Zhuang and Maonan blankets and other textiles from southwest China
Several minority groups in the Guizhou-Guangxi border area formerly made outstanding blankets with designs rendered in silk supplementary weft on a cotton foundation. The best of these blankets (sometimes called "wedding blankets" since they formed an integral part of a bride's trousseau) were kept as heirloom items, so it is still possible to find a few older pieces in excellent condition. The skills of making silk brocade are now fading away rapidly since few younger weavers have the patience to learn the complex skills required for these textiles.
Blankets were normally woven on a narrow loom tensioned with a backstrap, so most were assembled from 2 or 3 pieces woven separately.
Click on photos for a larger image.
CET219 A very old Maonan blanket from Guizhou province, southwestern China. Designs of phoenix and flowers on a geometric wanzi lattice ground.
This blanket has many old embroidered repairs, clearly visible in the photos. It dates from the early part of the 20th century. Silk on cotton ground.
|(detail of CET219)|
CET119 Another very old Maonan minority blanket from Guizhou province, dating from the early 20th century. Motif of phoenix with auspicious flowers and fruits, on an abstract geometric ground. Silk supplementary weft patterning on a cotton ground.
|(detail of CET119) showing contrasting motifs of flowers and birds on a geometric background. This combination is also found on some Han Chinese silk brocades.|