Satchels of Chinese Ethnic Groups

The use of satchels is another evidence of the human civilization. The history of satchels may be dated back to the beginning of primitive society. The earliest ones are sacks made of animal hides used to hold odds and ends. The invention of spinning brought us new materials such as silk and cotton cloth. As natural labor division, i.e., men work in the field and women work on the weaving, women and demonstrated great talent in spinning. Satchels varied in terms of feature and styles among ethnic groups, and became an object of sentimental values. They also reflect the culture and way of life in certain historical periods, a channel for women to tell their stories. The most unique ones are leathered sacks and water sacks made by the nomads and hunters using hides of their kills. The delicate satchels, made of bamboo, cane, birch, and even fish skin, perfectly embody the kind nature, diversified life, and great intelligence of Chinese people of all ethnic groups.

Satchels are indispensable utensils in daily life all the time, in all ethnic groups by people at different standings. One would carry his satchel to visit his friends and go to the market. A fine satchel can be dowry in wedding ceremony, or token of love. As important adornment indicating the aesthetic standards of a person, satchels also demonstrate the distinctive Chinese cultural value, the civilization development and innovation capability of the nation.

Displayed here are satchels from various ethnic groups from Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Hunan, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Area, Tibet, Shanxi, Beijing and the North-east China. Most of items are made within the last 100 years.

Location: 1st floor, Bai Branch Museum, South Park

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