Lung Tam village is located in Lung Tam commune, Quan Ba district of the upland northern province of Ha Giang. The village has a long-standing traditional craft of brocade weaving that contributes to preserving the traditional culture of the Mong ethnic people living in this mountainous area.
Travelling the route from the “Heavenly gate” of Quan Ba, over the rolling hills and along tortuous roads, visitors will see a valley with a lot of lush, green flax. This kind of tree provides the main raw material to Lung Tam villagers to weave brocade. At daytime, around the Hop Tien Flax Weaving Co-operative in the village, there are clanking sounds coming from the weaving looms and sewing machines.
Vang Thi Mai, Head of the Co-op, said that the Mong ethnic people living in Lung Tam Village are very happy now because their traditional craft of weaving brocade has been restored and developed in recent years, which contributes to introducing and popularizing one of their cultural identities to domestic and foreign visitors.
In 1998, Mai and her husband, Sung Mi Qua called for the villagers to collect money and work to set up a brocade weaving unit named Hop Tien (literally, together to advance forwards). In 2000, she contacted the manager of a project on developing traditional craft villages under the co-operative programme between Vietnam and Denmark, for help in expanding the market and popularizing the products. Also at that time, the Commune People’s Committee granted the unit with 300m2 of land to build workshops, favouring its stable operation. In 2001, Hop Tien Flax Weaving Co-operative was established, marking a new development in the production of Lung Tam brocade. Since the Co-op had more spacious working place, more Mong ethnic villagers applied for jobs, increasing the Co-op’s members to 100 people. The villagers work on 120 traditional weaving looms and turn out diverse items both for sale at home and for export to 20 countries, including the United States, Japan and France where Lung Tam brocade products are much sought after.
For its sustainable development, the Co-op has co-operated with several partners, including the Vietnam Centre for the Support of Traditional Craft Villages and the Centre for Research of the Vietnamese Handicraft Articles, aimed at finding new markets and assisting in product promotion, as well as helping the co-op members learn new patterns for their products. Thanks to all these efforts, Hop Tien Co-op’s prestige has been further enhanced. In March 2009, it signed a co-operative agreement with the Association Batik International, a French vocational training organization, in researching and expanding the market, and opening training courses on brocade weaving and sewing. That provided the Co-op members with opportunities to learn and improve their skills, as well as adjust to the modern equipment that helps them turn out beautiful and high-quality products.
Most of visitors to Lung Tam Village said that they are impressed with the local brocade products not only with traditional patterns and colours of the Mong ethnic people, but also with diverse stylized items which are especially much sought after by foreign customers.
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