HCM CITY —Preservation of traditional Vietnamese brocade helps not only highlight cultural values but also contribute to socio-economic development and improves the quality of life for ethnic minorities.
Many makers of brocade are trying to preserve their weaving culture and seeking financial support.
The second Viet Nam Brocade Culture Festival which is taking place in Đắk Nong Province aims to attract investment in preserving the traditional handicraft. It will run through Sunday.
Ka Mom from the Chau Mạ ethnic group in Loc Tan Commune in Lam Đồng Province’s Bảo Lam District noted that the commune has more than 500 women who know how to weave brocade. Some are from families that have been weaving for three generations.
Ka formed a brocade weaving cooperative about three years ago with 15 members, who were offered a VNĐ5 million (US loan per person by the Women’s Union.
However, the cooperative disbanded after the Women’s Union decided to stop funding its members after a year of operation.
“It’s very challenging to make products and find sales outputs on our own,” Ka said.
Ka usually needs over a week to weave a piece of fabric that usually costs VNĐ800,000 in the market. “There should be ‘regulations’ during festive and holiday seasons to wear brocade items to preserve this cultural value,” she said.
Meanwhile, Lam Nữ Minh from the Chăm ethnic group said that she is one of 80 members of the Chăm Mỹ Nghiep Brocade Weaving Cooperative in Phưoc Dan Commune in Ninh Thuận Province’s Ninh Phưoc District.
Despite an income of VNĐ1.5 million per month after excluding daily expenses, members of the cooperative have been pursuing their passion for a long time.
Except for a few people who love ethnic brocade, many locals, especially young people, have switched to working at factories to earn higher incomes, she said.
Since brocade products are usually sold to international tourists, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to keep the industry going.
“We cannot promote our products efficiently with such an income. We want to take part in more festivals to sell our products and exchange experiences with other artists,” Minh said. “We also seek financial support for professional machinery used to make fabric, while weaving the brocade parts manually. Most importantly, we are looking for better ways for our products to be circulated and consumed.”
Authorities in some provinces have focused on the preservation of brocade weaving and have organised training courses for ethnic minority women in recent years.
However, because of the country’s global integration and economic transition, it is challenging to fully preserve the beauty of brocade weaving profession.
Skilled artists have become older, and many youngsters are not passionate enough about the trade to pursue a career.
The chairman of Đắk Nong Province People’s Committee, Nguyễn Đình Trung, said that brocade has contributed to the solidarity and cultural diversity of 54 ethnic groups.
“It is a cultural bridge between us. Let’s join hands to bring Vietnamese brocade closer to people, especially foreign visitors!” he said.
In order for the profession to thrive, authorities should create incentives to encourage artists in Đắk Nong Province to search for markets at tourist destinations by themselves, set up stores of brocade products, and collaborate with other cooperatives or trading companies to expand the market, Trung said. —
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