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Ethnic brocade artisans meet on festive day

Traditional cultural value is promoted by Ma and Co Ho ethnic people

A brocade weaving contest for ethnic minority women was held on September 1 at the foot of Langbian mountain in Lac Duong, Lam Dong Central Highlands province. The activity, which was held for the first time by the provincial Women’s Union, aims to honour the craft of women of Ma and Co Ho ethnic minority groups.

The contest gathered 30 competitors aged from 18-30 of Ma and Co Ho ethnic minority groups representing 500 women from traditional weaving villages in the province.

Ms Le Thi Anh Dao, a member of the organising board said "The contest is to restore and develop the traditional craft among ethnic minority people in the region, help strengthen exchanges among them and also introduce the traditional culture through a craft to domestic and foreign tourists.

Although this was the first time the weaving of ethnic people was honoured as a competition, yet many of the 30 competitors have gone out of their villages for the first time for a festive day and all of them were self-confident. They were all aware that this was the chance for them to introduce their traditional cultural features to people out of their villages.

At the contest, when being asked about the meaning of the decoration of the bag cover made in two hours, Ka Sem from Bao Lam said "This is the decoration made with traditional loom of Ma ethnic people, including a house on stilts, a Lunar New Year pole and a cup of wine. These are traditional values of our ethnic group."

The youngest at the contest, Ka Uai, 18 years old from Mang Ly hamlet, Bao Lam district said "I am now in the ninth grade. My family is a member of a weaving group. I go to the school in the morning and help my mother with weaving in the afternoon."

Artist Vi Quoc Hiep, head of the jury board said "With traditional material (cotton fibre) and modern material (industrial fibre) and with both traditional and modern decorations, those women can be able not only to make products of high economic value, but also to preserve the traditional culture."

The activity, which is under the framework of Month of Employment in 2004 of Lam Dong province, is an effort to preserve the traditional craft of Ma and Co Ho ethnic people which is in threat of being sunk in oblivion.

VNS - (07/09/2004)

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