The Miao minority(Hmong) documents their history and culture by embroidery since they do't have their written language. The embroidery motif not only reveals the values, belief systems, and aesthetics of the Miao, but also illustrates their history and social changes they have been gone through generations after generations.
As an extraordinary medium for expressing and preserving the Miao culture, Miao embroidery and caftswomen need more attention and support to revive and continue their ethnic stories.
The Miao people believe in "all things have animism", integrate lives and nature. To this day, the Miao people worship to the nature and illustrate in their embroidery works. There are more than fifty kinds of embroidery patterns designs for the Southeastern Miao, including dragons, chickens, ducks, geese, cattle, lions, and dogs. Some of these animals are depicted alone, some are depicted with people's body, flowers, plants, fruits and trees, and some merge with human heads. The embroidery images of all animals have been optimized into supernatural figures more than original forms.
Swirling waves in whirlpool motifs symbolize the rushing rivers that are integral to Miao history.
The rivers chart the progress of the migration of the Miao from their ancestors lived near the Yellow river, to the rivers of Guizhou where many Miao live today.
These motifs normally adorn the shoulders of the jackets worn by Miao women.
Butterfly embroidery motif can be found on a child-carrying wrap, was sewn for the infant to ensure the child would grow up healthy and strong.
The Butterfly Mother gave birth to the first two Miao ancestors. So the Miao sing of their ancestor the butterfly and embroidery butterfly on the clothing as a way of worship.
In the center of every Miao village stands a gigantic maple tree. The Miao call the maple tree the “Mother Tree” .
In the Miao religion, maple tree is the source of life, the mother of all things.
It is a key motif in Miao embroidery, representing the hope that humanity will continue to spring up, like the shoots form the seeds of the maple tree.