K’Ho People are preserving textile industry in Lam Dong

Jan 10th 2013.

Weaving fabric has been a traditional handicraft of K’ho ethnic people in Lam Dong province for a long time, which plays an important part in material and spiritual life of K’ho tribe. Weaving fabric of K’ho not only supplies products to meet the demand of life, but it can also represent and preserve the national heritage.

Through the weaved cloth, K’ho women show their soul, sentiments and feelings of the nature and people in vivid patterns. They apply them in common instruments like the house of stilt’s stairs, the handle of Xa Gat – a kind of knife used for harvesting rice, ship, stake, arbalest, ect., and the nature like moon, plant, bird, ect. All of these are naturally and vividly expressed by K’ho women’s weaving.

Ethnic Group's Textile

Ethnic Group's Textile

The materials of textile industry are cotton and plants which can create natural colors. Long time ago, for the self-provision circle, people planted cotton to make fiber by themselves. To dye cloths, they used tubers, fruits, and leaves from the forests, such as crocus to have yellow, curry to have orange, and some special plants to have red and blue. To save the colors when dyeing, they combine shell powder and ash of banana-tree’s ash into the dye.

K’ho people weave fabric with a simple instrument. Unlike Kinh and some ethnic group in the North, K’ho people do not have a fixed weaving loom. Their so-called weaving loom includes some bars of wood or bamboo. To wave a piece of cloth, they set up the frame and stretch the fabric onto the frame. The frame is a simple structure which has two long bars of wood – about 1.5-2 m length, and these bars are firmly fastened on two tall chairs. When stretching the fiber, a weaver ties one end of the fiber to a bar of wood in one side of the frame, and starts pulling the fiber to the other end so that the fiber is tightly stretched. Depending on the size of the cloth and the arrangement of the pattern, a weaver stretches the suitable color fiber. After stretching, the weaver removes two bars of wood and starts weaving.

Ethnic group's Weaving

Ethnic group's Weaving

The patterns in K’ho’s brocade are geometry, human, animal, in common instruments, such as stairs, arbalests, ships, stakes, peacock’s eyes, ect. Textile industry products of K’ho are blankets, skirts, cloth bands for carrying a child, headscarf, bracelets. Nowadays, there are some new products, such as cloth bands used for praying in the religious ceremonies, bags, purses, ect.

现在, under the impacts of the market economy and the economy – culture exchanges with neighboring ethnic groups, textile industry of K’ho is being narrowed and , to a certain extent, neglected. Their fashion requirements are changed to meet the demand of the customers for these days. K’ho’s textile industry is continuously maintained, and adapted to the market economy. They have made products which have variety of designs, good quality, reasonable prices. Weave products of K’ho people have become merchandise anf favorite souvenirs for the tourists in Vietnam locally and internationally when they visit the South of Central Highlands.

Doan Bich Ngo

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