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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:11 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Den Haag, Netherlands
This is my first post on the forum. I am a babywearing consultant and seller of modern baby carriers and wraps. I'm building a small collection of ethnic baby carriers. Recently I bought my first embroidered Chinese baby carrier (from dongxiantiques.be). It is a bit of a puzzle.

It was described as an old Miao carrier from Guizhou or Yunnan.
I already browsed this forum, and from what I saw here I got the feeling that this baby carrier wasn't a Miao carrier. It was mostly the embroidered panel that got me wondering.
To solve this puzzle I dived into every piece of information I could find, in this forum and on the internet. (Some books are on the way also.)

Some of the carriers I saw on the internet that are shaped like mine, with very broad bands and black with a coloured panel and embroidered ribbons, were attributed either to Yunnan or to the Zhuang tribe.
So far I only have seen one carrier that had small tassels all over, just like mine. No mention of tribe or place sadly, just 'Old Chinese minority baby carrier', and certainly no Miao.

I have the feeling that my carrier might be a Zhuang carrier from Wenshan, Yunnan. The Zhuang always had contact with the Han and the Miao, and were probably influenced by them.
Yesterday I also found a picture of a Zhuang headdress of which the combination of embroidered geometrical ribbons, silver couched applique and checkered ribbons remind of that on my carrier.
(http://www.ethnic-china.com/Zhuang/qiubeivillage.htm, picture number seven)
The Zhuang seem to believe that children are brought by the Flower Lady. There are enough of flowers on my carrier for a whole kindergarden :-)
The tassels I haven't found an explanation for yet.

What do you think? Am I on the right track?

I have attached some pictures. This carrier is definetely well used (which makes me very happy), is mended and has black fabric added that looks not as old as the embroidered panel and those lovely embroidered ribbons. There are some markings on the backside, and there is a amulet like a coin or something sewn inbetween the layers of fabric.
I hope someone here can tell me a bit more about the markings. And I really would appreciate it if someone can point me to a picture on which this particular shape of carrier is used. All pictures I have seen so far are of carriers with small straps, and are of the blanket variety which hangs off over the baby's bum.

Of course I wanted to try the carrier on, but unfortunately I am too large to cross the straps over my chest and knot them under baby's bum, like I suppose it has to be done when wearing baby on the back.


Attachments:
File comment: Straps are fold away here.
carrier-mq.jpg
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panel.jpg
panel.jpg [ 36.62 KiB | Viewed 3418 times ]
embroidery.jpg
embroidery.jpg [ 58.62 KiB | Viewed 3418 times ]
panels-ribbons-mq.jpg
panels-ribbons-mq.jpg [ 51.21 KiB | Viewed 3418 times ]
back-mq.jpg
back-mq.jpg [ 37.73 KiB | Viewed 3418 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:11 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Den Haag, Netherlands
I forgot to mention the carrier has a sitting flap with loops and straps to secure the child.


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kind-bevestigen.jpg
kind-bevestigen.jpg [ 21.8 KiB | Viewed 3401 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Hi Jessica

Welcome to the forum!

I wasn't very sure about your baby carrier - although in your 'panels-ribbons-mq' photo the flowing squiggly border on the left did make me think of Zhuang. Since this was much too vague I emailed a link to your post to Martin Conlan - long-time visitor to S W China, including Yunnan and Guizhou, in search of fine textiles. In the midst of very major building works to his home he very kindly emailed right back to me: "The baby carrier is Sha Zhuang and probably from Quibei County, Yunnan" I see from the link you posted the page was headed: "A Zhuang villlage near Qiubei, Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan Province" which would suggest that Martin does think you are on the right track!

I have had a look in a very, very beautiful book: "Baby Carriers" published by the National Museum of Prehistory in Taiwan ISBN 978-986010413-4. This is a key book for you if you are planning to collect baby carriers. (I see that forum member Steven Frost has a copy of the book for sale on his website). On pages 186-187 there is a baby carrier (081) and detail of another, (080 a): 'Embroidered butterflies, flowers and plants. Zhuang/Wenshan, Yunnan," for both carriers. The full size carrier shown is 296x92.5 and is very, very similar in construction and design to your carrier. It has larger triangles of embroidery than yours but, at the point in the centre of the square where the four triangles meet there are tassels. Both carriers have the side strips of the squiggly border which 'said' Zhuang to me. As with all the other baby carriers in the book no dates are given. I would think that yours is an older example than the ones shown. At the back of the book - page 305 - there is a small photo of the complete carrier of 080. This is similar in carrier construction but the centre embroidered panel does not have triangles. Both carriers look to be similar dates from the colours of the embroidery threads. Unfortunately there are no photos of such a baby carrier being worn. The introduction to the Zhuang section (page 167) says: 'The baby carriers of the Zhuang with their large population show clear regional characteristics'. Unfortunately the book does not refer to the characteristics of Wenshan, Yunnan carriers.

Hope this gives you some pointers.

_________________
Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 11:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
Posts: 1989
Location: Canterbury, UK
Ann Goodman has sent me a photo of a baby carrier in her collection:
Quote:
The Zhuang baby carrier that Jessica posted is so attractive. I have a similar one that I have also cataloged as Quibei (see attached photo). Mine, too, contains an amulet; this one at the end of the carrier strap.


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File comment: Ann Goodman's Zhuang baby carrier catalogued from Quibei (Yunnan)
Zhuang-BCw.jpg
Zhuang-BCw.jpg [ 95.85 KiB | Viewed 3335 times ]

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Pamela

http://www.tribaltextiles.info
on-line tribal textiles resource
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:26 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Kaili, Guizhou, China
I posted a new posting: http://www.tribaltextiles.info/communit ... php?t=2310
maybe you are interested.
Thanks.

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Hmong Home In China

http://www.hmonghome.com

Email to me: wu-zhh@hotmail.com


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