A Cơ Tu woman introduces brocade skills at the weaving network launch in Quảng Nam Province. The traditional trade has been revived among seven ethnic groups in five central provinces. — VNS Photo Công Thành
HỘI AN — The first weaving network for the traditional brocade of ethnic groups in the central and central highlands region has been launched connecting weaving groups and preserving the handicraft trade.
The network, which was supported by the Japanese non-governmental organisation Foundation for International Development/Relief (FIDR) and funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), helped link 17 weaving teams from seven ethnic groups including Xơ Đăng, Ba Na, Tà Ôi, Cơ Tu and Mạ from five provinces in Quảng Nam, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Đà Nẵng, Kon Tum and Đắk Nông since 2001.
FIDR started working with Cơ Tu weaving group in Zơ Ra Village of Nam Giang District in the central Quảng Nam Province 18 years ago before building a weaving house in 2004.
It’s also the first weaving co-operative established with 40 members and the group’s product had been exported to Australia.
Last year, the village’s product was selected as gift by the provincial People’s Committee for diplomats and visitors.
A group of ethnic women demonstrate brocade weaving with portable looms. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Nobuko Otsuki, FIDR’s representative in Việt Nam, said over the past 10 years, she has recognised the beauty and uniqueness of brocade among the ethnic groups.
She said the project aims to help preserve the trade by recovering production through community-based tourism.
“We tried to introduce the trade and brocade community as new destinations to Japanese travel agencies,” Nobuko said.
“We received many orders from tourism companies in Japan seeking new products.
“Tourists will come to explore the beauty and skills of the traditional brocade and they would buy the unique products after understanding the value of the handicraft.”
She suggested the brocade villages should diversify products with more designs.
Sumiko Iguchi, a tourist from Japan, spent five days learning how to weave from the Cơ Tu ethnic group in Hòa Bắc Commune, Đà Nẵng City.
Although she said she had weaved before in Japan, this style was new to Sumiko because of the different looms used.
“Here a loom is portable and easy. Craftsmen can carry loom to weave brocade everywhere. Cơ Tu community in Hòa Bắc Commune is so friendly and hospitable. I feel at home,” she said.
“I know now how to make brocade with Cơ Tu material and loom, and I’ll bring home a loom. Many Japanese prefer to know more about traditional weaving.”
Some community-based tourism destinations were built at Tà Bhing Commune; Bhơ Hoong and Dhroong villages, Tà Lu Commune in Quảng Nam Province; Tà Lang Village in Đà Nẵng City in boosting the brocade trade.
Products include scarves, mattress covers, wallets, table cloths and bags with unique patterns and natural dyes.
A spinner is used in brocade weaving among ethnic groups living in central and central highlands region. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Brocade weaving has been revived through tourism promotion among ethnic groups of Cơ Tu in Đà Nẵng; A Dớt Village in Thừa Thiên-Huế, A Ting, La Êê and Chơ Chun in Quảng Nam; Đak Ro Wa in Đắk Nông with more than 300 weavers.
In 2017, Cơ Tu community in Zơ Ra Village earned more than US$40,000 from tourism including sales of brocade and hand-made products. — VNS