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Object Record

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Artist Unknown
Nationality or Tribal Affiliation Hmong
Title Shamanic Ritual Story Cloth
Type of Object Needlework
Date ca. 1980s
Medium Cotton/Thread
Dimensions H-36 W-49.5 cm
Collection Missoula Art Museum Collection
How acquired Gift of Susan Lindbergh Miller in honor of Montana's Hmong Community
Object ID 2011.10.19
Statement about this object This small story cloth was made in Thailand and collected in Missoula. The images depict shamanic rituals. In the top left, a shaman is in a trance, sitting on a low bench or "horse," shaking as he projects his soul to ride to other worlds. He wears a mask which not only blocks out the visible world, but also acts as a disguise from evil spirits in the spirit world. During episodes when shamans leap onto the flying horse bench, assistants will often help them to balance. It is believed that if a shaman falls down before his soul returns to his body, he or she will die. Buffalo horn tips are thrown to the ground to determine which way the soul has gone. The ritual closes with a feast of the sacrificed animal, being prepared at the top right, and shared with the community at the bottom right.
Classification Textiles
Subjects Shamans
Rites & ceremonies