Name: Hmong Embroidered Hemp Skirt
This traditional Hmong skirt was made by a young woman in Laos, in a manner similar to how these skirts have been made for a century or more. The waistband is handspun cotton, with a double row of threads holding the pleats in place. The body is all made from village raised hemp, that has been hand-twined, handwoven, and ironed between a rock and a log. Wax is then applied to the flattened fabric in traditional designs, and then dyed in indigo 10-20 times to achieve the desired depth of color. The finished batik is appliqued with strips of commercial red cotton. The bottom length of hemp has been dyed a darker indigo with no batik, but it has been waxed, with the wax being imbedded into the hemp fibers by being rubbed on the bottom of a rock that is then used to "iron" the wax into the hemp. This waxed hemp has then been hand embroidered with silk threads and appliqued with the same commercial red fabric. The pleats in this new skirt are still held in place with threads throughout the skirt, and must be removed to be worn. Note that the skirt is not sewn together on the open side, and it is traditionally worn with an apron covering the opening in the skirt. It can also be sewn together along the seam, leaving a long enough opening to accommodate being pulled on over the hips - the very slender hips, I might add, of the Laos Hmong! The dimensions noted are the full width and length of the skirt - the pleated width at the waist is about 26 inches, and the total width of the skirt at the bottom may be up to 6 meters wide (I can't measure without taking out the pleats). Comes with a photo of the artist holding her skirt.
Size: 37 in. x 25.5 in. long
Origins: Houaphan Province, LaosView Cart