Oude Tradities

RAPPOLDT, Ien (2017). Oude Tradities in een Nieuw Jasje: Klederdracht van de Zwarte Dai uit Yunnan in China, The Netherlands. Paperback, fully illustrated in colour, short bibliography, 44 pp.

This Dutch-language book is the result of a visit to the Dai ethnic minority village of Tou Dao Qiao in China’s southwestern Yunnan province. Sadly, the writer found that modernization has meant that traditional weaving skills are being abandoned. But the distinctive decorative needlework, which varies from group to group, and from village to village, remains alive. Now done mostly with acrylic threads and sewing machines, this needlework embellishes jackets, skirts, puttees and purses. It is often counted cross stitch, in vibrant colours, with geometric motifs. The beautiful full-colour photographs and the embroidery charts which reproduce many of the stunning patterns are the highlights of the book, as are the explanations of the special stitches used, such as the double looped buttonhole stitch.

Recommendation: This is a book for cross stitch and embroidery enthusiasts and for anyone interested in Chinese ethnic minority dress.

Shelley Anderson

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