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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 7:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:50 pm
Posts: 101
Location: Cheam, UK
In response to Susan's and Bill's posts above, I have researched some preliminary details about the Zhuang nationality of China. According to "China's Minority Peoples" (China Pictorial Publishing House) they are a very large group who mostly inhabit Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and also Yunnan, Guangdong and Hunan. They were formly called Tong, but I have a feeling further research will turn up other tribal and subgroup names. National Geographic's map "The Peoples of China" shows them inhabiting an area down to the Vietnamese border and sharing boundaries with Miao and Yao populations. Further to Susan's question they appear to be distinct from the Miao and speak a language belonging to the Dai branch of the Zhuang-Dong group. (the Dai, an important Tai minority in Yunnan are themselves worthy of further investigation concerning textile production: - again I know little about them). The Zhuang in Yunnan wear dark costumes and a lot of silver jewelry similar to that of the Miao, but their costumes elsewhere may be very different. I would guess Tai styles with a Chinese influence - hence the possible use of the Chinese Swastika design in Susan's textile.

I have another book which may feature Zhuang textiles called "Art of Guangxi minorities customs: colourful costumes" (2 vols) which is very highly illustrated, but being in Chinese only it is difficult to pinpoint Zhuang material easily. (the book also contains Yao and Miao costumes)

All this could still be significant in relation to the mystery textile in question even if it does indeed come from Vietnam, as Tai groups in the far north of Vietnam might possibly be found on the Chinese side under the designation Zhuang, this also needs further research.

Susan, By the way I have seen the book "Nymphs of Folksong :the Zhuangs" on the White Lotus books website under rare books on Yunnan. However since the site was not updated recently it may no longer be available, as another book on the Zhuang of Yunnan had gone when I tried to order it.

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