News Center

Bringing Xi Thoai Brocade to Hanoi: A Celebration of Cultural Heritage

For the first time ever, stunning textiles from the traditional Xi Thoai village ( Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province) are on display in Hanoi in an exhibition themed ” Introduction of Xi Thoai Brocade Village” held at the Hanoi Old Quarter Heritage Information Center (28 Hang Buom Street, Hoan Kiem District) from April 20th, 2024 to May 15th, 2024.

Ms. Tran Thi Thuy Lan, Deputy Head of the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board, and Mr. Dam Dai Huu, Director of Dai Huu Travel Co., Ltd., presented bouquets of flowers to two esteemed artisans, Ms. Le Thi Thu Dien and Ms. So Thi Chuyen.

On the afternoon of April 20th, 2024, thanks to MCNV’s sponsorship, two talented artisans named Le Thi Thu Dien and So Thi Chuyen represented the production groups at the exhibition. They gave amazing demonstrations of their exquisite brocade weaving skills  and brought to the event a whole range of beautiful, handcrafted brocade products, including traditional outfits, shawls, drawstring bags, pen bags, cellphone bags, etc.
Nestled in the commune of Xuan Lanh commune, Dong Xuan district, Xi Thoai village is home to 219 households, primarily of the Ba Na ethnic group (accounting for 95%). The village’s brocade weaving craft boasts a rich history, spanning nearly 80 years of development. Originating from individual households producing for self-consumption, Xi Thoai brocade gradually gained recognition for its unique beauty, becoming a sought-after item not only within Xuan Lanh commune but also in the neighboring districts of Son Hoa and Song Hinh in Phu Yen province.

A distinctive feature of Xi Thoai brocade lies in its intricate weaving technique, creating raised patterns that resemble embroidery, despite the entire weaving process is executed on a loom. The craft demands immense concentration, as the artisan must memorize each thread and pattern to correctly switch between colored yarns. Any errors or omissions during weaving necessitate instantly unraveling and redoing the affected section.

Adorning Bana brocade are recurring symbolic motifs inspired by nature, reflecting the people’s worldview encompassing the cosmos, heaven and earth, yin and yang.

Adorning Bana brocade are recurring symbolic motifs inspired by nature, reflecting the people’s worldview encompassing the cosmos, heaven and earth, yin and yang, mountains, fauna and flora. Each brocade piece serves as a miniature tapestry depicting the vibrant natural world and scenes of daily life. The primary colors employed in Ba Na brocade are white, red, and black. These colors carry profound meanings: red representing aspiration, vigor and love; white embodying hope and dreams; and black symbolizing the superpower of the mountains and forests, additionally revered as the most sacred color among the Ba Na people.

In recent years, with traditional crafts at risk of being forgotten, local authorities, businesses, organizations, and individuals have undertaken concerted efforts to preserve and promote Xi Thoai brocade. As part of the project Boosting income and jobs for poor ethnic women in Dong Xuan district  implemented by MCNV and co-funded by GSRD foundation, the Xi Thoai brocade tradition is getting a major boost. MCNV has been supporting the craft through things like setting up cooperatives, sending artisans on learning trips to other provinces, offering skill-building workshops, providing equipment, and helping connect brocade makers with businesses to sell their products. The brocade weaving cooperative currently has 22 members, and is expecting to recruit more members.

These initiatives have contributed significantly to the revitalization of Xi Thoai brocade, ensuring its continued existence as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Ba Na people. The preservation of this traditional craft not only economically and socially empowers the Ba Na women but also safeguards an invaluable piece of Vietnam’s cultural tapestry.

“Brocade weaving has been my passion since I was a teenager. Recently, thanks to a project-sponsored learning trip to a cooperative in Quang Nam province, I’ve gained the skills to create new, modern products like these small bags. Before, we primarily focused on larger items like clothing and shawls. I’m thrilled to bring these innovative pieces to Hanoi for the first time! Upon returning to my village, I’ll continue to improve my skills, make more brocade products, and share my knowledge with the next generation”, said artisan Le Thi Thu Dien.

Artisan Le Thi Thu Dien is passionate for brocade weaving.

The Xi Thoai Brocade Introduction event in Hanoi stands as a testament to the ongoing efforts to preserve and promote Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage. By bringing together artisans, cultural experts, and the wider public, the event fostered a deeper appreciation for the unique traditions and artistry of Xi Thoai brocade.

During the event’s opening ceremony, Ms. Tran Thi Thuy Lan, Deputy Head of the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board, emphasized the importance of preserving and promoting traditional crafts like Xí Thoại brocade. She noted that this was the first time the Hanoi Old Quarter Management Board had collaborated with a Central region province to organize such an event, underscoring the significance of cross-regional cultural exchange.

Dr.Tran Doan Lam, culture scholar, speaks at the opening ceremony.

Dr. Tran Doan Lam, a cultural researcher and Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Vietnam Studies Journal, spoke at the event, highlighting Xi Thoai brocade as an intangible cultural heritage of Phu Yen Province. He commended the craft’s distinctive patterns and motifs, which embody the ethnic identity of the Ba Na people, as well as the intricate techniques and craftsmanship involved in its creation.

Dr. Tran Doan Lam expressed his belief that the event in Hanoi, the “mirror reflecting the quintessence of the country’s regions” and a “national leader in heritage conservation and promotion,” would serve as an effective channel for promoting Phu Yen Province’s cultural and tourism products. He envisioned the event opening up new market opportunities for Xi Thoai brocade artisans and contributing to the future development of village tourism./.