Ruth Lor Malloy 
      Ruth Lor Malloy 

  Endangered Asian Handicrafts


For the last couple of decades, Ruth has been collecting fine, hand-made, traditional textiles and footwear and putting them into museums in Canada to save them for future generations. She has also been trying to photograph the making of these before it is too late and the weavers and boot makers disappear. There are not many left except in very remote areas and she hasnít given up the search yet.

As a result of her efforts, youíll find some exquisite embroidery from Guizhou in the Anthropology Museum of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto has minority jackets, aprons and longjiís from her trips to China and Myanmar. On display recently were some of her Tibetan and Mongolian boots, finely stitched Miao slippers and Han lotus shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

She will continue to look as long as she can and as long as she has help.

Among the many people who have generously given aid in this endeavour (though they may not have known) have been Bi Xiaoning of China International Travel Service in Lanzhou, Nicole Blomquist, Monique Deguire Bazar, Enzo Di Mambro, Karen Fang, Gyalo, Gerald Harper, He Xiaozu of the Gansu Provincial Tourism Administration, Jin Ba, Phuntsok Lhungrik of Horse Wind Travel, Undraa of Shuren Travel in Ulaan Baatar, Caroline Walker, and Yang Cheng Cai of CTS and Comfort Travel in Xining.

Museums that have also assisted have been that at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing (thanks to Lucy Ma and Xiang Hongjia), the Inner Mongolia Museum of China (Prof. Su Ting Ling and Professor Shao Qing Long.) and the National Museum of Mongolian History (Jigsem Tuultsetseg, Curator of Ethnic Costumes).

Among the many hotels that have helped with complimentary rooms have been the Holiday Inn Hohhot, Labuleng Hotel in Xiahe, Beijing Shangri-La, Novotel Peace, Novotel Xin Qiao, and Renaissance Beijing, She is especially grateful to Mr. Jianning Tong of Air China and Ping Huang of the China Tourist Office, both of them based in Toronto.

You can help too. Please e-mail Ruth to find out how.

Ms. You Wenfeng's grandchildren model the salmon-skin clothes she made, a no-longer practised dress fabric of the Hezhe people of Northeast China.   The children's clothes are now at the Textile Museum of Canada and the University of Alberta in Edmonton.   Enkhtuya puts a pair of reindeer skin boots  onto her granddaughter.  She is of the Tsaatan or  reindeer people who live near Lake Hovsgol in northern Mongolia, one of the few such people left.  The boots are now in the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto

Otgonjargal, a pasturalist, who lives in the remote Khanuy Valley in Mongolia holds a pair of boots she made for her grandson. 
These boots are now in the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

Salar prayer shoes made by a maiden to prove she was eligible for marriage.  Qinghai, China.  Now in the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto

Tu minority women hold embroidered shoes owned by their grandparents to sell to Ruth.  Qinghai, China. These are now in the Bata Shoe Museum

Sonam, a Tibetan monk in Sichuan, China, holds a rare high lama boots he sold to make money for his studies.  The pair are now in the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.   

Nun at Rombuk Monastery  near Everest Base Camp in Tibet holds the traditional Tibetan boots she no longer wears.  She prefers factory-made ones. Rombuk is the highest monastery in the world. Her boots are now in the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

Ms. Kalsang Dolma didn't know what to do with the beautiful embroidered shoes made for her wedding on 1949 by her grandmother.  She decided that a museum would be the best place for them.  They are now in the Bata Shoe Museum. 

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