The Art of Silk Felting in Southwest China

Carrie Hertz (Museum of International Folk Art)

At marriage, Baiku Yao women of Nandan County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region may be gifted golden silkworm eggs. When the eggs hatch in spring, their caretakers work with them to produce large sheets of unspun “silk felt” for embellishing clothing. Based on fieldtrips to Lihu Yao Ethnic Township in 2015 and 2017, this presentation describes the process of making silk felt (also referred to as “flat cocoon silk” or “board-spun silk”) and compares it to examples documented in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Guizhou province. The presentation concludes with a discussion of possible directions for future research.

Part of 03-07 Minority Peoples, Expressive Culture, and Heritage in—and from—the Southeast Asian Massif, Part 3, Thursday, November 02, 2:30 pm–4:30 pm