The fabric-making tradition of the Miao ethnic minorities can be traced back at least 1000 years. Fabrics were lightweight and easily transportable during these frequent periods of war and migration. The symbolic iconography protected its wearer from harmful spirits while chronicling the story of their people.
In this image, an elderly woman weaves fabric for her funeral. It is a tradition for family members of the deceased to wear white fabric on their heads during the funeral ceremony. By weaving the fabric herself, she explained that she was relieving the burden of her children from having to weave the fabric themselves. Of course, I was very touched by this and quietly watched her weave until sundown.