Miao. Costumi e gioielli dalla Cina del Sud | Courtesy Museo d'Arte Orientale di Venezia
The opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the Miao, an ancient population of Southern China, is given by the 700th anniversary of the death of Marco Polo (15 September 1254 - 8 January 1324), to which the Museum of Oriental Art of Venice dedicates an exhibition supported by the Direzione Regionale Musei Veneto, with the patronage of the Istituto Confucio di Venezia and the Società Geografica Italiana. Thanks to the generous loan of Franco Passarello, a passionate collector of clothes from all over the world, and to some very precious illustrated albums from the Società Geografica Italiana, commissioned by the emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to get to know the populations of the most distant territories of the empire, the general public will be able to discover the characteristics of a fascinating culture, rich in complexity and capable of proudly maintaining its identity over the centuries. The artisanal tradition of the Miao is best expressed in the creation of fabrics and embroidery obtained through ancient techniques that reveal an alternative life system, linked to animistic beliefs and which has survived over time in a fragile balance, today constantly threatened by the expansion of mass tourism.