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Explore the Rich History of Fabric Making by the Hmong Hill Tribes

The ethnic art form is always the most revered in the world. In fact, the traditional designs on any textile in Asia became the haute fashion inspiration for designers around the world too. We have heard and seen the richness of hand-woven fabrics and the intricate embroidered work on display from Vietnam, India, Thailand, and others. One of the most talked about fabric making arts is that of the Hmong Hill tribes. We are talking about the Hmong Hill tribes of Thailand that are now becoming a sensation.

Where It All Began?

The Hmong tribes have their roots in China, and they began migrating and settling down in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. They left China and settled here around 300 years ago. There are seven hill tribes comprising the Hmong tribes. Even in Hmong, there are sub-groups like Black Hmong, Flower Hmong, Green Hmong, and many more. Each of these little tribes are unique, and you can identify them by the way they dress.

Weaving patterns and the colourful motifs are different in all of these seven tribes, which gives them distinctiveness.

Motifs and Designs on Hmong Textiles

The Hmong designers spend a lot of time in conceptualizing designs and motifs that denote something very relevant to the person wearing it. These really tell tales unique to the wearer. For example, a young woman looking for her partner for marital bliss will find a hook design on the clothes. Other motifs include leaf, house, or chicken feet, and each has its own significance in the storytelling method of weaving or painting by hand. The women usually make batik designs of these special purposes on the clothes with batik designing tools.

The preference for indigo-dyed clothes is prevalent across the Hmong tribal people. Agreed that today, most of the people from Hmong wear regular clothes like the rest of us, but they still wear these intricately embroidered clothes for any special occasion.

Embroidery and How Has It Changed?

Hand embroidery of the clothes has always been in the Hmong history for a long period of time. However, in the past, where these designs were mostly bright and striking, now the designers and weavers are using lighter shades. The embroidered fabrics are put to use to create bags and other accessories and not just clothes for special occasions. Thankfully, even today, the colourful textiles have the same charm and are getting popular. 

If you would like more information about the Hmong hill tribe and other hill tribes of Thailand, please visit this website: Hill Tribes of Thailand