THE LA CHI
The La Chi are very resourceful artisans. The women are skilled at weaving, dyeing and embroidery. Men are excellent builders and make household items from rattan and bamboo. La Chi houses are usually built on stilts and are surrounded by thick clay walls. Their traditional clothing is simple and elegant. Few women wore these garments in the village when I visited. However, I was surprised to meet a man, 78-year-old Lung Leo Pho, who was fully dressed in his costume. He was making water pipes and was very friendly to me.
In 2019, I decided to find a more remote village. The La Chi tribe is one of the rare ethnic groups to still grow cotton for their traditional clothing. When I arrived in the La Chi village in Hoang Su Phi, I saw groups of women sitting on the floor and preparing the cotton. Around them, children played with the soft seed puffs. The children also had their own version of the La Chi traditional costume with a small fitted cap outfitted with embroidery and blue and violet tones. I was told that they only gather once a week for this activity, so I was very lucky to arrive at the right moment. The La Chi in this region rarely see tourists and, as a result, are very shy. Probably the most difficult to approach of the 54. However, with some time, I was invited in three homes to share tea with the elders and to learn more about their culture.