Ta Oi ethnic minority keep traditional brocade weaving alive

Thứ Tư, 14/02/2024, 07:09

PSNews - Brocade (zeng) weaving has long played an important role in the spiritual life and culture of the Ta Oi ethnic group in Quang Tri Province. The craft has been preserved through many generations with the great effort of the locals.

The pride of the Ta Oi ethnic group

Ta Oi people belong to a long-standing population group in Truong Son. With a population of more than 50,000 people, the Ta Oi people still retain their unique traditional culture and long-standing customs.

Ta Oi ethnic group lives in a region extending from Quang Tri to Thua Thien Hue provinces. They are the most permanent inhabitants in the region with traditional identities being preserved.

The traditional craft of zeng (brocade) weaving has long been the pride of the Ta Oi ethnic group. The craft has been preserved through many generations and widely introduced in other parts of Vietnam and abroad.

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The zeng weaving technique is preserved through generations.

Mrs. Kan Hung, a resident of Ta Rut Commune, Dakrong District, Quang Tri Province, has had some 80 years of experience in traditional zeng weaving. With the simple bamboo loom, she doesn't remember how many brocade items she has made from colored threads and beads.

“In the past, when a daughter got married, her parents often give her zeng items as a dowry. It is not only a gift, but it also holds great spiritual significance as it shows the great love of parents toward their daughter", she said. 

The craft has a long history in the locale. Zeng weaving has been well preserved through generations in Quang Tri, where women play a very important role in teaching their daughters about the cultural practice.

In the Ta Oi community, when a girl reaches the marriage age, she must know to weave a beautiful piece of zeng as a present for her future husband’s family, so it is considered a measure of the girl’s proficiency in domestic affairs.

Nowadays, at any Ta Oi wedding ceremony, a big zeng cloth is still hung in the center of the house where the ceremony takes place. “The bride must bring a zeng cloth to the groom’s house and present it to the ancestors to pray for happiness,” said artisan Kan Hung. 

An important ritual 

Zeng is used in worshipping, as a love token for couples, or gifts to show gratitude to those who make great contributions to their villages. Therefore, the Zeng worshipping ceremony is an important ritual of the Ta Oi people.

According to artisan Kray Suc, zeng weaving is a typical cultural characteristic that reflects deeply the people’s life and culture. Zeng are indispensable for offerings in the Ta Oi people’s community activities, when participants are also dressed with costumes made from zeng cloth.

There was a time when the craft nearly fell into oblivion and small parts of the local population only weaved “Zeng” cloth for their daily life and families. But artisans such as Kan Hung, Doan Thi Nga, Le Thi Chanh has tried their best to revitalize the traditional “Zeng” weaving craft in their community. 

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The craft helps create jobs for local residents.

Sustainable development for zeng weaving

In modern life, the craft helps create jobs for local residents as it has been utilized as a typical tourist product for visitors to Quang Tri Province.

Mrs. Ho Thi Nhan, Vice Chairwoman of the A Bung Commune's People's Committee said that, zeng products are unique and intricate. In the past, the Ta Oi brocade cloth had only two colors, black and red, with black representing water and red representing fire. Later, they created multiple new colors - white, yellow, green and purple - from materials found in nature.

‘Zeng’ is a complicated tapestry of colors woven into a wealth of motifs and the artisan Ta Oi weavers are masters of the technique. This traditional craft is delicate, personal and beautiful and cannot be replicated by modern machinery.

The Ta Oi use a back-strap loom where the weaver sits on the floor with the wrap of the loom stretched from a strap around her back attached to a bamboo rod held out by her feet. These painstaking woven textiles are created using thread supplied by Coats and helps to support economic development and improve the social impact within the community.

Actually, the zeng weaving helps locals earn good income, with each piece of cloth sold at up to 1.5 million VND. Zeng brocade has been favored by many visitors as it has good quality and illustrates the skillful talent of artisans.

In the past years, provincial authorities have endorsed zeng weaving development by equipping weaving establishments with machines, and organizing training courses and vocational training to improve production capacity.

By An Nhien