Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 8 years 3 months ago

First Person Resources

  1. Ms. Li Ping
    1. Places I should go:
      1. Zhoucheng Embroidery, Tie Dye, and Clothing Manufacturing village in the Dali area
      2. Sha Ping: Traditional Bai Market
    2. Other Resources:
    3. Mr. and Ms. Linden
    4. MCK
    5. Lao Yang
  2. Ms. Linden
  3. Resources
    1. Morning Marketplace sells traditional clothes
    2. MCK has a book of Bai women wearing traditional clothes from different parts of Dali
    3. Lao Yang would be good to talk to about the clothing changing over time
  4. Resources:
    1. Zhoucheng
    2. Sha Ping
    3. Ethnic Minorities in China Book
    4. Ethnic Costumes traditional dress book
  5. Mr. Linden
Source information will be in parentheses after the information using the following numbers:
Li Ping (1)
Tie Dye Woman in ShaPing (2)
Hat Vendor in ShaPing (3)
Embroidery Factory Man (4)
Female Shopkeeper in Zhoucheng (5)
Male Shopkeeper in Zhoucheng (6)
Bai Minority Woman’s Hat (3)
  • Is the most indentifiable and important piece of Bai Minority attire
  • is supposed to represent elements in the Erhai Lake Valley Area; 
  • The Moon
  • The Wind
  • The Flower
  • The Snow
  • The color of the hat depends on your age and marital status
  • Most women will wear a sheer cloth over the hat to protect it from dirt, etc

Other Symbolism In Bai Clothing (6)

  • ​The Color of White Symbolizes not only the "Bai" people, but really means purity 
  • The Cammelia flower, or ChaHua, is found on almost all of the Bai minority women's clothing. Many of the symbols in Bai clothing comes from the surrounding nature of the Erhai lake valley, and the Cammelia Flower grows here as well. I've tried to determine the meaning of the flower numerous times, but it seems as though the cultural meaning has diminished. 

Embroidery and Design in Bai Clothing (5),  (3)

  • Floral based patterns
  • Skirts, aprons, and pants with embroidery
  • Most of the embroidery nowadays is machine-made in Zhoucheng
  • Floral embroidery on sleeves, collars.
  • Red and Pink Cammelia flowers
  • Birds, Butterflies, and fishes

Tourism and The Future Of Bai Minority Clothing (all sources confirmed all of the following)

  • Most of the Younger generation has never worn the clothing before
  • The only time people see the younger generation wearing it is for holidays, performances, and jobs
  • Aside from that, there is mostly authentic examples of women wearing the clothing in their day to day lives
  • The white, elegant bai minority costume is not usually seen being worn day-to-day
  • Men are usually more economically minded and less traditional, therefore they do not wear the traditional clothing
  • There are factories in Dali where they use traditional Bai elements to create modern clothing
  • The clothing has become more colorful through time
  • The design of the clothing hasn't changed much
  • It is impractical for men to wear the traditional clothing because it is white, and will get dirty while working

Materials: (5,2)

Beliefs and The Traditional Clothes: (2, 5, 1) 

  • The Bai Minority Caste System says that the most noble wear the traditional 
  • It also states that people who wear western clothes are less noble
  • It is also worn to respect the local deities 
  • Women wear the clothes more on festival days
  • The only times Children wear the clothes is on festival days, to respect their ancestors

I believe that all of the information I found is relevant to my project because it aligns with my questions, also it has made me ask more questions. A lot of the information I learned has given me answers to my questions. The "FengHuaXueYue" symbolism aligns with what I already know, which is good because I find that to be some of the most interesting information that I have learnt while researching. One thing that struck me as funny while researching is that the elders do believe that the younger generation will wear the traditional clothing as they age. While researching, I developed some new questions such as:

1) Did the people stop wearing the clothing during the cultural revolution?

No, they did not, they wanted to preserve their traditions. 

2) What types of typical patterns are in the embroidery?

3) Other people's opinions about the future of the clothing?

4) Why aren't the men wearing the traditional clothing? 

I think that I'll be ready for Phase 4 when I feel confident in my information. I believe I will be all ready for this by tonight (April 10th), as this afternoon I am going to a village where Bai minority embroidery is, and hopefully all of my questions will be answered. 



Hello, I'm Madeleine. I was in the pilot Microcampus program in 2012. In Xizhou, I researched Bai Minority Clothing because of my interest in the patterns and embroidery on Bai clothing. Though a seemingly lackluster topic, I found that my project became less and less about clothing, and more about the preservation of traditions in a village that is becoming more and more exposed to the world outside of the valley. I welcome you to take a look at my project, and see how my ideas and thoughts had developed over the course of a month!