An exhibition dedicated to Asia's baby-carrying culture will unfold at the National Museum of History in Taipei from Feb. 2 through April 10.
The exhibits, including 26 items from the National Museum of Prehistory collection and 21 on loan from other collectors, came from Taiwan, southwest China, and Borneo. Each of the items is unique, represents a different tradition, and passes down stories of propagation.
Among the exhibits are special "baby straps (被央)” and "wrap cloth (花佩/蒙被)” from Kinmen. Different "baby strap” designs are used for men and women, and the one used by men has a pocket. The "wrap cloth” is equally intriguing, boasting a black-and-white grid, a Buddhist swastika symbol, and a piece of lead that is sewn on the top to ward off evil.
Another baby carrier from southwest China is unique because of its hand-embroidered spiders, pomegranates, butterflies, and other exclusive patterns. The Dong people (侗族) consider spiders to bring longevity, prosperity, peace, good luck, and wisdom to their newborn, while the butterfly pattern is widely used by the ethnic group of Miao in Guizhou Province in southwest China to represent proliferation of their descendants.
The exhibition venue will also offer an installation piece titled "The Tree of Life” that includes sketches detailing the long and arduous journey of motherhood.
The National Museum of History has also designed several baby outfits incorporating traditional Chinese totems used in baby carriers. The limited edition garments will be available at the museum's gift shop.
'Beloved Baby Carrier: Tradition and Innovation'