An initiative of Narrative Made, The Textile Atlas preserves a record of disappearing Asian crafts with their reflected cultural stories, and provides a resource platform for both the commercial industry and academia.

Visit to: Scholar Yang Wen Bin Batik Collection, China

Visit to: Scholar Yang Wen Bin Batik Collection, China

Words by Sharon de Lyster, photos by Stephanie Teng Photography

The embroidery collection of scholar Yang Wen Bin is a great selection of intricate folk art. Yet, Yang’s expertise is most known on the topic of Chinese Miao batik. He has written extensively on the subject, recorded symbolic meanings behind motifs, and inspired and assisted the younger generation to rediscover the heritage of natural dyeing and batik art.

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In his study at the Qiandongnan Minzu Vocational Technology College, Yang laid out a section of his vast batik archive on the huge table in the middle of the room and started to go through their backgrounds and significant one by one. From motifs of flowers, pomegranates, butterflies, dragons with multiple heads, single-legged birds with or without wings, he pointed them out. There are no fix images when interpreting the message of reproduction through the various animals forms. This kind of formative art becomes personal and reflects all the characteristics cherished by the Miao women.

 Details of Miao fine line batik baby carrier from Zhijin, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of numerous bird heads with fish tails expanding outwards. 

Details of Miao fine line batik baby carrier from Zhijin, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of numerous bird heads with fish tails expanding outwards. 

 Details of Miao batik waistbands from Leishan, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of old symbols of yin and yang, butterflies and vortices.  

Details of Miao batik waistbands from Leishan, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of old symbols of yin and yang, butterflies and vortices.  

 Details of Miao coloured batik baby wrapper from Anshun city, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of dragons.

Details of Miao coloured batik baby wrapper from Anshun city, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of dragons.

 Details of Miao coloured batik from Danzhai, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of "Wuoto" for ancestor worship, with the colour yellow from the root of "dallganyasai" yellow gardenia and red from red cinnabar.  

Details of Miao coloured batik from Danzhai, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of "Wuoto" for ancestor worship, with the colour yellow from the root of "dallganyasai" yellow gardenia and red from red cinnabar.  

 Details of Miao batik sleeve panel from Liuzhi, Guizhou, China. Featuring abstract forms of butterflies, pomegranates with many exposed grains and lots of fish.

Details of Miao batik sleeve panel from Liuzhi, Guizhou, China. Featuring abstract forms of butterflies, pomegranates with many exposed grains and lots of fish.

 Miao embroidered batik from Guiding, Guizhou, China. 

Miao embroidered batik from Guiding, Guizhou, China. 

 Details of Miao batik sleeve panel from Nayong, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of fish and birds in abstract forms. 

Details of Miao batik sleeve panel from Nayong, Guizhou, China. Featuring patterns of fish and birds in abstract forms. 

 Details of pre-dyed Miao fine line batik baby carrier from Zhijin, Guizhou, China. Featuring a combination of the patterns of human beings, birds and plants in praise of life. 

Details of pre-dyed Miao fine line batik baby carrier from Zhijin, Guizhou, China. Featuring a combination of the patterns of human beings, birds and plants in praise of life. 

 Miao batik baby carrier from Leishan, Guizhou, China. Made with maple resin, featuring patterns of birds with exaggerated single leg but without wings, demonstrating the particular formative art of the Miao people. 

Miao batik baby carrier from Leishan, Guizhou, China. Made with maple resin, featuring patterns of birds with exaggerated single leg but without wings, demonstrating the particular formative art of the Miao people. 

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SEE FULL COLLECTION ON THE PHOTOGRAPHED BATIK ARCHIVE

Learn more about Hmong batik on our story Profile of: Zu Xiong, Master of Hmong Batik, Laos.

Making of: Naga Weaving, Laos

Making of: Naga Weaving, Laos

Visit to: Scholar Yang Wen Bin Embroidery Collection, China

Visit to: Scholar Yang Wen Bin Embroidery Collection, China