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About 75 percent of Vietnam consists of tropical lowlands, mountains, and densely forested highlands. North-west Vietnam, one of the roughest and coldest regions in the country, is also home to 20 different ethnic minorities, of which 750,000 are Hmong. The Vietnamese formerly referred to these hill tribes as »moi«, savages, wild people. Today there are more than 5 million Hmong in the whole world: about 500,000 live in China, where they are called Miao, 250,000 in Laos, 75,000 in Thailand and some in Burma. Around 53% (900,000 Hmong), the largest community live in Sa Pa, Northern Vietnam.
The dong are an ethnic group from the south Chinese provinces of Guizhou, Hainan and Guangxi. They are famous for their wood architecture, their drumb towers as well as their wind and rain bridges, for their music, dance and singing. Their cultural assets are considered world heritage by the UN including their shiny indigo fabrics, the elaborated weaving and stiching technics.
The fabric must be woven, wrung, scrubbed and pounded before it can be used to create traditional Dong cotton garments — dark navy costumes, plain for the men and with flower trim for the woman, and these pleated and short skirts. The woman are using a heavy wooden mallet to beat the textile and make it more shinny. The dying process is several rounds of soaking and drip-drying long. The fabric can treaded like paper, to bring the pleats into it with the finger nail.
wrap around skirt, Size ca. 36 width: 96 cm, length: 42 cm
a few years old, dyed and treaded by hand