Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wonderful Ethnic Textiles in Hanoi

Last month we visited Hanoi’s Museum of Ethnology and their wonderful collection of ethnic textiles and weaving exhibits. Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups spread throughout the country with many residing in the hilly regions of the north. Each group, such as the Hmong, Tay, Tai, Muong, etc., is known for their beautiful and unique clothing and hand weaving. This exhibit shows a colorful Hmong women using a “back-strap loom.”

Ethnic minorities arrived in Vietnam and the highlands of other Southeast Asian countries around 4 or 5 thousand years ago from southern China. In 1997 I visited a Miao hilltribe village in Northern Thailand via an elephant. From that moment on I have been interested in the textiles of Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Rustic weaving loom from an ethnic village.

Cotton clothing and silver jewelry from a hilltribe in Vietnam.

Clothing and intricately woven shoulder cloths from a Tai village in Laos.

Colorful clothing of the Red Dao tribe in Vietnam.

Intricate sleeve detail on a Hmong outfit.

Each ethnic tribe has unique clothing characteristics.

A simple loom in expert hands can create very intricate & complicated fabrics.

Weaving is an important & treasured activity passed on from generation to generation. Though many people from ethnic groups have integrated into the population of modern Southeast Asian cities, there are still many villages continuing ancient traditions.

If you love beautiful ethnic textiles, please look at my latest video on Youtube.

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