Arakan & Chin States, Burma
Woman’s upper body garment
Cotton, silk, glass beads, cowrie shells
18 3/4 in. X 16 1/2 in.
Good, slight native repairs in the body of the beadwork
Simple, sleeveless square, with deep v-neck and armholes of equal length. The upper half of this garment is richly embellished with finely woven, supplementary, geometric patterns in repeating diamonds and chevrons of magenta silk thread. The bottom half of the garment is traversed with two 1 5/8 inch vertical stripes of supplementary weaving consisting of diamond and cross mark variants in pale magenta and ecru. Narrow magenta, vertical stripes run from the top of the garment to the hem. Sumptuous embellishment is provided by 24 florets consisting of four cowrie shells, arranged in vertical rows of four on the front, back, and sides of the garment. One floret is missing a cowrie shell due to age and wear. Hundreds of translucent, candy apple red, glass seed beads are sewn into rows and lattices creating a central beaded panel, front and back. Native repairs of opaque red beads are present in a few places. Additional grouping of red beads are found defining the space around the cowrie florets.
Displayed during the exhibition Tribal Traditions, The Costumes and Culture of the Chin Fiber Arts Center, Amherst, MA. August 1st – September 30th, 2002