The Muong ethnic people of Tan Son district in the northern province of Phu Tho are exerting all efforts to preserve and develop their traditional brocade weaving craft despite tremendous difficulties in finding outlets for their products.
A long time ago, every Muong woman knew how to spin, dye and weave fabric to make clothes and blankets as a marriage dowry, said Dinh Thi Thanh Binh, head of the Women’s Association of Chieng village.
The village’s brocade items were well-known for being soft, smooth, light-weight, colourful and visually-striking, which enthralled many people from various regions to purchase them and desire apprenticeships.
However, in the last few years, residents have tended to go for industrial textile commodities instead of the local patterns in terms of cost, design and convenience.
It is also difficult for local products to reach potential customers, and young people show little enthusiasm for the craft.
Thanks to the recognition of Chieng as a craft village in 2008, the number of households involved in the craft was estimated to be around 200, a threefold increase against the previous time, said Ha Van Nhi, head of Chieng village.
State-funded training courses were opened for women to sharpen their weaving skills and a brocade weaving association was established to attract more teenagers to this conventional industry, he said.
Nhi affirmed that people here are determined to preserve and develop this traditional craft as a cultural feature of the nation and an invaluable asset of their group.
He expressed his belief that should there be a business that can represent the locals, purchase their products and sell them to tourists, his trade village will have more opportunities to flourish.
Villagers also hope to receive more support from authorities to learn about other traditional brocade weaving models of ethnic groups in other regions, to seek new designs and markets, said Ha Thi Tuyet Luc, Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Kim Thuong commune.
She revealed that in the future, local people will showcase their products at trade fairs, and at the same time restore their traditional houses on stilts where brocade items are display to draw tourists.
The development of provincial tourism activities at Hung Temple and Xuan Son National Park are also expected to open up a wealth of opportunities for the brocade industry in Chieng village, she added.