense of balance. The use of different layers of color and shape creates a sense of rhythm as a whole, which is like a rich and changing melody.

Figure 8: Copper money flowers

2. Decal (also known as “make-up”).

During production, the fabric with the pre-cut pattern is attached to the base cloth, and then the straight needle, lock needle, nail needle or lock edge are used to fix and decorate the edge of the pattern. The surface of the appliqué fabric can be added with various embroidery patterns, and can also be lined with wool, cotton and other cushions, this technique is widely used in the ethnic minority areas of Guizhou.

From the point of view of form, the appliqué has two major characteristics, one is that the composition is beautiful, exaggerated and romantic. Flowers, birds, insects, fish, between elephants and non-elephants, both figurative and abstract. The second is the bold freedom of coloring (Figure 9). Pictured below (Fig. 10), this gold and silver shimmering appliqué is a back fan hood, the overall feeling is very delicate, intriguing, and well-made, in the picture: appliqué silk cloth, cut and shaped from hand-dyed and woven colorful cloth, and then sewn with silver thread; Geometric grid lines, embroidered with silver and silk threads; A small amount of color blocks were added to the body of the ichthyosaur, and the method of flat embroidery was used to make the whole color have another layer; The surrounding bird shape is embroidered with curves, which looks very flexible, and the whole picture seems to let the child be born to a happy and warm home, and there are four wishful shapes on all sides for decoration, this work is not large, but the craftsmanship has reached a perfect degree.

Figure 9: Flowers, birds, fish

Figure 10: Birds (partial)

3. Stack flowers

First cut into small triangles with colored ayako pulped with soap horn water, and then fold the upper two corners inward according to the draft, press layer by layer to paste the pattern, and then fix it with colored thread embroidery.

The shape of the stacked flowers is neat and sketchy, colorful and colorful, and the effect is a bit like a mosaic-inlaid mural. Often a small sleeve is made of hundreds of triangular pieces of colorful ayako stacked on top of each other, as if a pyramid is being built (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Geometric pattern

4. Pile flowers and hollow embroidery

Two layers of cloth are stacked together, and on the upper cloth, the cutouts are made into the desired shape and filled with different colors of cloth, and then the edges are pried, or some embroidery is added.

Pile flowers openwork embroidery, fine and attractive, rich layers, flexible patterns, and bas-relief sense, like embroidery. The “dragon” in the picture below (Figure 12) is a sleeve piece of women’s clothing, the upper layer is made of big red satin, the lower layer is made of green satin, the dragon body is filled with black satin, and the shape is cut into the desired shape with a layer of paper cutting, embroidered with white silk thread with a very dense flat embroidery, the whole picture has four levels, showing the “dragon” being danced, alive in front of our eyes.

Figure 12: Pile flower openwork embroidery


In today’s globalization, modernization, and the impact of the Internet, although there are still people of ethnic minorities in Guizhou who follow the tradition, let

We can also see the ancient culture and beliefs of ethnic minorities in Guizhou from their patchwork patterns. However, as the older generation of craftsmen gradually disappeared,

The cultural interaction of the inheritors has gradually turned traditional handicrafts into a living memory and telling of the past. Therefore, in the inheritance and innovation of ethnic minority patchwork in Guizhou, it is necessary to pay attention to the interpretation and development of the national cultural connotation of patchwork in modern commodity design in the current era; Fully explore the art of ethnic minority patchwork patterns, understand the meaning and beauty factors, and carry it forward




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