Phum Xoai Brocade – Unique in Designs and Colours

Phum Xoai brocade weaved by the Cham ethnic people from the South-western province of An Giang has long been sought-after nationwide because of its unique designs and colours. In recent years the product has reached out to customers in many countries.

Many families resume the traditional weaving
Phum Xoai brocade, named after a hamlet in Chau Phong Commune, Tan Chau District of An Giang Province is a traditional handicraft article weaved by the local Cham ethnic women. This South-western province has been known as one of a few localities where unique cultural characteristics of the Cham people have been preserved. Besides farming and fishing, the local Cham make a living by involving themselves in such crafts as weaving, embroidering and knitting that turn out various kinds of products, including towels, sarongs (dress of the Cham women and also Malaysian and Indonesian women), brocade and other items unique to Cham living in southern Vietnam.

Weaving brocades on a traditional loom
Weaving brocade has been practiced for a long time in Phum Xoai. However, at one time the weavers met with difficulties in finding materials and selling products. Many had to quit weaving to do another business that put this traditional craft to the risk of disappearing.

Facing this situation, in 1997, leaders of An Giang Provincial Industrial Department decided to establish a textile cooperative, named Chau Giang Textile Cooperative. The Coop’s 50 members were supported with loans from the province’s fund for industrial expansion encouragement with which they could restore their weaving business. The local skilled weavers were encouraged to take the lead in improving the weaving techniques. For example, they don’t use their hands to throw the shuttle back and forth, instead they hold a string that ties to the ends of the shuttle and pull it back and forth between the thread. By doing this, the weavers can speed up the weaving process 10 fold.

I talked with No In, a 19-year-old weaver in Phum Xoai. After graduating from high school, she learned the traditional craft of weaving, knitting and embroidering brocade ordered by customers. She said: “The most rewarding of all is that I can practice doing the craft I love so much, and enjoy seeing many customers buy brocade weaved by me and my villagers.”

Phum Xoai brocades are always much
sought-after by tourists
Phum Xoai brocade won awards at six “Made-in-Vietnam Goods of High Quality” fairs. Particularly, Ikat brocade with a cloud design and another with mulberry flowers are much sought-after by the customers. According to artisan Se Mak’s experience, the success lies in the dying and designing processes. Phum Xoai brocade is weaved with the bark of the Pahud tree and the resin of the Kalek tree is used to dye the threads, which makes the product’s colours brilliantly jump out and they don’t fade over time.

Weavers at Phum Xoai Hamlet are now operating under the model of communal tourism in co-ordination with traditional crafts, including weaving, and product sales. This will help the Cham weavers preserve their craft and further develop it. Images of the Cham women sitting at a weaving loom leave good impressions on the visitors to this area.
Many families resume the traditional weaving

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