Profile of: Wan Mei Du, Master of Miao Double-sided Blackwork Embroidery, China
Words & photos by Sharon de Lyster
Textiles for the Miao are the very essence of language, a way to connect dialogues of the past to the present, a way to interact on a daily basis. Wan Mei Du from Jianhe, Guizhou organises the women in her village for blackwork embroidery, a cross-stitch technique that is uniquely designed to give the exact motifs on both sides of the cloth. With black thread against a white background, each embroidered headscarves or cuffs represent the Miao’s view of the universe, from the believed sacred space with rooster footprints and leaves of the oriental sweet gum tree to the surrounding ground filled with motifs taken from the mountains and fields of Guizhou. The piece (below) paints a picture of the field, chili pepper flowers and cedar trees.