Ethnic minority artisan promotes Ninh Thuan brocade weaving

(VOVWORLD) - Artisan Van Thi Thang is one of the few skilled artisans in My Nghiep, a brocade weaving craft village in the central province of Ninh Thuan. At the age of 80, Thang is still dedicated to preserving and promoting her village’s traditional craft.

Ethnic minority artisan promotes Ninh Thuan brocade weaving - ảnh 1Artisan Van Thi Thang. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Van Thi Thang was born into a Cham family with a tradition of brocade weaving. She is still active weaving brocade and teaching the craft to younger villagers.  

“I’ve been involved in brocade weaving for 60 years. I started learning this craft from my grandmother and mother when I was 12 years old. Weaving a piece of brocade requires several stages: spinning the yarn, framing, creating the patterns, and weaving the fabric. The most difficult step is weaving the traditional patterns, which requires meticulous attention and technique.”

The brocade weaving of the Cham people has patterns which depict nature, daily life activities, customs, traditions, and religious beliefs.

My Nghiep village is facing the fact that many old artisans have passed away and there is a lack of young artisans to keep the craft alive. Thanks to a project to collect, restore, and teach old patterns of Cham brocade supported by the Fund for Folk Culture and Art Preservation of the Center for Educational Exchange with Vietnam, the weaving patterns of My Nghiep have been restored.

“Artisan Van Thi Thang has done lots of research to restore the ancient Cham weaving patterns, which are quite different from those of the Central Highlands. Thang is the most skillful and creative artisan in our village,” said Thuan Thi Trao, who runs a shop that sells the brocade products of the My Nghiep Cham Brocade Weaving Cooperative.

Ethnic minority artisan promotes Ninh Thuan brocade weaving - ảnh 2My Nghiep brocade weaving craft village draws throng of daily visitors. (Photo: Ngoc Anh) 

My Nghiep village is the cradle of brocade weaving of the Cham ethnic people with a 400-year-old history. It is a well-known village in Ninh Thuan province and the central region. A local woman named Dong Thi Hong Gam said, “Ms. Thang is a skillful and patient artisan. She has created many different and unique weaving patterns. She is also dedicated to preserving and teaching the traditional craft to the younger generation.”

Thang used to bring the brocade products of My Nghiep village to exhibitions and fairs in Ninh Thuan and other areas. Now, at the age of 80, she is still busy demonstrating the craft to domestic and foreign visitors who want a hands-on experience with brocade weaving. Many of Thang’s brocade products have won prizes.