The Yao (official name) or Mien (what they refer to themselves as) tribes, originally from China, dress in dark shirts and pants which feature the beautiful embroidery these people are famous for. Men have embroidery on their shirts and trousers. While women have embroidery on their pants, their tops are fairly plain. That is until you come to the vivid red ruff running around like a collar. This goes around the neckline of their shirt, then runs on either side down the front of their shirt, luxurious and thick. A dark turban is also worn by the women, with the ends again sporting embroidered embellishments.
The patterns are quite geometric in design and are often stitched onto either very dark cloth, or light cloth. Seeing the women working on their embroidery was much appreciated by this girl who struggles to sew on a button. Women sit for hours on end quietly stitching away, with their supplies in a plastic crate at their feet, not a pattern in sight. Utilising a limited number of traditional patterns seems to be the norm across a number of the hill tribes based on what we saw regardless of whether they were working in embroidery, weaving, batik or silversmithing.
Considering the amount of work in these hand stitched pieces they were reasonably priced, so we bought a couple to take home with us.