Saturday, 5 July 2014

Zhen Xian Bao

I mentioned during my post on the World Textile Day that I would be sharing the treasure I bought there and here it is. I was reminded as this afternoon someone is coming to photograph it for their own reference. Of course I can look at it anytime I want but it's always good to document textiles with pictures for future use.

I have been interested in Miao embroidery since the far off days when I did my City and Guilds Embroidery Course in the early nineties and have visited many exhibitions and have probably all the books ever published on the subject.The Miao are a minority ethnic group living in South West China who produce the most stunning textiles mainly for use on their traditional outfits.

It is only in recent years  however that I have become aware of the existence of these Zhen Xian Bao. They are made to store embroidery supplies such as needles and threads, patterns and the like. And they are made in an intricate folding technique. Above and below you can see the outside of this one and the amazing stitching on the cover that was the main attraction to make me buy it.
Below a detail, and it's a very close-up macro. This stitching is tiny. It seems almost impossibly small and intricate.
And then you fold it open as seen below. I love seeing the evidence of the human stitching hand in all the details and also love the fabrics that were used.
Opening it up further and more treasures are revealed. When I saw this I was lost and simply had to have this particular one.
It's fascinating to see how this is put together and it involves some very intricate folding methods as well as stitching. I'm hoping to make a folded version myself following the instructions in Ruth Smith's series of Folded Secrets booklets (you can order them from her by contacting her on
 I'll leave you to enjoy the details! 

I treasure every detail, even the dust inside! And of course all the different fabrics used inside and out.


Gill said...

Frieda this is exquisite - I would love one!!
I shall contact Ruth to buy her booklets!!

Anonymous said...

wow- that is amazing!!


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