Ethnic person brings traditional zèng products to the world

Friday, 20/01/2023 08:30
Zèng weaving is a typical traditional profession of the Ta Oi people in A Luoi district, the central province of Thua Thien Hue province. With a passion for her profession, artisan Mai Thi Hop is a typical example in maintaining, promoting and bringing traditional zèng weaving products to the world.
Artist Mai Thi Hop demonstrates the traditional zèng weaving of the Ta Oi people in the mountainous district of A Luoi, Thua Thien Hue province.  (Source: NDO)

Artisan Mai Thi Hop, from A Dot commune (now Lam Dot commune), a remote      commune of A Luoi district in extreme difficulty. She said that the zèng weaving has permeated the flesh and blood of the Ta Oi people for a long time. After years of tinkering and practicing, at the age of 15, she was able to weave a complete zeng panel  by herself for the first time. She brought hand-made products to sell to Co Tu and Pa Co people around the area.

However, zèng weaving has met difficulties because of output and workers. Facing the disappearance of the traditional weaving style, Ms. Hop was determined to restore the profession. In 2004, she established a weaving group for women in A Dot commune. Then, her family moved to A Luoi town and the weaving group was upgraded to a zèng-brocade weaving cooperative (now Aza Kooh Green Brocade Cooperative). Not only creating jobs and improving skills for women, artisan Hop also has created many new designs and patterns and guided them to do the same.

"In the past, the Ta Oi people used to grow cotton to spin yarn to make brocade, but today the market is available, the problem is to know how to choose carefully, then through many meticulous and elaborate processing stages to make brocade," shared Ms. Hop.

As the Director of Aza Kooh Green Brocade Cooperative, artisan Mai Thi Hop actively participated in fairs, exhibitions, and traditional craft festivals inside and outside the province to promote and introduce the zèng textile products of the cooperative to a large number of people. In particular, in 2015, brocade of Ta Oi people had the opportunity to be presented in Japan and artist Hop was the representative of Ta Oi women to participate in craft demonstrations at Fukuoka International Convention Center. Then, she also had the weaving performance in Europe and Thailand. Japanese people especially love zèng products because of their closeness to the environment. The French like hand-made brocade suits with purple flower patterns by Ms. Hop.

Recently, Aza Kooh Green Brocade Cooperative has received a contract to produce 50 zèng products with the size of 0.7x1.5m/panel to export to the Canadian market.

In A Luoi district, there are nearly a dozen zèng-weaving establishments. This is a good sign, but it is not easy to preserve and promote the weaving tradition. Ms. Hop added that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has recognized Ta Oi ethnic minority's zèng weaving as a national intangible cultural heritage. To be preserved and to develop, zèng weaving needs to "live" in today's challenging context. Ta Oi ethnic young people need to be taught the technique of zèng weaving so that they can "light the fire" with their love for the traditional craft of their ethnic group and know how to preserve the traditional weaving./.

BTA (Translated according to NDO)