Brocade weaving of the Dao Tien group

(VOVWORLD) - It’s a Dao tradition that girls must learn to weave, embroider, and make their own clothes when they are little. The embroidery patterns on their clothes reflect the culture and religion of the Dao. Today VOV looks at the brocade weaving and embroidery of the Dao Tiền in Cao Bang province.

Brocade weaving is a source of income for Dao Tien women. The themes, designs, and color combinations of embroidery patterns on their clothes and bedding express their feelings, traditions, and culture.

Brocade weaving of the Dao Tien group - ảnh 1Dao Tien women make their traditional clothes. 

For example, multi-pointed stars symbolize natural power and the universe. A single dog or pair of dogs is a reference to the Dao group’s origins. An 8-petal flower or cockscomb flower embroidered on a woman’s headscarf or blouse is a symbol of good luck. Other popular images are plants, grasses, and animals.

Dao Tien women grow jute and flax to make yarn for weaving and dyeing fabric. They make clothes, blankets, bedspreads, carrycots, and many other things.  

Ban Thi Xuan, a member of the Na Chan Brocade Weaving workshop, said: “To make nice products, we carefully choose the cloth and dye it before embroidering on it. We embroider clothes, scarves, bags, and other things. People like our products because they are all hand-made and very good quality.”

Brocade weaving of the Dao Tien group - ảnh 2Women attend Na Chan Brocade Weaving workshop.

Brocade weaving is central to the life of the Dao Tien people in Cao Bang province. The beautiful products are a reflection of their culture. For many reasons, the craft was once at risk of disappearing, but the authorities and people of Hoa Tham commune have been working to revive the craft and draw from it a sustainable livelihood.

Chairman of Hoa Tham commune’s People’s Committee Hoang Ton Sao said the commune has encouraged social organizations and villagers to get involved in preservation work. They can obtain loans for brocade production.

Sao said they established the Na Chan weaving workshop in 2017: “The communal authorities have helped them make a production plan, and market and sell their products. A project to promote the farm products of Cao Bang province has opened training classes and financed the weaving workshop. Their products are now sold in many places, producing good income for the weavers.”

Brocade weaving of the Dao Tien group - ảnh 3Brocade weaving products of Dao Tien women.

In 2012 the Cao Bang Development Center cooperated with the Dai An company to establish a 17-member Brocade Weaving team in Na Chan and Thang Coỏng hamlet. They received 50% funding to buy sewing machines, overlock machines, and irons, and received embroidery and production planning lessons.

Brocade products, once primarily for family use, are now sold at many tourism sites. The brocade weavers attend annual trade fairs in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Trieu Thi Nhim, Chairwoman of the Na Chan Brocade Weaving team, said: “We established the Na Chan Brocade Weaving team to preserve our traditions while helping women earn a living. Tourists like our products very much. I hope the local authorities will continue to support our production.”  

Cao Bang’s strong tourism potential offers the Dao Tien new opportunities to develop their weaving craft, build a trademark, promote their culture, and boost their income.

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