Textiles/Silver - Maio Chinese
A truly stellar collection of Miao Chinese textiles and highly collectible silverwork were acquired by Kohler Foundation. The collection features 120 textile items consisting of primarily garments, 29 pieces of silver jewelry and adornments, and six artifacts, including an early 20th-century embroidery stool, two Shamonic books, and some lovely wood containers containing scrolls from the late 19th century.
The Miao people, one of the minority peoples of China, live in the provinces of southwest China. Linguistically and culturally, they are related to the Hmong of other southeast Asian countries.
The Miao culture is changing at rocket speed, and the beautiful handiwork of its people is rapidly disappearing as women become part of the workforce, and television introduces Western ideas and styles of dress to the villages.
This is an enviable collection, as it was hand-picked by a knowledgeable collector. Much of it is from the mid-20th century when a woman's worth was often measured by her skill with a loom and needle. All pieces were cleaned and conserved as necessary by Kohler Foundation preservation technicians and carefully packed for archival storage prior to being gifted to the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in 2008.