handicrafts Vietnam

the Khua

The Khua are a sub-group of the Bru-Van Kieu ethnic minority group that lives in the mountainous areas of the north-central region of Vietnam. In Quang Binh, the Khua mainly reside in the northern Minh Hoa District, a remote area along the Lao PDR border and nearby the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park. Similar to many other ethnic minorities in Vietnam, the Khua live a self-sustaining life based on surrounding forest resources and household-based agriculture, whereby some also retrieve income from extended farming and husbandry activities. In the mountainous areas of Quang Binh Province, minorities mainly cultivate cassava, maize, (dry) rice, sweet potatoes and fruits as well as many keep pigs, cows and/or chicken.

the Dao

Like the H’Mông, the Dao are considered part of the Miao-Dao (sometimes also ´Yao´) ethno-linguistic family that is home to South-East Asia. The Dao also similarly originate from the southern parts of China, but likely migrated further South at a different time period than the H’Mông. Nowadays, around 750.000 Dao live in the northern mountainous regions of Vietnam, mainly depending on farming activities on terraced rice fields. Dao and H’Mông have strong ties as their languages and their origin are closely related.

the Thai

The Thai (not to be confused with people from Thailand ;)), probably started migrating southwards from the Southern Chinese Province Yunnan in the 12th century. Nowadays, the Thai live across China, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam (some also in the USA). With a population of ~1, 5million, the Thai make up one of the biggest ethnic groups in Vietnam where they mainly reside in the north-western region.

 

If not wearing their traditional clothes, the Thai can easily be mistaken with the Kinh from the outside. They are also recognized as smart business people and farmers with advanced wet rice cultivation techniques. On the other hand, the Thai hold on to their traditions and are renowned for their folk songs and their weaving skills.

the H'Mông

With around 1 mio people, the H’Mông are one of the largest ethnic minority groups represented in Vietnam. The H’Mông mainly reside in the northern mountainous areas of the country, largely living from swidden agriculture and livestock farming, but also from trading activities with their counterparts living in the region. In the Mid 19th century, many of the H’Mông were pushed south of China after a failed insurrection and can now also be found in northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and even Myanmar. Due to the Vietnam War, there is also a significant number of H’Mông living in the US today.

 

The H’Mông have a distinctive culture, with strong customs and traditions that are still kept very much alive today.

craftsmanship from Vietnam

Much of the traditional arts & crafts-making in Vietnam is still being practiced today. Many still value items made by hand, with attention paid to quality and detail in the designs. Besides crafts made by ethnic minorities from Vietnam, you may also discover items made by the Kinh, including hand-made pottery, wickerwork or jewellery.

The tree hugger also reserved a little space for an ´eco-corner´ where items for daily use can be found that are made from natural materials and, with some, also by hand.