Hmong batik is one of the oldest textile art forms in the world.
Over a thousand years ago, the Hmong woman started painting with hot melting wax on the fabric before putting them in indigo dye and removing the wax afterward. This wax-resist dyeing technique offers immense possibilities for artistic freedom as patterns are applied by actual drawing.
Hmong people do not have their own written language. In the centuries of solitude and illiteracy, the Hmong expressed their way of living, emotions, feelings, legends, and history through their textile art. It became a kind of visual art that can be read, and such poetic visual language blurred the traditional boundaries between literature and art.
Rongjiang style batik with fish and bronze drum patterns in Rongjiang, Guizhou. Hand-painted symmetrical arthropod-fish (8), smaller fish (2), and 6 bronze drums. Fish stands for fertility in Hmong culture and is often mixed with other creatures. And bronze drum indicates the sun, bringing health and growth. This design is often used in gifts to newlyweds or families with newborn babies, wishing or congratulating them to receive strong, healthy offspring.
Who Made Your Product
We are proud to present to you our artisans: they are the best painters as well as wonderful, inspiring women, farmers, and humans. They deserve to have their stories told.
Li Hongtao, 34
“I’m no expert in child education, but the least I can do is to be there every day.”
This lady is our youngest selected artisan. Now a skillful master of Rongjiang style batik, she remained one of the few young Hmong women who would sit in a hut as a Hua-Niang(batik artisan), than seeking jobs in coastal factories. At the age of 27, Hongtao (“red peach” in Mandarin) decided to return to her village to stay with her children, now 13, 8, and 5, and to pick up her family’s batik heritage.
The big surprise for everyone - the Hmong ladies and us - is that she is capable enough to use a smartphone and social media! Mobile internet is like a fairytale to illiterate mountain women and men, but with Hongtao, we could finally “talk” to the Hmong ladies, even regardless of the mountains! Now that she is one of the few people with this life hack, Hongtao, much surprised, found herself an essential element for her tribe.
Her three children were the ones who brought her home. Most of the better-educated youngsters have left the mountains to work in cities. “But life is hard as soon as you got kids,” she told me. She has seen too many “problem children” left behind to grow up without parents in the mountains and worried that hers would become the same.
- Size: 40.5cm × 45cm | 15“ × 17“
- Fabric: Canvas
- Dyes: Indigo
- Made by: Li Hongtao
- Due to the nature of handcrafted goods, slight variations are embraced