Miao Embroidery (Guizhou Province, China)

Working with silk and cotton thread as well as horsehair, embroiderers adorn cuffs, sleeves, collars and tunic fronts with designs such as fantastical animals, flowers, fish, insects and more. The designs are not simply decorative; they also record daily life, important life-cycle events and community legends and history.


The Miao are among the larger ethnic minority populations in China. Most are concentrated in Guizhou Province, in southwestern China, where the subgroups are identified by their dress—specifically, by the embroidery on their clothing, including “Big-Flower Miao” and “Small-Flower Miao.”

Learn more about Chinese embroidery at the Artist Talk on July 12 at 6pm.

Everyone: FREE

Saturday, July 12, 2014
12:00PM – 8:00PM
North Exhibition Common
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto Ontario

Sunday, July 13, 2014
12:00PM – 6:00PM
North Exhibition Common
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto Ontario

Pan Yuzhen 潘玉珍
Pan Yuzhen is an embroiderer originally from Guizhou Province and currently based in Beijing. She began learning the embroidery traditions of her ethnic Miao community from her mother when she was seven years old and has been involved in the craft since the 1960s. She first came to Beijing in the 1970s; she now lives there year-round and sells embroidery in Panjiayuan Market, the largest antique market in the city. In Miao communities, embroiderers record their history and culture in the embroidery on their clothing. It can take four to five years to make a fine handmade piece of embroidered clothing—from making the cloth, cultivating the silk worms, and dyeing the cloth and threads to the embroidery itself. She has participated in the Santa Fe Craft Market for eight years, and has been featured in a book called An Shen Daji. At the Festival, she is joined by her daughter Zhang Hongying 张红英.