Museum of International Folk Art

Writing With Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities

August 25, 2008


Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities opens at the Museum of International Folk Art on May, 15, 2009 and runs through August 16, 2009.

Santa Fe, NMWriting with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities, features a rare collection of entire ensembles of women's, men's and children's ceremonial dress, baby carriers, quilt covers, festive and religious vestments, silver jewelry, embroidered silk valences, and wax-resist dyed curtains, plus a loom, weaving tools, and embroidery cases. More than 500 objects in Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities, represent 15 ethnic groups and nearly 100 subgroups in China.

Writing with Thread explores the meanings associated with the production and use of indigenous clothing. In societies without written languages, traditions and customs are orally passed from generation to generation. However, the textile arts, largely practiced by women, provide tangible evidence of a group's history, myths, and legends. The signs and patterns woven or embroidered in their clothing are often replicated in the accompanying silver ornaments made by men. Together, the textiles and silver ornaments, as complements to their oral traditions, record and transmit ideas and concepts that are important for the preservation and reconstruction of the identities of their makers and users. The exhibition, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind to date, will showcase costumes from the Miao, Yi, Dong, Tujia, Shui, Zhuang, Dai, Buyi, Yao, Wa, and Zang. The needlework and silverwork of each ethnic group show variations in their myths of origin and heroic combats, communal memories, and wish fulfillment.

Dr. Angela Sheng from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is principal curator of the exhibition assembled from the collections of the Evergrand Museum in Taiwan and opening at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Art Gallery. Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities, is accompanied by a 320-page illustrated catalogue documenting the exhibition.

The Woman’s Board of the Museum of New Mexico will host a reception for the opening of Writing with Thread on May 15, 2009 from 5:00-7:30 p.m. At 6:00 p.m. curator Angela Sheng will give a lecture.

For more information about Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities, related exhibition programming, and images please visit our Media Center, To download text and high resolution images you will need to register if you have not already done so.

Media Contacts

Bobbie Sumberg, Curator of Textiles and Costumes

Museum of International Folk Art



Steve Cantrell, PR Manager


505-310-3539 – cell


The Museum of International Folk Art houses the world’s largest collection of international folk art, with ongoing exhibitions Multiple Visions: A Common Bond in the Girard Wing and Familia y Fe in the Hispanic Heritage Wing. Changing and traveling exhibitions are offered in the Bartlett Wing and exhibitions highlighting textiles are featured the Neutrogena Wing. Lloyd’s Treasure Chest offers visitors interactive displays about collections and how museums care for collections.

The Museum of International Folk Art is a Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Information for the Public

Location: The Museum of International Folk Art is located on Museum Hill™, Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail.

Contact: 505-476-1200 or

Days/Times: Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend the Museum will also be open on Monday.

Admission: School groups free. Children 16 and under free. New Mexico residents with ID free on Sundays. New Mexico resident Senior Citizens (age 60+) with ID free Wednesdays. Museum Foundation members free. NM Veterans with 50% or greater disability free. Students with ID $1 discount. Single visit to one museum: $8.00 for non-state residents; $6.00 for New Mexico residents. Four-day pass to five museums including state-run museums in Santa Fe plus The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art $18.00. One-day pass for two museums (Museum of International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Arts and Culture OR The New Mexico Museum of Art and Palace of the Governors) $12.00. Group rate for ten or more people: single visit $6.00, four day pass $16.00.





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