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The Imagination and Creativity of Women
Dialogue Between Shidong Miao Traditional Clothing and Modern Taiwanese Design
The 3rd Special Exhibition Gallery
March 3 – October 14, 2012

Farming produces food to eat; embroidery produces clothing to wear. Spinning of fine thread is needed to weave brightly colored cloth. Laziness leads to poverty. Diligence leads to wealth. The wealthy wear fine clothing, but the poor do not. A diligent father means well-stocked granaries and a diligent mother means well-stocked closets. If you do not do these, you are not much like our Shidong Miao people. If you do not do these, you are not as good as other Shidong Miao people.  --- From a Shidong proverb

The Imagination and Creativity of Women
Traditional Dressing of Miao Women
The Miao are one of several ethnic minorities living in the subtropical hilly or mountainous areas of Southwestern China. For thousands of years, these migrating peoples have developed rich, cultural traditions and they are increasingly being recognized for their extraordinary handcrafted textiles and silver jewelry. Cloth, clothing and dressing up play a uniquely important role in cultures. Their clothing has distinctive features which vary from place to place. It is the area of costume where mythology, technical skill, and cultural identity coalesce in vivid aesthetic expression.

Shidong, a small port town, is situated on the banks of the Qingshui River. It is known for its inexpensive silverware and embroidery. Woman’s dresses from Shidong are considered the most gorgeous because of their intricate embroidered dresses and splendid silver adornments. For the Miao people of Shidong, embroidery and the production of clothing are measures of a woman’s value. The needlework of theirs is both beautiful and important in understanding the mythological world of the Miao people. It seems that Shidong Miao women express themselves creatively through their dressing. In the 1980s, outstanding female artisans began to be recognized in China every year on March 8, which was originally referred to as International Working Women’s Day.

Celebrating the Women’s Day on March 8, the National Museum of Natural Science presents the fashionable exhibition titled “The Imagination and Creativity of Women” in cooperation with the Textiles and Clothing Department of Fu Jen Catholic University.

The Imagination and Creativity of Women presents the traditional clothing of the Miao women of the Shidong area, which is compared and contrasted with the creations of a contemporary Taiwanese designer. The objective is to carry out a dialogue among female artisans that transcends time and space, as well as tradition and modern fashion.

The Imagination and Creativity of WomenThe Imagination and Creativity of Women
Clothing & Handbag Designed by Su
Ms. Su Shu-chun, a fashion designer and a faculty member in the Department of Textiles and Clothing of Fu Jen Catholic University, was invited to present her designs based on the clothing of the Miao women of the Shidong area. It can be said that this exhibition presents two different worlds in terms of clothing design, as well as a dialogue between tradition and modernity.

“I am especially interested in anthropological research, and have visited several Miao villages. From their traditional living environment and techniques used to produce clothing, a theme emerged,” said Su at the exhibition opening reception, “That theme was overlapping. In the Miao villages, I saw overlapping mountain ranges, dwellings and terraced fields among the clouds and mist, and overlapping in the clothing of the Miaw women as well!” continued Su, “I applied this theme to my designs.”

In this exhibition, 61 pieces of selected needlework of Shidong women are displayed, including textiles, embroideries, paper-cut flowers, and silver ornaments. Su provides this exhibition with 31 pieces works of her contemporary design including dresses, bags, and accessories. Miss Hao Chau-hwa, another Fu Jen's faculty member in the Department of Textiles and Clothing supports the exhibition with 19 pieces of Shidong dressing according to one's age. In addition to these finished products made by Shidong people or Taiwanese designers, visitors are able to take a look at tools used by Shidong women to weave, dye, and embroider.

Welcome to take a look at the beautiful needlework of Shidong women, get a deeper understanding about the mythological world of the Miao people, and make a comparison or contrast between the Miao traditional clothing and Taiwanese modern designs.

  • Guided Tours: 11 am & 2 pm
  • Free Admission

The Imagination and Creativity of Women is organized by the National Museum of Natural Science in cooperation with the Textiles and Clothing Department of Fu Jen Catholic University.

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