THE LA HU
La Hủ is said to mean ‘as powerful as a tiger’ and they were known to be very skilled tiger hunters. The La Hủ has no written language and most of them do not speak Vietnamese, which lead us to call for the help of a young local interpreter. Legend has it that a group of scholars once wrote the ancient language on rice cakes but the language disappeared when the scholars became hungry and ate them!
The memory of this first encounter is tinged with joy and pain. For joy, because I had the chance to capture this magnificent portrait of Lý Cà Sư, 91 years old at the time. Pain and disappointment because I had to shorten my stay among the La Hủ after a stupid motorcycle accident that led to a sprain ankle. Coming back without a costume, immobilized for 3 weeks and frustrated to have missed this experience, I was obsessed with the desire to go back to meet the La Hủ. I finally went back to Lý Cà Sư 3 years later. It was on this occasion that she gave me one of her costumes, which you can now admire in our museum.