Hmong textile art is called Paj Ntau or Paj Ntaub in the Hmong language and translates directly to flower cloth. This indigenous art was created by the Hmong (pronounced Mung) people and other closely related ethnic minorities in Southern China and the rest of South East Asia. The embroidered craft consists of bold geometric designs constructed in bright contrasting colors. The core visual elements include layered bands of applique, triangles and squares tilted and superimposed on each other, as well as lines and dots, spirals, and crosses. Each pattern and production technique is associated with a specific geographical region and cultural subdivision within the global Hmong community. Since the mass exodus of Hmong refugees from Laos following the end of the Secret War around 1975, major stylistic changes have occurred, strongly influenced by the tastes of new Western marketplaces. The introduction of new colors combined with contemporary cultural experiences have brought about a new form of Paj Ndau, often referred to as story cloths. These cloths range in size up to several square feet and use various figures and designs to represent stories from Hmong history and folklore in a narrative form. Today this practice continues to be passed down through generations of Hmong people & Paj Ndau textile art remains an important marker of Hmong culture.
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