The saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true. The above picture shows a story of the Hmong people and how they lived in the past. To be honest, when I first came to Davis, I had no idea what Hmong meant. I actually didn't even know there was a nationality called Hmong, I always perceived it as Mongol, not Hmong. It wasn't until my freshman year here in Davis did I find out who the Hmong people are through my ASA 1 class. But back to the tapestry.... It says a lot about who the Hmong people are. Just looking at it shows a person how creative, innovative, and resourceful the Hmong are. With such simple and everyday items, Hmong women were able to produce such beautiful textile pieces, and at the same time pass down their ancestry and history through art. It tells the story of the hard work that the Hmong people are known for along with the importance of family. From the article "Speaking Through Cloth: Teaching Hmong History and Culture through Textile Art" by Ava L. McCall, it states that "the concept of textile art on clothing" was a "means of cultural identification for the family". (Reader 134) I can relate to this type of textile art to what many of us wear today. A lot of people don't notice but many of the shirts that we wear are cultural representations of our own culture. Whats really popular these days for my nationality is the Filipino flag's sun and three stars. Many people would say that it doesn't really represent anything but the flag of the Philippines, but in fact it is a cultural representation. The representation of pride in our history, traditions, and culture. So I'm thinking of the Hmong's paj ntaub dab neej as their pride in their traditions, lifestyle, family, and history. The paj ntaub dab neej is also the voice of the women, they are able to tell their family's stories through art and at the same time to be able to teach their children their way of life. It shows the close knit (get the pun?!) that the family members have together; passing it down generation to generation.
When I found this Hmong Tapestry, I thought...hmmm the compact challenge would really be awesome if we could start growing our own food and make our own clothes. But then again, with our busy lives who has the time right? If life was more simpler than life today, it would be possible. I haven't gone shopping...yay! i was really tempted to buy new boots last weekend but I remembered about the compact challenge and resisted. But I do have a confession....I ended up buying rainboots. "sigh" but they weren't expensive at all, and its been raining like crazy lately; I mean i can't really wear my suede boots outside in the rain now can I? But, like I said, if life were more simpler I would be up for planting my own food and making my own clothes. I mean why can't i make my own clothes? I have a sewing machine and I know how to knit....its possible right? Not to mention how much money you can save and have a healthier and organic diet. I've been saving too.... a dollar a day is good isnt it? Instead of buying tea at the MU everyday I've been just getting the free hot water they provide so happily for me and bring my own tea...that saves me a dollar everyday!
Have a good one guys! see ya'll on Tuesday!
Post # 4 - April Gatpayat
McCall, Ava L. "Speaking through Cloth:Teaching Hmong History and Culture through Textile Art." The Social Studies; Sep/Oct 1999; 90, 5; Ethnic NewsWatch (ENW) pg. 230-236.