Colours of Ha Giang Province

5:22:39 PM | 14/8/2012

Ha Giang is home to 23 ethnic minorities of Vietnam, each of which has its own unique features. One of the elements which creates unique features for each minority is their traditional costume.
The traditional costume of each minority has its own style, colour and patterns. While costumes of the Tay and Nung peoples are quite simple in terms of design and colour, those of the Lo Lo and Dao are rich in decorative patterns and design.
With the majority use indigo colour, the costumes of the Tay, Nung and Giay look very graceful. Their costumes comprise either five-panel long dresses or short shirts with trousers. With an aim to enhancing the grace of their costumes, women of these minorities often wear light colour belts and silver necklaces. Different from the Tay, Nung and Giay, the traditional costumes of a number of remote ethnic minorities are outstanding with hot colours. The red colour of Pa Then women’s clothes is compared to flame birds. The red colour is repeated on headscarf, shirt, skirt and decorative strings. The costume of red Dao women places a strong emphasis on those ever see it with red round woolen balls down the front or diamond-shaped or spiral embroidery patterns. Also bearing hot colour, the costumes of Lo Lo people seem to be slightly darker due to the mixture of colours and sophisticated embroidery patterns. Researchers have noted, “It is really difficult to compare Lo Lo’s costumes with those of other groups living in our country because of their sophistication and radiant colour.” Instead of the dense patterns decorated on Lo Lo’s clothes, costumes of Mong women use bright colour block and materials like embroidered silk or velvet which catch light very well. Decorative patterns are mainly arranged on collars, cuffs and belts. Mong women wear white blouses covered by non-button shirts with pleated skirts. The diversity in terms of design and decorative patterns are different from sub-ethnicities of Mong. For instance, Mong Trang (White Mong) women wear white skirts while Mong Hoa (Flower Mong) are dressed in flowery skirts. The traditional costume of Pu Peo ethnic group also constitues a highlight in the Dong Van Karst Plateau, including a black pleated skirt and a shirt opened at the right armpit. Their collars and fringes of shirts are decorated with diamond-shaped and other geometric patterns.
The traditional costumes of ethnic minority groups also reflect topographic and climate conditions of the area the people are living. Facts have shown that groups living in areas with high humidity and hot climate tend to design their costumes in a simple manner. Colours and decorative patterns are used limitedly. Meanwhile, costumes of groups living in remote areas with cold climate, including the Dao, Mong and Lo Lo are colourful and have more clothing layers. The patterns not only highlight the beauty of the costumes, but also help to enhance the thickness. There are opinions that costumes of mountainous people often use an excess of colour. However, when the living environment is considered, we find out that such excess of colour is reasonable.
The traditional costumes of each ethnic minority group are all made by clever and hard-working women. The sophistication in every embroidery and sewing makes every costume a real work of art. Moreover, every costume reflects its group’s culture and living habits. Until now, hard-working and clever women are still the desire of men at the age of getting married and their families.
Nowadays, with a view to preserving traditional values of ethnic minority groups, the provincial authorities have had lots of activities which encourage local women to preserve brocade weaving and embroidery. Classes have been opened, clubs established... With talented skills, good sense of art and experiences of using colours to dye the cloth and decorative patterns, women here have made products known fondly by domestic and overseas customers. This is one of the strengths for Ha Giang’s brocade to prove its standing in the market. However, to make brocade products of ethnic groups more known and generate higher income for them, seeking consumption markets is of extreme importance. Once the market is identified, the people living in this mountainous area can not only improve their traditional profession while reducing poverty, but can also help to preserve one of the unique cultural features of Ha Giang ethnic people.
 Hung Hien