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Object Record

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Artist Lee, Lo Mee
Nationality or Tribal Affiliation Hmong
Title Flower Cloth
Type of Object Needlework
Date ca. 1970s
Medium Cotton/Thread
Dimensions H-158.5 W-88.5 cm
Collection Missoula Art Museum Collection
How acquired Gift of Susan Lindbergh Miller in honor of Montana's Hmong Community
Object ID 2011.10.150
Statement about this object Though purchased in Missoula in the late 1980s, this large cloth was made in Thailand and 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, including Lo Mee Ly, according to her granddaughter, used these opportunities to create larger cloths that were functional, such as table cloths and bed spreads, or purely decorative, such as wall hangings.

This cloth has snail, mountain and flower motifs. Traditionally, the snail pattern symbolizes family, with conjoined snails, as seen here, suggesting fecundity or fertility. The mountains, represented by the triangles, may symbolize strength.
Classification Textiles
Subjects Patterns (Design elements)
Snails