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About: About
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About Beenong Gifts

Discovering Zhuang treasures and people

 

The Zhuang people are a minority group in China with a rich history and distinct culture.  They are the largest minority people group, though they remain mostly unknown and are often overlooked.  Many Zhuang people, especially those in rural areas, must go far away to seek sustainable employment, only returning home to their children and families once or twice a year.

At Beenong Gifts, we deeply believe that the Zhuang people and culture have much to offer.  They have a rich creative voice that ought to be heard and we long to help them gather an audience.  Through creating contemporary products inspired by their unique art and culture, Beenong Gifts hopes to promote Zhuang designs to the world. 

Zhuang children should be able to grow up with their parents.  We long for this to be the norm, so we prioritise employing individuals with few job opportunities so that they can work in their own towns and villages and live with their families, and also learn life skills useful outside of Beenong Gifts - and in so doing, support healthier family and social structures.

Beenong Gifts strives to build meaningful relationships with all our colleagues, employees and their families in a holistic way, embodying values of social justice, cultural authenticity, sustainability and generosity.

About: About

Miriam's Story

Miriam's family are farmers and live in a village hidden deep in the mountains.  She learned to sew in her younger years doing factory work in another province.  In the hope of being present in the lives of her two young children, her home is now set up with a few sewing machines so that she (and ladies like her) can work from home.

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About: Welcome

Why Black?

There are many subgroups among the 18 million Zhuang, one of which is called the "Black Zhuang".  Traditionally, they dye their fabric black/dark navy with a natural plant that grows in the region. This is an intensely tedious process, and not many people can or are willing to dye their fabric naturally anymore. However, most traditional Zhuang clothing still uses a black linen fabric for a base, as it effectively showcases their colourful ribbons and beautifully intricate embroidery.

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Inspired by the Black Zhuang

understated elegance

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Handwoven Fabric

The Zhuang have a long tradition of weaving their own fabric with a wooden (or more recently, metal) loom. They weave many kinds of checked or plaid patterns using different coloured threads distinctive to their specific area. Many ladies wear these fabrics as a decorative headpiece. They are also commonly seen in clothing and household items such as tablecloths, bedsheets, and baby carriers.

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Star Anise

Symbolic & Authentic

Aromatic star anise is widely grown in Zhuang mountains.  During the summer months (July-August), Zhuang farmers get busy harvesting and drying basketfuls of star anise and then sell them at marketplaces.  It is no wonder that they also use it as a beautiful symbol/pattern in their traditional art and fabric.

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Uncle Asaph's cards

Uncle Asaph is an amateur local Zhuang artist seeking to support his family through drawings that authentically depict Zhuang people, traditions and everyday life. Browse through his beautiful collection of reprinted hand-drawn greeting cards!

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About: Welcome
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