VOV.VN - Ede girls learn from their grandmothers and mothers to weave brocade fabric and make clothes and blankets when they are little. These products are for family use and given by a bride as gifts for her in-laws.
Brocade products are seen as the measure of an Ede woman’s ingenuity. The Ede have preserved the craft and lately have turned it into a steady source of income.
“I could weave when I was 15. Now I’m very proficient at weaving and I’ve taught many other people. Some of them have won prizes at weaving contests and have continued to promote the craft.” Artisan H’Blong Knul of Ja hamlet, Krong Bong district shows her daughters how to make yarn, how to put the yarn in the loom, and how to weave patterns for a brocade dress.
The daughter, H'Giang Knul, says she and her two sisters are proficient at making all kinds of Ede costumes.
“It was difficult at first, but gradually I mastered the skills of spinning yarn, weaving, and sewing the hems of clothes with traditional Ede patterns,” said H'Giang Knul.
Like other ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, Ede people used cotton yarn to weave brocade. What makes Ede brocade costumes stand out are the motifs, whose main colors are black, red, yellow, blue, and white.
H'Nun Byă of Ea Kao commune, Buon Ma Thuot city, said that after the harvest, they spin threads and dye them using mud, leaves, roots, and tree bark.
“Floral patterns are usually white, black, and red. There are many types of patterns which are woven with 15, 17, 27 or 35 threads. The most difficult thing is weaving embossed patterns,” said H'Nun Byă.
Ede brocade motifs depict things that are part of their daily life – birds, turtles, lizards, flowers, plants, fruits, household items like rice mills, and stilt houses. The Ede make different decorations and pattern arrangements for each occasion.
Men's shirts often have a red stripe on the front in the shape of an eagle's wings. On the sides and the hem they weave dragon or eagle motifs, symbolizing strength and the will to conquer nature.
Ede women’s everyday skirts are large pieces of brocade with simple patterns, which they wrap around their waists and cover their legs to the ankles. Costumes for festivals and special occasions are elaborately decorated with colorful patterns on a black background.
H’Yar Kbuôr of Drai Sap commune, Krong Ana district, said the Ede use the Kteh weaving technique, which is considered the pinnacle of brocade decoration art. This technique uses red and white threads to weave parallel patterns in combination with beads on the hem of shirts or loincloths, according to Kbuôr.
‘The Kteh technique is used to weave patterns for ceremonial costumes and the costumes of noble people. Kteh is a difficult technique. Not everyone can do it.’
Working from popular patterns, each Ede woman creates new motifs by adding yarns and mixing colors to make a unique product. H'Yam Bkrong of Ea Kao commune said brocade fabric contains the heart of a woman, because she puts her time, effort, meticulousness, and ingenuity into it.
‘It takes about a year to finish a brocade fabric. She has to prepare cotton, spin threads, dye, and weave on a loom. She then carefully sews every stitch to make clothes,’ said H'Yam Bkrong.
In the past, it took a lot of time and effort to make brocade products, so they were only used within the family or given as gifts. Today they are mostly made from factory-produced thread. The combination of traditional Ede patterns and colors with new commercial materials has attracted new customers. Ede women now create commercial brocade products without abandoning their traditional values.