THE TA OI
Of the Ta Oi ethnic group’s three subgroups, only one, the Kan Tua people, still possess the knowledge for how to make the traditional costume. Their weaving technique, called zeng, has the particularity of inlaying tiny glass beads into the brocaded pattern. Because this craftsmanship was slowly disappearing, a local woman decided to start workshops, not only to manufacture the costume again, but above all to teach the techniques. They now sell their products, to both locals and tourists in cooperatives that represent an opportunity for women to enhance their standard of living. The A Luoi district close to Hue has also started to give financial help to these cooperatives.
The woman pictured was very welcoming and invited me into her stilt house. Children gathered around with laughter while observing the shoot. I’ve returned often to visit this lady, who always sits in the same place, smoking her pipe. She can’t speak a word of Vietnamese but her daughter-in-law helps translate. You can see her pipe displayed in the museum.