Gia Lai combines brocade weaving with tourism
Update: Apr 19, 2024
Brocade weaving is a traditional craft closely linked to the culture of the Jrai and Bahnar people in Gia Lai province. Major programs have been in place to preserve and promote brocade weaving and create new opportunities for economic and tourism development.

Brocade clothes of Jrai ethnic people are showcased in a 2023 fashion show in Gia Lai province. (Photo: VOV)

During the leisure days after the harvest, 30 Bahnar ethnic women who belong to the weaving team of hamlet 5, Po To commune, Ia Pa district, get together to weave. The oldest is over 50. The youngest are teenagers. They either weave traditional patterns or create new patterns for dresses and skirts.

Dinh Nhu, a team member, said, “In the past, our grandmothers taught the craft to our aunts. In the new era, we have had to teach ourselves the craft. In the future, we’ll teach the younger generation, young people 16 to 18 years old, but they’ll still have to teach themselves to some extent.”

In Ia M'nong commune, Chu Pah district, Jrai ethnic women in the weaving club of Kep village 2 have selected a stilt house in the middle of the village as a place to do weaving and display brocade products.

This is one stop on the community tour to the village, where visitors can observe how the Jrai women weave their brocade products, study the brocade patterns on shirts, skirts, purses, and bags, try weaving on the loom, and buy souvenirs.

H’Uyen Nie, the head of the club, said a business has signed a cooperation agreement with the club, so their products now have an outlet and the members are earning about 200 USD a month.

“The women's association has changed our manner of production,” said H’Uyen Nie, adding, “We’ve turned our brocade products into souvenirs. The brocade cloth I’m holding, for example, can be made into bags, purses, shirts, or earrings depending on customer demand. Artisans are paid directly for their labor, which motivates them to preserve their cultural identity.”

Tourists visit the weaving club of Kep village 2  in Ia M'nong commune, Chu Pah district. (Photo: Nguyen Thao)

The brocade weaving cooperative in Gla commune, Dac Ðoa district, was established 10 years ago. It employs a hundred workers and creates products that reflect the culture of the ethnic minorities who live in the Central Highlands.

The commune provides the cooperative both emotional and material support. The weaving workshops of the Bahnar ethnic women have become part of tours to Gia Lai province. Gia Lai has more than 100 brocade weaving clubs with 1,600 members and this number is on the rise.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Lich, Deputy Chairwoman of the provincial People's Committee, said, “We honor artisans who make artistic products. We want to introduce and promote brocade items and turn them into commercial products to boost the economic growth of Gia Lai.”

As part of the national program of socio-economic development in ethnic minority areas until 2030, brocade products are introduced at the weekend gong performances held regularly in Pleiku city.

VOVWORLD - - Apr 17, 2024