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Object Record

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Artist Unknown (Pa Lor's daughter)
Nationality or Tribal Affiliation Hmong
Title Table Cloth
Type of Object Tablecloth
Date 1989
Medium Cotton/Thread
Dimensions H-89.2 W-96 Dia-91.44 cm
Collection Missoula Art Museum Collection
How acquired Gift of Susan Lindbergh Miller in honor of Montana's Hmong Community
Object ID 2011.10.157
Statement about this object This round flower cloth was made in Vientiane by the daughter of Pa Lor, Bounthavy (Vee) Kiatoukaysy's material aunt. It features a central elephant's foot motif surrounded by flowers and mountains, is representative of the Hmong entrepreneurship that emerged in the refugee camps. Before the Vietnam War, women were able to sew only after daily farm and family chores were complete; the resulting flower cloths were small, ideal for use as pockets, panels, and borders on important garments. At the same time that the refugee camps displaced the Hmong agrarian lifestyle, an influx of foreign tourists and soldiers were looking to purchase souvenirs. Hmong women used these as opportunities to create larger cloths that were functional, such as table cloths and bed spreads, or purely decorative, such as wall hangings. Relatives who had relocated oversees also sparked new interest from Western buyers, and embroiderers in the camps would export their cloths to generate additional income.
Classification Textiles
Utilitarian objects
Subjects Patterns (Design elements)
Symbols