FOLK ART, - River-Crossing Pa Ndau.
. First Edition. The Hmong people of Laos are a tribal people in the highlands of Southeast Asia. They were recruited by the C.I.A. to fight against the communist Vietnamese and Pathet Lao in the 1960s, and they suffered the highest casualty rate of any group in the war. After the victories of the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao in 1975, the communist governments retaliated against the "traitors." Many Hmong were killed and others fled across the Mekong River into Thailand, seeking freedom, or at least refuge. For a period of time, the largest population of Hmong in the world, outside of Laos, existed in a Thailand refugee camp. A number resettled in the West, including tens of thousands in the U.S. Pa ndau is a traditional Hmong textile folk art -- "pa" is Hmong for flower, "ndau" for cloth. Decorated cloths can be as small as postage stamps or as large as quilts and can incorporate various kinds of stitcheries, as well a various images or patterns. The central image of a pa ndau generally tells a story. One thematic development in traditional Hmong pa ndau since the end of the Vietnam war was the "river-crossing" pa ndau, representing the flight from Laos across the Mekong River and into Thailand. Approximately 34" x 34", this embroidered pa ndau shows a traditional scene of village life in the highlands of Laos, with planting, cooking, and other traditional activities taking place, followed by -- as one approaches the foreground -- the arrival of armed Pathet Lao soldiers herding villagers at gunpoint. Still closer to the foreground, a number of villagers have escaped into the river, some on rafts, some in boats, some floating singly. On the other side of the river, they are greeted by Thai troops, and escorted to safety in Thai vehicles. The unnamed artist who created this pa ndau escaped from a Pathet Lao prison camp with her children, hiding out in the forest for several weeks until she was eventually recaptured; her captors knocked her teeth out with rifle butts after her recapture. She eventually escaped again and made it across the river, finally emigrating to the U.S. River-crossing pa ndau -- a modern expression of a traditional Hmong art-are extremely scarce, and this is a particularly dramatic example. Fine.USD 2500.00 [Appr.: EURO 2292.75 | £UK 1621 | JPą 307345] Book number 029361
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