Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Yao painting scrolls, Yao dragon bridges and now Yao Shaman robes!
The Yao group has created several forms of art while pursuing their spiritual goals!
Led by priests called Shamans, the Yao believed in an amalgamation of beliefs. They worshiped Daoist as well as Buddhist deities and ancestors and their traditions and rituals have hints of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism as well as animism.
As the Shamans were the mediums that connected the people to the other world – and through this connection, they brought about order in this world. The ritual objects therefore were decorated with motifs that contained meaning.
Typically the motifs include The Three Pure Ones, deities of the 28 lunar houses, saints, Chinese zodiac animals, the four auspicious animals – dragon, phoenix, unicorn & turtle, the sun & moon and sometimes Buddhist symbols like swastika and lotus.
The symbolism in the robes is a way of wrapping the Shaman in the cosmic symbols of the universe. It acts as a) a reminder of the human’s place in the hierarchy of the universe and b) to tap in to the powers of that universe to get the desired results in the human world.
Most robes found today are in poor condition. Problems of repairs and loss of silk-floss thread are not uncommon unfortunately.
Below are a few robes shown below with these visually evocative objects:
Legend has it that a long time ago, all Shamans used to be women as men were employed and busy in farming. Then, there occurred an incident in which the Shaman went into labor and childbirth during the ceremony and her husband took over the ritual and produced results. After that, men began performing this role and gradually replaced women.
In the hills of Vietnam, it is still possible to find practicing Shamans…..
Must visit someday to get a first-hand experience of the ceremony!
From the WOVENSOULS collection