Hidden away on the third floor of a building in the Institute of Fashion Technology, the Museum of Ethnic Costumes possesses some of the city’s most beautiful exhibits. Aiming to provide a window into ethnic cultures through their garments, the museum showcases the clothing and jewellery of China’s multitude of minorities.
Partial English translations offer an interesting, if all too brief, glimpse into these rich visual cultures. Of particular interest are the displays of intricately embroidered babycarriers (familiar to anyone who has travelled in south-west China), eye-catching blue and white batik, and the dazzling silver jewellery of the Miao minority.
But perhaps most fascinating of all is the roomful of vintage photographs from early 20th-century Sichuan, captured by ethnographer/photographer Zhuang Xueban; they show just how little the ethnic costumes of the Yi, Qiang and Tibetan minorities have changed over the years. Jessie Levene