In the past, almost all adult Pa Then women knew how to weave because they had to prepare new dresses for themselves on their weddings. Nowadays, not all girls know how to do this.
Phu Thi Thien, Tan Bac commune, Quang Binh district, Ha Giang province said Pa Then people’s traditional costumes have been preserved but the number of weavers is on the decrease. Nowadays, girls prefer doing other jobs to weaving. At present, only 40 percent of women, aged between 35-40, know how to weave.
To preserve the ethnic group’s traditional values, several years ago the Women’s Union of My Bac village, Tan Bac commune, Quang Binh district in Ha Giang province established the Pa Then Brocade Weaving Cooperative to teach the craft to young people. The business now has more than 30 members, mostly Pa Then women. Their products are highly valued by tourists.
A tourist, Nguyen Van Thang, 35, said a special cultural product of the northwestern region that should be showcased at tourist sites in Ha Giang province and other regional localities.
The establishment of the cooperative has helped women in Tan Bac commune realize their dream of preserving the unique cultural beauty of the Pa Then costumes.
The cooperative’s brocade products have gained a foothold in the market of traditional products. They have been also displayed at many exhibitions of the traditional culture of Pa Then people.
Visitors to the northern provinces of Ha Giang or nearby Tuyen Quang province will have a chance to enjoy the colourful costumes, mostly in red, of the Pa Then ethnic women.
A costume of a Pa Then woman consists of a kerchief, a blouse, a belt, a skirt, and a brassiere. The kerchief is a red cloth, embroidered with designs and wrapped up into round layers. The two ends are decorated with clusters of colourful thread tassels, which cascade down onto the wearer’s ears.
The most attractive part is the red blouse, which has no collar but instead has two front flaps that are crossed when worn. The back flap is often longer than the front flaps. The costume is attractive due to the harmonious mixture of hand-embroidered pieces and grafted fabrics. On the red foundation are the handy embroidered geometrical shapes, while the lower sleeves and two crossed front flaps’ fringes are grafted with black blocs. Young women often wear a white shirt under the red upper blouse. The white collar then will go on top of the red base, making it more beautiful.
With their skills, Pa Then women can weave and make unique skirts. Also in red, the skirt has folded lines in the upper hem and embroidered decorations along two sides. The front face has no decorations, just simple designs.
Some photos of Pa Then women’s weaving craft and traditional costume: