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Baby Carriers, Ethnic Minority Groups, China

Baby carriers, 20th century
Ethnic Minority Groups (un-attributed), China
Various fabrics including cotton, silk and natural fibers
Gifts of Mr. & Mrs. Long Shung and Anne Shih
Bowers Museum#2006.11.20; 2006.11.9 Twenty-one textiles representing various styles among the Minority Groups of China have recently been gifted to the museum, contributing to the museum’s growing collection of outstanding textiles. The donation broadens the scope of our collection by highlighting the beauty and sophisticated craftsmanship of tribal garments. The bulk of the donation is comprised of baby carriers, beautifully embellished works of art made to secure children to the backs of their mothers. Two large fabric straps extend from each side of the main embroidered panel and are wrapped around the mother’s body to secure the baby in place. Often these straps are removed before being sold as the object-as-a-whole is perceived to be less desirable to collectors than the embroidered panels themselves. Examples of both types can be found in the Bowers Museum’s collection.

A woman’s ability to create fine embroidery and textile work is seen as valuable to the community and especially to potential husbands and in-laws. Baby carriers and other embroidered work becomes part of a woman’s dowry. Throughout the numerous Minority Groups the symbolism, patterns and shapes of the carriers differentiate however, they all convey the celebration and joy that new children bring.
All images and text under copyright. Please contact Collection Department for permission to use. Information subject to change with further research.
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Friday, 27 January 2023

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