In this sensitively assembled book, the traditional folk embroideries of western China--indigo thread on white cotton cloth--appear in primarily two-color photographs, along with graphs suitable for linen or canvas adaptations. Collected in the Thirties by Dr. Carl Schuster, an Austrian expert on symbolic folk art, these pieces were expected to contain motifs found in other cultures and thus furnish evidence of common origins--a theory propounded by Viennese anthropologists. They didn't--the designs are unique--but Schuster amassed an exceptional collection. In an unabashedly admiring text (set affectionately in blue type), Baker and Lunt discuss the design components of individual pieces and reflect on their symbolic associations--bats, dragons, and butterflies, of course, for happiness, protection, and love, as well as rebus figures which incorporate language characters to make puns. The collection, now housed in Basel, Switzerland, and Chicago's Field Museum, features a huge array of distinctive medallions and borders stitched on household linens, more primitive than their contemporary silk equivalents, but pleasing and well executed nonetheless. Each instructional graph, often facing a photo of the original embroidery, is relatively easy to follow although the scale varies. A very special offering.