Brocade weaving

Brocade weaving has a long tradition. The products not only serve the domestic demand of local people, but are also famous among tourists. Cao Bang is the homeland of many ethnic groups with different languages, identities, and also brocades. Brocade clearly reflects the differences in beliefs and the natural conditions where each ethnic group lives. In the spring trading session, tone can see distinctive costumes of each group. For example, H’mong people wear red mottled costumes trimmed with white and yellow patterns; the Tay people are simply attired with indigo clothes trimmed with white and yellow patterns on a black-green cloth background. Brocade also plays a vital role in the spiritual life of the ethnic people in Cao Bang. It is used to make veils to cover the altar, or to make the components of clothes, hats, scrafs, bags and seat cushions of priests.

Tay brocade usually has many decorations of harmonious colors. On a primarily milky background, various colors are skillfully introduced with the patterns of the pear, plum, and peach blossoms and such animals as deer, horse and birds, that are distinctive of the local natural landscape. The brocade weaving of the Tay people in Cao Bang is most developed in the communes of Dao Ngan and Phu Ngoc (Ha Quang district), and in Dan Chu, Duc Long, and Nuoc Hai town (Hoa An).

The Nung culture has many groups with slightly different costumes, mainly in the details of the patterns and the method of sewing pieces of embroidered cloth on the dresses. The patterns are gentle, with colours reflecting nature. They also use bee-wax to create textures on indigo cloth. The Nung people are also good at weaving and dyeing using their own special techniques.

Brocade weaving’ Tay ethnic in Ha Quang Pattern brocade’ Tay ethnic in Ha Quang

The Dao people (such as those in Hoa Tham commune, Nguyen Binh district) are also very famous for brocade weaving, especially for techniques of using bee-wax to create patterns. The garments and silver jewelry of Coin Dao women have many patterns of stars and wings, which represent the power of nature and the universe.

The H’mong people have a tradition of cultivating jute to weave for their personal use. The preferred colors of fabrics are scarlet, crimson, brown, yellow, white, green and blue. All branches of the H’mong ethnic group have sophisticated embroidery techniques, and they are very skilled at decorating the costumes with pieces of color cloth, and painting bee-wax on canvas. Most of the textures are embroidered, painted, or attached on white or red linen. After the decoration of each part is finished, they sew and join them together to form the complete item of clothing- a special method unique to H’mong people.

Decorative cells in cross shape, ding word and gong Chinese words are diversely, skillfully and abundantly presented, combined with a diamond-shaped lattice truss or triangle cell with broken contours in various compositions. Thus, decorative patterns of the H’mong people are distinctive in a style not found in other ethnic groups.
Apart from textures of grid or straight line patterns, the H’mong people also decorate their garments with round, curved, spiral or double spiral shapes that are symmetrically arranged to form hooks, or through rotation of the axis to form an S shape. These patterns are harmonized but not monotonous, and are specific to the garments of the H’mong people. These patterns express the transformation of the sun, weather, space and time, which are also found in other ethnic groups, but are best expressed in decorations of the H’mong people.


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