Nuosu clothing - fashioned of wool or hemp - is famous for exquisite needlework in bright colors and intricate patterns. Until recently, most cloth was handwoven and dyed with local vegetable and mineral pigments.
What You Wear Shows Who You Are
An insider can tell at a glance about someone's hometown, gender, age, marital status - and even social group. You can pick up clues to the Nuosu cultural code from the clothing displays around you.
Where Are You From?
Every county - or even township - in the Cool Mountains has a distinctive style of clothing.
Man or Woman?
Although some pants look skirtlike, and men's and women's jackets display the same patterns, Nuosu men and women wear subtly separate styles of clothing, and carry different types of bags.
Cycle of Life
There are special clothing styles for every stage of a Nuosu person's life - from babyhood, through puberty and marriage, to funeral cremation.
Nuosu society is divided into social ranks or castes. These include aristocrats, commoners, and lower castes, some of whom in the past were serfs or slaves. In some regions, aristocrats wear separate styles of clothing.
Nuosu clothing changes with the times and reflects various outside influences without losing its distinctive style. Today, it has become more colorful than ever with the incorporation of synthetic fabrics in brilliant hues.